Israel and Palestine

Human rights violations

Sir, – Senator Frances Black and others accuse Israel of human rights violations which they enumerate, and then declares that they “are all based on race” (Letters, November 30th). What races are involved here, according to the letter writers? Jews come in all races and colours from White European to Central Asian, to Middle Eastern to Black African. As 20 per cent of Israel is Muslim, it can hardly be religion they mean, as many Muslims serve in parliament, the Israeli Defence Forces and in all areas of public life.

Christian Arab women have the highest level of educational attainment in Israel so they clearly aren’t hard done by.

Far-right elements of the Israeli government are to be condemned as they are to be condemned in Hungary, Poland and Italy. Their existence, however, in the current Israeli administration should not be an excuse for elements who have an animus against Israel to trot out the usual canards that have no basis in fact. If Senator Black were genuinely interested in peace, she’d be asking the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to start by accepting Israel’s existence as a homeland for the Jewish people. – Yours, etc,




Co Clare.

Sir, – In its criticism of Israel, the Irish Anti-Apartheid Campaign for Palestine states, “The recognised tests for the crime of apartheid are the creation of systematic racial oppression and discrimination, which has been established with the intent to maintain domination of one racial group over another”.

Do the previous three invasions of Israel by the Arab League or the current spoken intention of Iran to destroy Israel and remove all Jews from the face of the Earth not also qualify as apartheid, even if unachieved? Currently, Iran is the dominant supporter of Hamas in Gaza and is conducting a proxy war in Lebanon with Israel.

There is no doubt that the extremist right-wing government of Binyamin Netanyahu, which includes a reactionary anti-LGBTQ member, is driven by attitudes which qualify as racist and discriminatory but they are unfortunately matched by the political representatives of the Palestinian people. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 24.

Sir, – Before accusing Israel of subjecting the Palestinian people to an “institutionalised regime of domination” perhaps your correspondents should first look at the Palestinian elites’ treatment of their own people.

In January 2005, Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian National Authority for a four-year term. Since then he has refused to hold any further elections. Under his rule corruption, malfeasance and human rights abuses have increased.

Last year the lawyer and human rights activist Nizar Banat was severely beaten in his home by the Palestinian police and then arrested. He later died in police custody. Mr Banat’s “crime” was to call for free elections and demand that the EU cease funding the Palestinian Authority until it ended corruption. Protests by thousands of ordinary Palestinians at his death were violently suppressed by the police.

I did not read a letter by even one Irish NGO in The Irish Times complaining about Mr Banat’s killing or its aftermath. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 13.