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I believed Israel to be built on justice and now I believe the opposite

In his reply to my letter, Derek O’Flynn of the Israeli Embassy ( Letters, November 6) inadvertently admits to the Apartheid system that exists in the West Bank, when he argues that the water Israel allows to them is two thirds that available to Israeli settlers.

He does not contradict the limitation I saw on water to three days a month, or my observation that the settlers had 24/7 access for their sprinklers and water parks. He ignores completely the issue of Apartheid roads, which allow settlers unique and speedy access to all parts of the West Bank and into Israel.

I stand over the argument that “every man, woman and child in the West Bank is under the control of the Israeli army and government”. While Area C, under full Israeli control stretches to 60 % of the Palestinian territory, even in Zones A and B, their writ is extensive. Water is under their control, as are roads.

To say the Palestinian Authority has control in Areas A and B ignores the lack of freedom of movement. It would be like saying that I live under the control of Dublin City Council, but am not allowed into Dublin city or beyond Stillorgan.

Children in Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, (where we did a cookery lesson), have to go through the Separation Wall to get to school, enduring queuing and military searches like their parents. In Hebron, we met a young English woman from the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme of the World Council of Churches, who escorts small children to and from school. She told us the previous day she and the children were set upon by a group of settlers, and her legs were kicked from under her. She showed us the bruises just starting to come up. She called for help to the Israeli military who were a few yards away. They said they had seen nothing.

Finally, there are varying estimates as to the

amount of West Bank land the Separation Wall will seize. The YMCA for instance predicts the incursion will be 47%. Mr O’Flynn’s contention that it will take up 9% of the territory is an interesting revelation.

If the Irish Republic were to move our border posts 9% into the territory of Northern Ireland, we would, at a minimum, gobble up Newry and Derry! This is hardly a way to build neighbourly relations.

As a teenager, I planned to go and work on a kibbutz, believing that Israel was building an equal and fair society. My recent experience in Palestine has horrified me, seeing what that society has become.

Betty Purcell



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