Israel is using synagogue attack as excuse to humiliate Arab residents

Dr. Kevin McCarthy’s letter (Irish Examiner, November 24) makes for sad reading. 

It is both misleading and incorrect.

The horrendous attack on Jews praying in a Jerusalem synagogue was carried out by two of Jerusalem’s Arab-Israeli citizens, unaffiliated to any Palestinian grouping.

It was condemned by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the The Palestinian Authority.

Despite efforts by Israeli PM, Benjamin Nethanyahu, to blame Abbas for inciting the incident, the head of Israel’s internal security, Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, denied this and said that Abbas and the PA were opposed to such actions.

This was an individual act as a result of recent provocations in relation to the status of the Haram-al-Sharif/ Temple Mount, as well as the daily frustrations, humiliations and deprivations of Jerusalem’s Arab residents.

These tensions are reaching boiling point and concerned observers, in Israel and elsewhere, are worried that a nationalist cause may turn into a religious war.

The decision on Sunday, by the Israeli government, to define Israel as the national state of the Jewish people, risks stoking the flames of hatred, and undermines Israel’s already fragile democracy.

If passed by the Knesset into the law, this will delist Arabic as a second language, despite the fact that 20% of Israel’s population is made up of Arab Muslims and Christians.

The move, which was opposed by Israel’s justice minister, TzipiLivni and other right-thinking cabinet members, is being seen as racist and the catalyst for further unrest.

All of Israels past efforts at ‘fighting terror’ have been abject failures, indiscriminate, disproportionate and a form of collective punishment flying in the face of international law.

It is difficult to comprehend Dr. McCarthy’s suggestion, and tacit support for Nethanyahu’s ‘inevitable’ resumption of ‘this summer’s actions in Gaza’, when the facts show clearly that the incident had nothing to do with Gaza.

Should the conflict spiral into a religious war, the appalling vista of a possible Islamic State infection of the equation must be causing sleepless nights for those truly concerned about Israel’s security.

The old Nethanyahu mantra that there can be no peace without security should surely read: there will be no security without a just peace.

Its time for Israel to give peace a chance.

I worked for 10 years with the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and a further 10 years with the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) on conflict resolution.

Declan Greenway

Friars Gate



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