Letter to Media:
Why Time for Kids is Against the Kids?
Posted: 27 Rajab 1421, 25 October 2000
I am a 14-year old, living in California, USA. I was browsing the Time for Kids site and came upon your magazine article, "A Fragile Peace Is Torn Apart", regarding what is going on in the Middle East. Knowing the reputation that Time magazine had in the US, I opened the article and expected to find an objective article regarding the conflict. Yet, to my disappointment, your article was not presenting a true picture of what is really happening in Palestine.
Your article says that the fighting was triggered by a visit of an Israeli politician, Ariel Sharon, to a site holy to both Jews and Muslims. It makes a reader think that the Palestinian protesters were crazy. After all, a Jew must have the right to visit his holy places. However, the truth is that Ariel Sharon, the mastermind of the Sabra and Shatilla massacres, went with more than a thousand armed troops into Masjid Al-Aqsa, a Muslim holy place. Al-Aqsa has been there for fourteen centuries. It is internationally recognized as an Islamic holy site. It is the third holiest site in Islam after Makkah and Madinah. For centuries Jews did not question these facts either. The trouble started only after Zionists set foot in Palestine. Since then extremist Jews have been trying to destroy Al-Aqsa and replace it with a Temple. All of these are important historical facts that are totally missing from your article. In fact even the name Al-Aqsa, which is at the center of all this, does not appear at all in your account.
Further your narration of events is wrong. The simple fact is that Palestinians started to protest, as it was to be expected, and Israelis started killing them, in contravention of all norms and International laws, as they have always done during their brutal occupation.
It was not fighting that took place. Heavily armed Israeli troops shot hundreds of Palestinians who were protesting against Ariel Sharon's act. Only a few Palestinians had light weapons, while the majority had only rocks. Yet, your article says that demonstrators carrying guns took to the streets. Thus, it makes a reader feel that Israelis are not murdering people; they are just defending themselves. Then, emphasizing that Israelis are victims, it also mentions the deaths of two Israelis, without mentioning the killings of unarmed, helpless, innocent children. It does not mention the shooting of bullets into children's eyes. It does not mention the savage armed settlers, who, with Israeli army escorts went on rampages throughout villages in Palestine. It does, though say, that Palestinians were the ones who rampaged, accusing the victims to be the criminals.
Your article states that Jews and Muslims have been involved in a long struggle over land in Palestine. The struggle over land was just created in this century, in 1948, when Jews, who at that time held only 5.7% of the land of Palestine, were given by the UN 56% of the land! For centuries, the Palestinians owned the land legally. Yet, with the UN declaration, Jews occupied the land. By the time of the armistice of 1948, Jews, through force, took possession of 78% of the land. The Palestinians living there did not leave just because "they felt they had to leave their homes." They were forcibly driven off, and their land was stolen. Unfortunately, there is no mention of this in your article.
By equating the victim and the perpetrator, you are effectively supporting the criminals. I am unable to understand how Time for kids could choose to be on the side of those who are persecuting the kids?