The Occupied Territories Bill

Sir, – Unravelling the distorted and selective historical narrative of the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict, subsumed within the fog of Ronit Lentin's simplistic and anachronistic Marxist analysis in her letter of October 23rd, would take more space than your letter's editor would, I expect, be willing to devote to the subject. It would also contribute nothing of relevance to a reopening of dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, to reactivating the moribund peace process, ending internal Palestinian division, the holding of the first democratic Palestinian elections for over 13 years, nor to conflict resolution.

Prof Lentin’s letter is valuable, however, in openly confirming that the Occupied Territories Bill and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign, whose sole target is the Israeli state, “are tactical steps crucial” to achieving the “ justified aim” of establishing a single state “in historic Palestine”. In advocating Palestinians’ right to self-determination, Prof Lentin denies that the Jewish people have any identical right and the State of Israel any right to continue to exist. In doing so she ignores that the international law rights-based solution to reconciling the competing claims and rights of Israelis and Palestinians is the establishment of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace within secure borders and an end to violence. Prof Lentin essentially supports the Iranian, Hizbullah and Hamas narrative that Israel be eliminated. In this, contrary to her claim, except for fellow ideologues, she does not speak for “many Jewish people”.

Prof Lentin accused me of misleading readers when stating that the Occupied Territories Bill is a Trojan horse and its main objective is the destruction of the Israeli state. By her own words she has confirmed the Bill is merely a “tactical” step to achieve that objective. This admission is welcome when compared with the subterfuge of the Bill’s proponents in both the Seanad and Dáil and that of the Ireland Palestine Alliance. Perhaps, members of the Oireachtas, who have supported the Bill to date, will sit up and take notice? – Yours, etc,


(Former minister for

justice, equality and defence)

Dublin 16.

Sir, – Gerry Liston's assertion (Letters, October 21st) that settlements are "the issue at the very heart of the conflict" is not only disingenuous, but can also be seen as an attempt to rewrite history. Although there were no settlements on the West Bank between the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and the end of the Six Day War in 1967, 1964 saw the formation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation with the express aim of "liberating Palestine"– ie the destruction of Israel. As Alan Shatter has pointed out in these pages (October 19th), this is the same objective as that behind the BDS campaign and Sadaka – the Ireland Palestine Alliance's attempts to delegitimise Israel. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.