Friday 21 October 2016

Letters: We have the power to express our outrage at the violence

Published 25/07/2014 | 02:30

A Palestinian girl, whom medics said was wounded in Israeli shelling at a U.N-run school sheltering Palestinian refugees, is treated at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. Reuters
A Palestinian girl, whom medics said was wounded in Israeli shelling at a U.N-run school sheltering Palestinian refugees, is treated at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. Reuters
A Palestinian child, wounded in an Israeli strike on a compound housing a U.N. school in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, cries at the emergency room of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The names, the numbers and the stories of the horrors in Gaza need no repeating. They are well documented in your newspaper and on our TV screens every night.

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The UN reports that one child has died every hour in the past few days and that Israel has killed more children than Hamas fighters.

As individuals it is easy to feel powerless when the world's fourth largest army conducts such an onslaught against ordinary people. One thing we can hope for is that our Government represents the outrage of the Irish people at the EU and the UN.

Sadly, we have been let down, badly. At a vote in the UN, calling for an independent inquiry into human rights violations, Ireland abstained.

We joined Germany, Britain and other EU superpowers to permit Israel to behave as it wants with no accountability.

Ireland has been seen by Palestinians and Israelis as a beacon of hope. We show people that despite years of conflict peace can be achieved.

If we are going to parade ourselves as paragons of peace and human rights we should support the standards of international law, formulated after the Holocaust, where every human being is treated with dignity and respect. When these standards are breached we should seek to investigate and prosecute all those responsible.

This vote leaves Irish people with only one choice: increase the boycott of Israeli goods so we send a message to peace-loving Palestinians and Israelis that we still have a moral conscience, even if our Government does not.

After all, the only thing required for evil to prosper is for good countries to do nothing.





Emma Harris (Letters, July 23) compares Israel to Nazi Germany in wanting as she calls it 'Lebensraum' or living space. This is a disgusting analogy considering that Nazi Germany murdered six million Jews, while in the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1948 some 22,000 have been killed – a tiny fraction of the 150,000 Syrians killed over the past three years alone at the hands of fellow Arabs.

She is also incorrect in stating that Israel ever since its foundation in 1948 has expanded to conquer territory. On the contrary. In the various wars for survival that it waged against a hostile Arab World, Israel always sought security, not land for the sake of it. In fact, when Egypt made peace with Israel in 1979 Israel gave up the Sinai Peninsula, an area more than three times bigger than Israel today. Since the 1990s Israel has made repeated peace offers to the Palestinians whereby the latter would get almost all the West Bank and Gaza, but has been rebuffed.

Furthermore, Colette Browne in her op-ed the same day betrays a total lack of context in her perspective on the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. She completely ignores how this latest war came about and what is keeping it going: that Hamas, a terrorist organisation which rules Gaza since 2007, initiated a rocket barrage on Israel a few weeks ago; Israel responded with air strikes so as to defend its citizens; Israel accepted but Hamas rejected a truce brokered by Egypt; Hamas kept on bombarding Israel, and so this week Israel was obliged to execute a ground operation so as to destroy Hamas's military infrastructure.





Any wonder the troika left our shores smiling in appreciation at how well we accepted and coped with our €60bn debt burden. The sting left in their tail has become obvious.

The Government is now paying multiple times the interest rate on bailout loans than it would cost us to borrow on the open market. According to a report on the Business pages of Irish Independent (June 27), replacing €22.5bn of the more expensive IMF loans with normal market borrowings could potentially save as much as €930m for the Exchequer this year.

Why? Because interest charged by IMF increased earlier this year to 4.99pc, while price of borrowing on the open markets has fallen to a fraction of over 1pc annually. Repay or reduce the costly debt with the cheap borrowings you might say; but the agreement specifies it must be paid over 10 years at the higher rate.

Flexibility is what was needed then in repayment – not the current knot that must be reviewed by the Government and IMF immediately.





When RTE One broadcasted the Angelus some years ago, it was accompanied by a brilliant work of art from the 'Book of Kells', Jan van Eyck or even the late greats such as Evie Hone or Harry Clarke. In this, it added to the believer's contemplation of the mystery of the Incarnation; but also offered a small moment of culture.

As Nick Folly (July 22) quite rightly states, the offering now is so bland that one wonders what is the point of the whole thing.





The function of the Minister for the Gaeltacht is to attend to the interests of the 47,000 Irish speakers in the Gaeltacht areas. The function of the Department of Education is to attend to the teaching of Irish in schools in all areas and at all levels.

While your editorial was quite correct in highlighting that the 2011 census results demonstrated that it is now clear that the upward growth in Irish speakers observable since the late 1990s, mainly outside the Gaeltacht Area, is no mere statistical blip but the result of ongoing language restoration and recovery, fuelled by, amongst other things, access to Gaeltacht areas by students of Irish, this has little to do with the need for a minister who is really on top of his brief, by being familiar with the thoughts and needs of the Gaeltacht people, which an earlier fluency in the Irish Language would have surely afforded him.

The myth "that it is a dead language we have been forced to learn badly and, in most cases, against our will", is quite false for the majority of our citizens, but in any event is not relevant to the appointment of a Minister for the Gaeltacht.





A Chara, I do not agree that the Gaeltacht has so shrunk as to no longer need a minister.

In spite of the fact that the Gaeltacht is under severe strain, due in large part to the total failure of all governments down the years to create an environment which would allow the people of the Gaeltacht to communicate with the State in the Irish language and which would provide employment opportunities for Irish speakers throughout the public service, the Gaeltacht is alive.

However, governmental failure alone calls, not only for a minister of state, but for a senior minister.

I wish Mr McHugh well and look forward to seeing what improvements he will be able to put in place to undo the neglect of the language by governments and to secure the future of the Gaeltacht.




Irish Independent

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