Tuesday 19 February 2019

Shannon reveals duplicity over Israel

Your report on how the US moved helicopters to Israel via Shannon (April 8) was a rare and valuable piece of investigative journalism. However, it omitted certain key facts which are, I believe, essential for a broader understanding of the story.

The Apache helicopter gunship is one of the primary means Israel uses to assert its authority over Palestinian civilians inside the area it has occupied since 1967.

As your report pointed out, since the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifada in September 2000 the Israeli military has used the aircraft as part of its policy of extra-judicial executions (assassination) of alleged militants.

However, the report failed to observe that in this same time period Israel has extra-judicially executed at least 515 Palestinians - at least 175 of these have been non-targeted civilians. The vast majority of these attacks took place using Apache helicopter gunships.

Israel's execution policy has been roundly condemned internationally, including by the Irish Government. During the Irish Presidency of the EU, the Council of Foreign Ministers clearly stated: "The European Union has consistently opposed extra-judicial killings. Not only are extra-judicial killings contrary to international law, they undermine the concept of the rule of law which is a key element in the fight against terrorism." (EU C of M, 22/03/04: 7383/04 Presse 80)

Indeed, the duplicity of the Irish Government does not end here. The Irish Government continues to spend around ?5m per annum on aid to Palestinians. A considerable portion of this money is directed at Israeli and Palestinian organisations who call for an immediate end to Israel's illegal execution policy.

It seems that the time has come for the Irish Government to put its mouth where its money is and to stop military, and other, cooperation with Israel. Eoin Murray National Coordinator, Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC)

* The second sentence of your lead article (April 8) about helicopters shipped through Shannon to the Israeli militarily reads: "The helicopters have been used in the past for targeted assassinations of militants."

Google records 108m web pages containing the word 'Palestinian', and 126m containing 'Israeli'. Searches for the exact phrases 'Palestinian militant' and 'Israeli militant' and their plurals yield 1,681,000 and 1,639 pages respectively.

Many people in each group want to seize and keep land occupied by the other. Truth is not well served when one side is a thousand times more likely to be described as 'militant'. William Campbell Harold Ville Avenue, Dublin

* Under the headline 'Greens demand Apache inquiry' once more we are advised in your sister publication the 'Sunday Independent' that one of the biggest moans in the Dail, John Gormley, is calling for an inquiry into the possible use of Shannon Airport in the sale of Apache helicopters to Israel.

So what? Are the good people of Isreal, a legitimate state, not entitled to defend themselves? Would he be so vociferous if the Russians were selling helicopters to the Palestinians. Brendan Hogan Kilmore, Co Wexford

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