Thursday, August 12, 2010



Mrs Waby's letter ['Debate', 6th August] was the cause of some sadness
to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain. Such extreme, polarised
views as hers do little to advance peace, and are more like to cause
further division and mistrust among those concerned with Israel and the

Mrs Waby writes of "43 years of illegal occupation", and the
"illegitimate creation of Israel", as well of "most" of "several million
Palestinians... rot[ting] in poverty". Such false statements are
counterproductive in the struggle for peace which is the aim of the
majority of Israelis, as well as of this and every previous Israeli

Life expectancy in Gaza is rising, and is currently higher than in
Turkey. Only last month a brand new luxury shopping Mall was opened
there. The opulent hotels, olympic-sized swimming pool and fancy
restaurants in Gaza also paint a different picture from Mrs Waby's.

The State of Israel's foundation can in no way be described as
illegitimate. The state was voted into existence by the United Nations
Security Council in 1947, which recommended the termination of the
British Mandate, and the partition of the territory into two states: one
Jewish, and one Arab. It was the leaders of the Arab community who
rejected this, just as many Palestinian leaders do today, unable to
fathom the cheek of the Jews wanting their own state in their historic

Today, the Hamas regime which rules the Gaza strip has a stated
genocidal intent and rejects totally in its written charter the prospect
of any negotiated peace with Israel. This is more than just hard talk;
unguided rockets continue to be launched from Gaza on Israeli civilian
areas, making life for those within range unbearable.

It seems that for Mrs Waby certain refugees have no rights, while others
have carte blanche to behave as they wish, attacking men, women and
children with rockets, and keeping a prisoner -- Gilad Shalit -- in
total isolation from the outside world for over 4 years.

Many worry that some in Britain and beyond are less interest in pursuing
peace and fairness in the Middle East, and more interested in bashing
the only Jewish state in the world, Israel. Such aggressive and
unfounded attacks on Israel as Mrs Waby's do little to persuade them

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Sacerdoti,
Director of Public Affairs
Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland