Dear Editor,

I am responding to an article regarding an alleged incident in Jerusalem published in the March 22 edition of the Fairfax County Times. I found the article curious in that it was published in a local newspaper that customarily caters to local interests and not incidents that occurred 6,000 miles away. I would also expect a responsible journalist to objectively present both sides of a controversial issue.

Ms. Woolsey employs words such as “supremacy, injustices, brutality, disrespect of human rights” in describing Israel. She also implies that Israel wrongfully attacked and captured Jerusalem after the UN partition plan called for internationalization of the city. She further reports that Israel killed 189 Palestinians last year. But most egregiously, she compares the actions of Israeli security with the recent tragic massacre of Moslem worshippers in New Zealand.

Although it appears that an incident had occurred on the Haram al- Sharif, the facts were unclear. The area is under the control of Arab security but certainly Israeli police or military might intervene in the event of a major disturbance. This was not mentioned by the writer. Instead, she assumed that the Israelis were unreasonably heavy-handed and were deserving of her invective.

I would remind Ms Woolsey of a few facts. The UN in Nov., 1947 did approve a partition plan dividing Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state with Jerusalem accorded the status of an international city. The Israeli leadership accepted the plan; the Palestinian Arabs and surrounding Arab countries totally rejected it and invaded Israel the following May.

Israel has sustained much loss of life and property due to terrorism as well thousands of rockets indiscriminately fired into its cities and countryside. The Israelis have every right to defend themselves. They have gone to unprecedented lengths to minimize casualties by dropping warning leaflets so civilians could leave an endangered area. They do this knowing that telegraphing intentions puts the Israeli military at increased risk.

Israel has provided medical care to enemy soldiers particularly near the border with Syria. They do this even though Syria is a bitter foe still technically at war with Israel.

And to compare the incident on the Haram al Sharif with the massacre in New Zealand is inflammatory and not consistent with reputable journalism.

Russell B. Rayman, M.D.


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