Gaza – ‘The world must not look away’

 

Sir, – Your editorial uses the tragic events at the Gaza border as yet another stick to beat President Trump with (“The world must not look away”, May 15th). However, the deaths along Gaza’s border fence in recent weeks are solely the responsibility of Hamas, an Islamist group dedicated to the destruction of not just Israel, but all Jews. Hamas has funded, organised and enforced the weekly so-called “March of Return”. Gaza’s newly elected Hamas prime minister Yahya Sinwa has pledged that Gazans will eat the livers of Israelis. Sadly, this is the reality Israel has to live with. – Yours, etc,

KARL MARTIN,

Dublin 13.

Sir, – Thank you for publishing your editorial “The world must not look away”.

News of the Palestinian death toll at the Gaza border in recent days at the hands of Israeli troops filled me with shame. In Europe, we have failed to condemn Israel in terms strong enough to reflect the gross sense of injustice that well-informed citizens must surely feel as the conflict takes a new turn. This passive stance must change, as the full extent to which the Trump/Kushner farce of Middle Eastern policy has emboldened Israel now becomes apparent.

The journalistic integrity of other (normally reputable) media outlets is called into question when their desire to avoid the onslaught of baseless cries of anti-Semitism from a powerful and bullying Israeli lobby results in watered-down reporting of Israeli aggression. – Yours, etc,

AOIFE SHEEHAN,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – I make a habit of listening to the news for a couple of hours every evening after work. Yet this week, in the wake of yet another atrocity committed against the Palestinians, I found that I physically could not. This might have been after hearing the slaughter described as “dozens of Palestinians die”, as if the cause were unknown. Or possibly when the conflict was described as “clashes between Israel and Palestine”, as if it were anything but the calculated slaughter of peaceful protesters by a heavily armed state. But more than anything, I think it was the pitiful response of the Irish Government, which described the Israeli action as “disproportionate”, that distressed me most. We were once also the victims of a brutal neighbouring imperial power, and this is the best response we can muster? Given our history, Ireland should be Palestine’s closest, loudest ally in Europe. Instead we keep our head down, muting our criticism, mainly for fear of annoying the United States. This cowardice shames us all, and history will remember it. – Yours, etc,

COLM O’MAHONY,

Greystones,

Co Wicklow.

Sir, – While Binyamin Netanyahu saluted “the brave soldiers of the army of Israel” at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, those same “brave soldiers” were cutting down dozens of Palestinians with live ammunition. As Amnesty International put it: “This is another horrific example of the Israeli military using excessive force and live ammunition in a totally deplorable way”. There are at least six children among the dead and the death toll could rise significantly as more than 2,700 were injured. By provocatively opening the embassy on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, when 700,000 Palestinians were dispossessed of their land, the US and Israel have catapulted the Middle-East into deep crisis and instability. Israel’s 11-year siege of Gaza has reduced the majority of Gazans to penury and aid dependence, bereft of hope in a society starved of trade, investment and employment. Israel is now denying them the right to protest against the siege, the Nakba and the location of the US embassy in a city Palestinians regard as the capital of their state. Surely, we need more than platitudes in response to this carnage. Ireland needs to stop buying Israeli arms and should follow the example of the South African government by recalling its ambassador to Israel. It should also support a suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement until the latter decides to respect international laws and norms. – Yours, etc,

STEPHEN McCLOSKEY,

Director Centre

for Global Education,

Belfast.

A chara, – In protest at Israeli atrocities in Gaza, I will not be paying my television licence if RTÉ takes part in next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Jerusalem. – Is mise,

BARRY O’CONNOR,

Newbridge,

Co Kildare.

Sir, – The killing of over 50 people in Gaza, including children, and the maiming of thousands more by the Israeli military has prompted The Irish Times to call on global and regional powers to calm tensions in the hope that a two-state solution can be achieved post-Trump. Although you state that in doing so they should use whatever tools are at their disposal, you noticeably fail to identify these.

One measure clearly suggests itself from the grotesque contrast you rightly note between murderous violence in Palestine and full diplomatic recognition in Jerusalem. To avoid pariah status is central to the Israeli mission and explains the recent hysterical attempts in Britain and elsewhere to equate criticism of Israel with racism. Although it clearly engages in war crimes, including the slaughter of unarmed civilians, it manages to be treated as an equal among nations.

The principal tool at the disposal of all of us, individuals and, most importantly our governments, is implementation of the boycott of Israel that Palestinian civic society groups have been calling for since 2004. Israel is not a normal state as this week’s events yet again demonstrate. Rather, they show that it is well past time we engage in serious discussion about its cultural, diplomatic and economic isolation. – Yours, etc,

PATRICK O’HAGAN,

Newcastle,

Co Down.