Home Commentary Letters Letters to the Editor, May 22, 2024

Letters to the Editor, May 22, 2024

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Occupation, Apartheid, and Settler-Colonialism

To the Editor: 

I’d like to offer the authors of two letters regarding Palestine-Israel hostilities in The Bridge’s May 8–21, 2024 issue a framework for nonpartisan analysis: the law. 

The definition of genocide our government made “supreme Law of the Land” by ratifying the Genocide Convention expressly focuses on intent and acts, not on specific numbers or “systematic plans.” International law does, however, prohibit attacks disproportionate for legitimate military objectives, let alone attacks on an illegally occupied people — a people who, under international law, have the right to resist foreign domination. 

The number of Palestinians and Israelis killed, wounded, and captured since 1948 reveals the gross imbalance in harm resulting from Israel’s unrestrained exploitation of the immense military and intelligence asymmetry between the two countries. Its “indiscriminate targeting” (Anatomy of a Genocide, tinyurl.com/Anatomyofagenocide) has ended dozens of thousands of Palestinian lives since October 7 alone.

The mandate of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Palestine — a jurist selected by a council of which the U.S. is a member — requires her to explain how law applies to the occupation. In March, she wrote, “Settler-colonialism is a dynamic, structural process and a confluence of acts aimed at displacing and eliminating Indigenous groups, of which genocidal extermination/annihilation represents the peak.” (Anatomy). In short, the genocide we witness today began with the 1948 Nakba.

The Special Rapporteur determined that Israel is committing genocide. The International Court of Justice will concur. Yet, Palestinians and Israelis won’t enjoy peace and security until the illegal systems condemned by the U.N., the International Committee of the Red Cross, and  countless other independent experts are abolished: occupation, apartheid, and settler-colonialism.

To understand this situation better, consult Anatomy and “UN Doc. A/77/356” (tinyurl.com/UNdoca77356). To comprehend how many Americans have misunderstood the Middle East for decades, view the documentaries “Israelism” (kinema.com/films/israelism-jvor8l)  and “The Occupation of the American Mind” (occupationmovie.org).

Courtney Mireille O’Connor, Montpelier

Do Not Murder Civilians

To the Editor:

After an admonishment of Jules Rabin for speaking out against Israel’s war on Gaza the author posed the following question:

“But, Jules, what do you think the nation of Israel should have done when their innocent civilians were murdered, tortured, and kidnapped?”

The answer is:

Do not murder innocent civilians.

If a murderous gang came into Montpelier, went on a killing spree, then ran to the elementary school to hide and held the children as human shields, would we drop a 2,000-pound bomb on the school killing all the kids and teachers in order to get the bad guys?

The answer is no.

The whataboutisms are endless, but they will never justify killing thousands of little kids, mothers, and fathers whose only “crime” is being in the way.

You’re either on the side of humanity or you’re not.

Jules is on the right side.

Tim Azarian, Calais

Thank You Jules

To the Editor:

We were disappointed to see letters to the editor castigating Jules Rabin, a decades-long campaigner for peace and justice in our region, for choosing to celebrate his 100th birthday on the Montpelier streets at State and Main, calling for an end to the carnage we have all been watching unfold in Gaza. One may choose to quibble about this or that point of history, figures, or rhetoric — and in another forum, we could do that as well. But really, what more is there to say at this devastating moment in history, but make the bombs stop? And what else is there to say to this beloved man, on his 100th birthday, but thank you.

Jason Hirsch, Montpelier, and Debra Stoleroff, Plainfield, for Jewish Voice for Peace of VT/NH (Central VT Crew)

Letters to the editor represent the opinions of the authors and do not reflect the opinions of The Bridge. Submit your letter by email to editor@montpelierbridge.com. Preference is given to submissions by those who live in central Vermont, should not exceed 300 words in length, and may be edited for brevity and accuracy.