Margaret Kartus Duvdevani grew up in Birmingham and has lived in southern Israel for many years on Moshav Talmei Yosef. She sent the following to Birmingham attorney David Gespass in response to an article he had in Sunday's Birmingham News Commentary section. Gespass, using his own Jewish background as a platform and context, launched a blistering attack on Israel and its current actions against Hamas. An edited version of Margaret's response has been submitted to the Birmingham News.
BY MARGARET KARTUS DUVDEVANI Dear Mr. Gespass, I am appalled by your article in the Birmingham News. I respond as a Jew who grew up in Birmingham and who has been living in the southwestern corner of Israel for the last 30 years. I live three miles from the Gaza Strip and the same distance from Egypt. I feel qualified to contest all the misinformation and misconceptions you spread. I want to preface my amendments to all of your misconceptions and distorted interpretations of the facts, by saying that I am a human rights advocate myself and for all the years that I have lived in Israel I have voted for the human rights party (currently, Meretz), which is politically left of center. What you seem to forget though is that the Israelis are also humans and we have rights too. As I write this, my human rights are being violated as I listen to the blasts of Palestinian-fired missiles falling all around me. At this very moment, a missile just hit a kindergarten in Ashdod and it is only due to canceling school in the south that a lot of children weren't killed. Do you understand that when Hamas fires missiles they do so in order to kill as many Israeli men, women and children as possible? Do you understand that Hamas is not successful at this because we are prepared and take precautions when missiles are fired at us? WHY NO SIMILAR PROVISIONS? Tell me why Hamas over the years has not made similar provisions for their civilian populations like they have for their leaders? We know they are apt at building tunnels, so why don't they build some bomb shelters? I'll tell you why -- because an organization like Hamas thrives on using its civilians for their protection by firing missiles from deep within densely-populated areas knowing well that our army is reluctant to retaliate against civilians. And tell me Mr. Gespass, do you have children? If you do, how would you feel if for eight years someone a few miles away was firing missiles at your house, with the intent of killing your children? And what about the post-trauma stress that thousands of children and parents suffer from in Sderot and other areas surrounding Gaza? Does that count for anything? Now, I would like to clarify some of your misinformation and distorted interpretations. Palestinian Arabs were not the only people living in the land of Israel before 1948 as you would make it appear. The presence of the Jewish people in the Holy Land has been continuous from the beginning of our history until the present. 'FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS' Now, let me enlighten you about the "free and fair elections where Hamas won." You are absolutely right that there were elections and Hamas won the majority of seats in their parliament, but you fail to mention what followed when Hamas violently overthrew the National Unity Government (comprised of Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party) and put a violent and very bloody end to the government that was "fairly and freely elected." Are you aware that Israel sends trucks loaded with food and medical supplies into Gaza on a regular basis? And are you aware that Israel has taken Palestinian men, women, and children injured in air strikes into Israeli hospitals? And are you aware that Israel warns the civilian population of Gaza before we bomb, allowing these civilians time to move to another place before the strike? Tell me another army more humanitarian than this! Margaret Duvdevani,
Moshav Talmei Yosef,