September 11, 2006

Deadly retribution?

Here's a crop of letters in today's Independent. All of them are critical of Israel so here they all are:
Israel will face a deadly retribution

Sir: I cannot fully express my outrage at the treatment meted out by Israel to the people of Palestine ("A people betrayed by the world", 8 September).

Since 1967, these wretched refugees have endured the most inhuman and degrading lives at the hands of a barbaric and brutal Israeli government, a government encouraged and armed to the teeth by the biggest bully in the playground, the US, and by repeated UK governments.

I lose count of how many UN Security Council resolutions to desist which this artificially created state has ignored. Likewise, the 4th Geneva Convention has been cynically dismissed. Yet when these refugees find ways to express their anger - to feebly fight back by peaceful or terror means - they are labelled collectively as terrorists and punished with appalling collective cruelty.

It may have been hoped that a people who suffered so dearly at the hands of Nazi Germany would behave with compassion, and value human life, but the opposite would appear to have happened, with the Israeli army nearly rivalling the cruelties of the Third Reich.

Hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinians are imprisoned in their homes. Whole towns are now prison blocks, each home a cell. Agriculture and most jobs have been destroyed, power, water, food and medical care cut off. Many homes and official buildings have been razed. Political leaders are kidnapped. Thousands of civilians are held without charge for years. Random airstrikes and shelling maim and kill unarmed civilians, by night and day. Every day.

It is amazing that this puppet state of the US believes its actions will bring it peace and harmony, secure borders and everlasting economic growth. Palestine must survive. Can the Israeli government not see how it is worsening its own position by ensuring the hated of many, many generations to come in the Arab and Muslim world? If it succeeds in wiping out the Palestinians, how much worse will this hatred become? Can they not see that they are the lead player in the creation of a never-ending cycle of East vs West turmoil?

I am white, aged 53, married with children, and I have a good job and life in Britain. If I feel the way I do, then how must people feel in Palestine, how must their friends, relatives and those of similar backgrounds and faith feel? Does nobody ask why people are resorting to terrorism? Or why British governments do nothing, or even encourage this slaughter of the innocents, this ethnic cleansing?

There must be an immediate pullout by Israel to the pre-1967 borders. There must be full repair of the Palestinian infrastructure and society, and full support financially and spiritually by the "free world", and Jerusalem must be declared an international city. This will not remove the hatred, but at least it will help to stop the situation worsening. If Israel continues as it is, there is no telling how severe will be the retribution it is dealt by those who fight by unconventional means. A call for peace and justice is not anti-Semitism. It is humanity.

PAUL RICHARDS

CHRISTCHURCH, DORSET

Sir: The smokescreen of "The Global War on Terror" slavishly adopted by the present government, with the convenience of parliamentary recess, means domestic attention has studiously avoided the plight of the people of Gaza.

The main casualty of the war on terror has been loss of adherence to the Geneva Conventions. The British and US coalition cannot guarantee successful intervention with Israel for delivery of relief convoys, safe passage of civilians, evacuation of the wounded, safety of journalists and implementation of UN resolutions.

President George Bush's recent admission of illegal imprisonment on European soil is to further condemn his allies in their complicity in the war crimes Israel is committing. To criticise Israel is not to be anti-Semitic. The Orthodox Jewish Rabbis of Neturei Karta regularly express their support for the Palestinian people and decry Israel's activities, in the understanding that Zionism perpetuates anti-Semitism .

Last month, Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli government, stated they had never intended to go into Lebanon because they were "totally involved in Gaza". He did not elaborate.

If we too do not become totally involved in the plight of Gaza, the fate of 1.5 million people will be a further stain on the collective British conscience. It is imperative that the British Government demand urgent and immediate cessation of Israeli atrocities and relief for the stricken Palestinians. This would make the Prime Minister's visit to Israel worthwhile.

SUZY WIGHTON

ABERDEEN

Sir: The Independent has headlined a real concern which MPs should attend to, rather than the date when Tony Blair starts writing his memoirs.

In May, 97 MPs signed Early Day Motion 2041, protesting about the EU freezing of funding to the Palestine Administration. That statement was a prediction that an already impoverished population would be facing unprecedented hardship yet voices of reason were ignored and Israel has been allowed to act as it has, including bombing civilians, without a murmur from our government.

There is no justification for the imprisonment of a nation, and this government and the EU have to revert to aiding the Palestinian people, whoever they elect as their government, because the alternative is genocide.

RAY SIROTKIN

LONDON SE4

Sir: A year or so ago, an English Jewish journalist compared the treatment by Israel of Arabs in the Gaza Strip with the treatment of Polish Jews by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940-44. She was duly vilified by the Zionist propaganda machine.

I have just finished reading Beyond These Walls: Escaping the Warsaw Ghetto, a Young Girl's Story, by Jenina Bauman. Throughout her story of conditions in the ghetto, I was struck by the parallels with present events in Palestine, the progressive tightening of the boundaries, restriction of movement, destruction of water and electricity supplies, random killings, and restrictions of food supplies. It is long past time that this government, the United Nations and responsible governments throughout the world made it clear to Israel and the United States that this must stop.

I write as a half-American, born in America who was proud of this half of his ancestry until very recently. No more.

R W PEMBLETON

TENTERDEN, KENT

Sir: My dictionary defines genocide as "the policy of deliberately killing a nationality or ethnic group". This, it seems, is Israel's policy towards the Palestinians, who are being systematically humiliated, degraded, deprived of their livelihood, starved, and killed. It is revolting, and it is being done in front of the world.

Historically, Britain has a responsibility in this; we helped carve up the Ottoman Empire, and aided theft of Palestinian territory. No Balfour spoke for the Palestinians. Assuming responsibility and taking decisions lays the consequences of these actions on our conscience. Yet we continue to collude with Israel's policies, and allow Israel trading privileges and concessions with Europe, while denying promised financial support to Palestinians.

As for the arrogant and obscene decision to use Lebanon as bait, to try to provoke Iran and Syria to retaliate, shame on all of us.

PHILIPPA SCOTT

LONDON W11 2JR
I hate that "not in my name" stuff.

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