The crisis in Gaza
Sir, – The one hope, however forlorn, of the terrible tragedy being played out in Gaza in these awful days is that the international powers, especially the USA and the EU, will ensure the removal of the conditions which are the root cause of the terrible situation there. This would simply involve granting the people of both Palestine and Gaza the right to have their own governments and to travel within and out of their territories by land, sea and air.
Of course Israel, like any country, has the right to control the traffic across its own borders, but it has none whatsoever to make Gaza the largest open air prison in the world, to have hundreds of checkpoints across the illegally occupied territories of Palestine and to prevent Gaza and Palestine having their own airports.
Repression in any society inevitably leads to extremism, usually referred to by the repressors as terrorism, as we have seen in our own country and elsewhere in the history of the world. Hamas may indeed be called a terrorist organisation in that its rockets undoubtedly cause terror in Israel , but by any measure of terrorism, its actions are more minor than those of the Israeli government.
There is no competition. The real terrorists in Palestine and Gaza are the Israeli Defence Forces, with Hamas, with its largely ineffective rockets, a far distant second. The responsibility for bringing about a permanent peace in Palestine clearly now belongs to the international political world and our own representatives in the European Parliament must promote the establishment of a complete boycott of all educational, social and business programmes with Israel until its government recognises the rights of the Palestinian people to have the same freedoms as their own people enjoy. Until this is achieved, the battles will continue. – Yours, etc,
A chara, – Paddy Crean (Letters, July 23rd) suggests that “If Ireland wants to position itself as a peacemaker, it must first be careful not to be seen as taking sides”. What nonsense. Let me list just a few of the issues on which Mr Crean would have us take the safe middle ground: 600 Palestinians, including 121 children, killed in two weeks by Israeli shelling. According to the UN office for the co-ordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA), “there is literally no safe place (in Gaza) for civilians”, with 500 homes destroyed by Israeli air strikes and 100,000 Palestinians seeking shelter from the UN Relief and Works Agency.
The UN human rights commissioner, Navi Pillay, suggests that the Israeli action “could amount to war crimes” – not to mention the endless land grab and stealing of natural water springs by Israeli settlers on the West Bank or the apartheid wall which, according to the International Court of Justice, is “contrary to international law”. The list goes on and on.
As for me, I’m taking sides. Boycott Israel and all things Israeli. – Is mise le meas,
Sir, – Imagine if after the London bombings Britain had bombed the Bogside, shelled Divis Flats and fired a tank shell at Altnagelvin Hospital. Would we call a resulting 500+ deaths mass murder? – Yours etc