Wednesday 28 September 2016

Hope of a 'one-state solution' for Israel and Palestine

Published 29/07/2014 | 02:30

An Israeli man holds up a flag atop a hill overlooking the Gaza Strip in the southern town of Sderot. More than 60 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed as Israel shelled a Gaza neighbourhood and battled militants on Sunday in the bloodiest fighting in a near two-week-old offensive. Photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
An Israeli man holds up a flag atop a hill overlooking the Gaza Strip in the southern town of Sderot. More than 60 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed as Israel shelled a Gaza neighbourhood and battled militants on Sunday in the bloodiest fighting in a near two-week-old offensive. Photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

I visited the West Bank in 1961. It was part of Jordan and the Palestinians were devastated at having been driven off their land. They believed that situation temporary. Between 1961 and 2014 the situation has gotten worse.

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Today Israel is the super-power of the Middle East, and while enjoying the unqualified support of the US with the sympathy and commitment of the EU, it lives in fear. The whole area is very tightly controlled so the Palestinians are living in an open-air prison while the Israelis are ruling by terror.

It would take great trust and co-operation for the "Two State Solution" to work. The irony is that if the Palestinians and Israelis could achieve that, the 1948 partition of Palestine is unnecessary.

That brings us to a "One State Solution" with Jews and Arabs of the three areas living together like any normal multicultural country. Why not hope?



* No need for us to go to the cinema these days in order to see war films. Before our own eyes we are seeing the mass slaughter of innocent people, especially children, who must be asking the question: what did we do wrong to deserve this?

So far in Gaza over 1,000 people have been killed in an illegitimate war by Israeli forces. They say the essence of this conflict stems from the kidnap and murder of three Israeli boys. While I completely sympathise with their loss, is it just to kill in response?

It is not so long ago since world leaders buried their heads in the sand when they knew what was going on in concentration camps around the world. Now we have a concentration camp named Gaza that is under siege and all the world's politicians do is give the usual lip service and rhetoric.

There can be no justification on either side for war in this conflict and the only way forward is respect and dignity for your fellow human beings.

There is a disproportionate level of violence coming from Israeli forces – and Ireland knows what it was like to live under the tyranny of an oppressor.

It is therefore incumbent on every decent human being to voice their revulsion at the violence that is being inflicted on the helpless people of Gaza. We have seen this injustice happen in South Africa and to the credit of Irish people we boycotted their produce. At least that gesture showed our compassion for the suffering of the oppressed. Let's do the same against Israel.



* I refer to the interpretation of data by Professor John FitzGerald of the ESRI, who claims that wealth inequa-lity has narrowed during the recess-ion because the Government "protec- ted" welfare (Irish Independent, July 28). It is obvious that he didn't ask anyone stuck with no work or those surviving on the state pension.

Recent studies demonstrate that the rich have gotten richer, and while it is obvious that the number of high earners has dropped during the recession, it is incorrect to conclude from that that we have become more equal.

On the contrary, the recently published "Rich List" showed that the fortunes of Ireland's 250 wealthiest people rose 12pc to €57bn over the past year. Their combined wealth is now equivalent to 35pc of the country's gross domestic product.

Anyone suggesting that the gap between the rich and the poor here has narrowed is deluding himself.



* If there was such a thing in history as a charge of "criminal misjudgment" then surely John Redmond would be a prime suspect.

Redmond stands indicted for the central role he played in sending tens of thousands of innocent young Irishmen into a useless and violent imperial war. This was done, it would seem, on foot of a vague promise of home rule – what Roger Casement reputedly called "a promissory note payable only after death".

By contrast, Redmond's great predecessor, Charles Stewart Parnell, had years before shown that he recognised and, more importantly, was prepared to yield to and support the growing separatist and anti-imperial movement if such were the will of the Irish people.

The real "war to end all wars" was about to unfold in Redmond's own land: the 1916-21 Irish War of Independence. For most of the island, the outcome of this infinitely less violent event ended the British Empire's practice of recruiting young, mainly impoverished, Irishmen as fodder for its endless colonial wars. (Recent research by eminent historian Orlando Figes, reveals that in my native parish of Aghada, in Co Cork, as many as one in every three men lost their lives in the all-but-forgotten Crimean War. In fact, post-Famine Irish recruits made up a full one-third of the entire British army engaged in that particular disaster). By contrast, and since independence, Irish soldiers have carved out an enviable reputation as a universally respected UN peacekeeping force.

Whatever the intention behind the newly-issued 'WW1 Commemoration' postage stamps, I think most will agree that the choice of images and text merely serves to underline the manipulative nature and bad judgment of Redmond's pro-war lobby.

In contrast to Redmond and others, the Irish Labour and Trade Union Congress published the following address to the women of Ireland on the eve of the war: "A war for the aggrandisement of the capitalist class has been declared . . . it is you who will suffer most by this foreign war. It is the sons you reared that will be sent to be mangled by shot and torn by shell, it is your fathers, husbands and brothers, whose corpses will pave the way to glory for an Empire, which despises you."



* Congratulations to Mary Kenny for her sensible article on Ireland's absence from the Commonwealth Games (July 28). She somewhat underestimates the number of republics in today's Commonwealth, however, stating "the Commonwealth contains several republics". In fact, it contains 32 republics!

It might also be worth mentioning that Irish people willingly played a major role in building many Commonwealth countries where 17 million people of Irish descent currently live.

Today's Commonwealth extends a hand of friendship to Ireland and some of its members give jobs and new opportunities to our youth.



* The journalist, editor and politician CP Scott once said that: "Comment is free, but facts are sacred." While commentary is an integral and important part of any newspaper, that commentary should always be based on fact.

Unfortunately, Liam Fay's 'Shadow of a Conman' commentary was not based on fact. To put the facts straight, Leinster House administrators have not employed private debt collectors to chase down outstanding money. The simple fact is that the Houses of the Oireachtas is assigning somebody to manage customer accounts in light of the fact that the person who is currently carrying out this duty is retiring.

We are taking this opportunity to review the roles and responsibilities of staff working on administration in the restaurant in light of the retirement and it is hoped that this task can be carried out by staff from within our own resources.


Irish Independent

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