Hany Elmariah claims that David Shiffman ignored the facts, but the truth is that Elmariah is merely distorting the facts. For one, Elmariah claims that Israel is only a democracy for Jews. Actually, Israel is a democracy for all of her residents whether they be Jewish or Arab. The Palestinians Elmariah discusses are those Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza, in other words, those that live within the territories. Because they live in areas that are under Palestinian control, such as Nablus, Ramallah or Hebron, they are not Israelis but Palestinians.
This is not the case for the 1.5 million Arabs living within Israel proper who have all of the same rights as Israelis. They carry the same Israeli identification cards that the Jews living in Israel proper carry. Israeli Arabs also have the same Israeli license plates that Jews living within Israel possess. In addition, they are able to vote in all Israeli elections, and there are Arab members of the Israeli Parliament. Israel is actually the only democracy in the Middle East for its Arab citizens. All religious holy sites in Israel are equally protected under Israeli law. Israeli Arabs live in Israel and possess all of the same freedoms as Jewish Israelis. If one believes that Israel should not have control over these territories, one must also believe that Arabs in those territories should also not have Israeli citizenship.
In addition, Elmariah writes, “This all is in addition to the recent construction of Israel’s apartheid wall, which would simply be unacceptable anywhere else.” This is nothing less than a big lie. India has been building an 1800 mile-long barrier in Kashmir to protect its citizens from Pakistani gunmen. Indeed, security fences like this one are acceptable and do exist in other parts of the world. The security barrier exists because of the over 100 suicide attacks that have occurred in Israel over the last three years. Indeed, the structure is quite effective. Many analysts have been saying that the suicide attack this week occurred in Beer Sheva because the barrier has not yet been built between Hebron and Beer Sheva. Indeed, the wall has effectively prevented terrorists from entering into Jerusalem and murdering innocent civilians there. Elmariah, it is not an apartheid wall; it is a security fence. This letter by Elmariah is full of falsehoods which often cause misunderstanding of the situation in the Middle East.
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