American support for Israel
Sir, – In his response to Eamonn McCann’s column on US support of Israel, Dermot Meleady (April 12th) asserts that the term “occupied territories” is “tendentious” and that “disputed territories” is more appropriate. This again confirms his government’s contempt for the International Court of Justice and the UN, which have stated repeatedly that the West Bank is under illegal occupation.
He then goes on to refer to the previous failed attempts at peace talks, suggesting that the failure was down to Palestinian intransigence with regard to recognition of Israel as the Jewish homeland. He conveniently forgets that one the main reasons for failure is the expanding sprawl of illegal settlements on the West Bank which make the prospect of a two-state solution increasingly untenable.
He tries to sell a fallacy that these talks are between two parties on an equal footing. Tell that to the Palestinian population, who continue to be subjected to evictions, harassment and humiliation. A bit more honesty from Israeli spokespersons could help form the basis for more constructive talks but doublespeak is more their strong point. Yours, etc,
Sir, – Mr Meleady’s reference to “disputed territories” is an unsubtle attempt to suggest some equivalence of claim, where none exists, to the occupied Palestinian lands – lands which are external to Israel’s legal 1967 borders, and which have been occupied by Israel’s military forces.
There is not a single other country in the world – not even the USA – which regards these occupied lands as “disputed”. The unmistakable reality is that these occupied parts of Palestine may only be regarded as “disputed” in the same manner that occupied parts of Czechoslovakia and Poland were “disputed” in 1938/9. Yours, etc.
Sir, – Dermot Meleady claims that Israel “has always regarded the term ‘disputed territories’ as more accurate than the tendentious ‘occupied territories’ when referring to the historic heartland of the Jewish nation, Judea and Samaria (also known inaccurately as ‘the West Bank’)”.
Given its source in the Israeli embassy, that need hardly surprise; but I hope the “paper of record” will not, just yet, accept that the geographical accuracy of appellations be trumped by atavistic tribal/folkloric labels, and resort to using the resurrected biblical propaganda of a partisan faction as its benchmark of what constitutes historical scholarship.
The romantic/sentimental use of “heartland” betrays the origins of this pernicious 19th century ideologising of abstracted ideals of manufactured nationhood, which typically is accompanied by its corrollary, militarism and dispossession of those relegated as extraneous to the imagined and idealised nation. Readers of history for its educational, rather than its selective propaganda functions, will recognise the familiar tragic pattern. The edifice of factoid tendentiousness, I’m afraid, which Mr Meleady erects upon this prefabricated tribal/sectarian ideological confection is worthy of its presumptuous foundations.
He might be better reading his biblical text for its literary wisdom rather than its historical expedience to his political masters’ agendas of hegemonic aggrandisement. Yours, etc,