Ireland, Israel and Palestine

 

Sir, – It is hard to know where to begin in responding to Jackie Goodall’s letter (February 11th) concerning Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. She bases her arguments on Israeli law rather than international law. This allows her to assert “Israeli settlements in the West Bank are very rarely built on land privately owned by Palestinians”. This, of course, is because by the time the settlers arrive the Palestinians have long been driven from their lands by the occupying Israeli force, and the territory declared to be part of Israel.

The same approach applies to her assertion that “Israel does not engage in deportation or transference of its population”. Using the same logic has enabled Israel to transfer an estimated 386,000 settlers into the West bank and a further 208,000 into East Jerusalem, actions that are illegal under international law. Ms Goodall dismisses this reality with a curt “supposed illegality”, and refers to the occupation as merely the “administration” of the territory.

As for her assertion the Occupied Territories Bill is “applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded by any other nation”, one need look no further than both Ireland’s and the EU’s position on Russia’s occupation of Crimea to see that this is false. Indeed if any false standard is to be called out it is surely that while Russia has been subjected to crippling economic sanctions for its illegal occupation Israel, by comparison, gets away very lightly for its 51 years occupation of Palestine.

Twice in recent weeks Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reasserted Israel’s perceived right to continue its illegal occupation.

Visiting the West Bank, he stated: “There won’t be any uprooting or halting settlements – just the opposite”, and “It’s ours, we’re building here and we’re living here!”

No amount of dissembling, obfuscation, and producing alternative facts can conceal Israel’s intentions regarding the future of Palestine. – Yours, etc,

JUSTIN KILCULLEN,

Sadaka – The Ireland-Palestine

Alliance,

Dublin 18.