In response to the op-ed piece by Kimberly Katz ("Nonviolent protest nothing new in the Middle East," March 7th) I would point out that there is nothing new in her misrepresentations of the Middle East situation. If she were to check original sources and data rather than unquestioningly repeating the unverifiable "Palestinian as victim" ideology, she would learn among other things that:
• "Israel's brutal occupation" is actually Israel administering territories captured in an Arab war of aggression against Israel. According to the pertinent UN resolutions these territories, which have evidenced a Jewish presence since Biblical times, are to be part of a negotiated settlement, a settlement Israel has worked to achieve since 1967 — including ceding land for peace — only to be met with violent intifadas and unceasing Palestinian bombardment of Israeli civilian targets. Arab suicide bombings alone have claimed 1,000 Israeli lives.
• Under Israel's "brutal occupation" Arabs have experienced unprecedented economic growth. Literacy rates have soared while infant mortality rates have plummeted, making Arabs in the territories, especially women, the healthiest, best educated and freest in the Arab world.
• Israel's building in the territories is not illegal but is constrained by permit, by restriction to natural growth within defined borders and highly sensitive to international scrutiny. Since it is politically incorrect, no one talks about the rampant, illegal building by the Arabs.
• In response to Arab protests and legitimate court appeals, Israel has modified the course of the defense wall it has been forced to construct to keep suicide bombers away from Israeli civilians.
• "The land that sustained their grandparents and great-grandparents" is often land of much more recent "ownership" due to the UN practice of granting refugee status to "Palestinians" who came into the area after 1948, whether their families had lived there before or not.
• The ordinary people whom she claims are "ready to make sacrifices for the safety of their children" are training those children, from preschool, to hate Jews, to glorify martyrdom and to serve as human shields against Israeli soldiers charged with keeping the peace.
Finally, as further evidence of Ms. Katz's inaccuracy, she incorrectly describes the U.S. as the oldest democracy in the world. Every high school student should know that the U.S. is a republic, as so named in our pledge of allegiance. But if we mean that America has a democratic form of government, than we must in fairness compare it with Switzerland which has been a democracy since its founding in 1291.
Would that Ms. Katz's premise were true. Nonviolent protest would be a welcome change in the Middle East. Her article instead glosses over the continuous violence and recycles a slanted Palestinian agenda that does not accurately reflect the historic record.