KILLINGS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

 

MICHAEL HASSETT,

Sir, - I am not alone in the belief that in your striving to achieve an equality of balance between Palestinian and Israeli claims, you have essentially lost the plot.

In essence, whatever the provocation, legitimately elected democratic governments must not vent their anger on a civilian population, nor must they allow their armed forces a free hand in this area.

The Israeli government has committed this cardinal crime. This reminds most Irish people of our own history, in which the British military sought to achieve their objectives by similar means.

The overwhelming, Goliath-like approach of a dominant military force on a civilian population must always be forthrightly condemned by the civilised Davids of this world. You have not done so.

As a hugely loyal supporter of The Irish Times on most issues, I am genuinely disappointed that you appear unwilling to take sides on the rights of the Palestinian civilian population when pitted against the domineering might of a military occupation by foreigners. As President Arafat has said, this is his homeland. - Yours, etc.,

MICHAEL HASSETT,

Sydenham Villas,

Dublin 14.

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Sir, - Like Kevin Myers (An Irishman's Diary, April 5th), I condemn the Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel. However, I don't think it is accurate to say people are being murdered "simply because of their Jewishness". If this were true then we would have suicide bombers murdering English Jews in London or French Jews in Paris. The suicide bombers are in Israel because their intention is to kill Israelis.

My Myers also says that the "final solution culture should not exist" in the "very state which was created to prevent such a thing". To create generally means making something from nothing. The state of Israel was manufactured, rather than created . There was a state and a people there already.

It could be argued that there is a bit of final-solution culture on both sides. How many young Palestinian stone-throwers have been shot dead? I think it would add up to a good many "Bloody Sundays".

Just for the record, I believe Israel has a right to exist and that the Palestinians should have their own independent land in the West Bank and Gaza. I must admit to being surprised that 97 per cent of the occupied territories was offered back to the Palestinians by Prime Minister Barak. -Yours, etc.,

MICHAEL McGUIRE,

Garvery,

Burnfoot,

Co Donegal.