Tuesday 25 October 2016

Israel has closed the door to a rational solution in Gaza

Published 14/08/2014 | 02:30

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu: antipathy towards state has grown. GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu: antipathy towards state has grown. GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images

There can be no justification for the mayhem and merciless assault on innocent life in Gaza. The charge of anti-Semitism is disingenuously used to silence all critics. Many Jews seek to disassociate themselves from what is happening in their name - they too are opposed to the current drift of Zionism, particularly the settlement expansion on the West Bank and the continued medieval-type siege of Gaza.

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The branding of the justified assertion of our basic rights as terrorism has been the psychological weapon of choice by states that have a lot to hide.

This tactic was used by Margaret Thatcher in her dismissal, as terrorists, of Nelson Mandela and his fellow opponents of Apartheid. In our own country, one of the greatest political misjudgments was the refusal to address the glaring injustice raised by the civil rights movement in Ulster.

This allowed the IRA to use violent means as all peaceful means had been suppressed. The Israelis have persistently failed to acknowledge the depth of injustice felt by the people of Gaza.

There has been similar blindness to the inevitable consequences of the inequitable distribution of power between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq.

The drift to the right in Israeli politics has closed the door to genuine rational debate. The unshakeable belief that God decreed that a wandering semi-nomadic people would inherit a land of their own is a myth of origin that sits uneasily with reasoned discussion.

It is sometimes tempting to think that the creation of Israel was a monumental mistake, in that there seemed to have been little done to secure the rights of all affected.

The overwhelming international support for a two-state settlement seems to be the only constructive way forward. Sadly, this is opposed by the USA and Israel.

Meanwhile, the antipathy towards Israel has intensified with the real possibility of it becoming a pariah state.

Philip O'Neill



Egypt's closed doors

Christy Wynne (Irish Independent, Letters, August 13) says about the Gaza Strip that "a population of 1.8 million people live in a hell hole a fraction of the size of Connacht and are locked in by land, sea and air, with water and electricity rationed and dished out at the discretion of a draconian neighbour." But it's not clear whether he's referring to Israel or Egypt.

Gaza has a 30-mile border with Egypt, its fellow Arab state, so why does Egypt refuse to open its border with Gaza? And why do people like Mr Wynne not call for the Egyptian Ambassador to be expelled or arrange marches to the Egyptian Embassy?

Perhaps he might like to comment on why there are 1.8 million people in the Gaza Strip, or why there are no female doctors or nurses in Gaza. In case he isn't aware, it's because women in Gaza live under Sharia Law.

Desmond FitzGerald

Canary Wharf


Where there's a will . . .

Mary Kenny gave me a good laugh recently (Irish Independent, August 9), when a chest infection made her think it was time to run down to her solicitor to change her will, seeing it as "call up time from God". The best will I ever heard of was: "Being of sound mind, I spent all my money while living."

That shook them.

Kathleen Corrigan


Co Cavan

The enemy of the State

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.

"It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

This quote attributed to Joseph Goebbels says it all about the state of affairs in every single country; the only solution is to ensure a situation where the truth is given preference to the lie - big or otherwise.

Liam Power

Bangor Erris


Co Mayo

Ireland as 'Britain's Yugoslavia'

Hugh Duffy, (Irish Independent, Letters, August 12), says: "In the opinion of Jackson, Home Rule 'far from inaugurating a new and peaceful era in Anglo-Irish relations, might well have introduced a period of bloodshed and nagging international bitterness'.

"Finally, in response to Mr Bruton's claim that Bonar Law approved of Home Rule; Law is recorded as saying: 'Ireland under Home Rule might well have proved to be not so much Britain's settled democratic partner as her Yugoslavia'."

Are we to understand that Ireland, following 1916, experienced no "period of bloodshed and nagging international bitterness" and never became "Britain's Yugoslavia"? My understanding of what 'actually happened' is that from 1917 until 1923 there was indeed "a period of bloodshed" - including a Civil War in which the mutual reciprocation of atrocities paralysed and divided the South for two generations.

Far from ignoring the long constitutional struggle led by O'Connell, Butt, Parnell and Redmond for what was effectively the repeal of the Act of Union, the British Parliament finally passed a Home Rule Act. 'Exclusion', (of the six counties), may have been a bitter pill to swallow but nobody with a smidgen of realism could argue that blanket Home Rule could have been forced, (without 'a bit' of trouble), onto a powerful and armed unionist minority, (whose conservative allies had behaved with utter and grotesque cynicism, if not sedition and treason).

Maurice O'Connell


Co Kerry

Leaving Cert and 'game of life'

Leaving Cert results = OMG.

Matt Kavanagh


Dublin 16

* * *

Is Ireland the only country that sets so much store by 'results' before the game of life has really even begun for our young adults?

I wish them all well, but earnestly hope they will set their own compass.

Ed Toal

Dublin 4

America loses its smile

Robin Williams smiled though his heart was breaking; America has lost its funny face.

A Jones


Co Dublin

* * *

Robin Williams was 63. I am 63. Words fail me.

What an awful waste, the world is a poorer place without such wonderful talent.

God love him, he struggled hard with his demons and lost.

Thank God we still have Mrs Doubtfire and many more besides. May he find contentment and peace now.

Brian McDevitt


Co Donegal

* * *

It's sad that someone who gave so much happiness to so many people wasn't happy himself.

Kevin Devitte

Mill Street


Co Mayo

Irish Independent

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