Israel and Gaza killings
Sir, – Michael Dake (April 4th) queries the validity of the international reaction to the killings by the Israeli Defence Forces of Palestinian protesters by labelling it “disproportionate”. He then seems to apparently justify the Israeli response to the protest, claiming it was “defending its sovereignty” and using the “only functioning democracy in the region” rationale.
Human Rights Watch has claimed that Israeli snipers were ordered to target instigators and those who approached the border. There is widespread video evidence of unarmed Palestinian protesters being indiscriminately targeted for merely approaching the border fence. As far as I am aware, there is no international law allowing for the targeted killing of protesters, no matter how strong a nation’s democratic credentials are. It is precisely for those grand claims of its democratic character that Israel gets the focus it does. No one would argue that Israel requires from the Palestinian negotiators a recognition of its right to exist. However, equally so, the Palestinian side requires recognition of its legitimate claims based on the two-state solution. In recent years the prospects of this outcome seem increasingly untenable due to the policies of the current Israeli administration, particularly in relation to illegal settlements in the West Bank. Add to this the stranglehold it has on the citizens of Gaza and the inhumane conditions in which they are forced to live, is it any surprise that frustration will manifest itself in the type of protest that occurred last weekend? There is no legitimate claim Israel can make to justify these killings and as a member of the family of democratic nations, it needs to face up to its responsibilities. – Yours, etc,