| 18.3°C Dublin

Don't fool yourself, Jordan does not care about Palestinians


King Abdullah II of Jordan.  (Photo by Lennart Preiss/Getty Images)

King Abdullah II of Jordan. (Photo by Lennart Preiss/Getty Images)

Getty Images

King Abdullah II of Jordan. (Photo by Lennart Preiss/Getty Images)

In the recent past, I have supported Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob (Irish Independent, January 4) in his determination to separate nihilistic Islamists from the vast majority of their Muslim co-religionists who are law-abiding and peace-loving citizens of their host Western state.

However, as a historian, I have to absolutely depart from this supportive position when it comes to his resolute campaign which depicts King Abdullah II of Jordan as a utopian visionary, who holds the keys to a moral and peaceful solution to the ongoing tragedy of the Palestinian people.

This is revisionism of the most cynical kind. The Hashemite Kingdom was, and remains, as concerned and indifferent to genuine Palestinian grievances as any other Arab state.

Indeed, Jordan took one of the most interventionist and self-preservationist actions against Palestinians in the civil war of September 1970 - known in the Palestinian world as Black September - when King Hussein, Abdullah's father, engaged Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Liberation Organisation militants in order to secure his throne from being usurped.

Consequently, more than 15,000 Palestinians, civilian as well as militant, were killed, while towns and refugee camps housing thousands of refugees were decimated, leaving anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 homeless on Jordanian territory.

Therefore, to suggest - as Dr Al Qutob does - that Jordan has some kind of special empathy towards Palestinian suffering is a cynical strategy to underpin the consistent depiction of Israel as the sole progenitor of the Palestinian tragedy.

Jordan's dilemma is that if it allowed more Palestinians into the country, the kingdom, which already has a Palestinian majority, would be transformed into a de-facto Palestinian state.

Indeed, it can be argued that by marginalising and exploiting Palestinian aspirations, Jordan is propelling them into the welcoming arms of Islamist extremists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and, most especially, Isil.

Dr Kevin McCarthy

Kinsale, Co Cork


Start HSE reform with cuts at top

There is something seriously amiss with the intellect in both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil when they cannot make serious and urgently required reforms to the health services.

If this 'trolley crisis' was a recent occurrence, one would say fair enough. But this has now been ongoing for almost a decade. Is it a bridge too far for both party leaders, in the current centennial commemorations, to put aside party differences and, just for once, put the people of Ireland before their own damned egos?

If finance is at the root of the ongoing problem, then reduce the non-medical staff, starting with management, because if this was private enterprise, that is where the axe would fall first.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia


Unborn baby indivisible from mum

Opponents of abortion argue that an unborn baby is a human being, exactly the same as any other human being, and deserves the same rights.

In my opinion, this clouds the issue by refusing to recognise that a baby in utero is part of the mother by virtue of the umbilical cord. An unborn baby's life in the womb is contingent upon the life and health of the mother.

The philosophical argument that the two lives can be treated independently is nonsensical. This argument is only coherent after a baby has been born (i.e. physically separated from his or her mother).

Look any pregnant woman in the eye and tell her that her unborn baby is not a part of her and she will not understand. Tell her that her unborn baby can be advocated for, in a court of law, independent of her own rights and she will know that the umbilical cord has already been cut.

Alison Hackett

Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin


'Post-truth' is same as propaganda

Post-truth is what we knew as propaganda pre-November 2016. The young think they invent everything.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork


No more 1916 please

One thing I'm looking forward to in 2017 is the complete absence of any mention of 1916. However, I will be very surprised if RTÉ manages to avoid mentioning it, such was its obsession with the subject throughout 2016.

I can't help wondering if the purpose of keeping it centre-stage for so long was to whip anti-British sentiment and keep it going for as long as possible.

How ironic that while the commemoration of the rebellion against British rule was taking place, the country was, and still is, in a state of neurosis over Brexit, including the ludicrous spectacle of our Taoiseach visiting Britain to plead with the British people not to desert Ireland by voting to leave the EU.

Which brings home the simple truth that there is a big difference between political independence and economic independence. Not that the republicans in our midst would be interested in that.

Frank O'Connor

Blarney, Co Cork


Volunteering for yourself

Regarding the letter 'Feeling like the last person on earth' (Irish Independent, December 24), my advice to the author is that volunteers are badly needed in a number of areas and, as one who does a small amount, I can say that he or she need never be lonely.

Each of us is given some talent be it small or great. Like the parable says, "use it".

If the person is of a religious nature, places of worship provide common meeting places, as do the Irish Countrywomen's Association (ICA), Men's Sheds, etc.

Think positively and good luck.

S Carroll

Tallaght, Dublin 24


Fine Gael deserves some credit

It is hard to believe Fianna Fáil is climbing in the opinion polls. The party I once voted for has destroyed this country on a number of occasions and it was left up to Fine Gael to pull us out of the mess every time.

Since Fine Gael came into office on the last two occasions they have steadily brought this country back to international acclaim and are creating a very successful economy that is the envy of the world.

The Independents, excluding Catherine Murphy, are a waste of space, a joke, a waste of a good vote.

My money is on a strong Fine Gael government which can get on with the job without petty distractions from the mé féiners.

As far as who the leader of Fine Gael should be, that is a matter for Fine Gael; if not Enda Kenny then I would suggest the very practical and able Simon Coveney.

S O'Rourke


Irish Independent