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Letter: Criticism of Israel isn’t rooted in facts

Criticism of Israel isn’t rooted in facts

A recent letter accuses Israel of daily abuses of Palestinians in the “occupied territories,” where they violate their human rights using a “repressive military regime.” As usual with such attacks against Israel, there are no specifics, only slogans.

To look at just one accusation, that Jewish settlers have seized water resources from Palestinians, a report by Boston-based CAMERA shows that since 1967, under direct Israeli administration, the Palestinians’ share of water from the aquifers straddling the Green Line has increased relative to that of Israel. Further, water from within Israel is piped into the West Bank (and also Gaza) for Palestinian use, and Palestinian domestic usage increased dramatically since 1967, far outstripping the increase in Israel (where recycling and desalinization are practiced). In 1995, Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed that in the near term, each would provide the West Bank with a higher water allotment. Israel has complied, but the PA has not fulfilled its quota.

In light of all this, the idea that settlers are stealing Palestinian water rings hollow. Palestinians have brought many complaints before the Israeli courts concerning property rights, and when those complaints had merit, they were upheld.

As for the writers’ praise of Human Rights Watch, in a New York Times op-ed (Oct. 19, 2009) the founder and chairman emeritus of that NGO, Robert L. Bernstein, publicly berated his own organization for dishonesty in its criticism of Israel.

Richard S. Laub