The crisis in Gaza

Wed, Jul 30, 2014, 02:00

A chara, – I am baffled by your editorial (July 29th). It appears to be an ongoing phenomenon with the media and the Government here that nobody can actually be critical of Israel alone. What is the difficulty? The roughly 1,100 dead in Gaza, the vast majority of them innocent men, women and children, are constantly equated with the 51 Israeli soldiers killed in combat. The ongoing demolition of houses, hospitals and schools is constantly equated with warning sirens going off in some cities in Israel. Why?

Many of us expect our nodding, forelock-tugging Government to react as instructed by the US and the EU – the recent UN vote being a clear indication of that.

Why can our media not show us photographs of those sunbathing on Israeli beaches side by side with the photographs of the bombed beaches in Gaza where children have been massacred? Why not show us the photographs of Israelis cheering the bombing of Gaza from hilltops side by side with the photographs of the Gazans screaming with sorrow and pain after their families are wiped out?

When will our media cannot speak out? Why do The Irish Times and other newspapers, as well as telvision networks, tread an imaginary line of equality through this massacre? There is no doubt that there should be fairness in the media coverage of Gaza but that fairness of coverage is being constantly translated as equality of coverage. There is nothing equal about what is happening in Gaza and Israel. It is time for the media to stand up and call it as it is. – Is mise,


Whitehall Road,

Dublin 14

Sir, – Eugene Tannam berates the long list of eminent signatories who criticised Israel (July 28th) with the sentence “It’s called balance.” Did he miss the irony that the lack of balance in the response of Israel to Hamas is the biggest point being made? Balance cannot be achieved where one side is so much more powerful. The UN should be handed control of Gaza before any more children die. – Yours, etc,


Birchfield Park,


Dublin 14

Sir, – The images published by the Israeli embassy using the statue of Molly Malone would seem to be at odds with Irish values and perhaps the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, 1989 if the intention was to incite anti-Muslim sentiment here.

Foreign diplomats may enjoy diplomatic immunity but are they welcome to spread division and prejudice in Ireland? And how do these images represent those Israelis who do not see Muslims as the enemy, not to mention the 20 per cent or so of Israel’s population that is Arab and Muslim itself? – Yours, etc,


Cap Estate,

St Lucia

Sir, – The Minister for Foreign Affairs believes Israel has been “demonised” by an Irish media, “enslaved” to the Palestinian cause. Perhaps he should also consider the international media and, in particular, the journalists of Palestine.

The International Federation of Journalists (which also represents some of the media of “demonised” Israel) records that four journalists have been killed in suspicious circumstances by the Israeli Defence Forces.

In addition, the offices of the National Media agency and those of Wattan radio station have been destroyed while bullets were fired at the offices of Aljazeera TV and staff were forced to evacuate.

On the night of July 28/29th an Israeli air strike destroyed the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa television and radio building in central Gaza City. Israel already has full access to the airwaves of this tiny enclave. Why does it need to silence other voices?

The dead journalists mentioned by the IFJ include Hamid Shehab, who worked for 24 Media (an independent Palestinian news agency) and was killed in his car by a rocket in the Gaza Strip area on the night of July 9th. The car was parked outside Shehab’s house and it was clearly marked as a press vehicle. Also killed were Mohammed Smirir of the Gaza Now website, Khaled Hamed of the Ray News Agency and Abdurrahman Abu Hina of Alkitab TV.

The Minister is a humane man and I suspect he wants to atone for Irish anti-Semitism. But you don’t do that by papering over possible Israeli criminality. All you do is create more anguish and more death.

The Minister is on record as saying “the truth must be told”. Who is going to tell the Gazan part of that truth without people like Hamid Shehab? Yours, etc,


Geraldine Street,

Dublin 7

Sir, – I believe that as long as the USA continues to give unqualified political and financial support to Israel there can never be a permanent solution to the Palestinian problem, of which the present pernicious eruption is merely a sympton.

Time for Barack Obama to earn his undeserved Nobel Peace prize. Yours, etc,


Crosthwaite Park


Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin

Sir, – The efforts of UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon to broker a ceasefire in Gaza have been thwarted by what he describes as “a lack of political will”.

How much carnage must the civilian population of Gaza endure before world political leaders muster the courage to cry halt to this senseless slaughter, and insist that Israel honours its obligations under international law?

This is not a time for political niceties.The people of Gaza, already traumatised, are now trapped in appalling living conditions with no immediate prospect of escape from blockade or bombardment. Where is our compassion as a global community for their plight? Could it be that in the eyes of many, the people of Gaza simply fall into the category of, “those human beings who do not count”? Yours, etc,




Co Kilkenny