An Open Letter to Peter Hansen

You remind me very much of that shepherd boy, Mr. Hansen.

Angela Bertz

OpEds לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Dear Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Mr. Peter Hansen,

I wonder if you are familiar with Aesop?

He was accredited with writing some very well-known fables. I am sure you are familiar with them, so let me remind you of one of his most famous tales. It's called the "The Boy Who Cried Wolf". Its main character, as you may recall, is a shepherd boy, who tended sheep at the foot of a mountain. The poor boy was so lonely that he devised a rather clever scheme to get a little company. He would run to the nearest village crying, "Wolf, wolf!"

This enticed the villagers to come out and meet him. He was so delighted with his trick that a few days later, he tried it again. Lo and behold, the villagers again came out to meet him. A few days later, a real wolf turned up and threatened the young lad's flock. This time, the boy cried "wolf, wolf" and the villagers, who had already been deceived twice, ignored him. Consequently, the wolf made a good meal of the boy's flock.

You remind me very much of that shepherd boy, Mr. Hansen.

Let me explain by means of the following quotes: "It was so appalling; any human being would express his feelings by saying the same. I saw people with their naked hands picking decomposed bodies up from under the debris." And, "300-400 Palestinians have been killed in Jenin. I had, first of all, hoped the horror stories coming out were exaggerations as you often hear in this part of the world, but they were all too true."

Sound familiar?

It should. That is what you said about the so-called Jenin massacre in April 2002. It was later proved beyond any measure of doubt that only 54 Palestinians had been killed. Less publicized, and rarely mentioned, is the terrible loss of 23 Israeli soldiers, killed while doing house-to-house searches. Many of these dwellings had been booby-trapped with explosive devices.

Now, yet again, we hear your plaintive cry, this time demanding an apology from Israel for daring to accuse the poor, plighted Palestinians of using UNRWA ambulances for unsolicited purposes.

Well, Mr. Hansen, looks like you have been well and truly had this time. Photographic evidence clearly shows armed Palestinians hijacking the UNRWA ambulances. Not only that, they were used to transport the blown up body parts of our soldiers, which they later tried to use against Israel to extract painful concessions.

Now that the facts have been clearly established, where is your outcry? Where are your stiff words of condemnation? Where is your disgust for these appalling acts? Why are you not calling these atrocities "clear violations of basic humanitarian principles," as you so eloquently described Israel's actions in Jenin?

If Aesop were to rewrite his tale of the boy who cried wolf today, I am sure you and that Israel-bashing United Nations would be the shepherds. Whenever Israel takes a stand in self-defense, which it has been forced to do after nearly four years of unrelenting Palestinian hatred and terrorism, you all come charging out with your falsified and blown-out-of-all-proportion accusations, long before any facts have ever been clearly established.

It is my fervent hope that the day will soon come when you or that pompously self-righteous Kofi Annan will blurt out, yet again, completely one-sided rhetoric against Israel, but people around the world, at least the ones that uphold moral decency and dignity, will say, "How can we believe this? These people have surely cried 'wolf' too many times before."