The crisis in Gaza

Thu, Jul 31, 2014, 02:00

Sir, – It is with absolute disbelief that I read the article “Gaza ceasefire in sight as 100 more die”, currently the most prominent on your front page. On a day in which the Israeli military bombed a UN school, killing 19 civilians, you felt that the most pertinent information for your readers was the brief and localised ceasefire that followed. Not until the fourth paragraph was any mention made of the school bombing or of the 19 civilian casualties – information that any objective observer would deem critical and which any objective observer would agree far outweighs news of the fleeting ceasefire.

The article runs roughly as follows: headline: Israel declares brief ceasefire; paragraph 1: Israel declares brief ceasefire; paragraph 2: Some details of the fleeting ceasefire; paragraph 3: Hamas had no reaction to the news of the ceasefire; paragraph 4: Israel bombed a UN school killing 19 civilians.

It is absolutely appalling that your reporting is so clearly biased in this case. Currently both the British Times and Guardian newspapers, as well as countless others, are leading with the more appropriate story: that of the condemnable attack on the sleeping civilians in that school. I am extremely disappointed with this, which is only a small part of a pattern I have been observing in all your coverage of this conflict. I will certainly never think of The Irish Times as a credible news source again. – Yours, etc,

FIONA GILLAN,

Herberton Park,

Dublin 8

Sir, – The Israeli government has released photographs of Hamas tunnels in Gaza. It is highly probable that Hamas fighters and political leaders are living underground. It is difficult not to conclude therefore that the continual bombardment of civilian residential buildings, mosques, power stations, and other infrastructure by Israeli forces from land, sea and air, is militarily ineffective and thus principally a collective punishment on the Palestinian people.

Israeli spokesmen repeatedly claim that they wish to avoid civilian causalities while they accuse Hamas of deliberately targeting Israeli civilians. Whatever the intention, it is the outcome that counts. At least 75 per cent of the 1,200 killed by the Israel Defence Forces are innocent Palestinian civilians, very many of them children. Of the 56 killed by Hamas, 5 per cent have been civilian and 95 per cent Israeli soldiers.

War crimes have undoubtedly been committed. Those responsible must be held to account for their actions. Yours, etc,

MARTIN MELAUGH,

Wheatfield Avenue,

Coleraine

Co Derry

Sir, Israel’s actions and the dreadful civilian death toll in Gaza must be assessed with some balance. There is considerable evidence that Hamas is deliberately putting civilians at risk as a central part of its strategy. The UN alone has reported finding weapons in its Gaza schools for the third time in two weeks.

Were Hamas to adopt the more political approach of the Palestinan Authority in the West Bank we would not see the dreadful images currently on our TV screens.