The Occupied Territories Bill

Sir, – In writing that I "essentially support the Iranian, Hizbullah and Hamas narrative that Israel be eliminated", Alan Shatter (Letters, October 24th) smears me and misrepresents my true position, which favours a non-violent ending of the Israeli colonisation of Palestine.

By repeatedly refusing to condemn the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian lands, Mr Shatter himself stands in the way of the two-state solution, which many experts agree is no longer viable.

Mr Shatter should be well aware, as argued inter alia by Israeli law professor Aeyal Gross, that Israeli law violates the principles laid out in the international law of occupation (including the Geneva Convention and the Hague Regulations) as regards transferring civilian population into occupied territories.

In fact, as reported this week by the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, the UN independent expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories Michael Lynk has called for an international ban on all products made in Israeli settlements, as a step to potentially end Israel’s 52-year-old illegal occupation. Ireland’s Occupied Territories Bill is in line with this appeal to the international community.


Israel’s policies include ongoing occupation, siege, apartheid, mass arrests, administrative detention and extrajudicial executions.

By uncritically defending Israel, Mr Shatter demonstrates his own extremism. – Yours, etc,


( Retired Associate

Professor of Sociology,

Trinity College Dublin),

Dublin 8.

Sir, – Alan Shatter cleverly polarises the argument made in Ronit Lentin's letter (IT 23/10) of October 23rd. Within his paradigm we have Israel on the one hand, struggling for survival, while on the other there are those who wish to destroy it, amongst whom apparently is Prof Lentin, herself an Israeli Jew. In Mr Shatter's misrepresentation of Prof Lentin's argument, to call for justice (for an end to the theft of Palestinian land and resources via the settlements, for equal rights for Palestinians and the right, under international law, for those Palestinians displaced due to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 to return to their homeland) is tantamount to calling for the destruction of Israel which puts one in the same camp as Hamas, Hizbullah and Iran, according to Mr Shatter.

I would like to offer another interpretation of the situation: if to exist Israel must repeatedly flout international law and human rights law, then the State of Israel is inviable in its present form in a world where we subscribe to the rule of law.

What Prof Lentin then offers, rather than a trope of destruction, is a vision for a just and inclusive society, where land and resources are shared fairly, and people are neither privileged nor condemned on the basis of their race, ethnicity or religious beliefs. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Jackie Goodall seems to think that it is justifiable to steal someone's land provided you give them a good, well-paying job afterwards (Letters, October 23rd).

She further seems to think that it is justifiable because the activities of Israeli businesses supplying such jobs are not deemed illegal under the Geneva Conventions nor in British and French courts. Which only goes to prove how blind and outdated such legal entities are.

She claims that goods and services are made by businesses in the vicinity of Israeli (illegal) settlements rather than by the settlements themselves. Such a statement is an obvious obfuscation of what is going on. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 14.