Middle Eastern studies graduate students distort truth about Israel

Raquel Reinstein

Editor's Note: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this letter left out a paragraph. It has been added to the bottom. 

Patrick Higgins and Kelly Houck believe they are correcting the record by responding to my article, but they are doing nothing of the sort. To begin with, Higgins and Houck claim that Gaza is so small, that any warnings Israel gives before bombing a target are irrelevant. This ignores the fact that Gaza is far from as densely populated as alleged. Moreover, Israel's bombs are precision in nature. If someone receives a roof knock and a text message, they need only leave the house. There are numerous photos and plenty of video across the Internet of the targeted nature of Israeli bombs, including its targeted bombing of a Hamas terrorist on a motorcycle.

Higgins and Houck are correct that Israel has bombed hospitals, schools, and shelters. However what is not mentioned is that Hamas has used Shifa Hospital as its headquarters and sent bombs from hospitalsschoolsshelters and mosques.

Contrary to what Higgins and Houck say, Israel does not target entire villages for the hell of it, no matter what Wikileaks says. What Higgins and Houck cited was one military commander's opinion and has not been actual IDF policy. And as far as the UN document that was cited  this was a biased report that has since been disavowed by the author of the report, Judge Richard Goldstone. He claims essentially that if he had known then what he knows now, he would not have written the report as it was. 

Now, the one accurate statement in the entire article that I could find from Higgins and Houck is that the video I linked to was inaccurate, as it "merely" showed Hamas beating members of Fatah. Mea culpa (the video was inaccurately labeled). But it does not change the fact that Hamas has fired from shelters that Gaza civilians flee to (thereby turning them into a target), has urged its own civilians to be human shields and proudly even has a manual on how to use human shields.

Higgins and Houck cite casualty figures from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, which the UN relies upon. This agency is run by Hamas. And this same UN has three times been caught with Hamas rockets in UNRWA schools and then later returned the rockets to Hamas. They are hardly neutral. And moreover, this ministry claims that all the dead are civilians due to the obvious PR benefit. This story has been played out before, during Cast Lead, the 2008 Gaza War. And later it was proven that the Israeli casualty figures were accurate and Hamas casualty figures inaccurate.

Higgins and Houck claim that Israel is a "colonialist expansionist settler" regime and Hamas is engaging in "self defense." I assume that the nearly 8,000 Jews who were forced from their homes in 2005 would beg to differ. They further claim that there is a "siege" on Gaza. I am sure that the hundreds of truck drivers daily delivering aid from the Kerem Shalom crossing (thousands of tons of aid just this week, despite Hamas firing at the Kerem crossing) would take issue with this.

Finally, it was alleged that I somehow read my points from a handbook  this is false and libelous. I could equally ask Higgins and Houck where they found their points. Instead of engaging in an honest discussion, Higgins and Houck have decided to engage in the false Zionist conspiracy argument. I don't know perhaps it just is beyond their comprehension that every day citizens who read the news would want to defend the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, under fire every day.

Higgins and Houck claim that Hamas has disavowed its charter and would accept a two-state solution. It never said anything of the sort. It only has said they are okay with a "hudna." This is an Islamic term and it means a temporary truce to rearm and reload. On "Charlie Rose," Khaled Mashaal admitted that even as Hamas could temporarily accept a "two-state solution," it would never give up its demand for 100 percent of Israel.

Raquel Reinstein, New York City, in response to "Response to Texas Stands with Gaza piece offers up shoddy talking points in defense of Israel."