Israel and shootings in Gaza

 

Sir, – Desmond FitzGerald (May 17th) asks why “Palestinians never try to storm the border between Gaza and Egypt or seem to have any issues with the Egyptian blockade?” Perhaps it is because it was Israel, rather than Egypt, that forced them off their land, took their nation and turned them into a refugee or “homeless” people. – Yours, etc,

JOE McCARTHY,

Arbour Hill,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – As Israel has won this year’s Eurovision song contest we can look forward to it hosting next year’s event. Given the acts of violence on its border during this year’s Eurovision week, maybe we can expect tear gas for special effects instead of smoke.– Yours, etc,

BRIAN CULLEN,

Rathfarnham,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – Given that the Irish Government has not responded in any meaningful way to recent events in Gaza, as concerned citizens we must refuse to buy Israeli goods or to shop in outlets stocking same. – Yours, etc,

MYRA DOWLING,

Phibsborough,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – In view of the claims that Israel used disproportionate force against unarmed civilian demonstrators at the Gaza fence on May 14th, should the British government be considered as having committed a war crime with the Operation Chastise attack on the Möhne and Edersee dams carried out on May 16th and 17th, 1943, by Royal Air Force No 617 Squadron?

The dams were breached, causing catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley and of villages in the Eder valley in which an estimated 1,600 civilians, about 600 Germans (villagers asleep in their beds) and 1,000 mainly Soviet forced labourers (Allied POWs), died.

By comparison in Gaza there were only 62 deaths out of 40,000 participants in the riots, an extraordinarily low proportion compared with what happens on a regular basis in Syria and other countries in the region. Of these, a Hamas official has acknowledged that 50 were members of his movement and several others were from Islamic Jihad.

While the majority of protestors may well have not been armed (if one discounts Molotov cocktails and rocks), they were far from peaceful bystanders.

Their aim was to breach the border fence by force of numbers and enter Israel and, what is probably more significant militarily, make it possible for armed combatants to do so as well. What would have happened if large numbers had managed to reach one of the nearby Israeli villages can easily be imagined.

While any loss of life is regrettable, perhaps the Israeli troops should rather be congratulated for their extraordinary competence in managing to limit civilian casualties in a tense situation. – Yours, etc,

MARTIN D STERN,

Salford,

England.

Sir, – No doubt the Irish people calling for a boycott of Israel and the expulsion of its ambassador will be glued to the Fifa World Cup, being hosted in Russia. Among the countries being represented are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt and the UK. The numbers of civilian casualties brought about by the above-mentioned countries in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, etc, are readily available.

Ireland failing to qualify must have brought great relief to the unprejudiced and discerning individuals concerned. – Yours, etc,

EUGENE TANNAM,

Firhouse,

Dublin 24.

Sir, – Yes, Hamas is a terrorist organisation; and yes, a country is within its rights to prevent its borders from being breached.

Nevertheless, for a democratic country to resort to using live ammunition to kill protesters bespeaks a failed and inhumane policy; indeed it is nothing short of a war crime.

Abetted by US president Donald Trump, the government of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu is doing severe damage to Israel’s moral standing and its future. – Yours, etc,

RICHARD COFFEY,

Terenure,

Dublin 6W.