‘Cycle of violence’

Thu, Jul 3, 2014, 01:12

Sir, – The deaths of three Israeli teenagers (murders we condemn) received front-page coverage in your paper (July 1st). Such human suffering and loss of life is always deplorable and deserves front-page coverage.

What we fail to understand is why the regular abductions and murders of young Palestinians by the Israeli army are denied the same attention.

Many questions come to mind as we read the article by Mark Weiss. His account gives the impression that these events took place in a sovereign territory and not in an occupied territory under full Israeli army control.

Moreover, and throughout his article, Mr Weiss omits to mention the words “occupied” and “settlers”, nor does he make reference to the two weeks of harsh collective punishment imposed on the entire Palestinian population as the Israeli army searched for the three teenagers. In those two weeks, nine Palestinians were killed, two died of heart attack when the army raided their houses, tens were injured, many were orphaned, 640 were arrested, and families saw their homes demolished by the Israeli army.

Surely a prestigious newspaper such as The Irish Times should endeavour to be as impartial and objective as possible. This could be achieved by having journalists actually venture into the occupied West Bank, thus relaying the two sides of the story and its consequences for people on both sides of the Separation Wall (built by Israel within the occupied West Bank and declared illegal by the International Court of Justice exactly 10 years ago).

Security and peace cannot be achieved by force and violence. It is only by ending Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and implementing a two-state solution that we will have a fair chance for peace.

We hope that the subsequent abduction and murder, this morning, by Israeli settlers of Mohammad Hussein Abukhdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy from Jerusalem whom they tortured before burning his body, will receive the same attention. – Yours, etc,

AHMAD ABDELRAZEK,

Ambassador of the

State of Palestine

to Ireland,

Mount Merrion Avenue,

Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Sir, – It was with some surprise, and not a little disbelief, that I read in your editorial (“A cycle of violence”, July 2nd) “the Israeli government’s narrative on Hamas as irredentist, anti-Jewish terrorists”.

Alas, it is not the Israeli government’s narrative; Hamas is internationally recognised as a terrorist organisation, including by the European Union, of which Ireland is a member. Even Hamas itself would freely admit to being Islamist in its ideology, motivated by extreme anti-Semitism, devoted to violence so as to achieve its aims, and aspiring to annihilate the state of Israel.

Your editorial implies that there is some mysterious means of bringing Hamas in from the cold, into joining the peace process, and here again one detects the Northern Ireland analogy of “you must talk to your enemies”.

Alas, the model is inapplicable. Hamas is not a secular, rational actor as was the republican movement in the Northern Ireland conflict; it is a religious militant cult with a radical agenda, and its leadership, even recently, constantly reiterates war to the death against Israel and Jews everywhere. You cannot talk to people who want to kill you and try to do so on a daily basis.

Hamas eschews the central theme of the Northern Ireland peace process – parity of esteem – because it denies the right of Jews to even exist.

You also refer to Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu as “hawkish” in his approach to the Palestinian question. Has one already forgotten that it was under Mr Netanyahu that Israel released from jail over a thousand terrorists in recent years, so as to secure the release of Gilad Shalit and as a goodwill gesture in the most recent peace initiative?

Since 2009 Mr Netanyahu has been speaking about two states for two peoples living in peace with each other. When have you ever heard President Abbas speaking about peace between Israel and the future Palestinian state? I think Mr Abbas is now beginning to realise what a dreadful mistake he made in joining hands with Hamas, however tentatively.

When Mr Abbas realises that peace with Israel is not a zero-sum game and that the only way to achieve peace is by dialogue rather than by grandstanding at the UN and constantly criticising Israel, maybe there will be grounds for optimism. – Yours, etc,

BOAZ MODAI,

Ambassador of Israel,

Pembroke Road, Dublin 4.