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Settlements are separate in Israel

Madam – Eoghan Harris (Sunday Independent, April 7, 2013) recalls backing the Irish Anti-Apartheid movement and that this history allows him to "categorically state" that comparisons between South Africa and Israel are "smears" and "propaganda". Where does such pulling of historical rank leave, say, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, or the South African Congress of Trade Unions, or the South African Council of Churches, all of whom have condemned Israel for practising "apartheid"?

Mr Harris says Palestinians in Israel have full civil and political rights; he thus ignores the myriad laws that discriminate against non-Jews in the Jewish state. He says "Palestinians who live in Gaza... get a hard time for many reasons, including sending rockets into Israel"; he thus appears to endorse collective punishment of Gaza's 1.7 million people, a crime under international law.

He completely ignores the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where the majority of Palestinians in historic Palestine actually live. The illegal Israeli settlements there are sustained by violent repression and segregation, with Palestinians corralled by the Israeli military into separate towns, separate roads, separate buses. Even the Israelis call their West Bank wall a "separation barrier". Separate: apartheid.

Harry Browne,

Kimmage, Dublin 12

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