Letter from Chomsky and Other Global Progressive Voices

The Bush Administration and much of the mainstream media in the US have portrayed the current violence in the Middle East as Israeli reaction to the capture of its soldiers (in Gaza by Hamas and in Lebanon by Hezbollah). A number of leading progressive voices from around the world present a different perspective that reminds of what started this recent sequence in the ongoing violence now buried under the headlines of Lebanon.

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A letter from Noam Chomsky and others on the recent events in the Middle East (July 19, 2006):

The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza. An incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisoner - and proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis - there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails.


That this "kidnapping" was considered an outrage, whereas the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the systematic appropriation of its natural resources - most particularly that of water - by the Israeli Defence (!) Forces is considered a regrettable but realistic fact of life, is typical of the double standards repeatedly employed by the West in face of what has befallen the Palestinians, on the land alloted to them by international agreements, during the last seventy years.


Today outrage follows outrage; makeshift missiles cross sophisticated ones. The latter usually find their target situated where the disinherited and crowded poor live, waiting for what was once called Justice. Both categories of missile rip bodies apart horribly - who but field commanders can forget this for a moment?


Each provocation and counter-provocation is contested and preached over. But the subsequent arguments, accusations and vows, all serve as a distraction in order to divert world attention from a long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation.


This has to be said loud and clear for the practice, only half declared and often covert, is advancing fast these days, and, in our opinion, it must be unceasingly and eternally recognised for what it is and resisted.

Tariq Ali
Russell Banks
John Berger
Noam Chomsky
Richard Falk
Eduardo Galeano
Charles Glass
Naomi Klein
W.J.T. Mitchell
Harold Pinter
Arundhati Roy
Jose Saramago
Giiuliana Sgrena
Gore Vidal
Howard Zinn