News Letters

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Palestine's quest for self-determination at root of crisis

Published 01/08/2014 | 02:30

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Palestinians gather near a burning building that police said was destroyed by an Israeli Air strike in Gaza City July 31, 2014. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing international alarm over a rising civilian death toll in Gaza, said on Thursday he would not accept any ceasefire that stopped Israel completing the destruction of militants' infiltration tunnels. Gaza officials say at least 1,394 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the battered territory and nearly 7,000 wounded. Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza clashes and more than 400 wounded. Three civilians have been killed by Palestinian shelling in Israel. Israel launched its offensive in response to rocket salvoes fired by Gaza's dominant Hamas Islamists and their allies. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
Palestinians gather near a burning building that police said was destroyed by an Israeli Air strike in Gaza City. Reuters

* Desmond FitzGerald (Letters, July 30) is correct in labelling Hamas as extremist, but he is very wrong in implying that it represents the majority view among Palestinians, only a portion of whom reside in the enclave that is Gaza. Hamas won a majority among people of voting age there who cast their votes. This does not signify a pan-Palestinian movement.

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What a one-sided proposition Mr FitzGerald then makes. If Ariel Sharon were alive today he would hug him in delight for reiterating his own Great Zionist Dream, ie Palestinians do not exist. They are simply Jordanians, Lebanese, Egyptians, etc who have not yet been granted citizenship in those countries. This "solution" denigrates the Palestinian people and denies to them the right to their own identity and self-determination.

By suggesting that Palestinian refugees live in ghettos that are self-created, Mr FitzGerald conveniently ignores the history of Palestine since 1947-48 when mass expulsions of Palestinians by the then Israeli army took place. Many others not expelled fled in terror as refugees from the fighting. The refugee camps dismissed as "self-created ghettos" arose through those events. Against international law, these refugees were denied the right to return to their homes by Israel when the conflict ended.

The elephant in the room hasn't gone away. The underlying grievance of the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem since 1967, if addressed, would go a long way towards finding a peaceful solution to the whole Israeli-Palestinian problem.

BERNARD KEOGH

CLONTARF, DUBLIN 3.

Expel the Israeli ambassador

* In a world which is more accessible by social media, it is distressing to have a front seat and witness the genocide of innocent men, women and children in Gaza. This year marks 100 years since the start of World War I, a war so devastating to the lives of countless men, women and children, that it was vowed no such war should ever take place again.

Yet, the world continues in an endless cycle of death and destruction to the lives of ordinary individuals. Meanwhile, we all watch behind the screen of our phones and laptops, engaged but unable to truly influence and halting this sad state of affairs. Or are we? Is this distance merely an excuse to turn our backs on humanity at this time?

Our Constitution is premised on the right to life and the protection of that life. Yet, we stand by in the wings waiting to be prompted by the EU before taking any stand to protect the lives of human beings who are outside of our borders.

Don't they too deserve our emphatic and passionate defence of life?

There has never been a better time to finally expel the Israeli ambassador to Ireland.

This is a real and tangible display of our outrage at the genocide in Gaza. It is a step towards re-establishing our sovereignty in the eyes of Europe. It is a mark of our self-determination that as a nation we live by our principles and our humanity that were generously gifted to us by our forefathers.

Expelling the Israeli ambassador is the first step in a meaningful Irish re-engagement with the fundamental principles upon which the State was founded. Standing with the people of Gaza is honourable way to remember the sacrifices made for our own independence.

I urge the Government to undertake this measure and I urge all citizens to contact their local representatives and support the people of Gaza by taking this stand.

LABHLAOISE NI THROIGHIGH

PORTLAOISE

GAZA \AND OUR OWN TROUBLES

* I read with interest that a secular country like France has offered asylum to the thousands of Christians driven from their homes by the Islamist terror group currently rampaging through much of Iraq.

These Islamist terror groups are doing the same in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. There is very little concern expressed in this country even though the problem has been highlighted for a long time.

Our Government would not consider it PC to offer asylum to these Christians.

Well done France. Every day the national news is about Gaza. Apparently in the eyes of the media the war in Gaza will only be just if the same number of casualties can be achieved on both sides. I notice the cameras seem to highlight only the grief of Palestinians.

Surely Hamas is responsible for their pain and therefore must resolve this by discussion.

I find it extraordinary how people in Ireland are so concerned about the war in Gaza and yet when the 30-year war was happening in the North of Ireland – which had plenty of brutality – these same people would avoid travelling there at all costs.

E MURPHY

CAVAN

TAKING THE SKELLIG MICHAEL

* The recent filming of a 'Star Wars' film on Skellig Michael should be viewed by the citizens of Ireland as a disturbing new episode of wrong-doing by those tasked with governing our country.

Unesco, which awarded the location world heritage status in 1996, is raising the issue as are numerous other domestic organisations.

We should not forget that this is an ancient historic site belonging to the Irish people, and not a modern film set which can be sold for a few euro to a movie company.

The one facet of the whole sorry episode that disturbed me most was the images of an Irish naval patrol vessel being used to enforce an exclusion zone around the island in order that a commercial company could make a movie.

MICHAEL KELLY

DUBLIN 15

QUESTIONS ON 'HOLE IN WALL' FIASCO

* Wow! The silence is deafening! How many teachers, gardai, nurses went to the 'hole-in-the-wall' only to find nothing came out!

Yes, the empty 'hole-in-the-wall' has happened but it has been downplayed to the point that it gets a mere mention at the end of RTE news bulletins. I have the following questions which, I presume, none of us except the Government and banks have the answers to:

l Will this happen with greater frequency to public servants in the future?

* This occurrence calls into question the whole Paypath system. Who does Paypath really convenience? The professional who wants quick access to his/her salary or the bank? Psychologically, a worker needs/deserves first-hand access to the fruits of his/her labours. In terms of self-esteem, motivation, satisfaction and engagement in one's work, the professional must be assured that he/she can enjoy the fruits of his/her hard earned salary and retain command over what he/she does with that money. Not so, under the Paypath system.

* The public, we are told, owns over 90pc of AIB which has reported profits for the first time since 2008. How will these profits manifest for the ordinary citizen who has bailed out the banks?

* So, final question, who is fooling who? Is the country in recovery mode? Who actually runs the country? After this morning's 'glitch', do public servants actually realise how volatile they are? When are we supposed 'intelligent' Irish going to wake up to reality?

TERESA HAND-CAMPBELL, MSC

PRINCIPAL \AND OCCUPATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST,

ATHLONE, CO ROSCOMMON

Irish Independent

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