‘Accusations against Israel’

 

Sir, – Perhaps Alan Shatter needed a longer column to bring balance to his piece “Accusations against Israel hide the real issues” (Opinion & Analysis, January 25th).

I thought his detailed analysis of a dysfunctional Palestinian political system was most informative, and his view on impotent international responses such as last weekend’s Paris Conference was well put. Unfortunately he was restricted to just his final paragraph to argue that the civilised world is mistaken in its “false narrative that Israeli settlements are the only obstacle to overcoming the present impasse” .

Mr Shatter is old enough to recall that Northern Ireland had similar division and mistrust among its political representatives in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the British were not bulldozing and evicting nationalists to “settle” unionists on their land. They weren’t arresting and detaining small children. And while the nationalists committed some horrendous acts of terror, the British response was not to turn off the water supply to Catholics, make them apply for visas to travel within their own land, or bomb the Bogside and the Falls Road for days and nights on end. – Yours, etc,

PAUL O’NEILL,

Newcastle, Co Wicklow.

A chara, – Alan Shatter’s portrayal of the Israel-Palestine situation as a conflict of two equals does not accord with reality. His article preaches to world leaders on how they should focus on the failings of Palestinian politicians rather than the “false narrative” of illegal Israeli settlements. He feels confidence-building measures are needed to create trust between both sides.

His narrative deflects from the truth of daily life for Palestinians. Defence for Children International reported 32 children were killed in 2016 by Israeli military raids on Palestinian towns in the occupied West Bank, by confrontations with the Israeli army or during unarmed protests, the highest number in 10 years. Since October 2015, Israeli soldiers and settlers have been responsible for the killing of at least 244 Palestinians, including unarmed demonstrators, bystanders and alleged attackers. In the same period, 36 Israelis have been killed in stabbing and shooting incidents carried out by Palestinians.

In August 2016, the UN reported Israeli authorities had demolished 684 Palestinian homes in the first seven months of that year, up 25 per cent on 2015. In the meantime, more than 500,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements throughout the occupied West Bank, considered illegal under international law.

More illegal settlements are planned and will likely be accelerated given the nature of the new US administration.

If Mr Shatter wants trust to be established to allow genuine peace talks to start, perhaps he could begin by calling for an end to these human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian territories. – Is mise,

ORLA O’NEILL,

Kilcullen, Co Kildare.