Sunday 22 October 2017

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

Palestinians gather near a burning building that police said was destroyed by an Israeli Air strike in Gaza City. Reuters
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.

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.

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