Sir, – Attacking UN special rapporteur Michael Lynk's support (Letters, April 29th) for Senator Black's "Occupied Territories Bill", Jackie Goodall of the Ireland-Israel Alliance (Letters, May 1st) referred to "the hollow consensus that Israel is an "occupying power".
She thus dismissed not alone the International Court of Justice, the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council, but also the Israeli High Court of Justice which in 2004 reaffirmed that Israel holds the West Bank under “belligerent occupation”.
Ms Goodall referred to “the small Jewish communities who have moved beyond the Green line”, thus apparently ignoring such city-sized settlements as Ma’ale Adumim (population 38,193), Modi’in Illit (population 73,080) or Ariel (population 20,456) – confining ourselves to figures from 2018.
Ms Goodall's claims have now been capped by the Israeli ambassador Ophir Kariv (Letters, May 4th) who tells us that, "Israel has not transferred a single civilian into those areas [the Occupied Palestinian Territory]. Jewish people who have chosen to live there have done so because of the conviction that they are returning to the land their forefathers were exiled from."
The reality is that the Israeli state has offered generous financial incentives to those Jews – and Jews only, from any part of the world – who are prepared to make such a “choice”.
As for the supposed exile of these settlers’ “forefathers”, it has long since been exposed as a myth by Israeli scholars like Shlomo Sand and Israel Yuval.
To adduce such a “conviction” as justification for policies that necessarily entail the dispossession of Palestinians is to signal an ongoing determination to flout international law and international humanitarian law.
The international community should no longer stand for this; the “Occupied Territories Bill”, which only Fine Gael opposes, is a modest step towards holding Israel accountable.
It must be passed. – Yours, etc,