Israel and Palestine


Sir, – Fintan O’Toole writes that parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa “can never be exact” (“Everything about Israel is political, even Eurovision”, Culture, May 11th).

True, but in respect of the denial of voting rights there is a parallel. Like non-white people in apartheid South Africa, Palestinians living in the West Bank cannot vote in elections to the parliament that governs them. Jews living in settlements established illegally by Israel in the West Bank can vote in elections to the Knesset (the Israeli parliament); but Palestinians living next door to them in the West Bank don’t have a vote. That is akin to the voting system that operated in apartheid South Africa, where non-white people were excluded from the franchise. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Raymond Deane manages to link what he calls Hamas’s “fair” election win in 2006 with that of other “militant” election wins, including the US (Letters, May 14th). Mr Deane fails to acknowledge the fact that while Hamas won the election, it was handed to it as a result of Fatah corruption and nepotism, and that since its 2006 victory the political climate in Gaza has been far from free or fair. Hamas’s victory resulted in the violent expulsion of the opposition Fatah Party from Gaza in 2007 and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians in the ensuing rivalries.

Furthermore, there has been and is no political opposition to Hamas in Gaza, and any supporters of Fatah are silenced, as is any voice of discontent.

Extrajudicial executions are commonplace, as is the use of torture and media censorship.

While I don’t support the Likud or many of its policies, there is no comparison between its political platform and what Mr Deane calls “an ugly document”.

The claim that the Hamas charter is a dead letter is far from the reality of what Hamas wants and continues to push.

If we are to draw apartheid comparisons anywhere we should be looking at the Hamas regime and its treatment of those living under its control, not Israel. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 6W.

Sir, – The Eurovision has always had a special place in my life, since my father co-wrote Ireland’s first winning song All Kinds of Everything in 1970. Every year I make a point of watching the contest, usually marking the occasion with a themed party with friends. This year, however, I will not be watching it. I can’t bring myself to watch Israel put on a big show in Tel Aviv when just 70km away, two million Palestinians are forced to live in appalling inhumane conditions and face a regular onslaught of Israeli aggression and violence. If enough people switch off this year, and refuse to watch or vote in the contest, then maybe the message might just get through. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 15.