Israeli raid on Gaza aid

 

Madam, – This morning, for the first time in over half a century on this earth, I was manhandled by members of An Garda Síochána. This was in the course of a peaceful Irish Anti-War Movement demonstration outside the Israeli embassy, when it was suddenly announced that the gardaí were going to corral us behind a barrier in accordance with the Public Order Act, 1994. Given that we had been circulating before the embassy for some two hours without any interference from gardaí, there can be no doubt that this order came from “on high”.

Let’s be clear: we’re not talking batons, tasers or tear-gas here.

Nonetheless, gardaí – in disproportionate numbers – enforced compliance in a muscular manner that entailed seizing citizens by the scruff of the neck and pushing them away from the vicinity of the embassy of a rogue state that has perpetrated an act of war against this country by hijacking an Irish ship in international waters. One elderly man (more elderly than myself, that is) was pushed to the ground and sustained bruises.

As a consequence of this uncalled-for action, a demonstration that was just about to fizzle out came back to life. Pembroke Road between Ballsbridge and Baggot Street remained closed to traffic, while motorists passing in both directions along Northumberland Road and Pembroke Road (east) demonstrated their solidarity by prolonged tooting of their horns.

What this incident clarifies is that when Taoiseach Brian Cowen spoke of “serious consequences” should Israel harm Irish citizens, he was referring to serious consequences for those who continue to protest against the ongoing spineless and venal alliance between EU member states and the Israeli rogue state. – Yours, etc,

RAYMOND DEANE,

Baggot Street, Dublin 2.

Madam, – When the Russians attempted to install nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba, the then United States president, John F Kennedy, blockaded the island and instructed the navy to turn back, or if necessary, sink Russian merchant ships carrying this lethal cargo. This was as close as we got to a third World War.

While we all held our breath until the Russian ships reversed course, nobody, except the Soviets, said it was illegal, even though all this occurred in international waters.

If Israel’s blockade of Gaza were to fail, undoubtedly Iran would send in advanced missiles, which would wreak devastation on Tel Aviv, 70 miles distant, and many other major cities. Iran has already tried, but both vessels were intercepted.

Hamas has said that it is at war with Israel and will not countenance recognition or peace with “the enemy”. This can be verified by anyone visiting its website. Iran, which has ample supplies of missiles, also has made it clear that it wants to destroy Israel.

We in Ireland have no right to ask the Israelis to commit suicide. All sorts of demands have been made for Israel to make concessions. Is it not time that we should demand concessions from Hamas? – Yours, etc,

JOE BRISCOE,

Clonskeagh, Dublin 14.

Madam, – Earlier this year a proposal was put before members of Cork South Central Green Party that should Israeli state involvement be proved in the illegal use of forged Irish passports, the Green Party would seek the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. This motion was passed by CSC members and was also passed by members at our national convention.

Given that investigations by the Garda and the Irish passports office point the finger of blame for the forging of Irish passports in the direction of the Israeli state, and given the outrageous terrorist behaviour of Israel by its “pirates” kidnapping Irish citizens in international waters I call on the Green Party Ministers in Government to implement the wishes of members and seek the expulsion of the ambassador immediately.

One of the main benefits of having diplomatic relations with other States is the assistance that can be provided by consular staff to our citizens in times of need. Israel’s refusal to allow Irish diplomatic staff access to our kidnapped citizens this week proves that this rogue State is incapable of fair and reasonable behaviour as set by international standards. Therefore I feel that, as well as expelling the Israeli ambassador, we should expel all their consular staff and close our embassy in Israel. Ireland Inc has enough home-grown problems to deal with at present;we can well do without importing trouble in the form of international terror groups, be they al-Qaeda, Hamas, Taliban, or Israeli. – Yours, etc,

MICK MURPHY,

(Green Party Spokesperson on Community Development),

Model Farm Road,

Cork.

Madam, – I’d like to thank your Foreign Editor, Denis Staunton, for his non-judgmental article on the Israeli/Palestinian issue (Weekend Review, June 5th). It was a breath of fresh air to find a well-informed, unbiased feature-length article on the subject as opposed to the narrow-sighted, heated and opinionated ones we usually read or hear. Broadening one’s view instead of narrowing it is what matters. Even more so when it comes to important (political) decision-making. – Yours, etc,

ANNE STEYAERT,

Ballyconneely,

Co Galway.

Madam, – The Turkish autopsies on the activists seeking to bring toys, school books and medicine to the people of Gaza show all but one of the victims of the attack were shot in the back or in the back of the head.

As anyone with military training (I have five years), could tell you; if you are being “attacked” by someone with a kitchen knife or a metal bar, you shoot them in the chest. You do not turn your back to them, you do not ask them to turn around so that you can shoot them in the back of the head. And key to this over all, you do not waste your ammunition putting two, three or four bullets into the back of the head of an already dead man. Unless of course you are sending a message.

The victims of the Israeli slaughter in the international waters of the Mediterranean were in fact executed at point-blank range. This was done, with the usual Israeli Defence Forces precision. The only difference is, this time they were not carrying Irish passports. And their message is clear: don’t try to help the people of Gaza, our genocide there isn’t complete yet.

I am no longer morally able to vilify Hamas. It has my support from this day forward. – Yours, etc,

MICHEÁL HIGGINS,

Adare,

Co Limerick.

Madam, – Although it ultimately failed to deliver its humanitarian cargo to Gaza as intended, the voyage of the Rachel Corrie should be viewed as a momentous success. Millions around the world are now aware of the appalling conditions that the ordinary citizens of Gaza have to endure due to the three-year long Israeli blockade. Millions have now witnessed Israel act with impunity and utter disregard for the sovereignty of fellow nations.

Most poignantly, millions now know who Rachel Corrie the person was and of how she died making a peaceful stand for something she saw as unjust. By their actions over the past week, Israel has now shone the uncomfortable spotlight of world opinion on its regime, just as Rachel Corrie would have wished. – Yours, etc,

ROBERT DOYLE,

Ballysax,

The Curragh, Co Kildare.

Madam, – Israel did not, as you claim, breach international law when it arrested the Irish ship bent on challenging the Gaza blockade (Editorial, June 7th). The boarding was perfectly legal and thankfully the “useful idiots” on board had enough common sense not to resist. As for “world opinion”, that grand phrase your Editorial writers like so much (meaning, of course, those who agree with them), at this stage in their struggle to survive, why should the Israelis give a damn – they will be judged wrong by the same crowd no matter what they do. Frankly, I knew you were bankrupt for useful ideas on this subject when you started quoting UN bureaucrats who preside over that bastion of anti-semitism, the UN Human Rights Council. Does it not even occur to you how welcome your Editorial must be in the streets of Tehran? – Yours, etc,

FRANK CASEY,

90th Avenue,

SW Calgary,

Alberta, Canada.

Madam, – I wonder what the ancestors of the Israeli military leaders who decide what quantities and what items of food should be allowed into the Gaza strip to feed the 1.5 million people who live there, would have to say to them? – Yours, etc,

BRENDAN BANNIGAN,

St Sylvesters Villas,

Malahide, Co Dublin.

Madam, – The Irish Government has lemming like joined in the call for the Israeli government to lift its blockade of Gaza.

But if the blockade of Gaza is lifted, how can the shipment of rockets and other lethal weapons to be used against innocent civilians in Israel be prevented? How would the Irish Government react if terrorists occupied Lambay Island or the Isle of Man and fired hundreds of rockets at Dublin? – Yours, etc,

DAVID GILES,

Wolesley Gardens,

Chiswick,

London, England.