Letter to Newsweek Magazine

In the November 21 issue of Newsweek in "Perspectives" there is a quote from Zakaria Zbeida, a Palestinian military leader in Jenin who praised parents of a child killed by Israeli soldiers. The parents had allowed his organs to be transplanted to Israelis. Ironically, there is an Israeli Jewish woman, Tali Fahima, who has been in prison since August of 2004 because she met with Zbeida and sympathized with him and the Palestinian people.

Fahima was quite conventional politically having voted for Ariel Sharon for Prime Minister. However, Fahima went to Jenin to find out for herself about Palestinian life. She met Zakaria, learned of Israeli army plans to kill him and publicly declared her willingness to act as a "human shield" to prevent him from assassination.

She's being held on the preposterous charge that she translated a document lost by the Israeli army during an attack on Jenin. It's preposterous because Hebrew is not a secret code. Many Palestinians know it very well. Her real crime was breaking through the wall of hostility that surrounds Palestinians.

Stanley Heller
Middle East Crisis Committee
New Haven, CT