Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Israel makes world safer

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Martina Lauer's Sept. 9 letter, Attacking with impunity, scrapes the bottom of the barrel as she scrambles to somehow link Israel to Syria's troubles.

She complains that Israel's recent strikes against Syria were made "without declaration of war." Would she be more comfortable with such a declaration?

If so, good news: Syria declared war against Israel in 1948 and has considered itself to be at war since then. It is the lone holdout. Of all Israel's neighbours, only Syria has been steadfast in refusing to sign a peace treaty with Israel.

As she points out, the strikes were against advanced Russian and Iranian missiles. The former were en route to the Shiite militia Hezbollah, which has chosen to fight alongside Bashar Assad's army as he kills his own countrymen.

The deadly Fateh 110 missiles that Israel destroyed can hit civilian centres in Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Turkey and Lebanon. To paraphrase her accusations, Israeli strikes made the world safer for civilians in seven countries.

She urges us not to forget that Syria is still waiting for the return of the Golan Heights. I hope Assad is not holding his breath. When Syria attacked Israel in 1973, it lost the war it started and had to abandon the Golan to secure a ceasefire.

It lost that land fair and square. Israel has offered to gift the Golan as part of a peace agreement with Syria, but its overtures continue to be rebuffed.

It's her final sentence that shows how absurd the arguments against Israel have had to become. According to Lauer, Israel has not thanked Assad for keeping "things pretty quiet for Israel." In other words, she is portraying 42 years of military oppression by the Assad regime as little more than a favour for Israelis. As somebody who enjoys surrealistic propaganda, I have to recognize that her letter sets a new gold standard for non-sequiturs.

DAVID SELCH

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 13, 2013 A10

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