Portrayal of Middle East peace talks

Fri, Aug 2, 2013, 01:04

Sir, – The usually sharp Martyn Turner casually misrepresents the Middle East “peace talks” in his cartoon (Opinion, July 31st). Your own Editorial (July 22nd) describes the “highly unequal power relationship between parties to the talks” and accurately points to “ ‘establishing facts on the ground’ as being a cardinal feature of Israeli policy towards the territories it captured in the 1967 war”. Israel’s actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal under international law, in particular the 4th Geneva Convention: settlement building (contrary to Article 49); demolition of Palestinian homes and other property (contrary to Article 33); deportation of Palestinians (contrary to Article 49) and collective punishment of Gazans (contrary to Article 53).

It is entirely within Israel’s power to halt settlement building and end the occupation, the obstacles to peace identified by the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore. But it is difficult to believe it is going to do so voluntarily. No Israeli government has even been prepared to halt settlement-building temporarily while negotiations with Palestinians proceed. It is impossible for Palestinians to overcome these obstacles on their own through direct negotiations with Israel. They are an occupied people living under Israeli military rule. They are powerless to prevent Israel expanding settlements indefinitely, let alone to bring an end to Israeli military rule. Unless the international community weighs in on the side of Palestinians, far from the obstacles to peace being removed, they will continue to grow – and the possibility of a peaceful settlement will remain a distant dream. – Yours, etc,

HILARY MINCH,

Deputy Chair,

Sadaka – the Ireland

Palestine Alliance,

PO Box 12295,

Dublin 2.