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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (01/10/16)

Your letters, your views.

Not all Irish are Catholic, so Jews can be Palestinian

Edward Horgan wrote (Irish Examiner, September 27) that “The British Mandate population figures for Palestine in 1923 were 590,890 Palestinians, 83,794 Jews, and 82,498 Christians and others ...”.

I suspect that this must be inaccurate, unless he wishes to imply that only Muslims are ‘genuine’ Palestinians. This is equivalent to restricting the term ‘Irish’ to Catholics, which might be acceptable in certain circles.

Just as Protestants can be citizens of Ireland, or Muslim and Christian Arabs of Israel, why should Jews not be allowed to live in a future Palestinian state? Yet Palestinian Authority chairman, Mahmood, Abbas, has ruled this out.

If Mr Horgan wishes to be taken seriously, he should be more careful with the accuracy of his quotations. If he is seen to have been misleading once, readers may well assume that other quotes have been similarly ‘edited’ to support his political opinions.

Martin D. Stern

Hanover Gardens
Salford
England

Christians respected and safe in Israel

Christians are one of the most oppressed minorities in the Middle East, yet they are seldom mentioned by Irish ‘human rights activists’. This year, I spent five days on holiday in Haifa, an Israeli city with a large and vibrant Christian Arab population. In Haifa, everyday you see Christian Arab girls walking unharmed to wonderful schools run by nuns. Christian schools and churches in Israel don’t need armed guards to protect them from Islamist attack, as they do in states like Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, etc. Christians can display crucifixes openly and even sell pork dishes in their restaurants.

Israel’s security fence and wall protects Christians, as well as Jews, from attacks by Islamists and other extremists. Despite this, Dr Edward Horgan (Irish Examiner, letters, September 27) seeks to remove this vital safeguard and thereby expose them to murder and mayhem. As Br. Damien McKinney used to tell us over 40 years ago, in St Kevin’s CBS: “Common sense isn’t so common”.

Karl Martin

Bayside
Dublin 13

Palestinians are really Jordanian

Barry Walsh (Irish Examiner, September 28) asks if a two-state solution isn’t the answer to peace in the Middle East. Then, who are the Palestinians and where should they live? The answer is simple.

I understand all the nuances and arguments about the Middle East. I just happen to think the premise of those arguments is fatally wrong. The international community recognises lots of things and gets lots of things wrong. Is Mr Walsh really trying to make the claim that if Israel removed all settlements (and what exactly is the problem with Jewish people living on that land, if the legal title issue is resolved?) that Palestinians would stop firing rockets, stop printing teaching material for their schools that would be banned as anti-Semitic in any other country, that Palestinian women would be free to dress as they wanted, marry who they wanted, and choose the life they wanted? The Palestinians are Jordanian, is the answer to Mr Walsh. I could solve the Middle East crisis in five minutes by redrawing the borders of a few countries and aligning them properly with the relevant tribes and physical geography. That’s the easy part. Solving it on paper is as easy as creating the mess was when random lines were drawn on a map.

Arabs identify with tribes in the same way we used to identify ourselves based on being part of a family sept. Those who now call themselves Palestinians, and those whom we now call Jordanians (another man-made ‘nation’), are one and the same. Palestinians currently living in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria should be afforded full citizenship of those countries, and Palestinians living in the West Bank should become full Jordanian citizens. Gaza should really be part of Israel, but if that’s a step too far, then it should become part of Egypt, with people living there getting full citizenship. But there should be an open period, where people in those areas can freely choose where to live. They can call themselves Palestinians, Jordanian, Galileans, Samarians, or whatever they want.

In terms of aid and help, the Palestinians have received more than any other people on earth, including people in far greater need in Africa. Precious little of that help comes from their fellow Arabs, despite their oil wealth, unless it’s to fund violence. Yet, Palestinian leaders still squander most of it, with precious little making it to the people it was intended to help.

If Palestinians are ‘ground down by decades of subjugation and daily humiliations’, as claimed by Mr Walsh, it is not Israel’s fault. I don’t for a moment argue that Israel is without fault, but Palestinian leaders had a choice in 1948, in 1967, and in 1973. Each time, they chose wrongly, yet they are never held to account for their role in creating the living conditions of Palestinians. It’s always someone else’s fault.

But it’s easier to have Israel to blame, as it deflects attention and anger from where it should be directed, which is toward Palestinian leadership. It is they who should take responsibility for their own failures. But that would mean some in the West having to take responsibility for their delusional encouragement of a Palestinian pipe dream. But because denial is the strongest human emotion, that brings us back to blaming Israel, as it’s easier than facing the truth. And so the nonsense continues.

Desmond Fitzgerald

Canary Wharf
London

Two states still the only solution

Barry Walsh’s letter lamenting the receding prospect of an independent Palestinian state makes for sober reading (Irish Examiner, September 28). Mr Walsh eruditely highlights the absurdity of Desmond Fitzgerald’s claim that the very idea of Palestinian statehood is a ‘fantasy’ manufactured after the 1967 Six Day War. Walsh exposes it as the stock argument of a blinkered individual who selectively, if cleverly, uses historical fact to underpin a prejudicial worldview.

However, if Fitzgerald is guilty of projecting a fantasist narrative, so, too, is Walsh. This is clear when he disparagingly dismisses the two-state model of co-existence and reinforces the standard Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s (IPSC) model of a unified “secular [and] mixed” one where Jews would be a minority.

The only solution that is remotely possible is an independent Palestine that recognises and guarantees the security of the Jewish state of Israel. To lament, as Walsh does, for a universal secular state, where Jews would be treated equally, is naive and ignores the absolutist determination of the current Gaza government, Hamas, to eradicate Israel.

This is recognised by Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who, despite being divisive and hawkish, understands that negotiating with Mahamoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority is the only game in town. He understands that Abbas is forced to present an absolutist rhetoric to counteract the nihilists of Hamas. Therefore, he takes every opportunity to push Abbas as the only leader Israel can possibly do business with.

This was evident in Netanyahu’s address to the United Nations General Assembly last week, when he spoke directly to Abbas, in front of a global audience. “You have a choice to make. You can continue to stoke hatred, as you did today, or you can finally confront hatred and work with me to establish peace between our two peoples. I know that many of you have given up on peace. But I want you to know — I have not given up on peace. I remain committed to a vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. I believe, as never before, that changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to advance that peace.”

Whether you support Netanyahu (as many people do), or loathe him (as far more appear to do), the fact remains that he continues to espouse a two-state co-existence that would guarantee an independent Palestine. However, this requires a courageous Palestinian leader, who will recognise the moral and political right of a sovereign Jewish state. This will not gain everything at once, but it will, as Michael Collins said in a hostile treaty debate, “gives us freedom, not the ultimate freedom that all nations desire … but the freedom to achieve it.”

Kevin McCarthy

Kinsale
Co Cork

Hare-coursing fans are the real animals

The coursing season is starting soon and the animals are thirsty for the kill. So, too, are the greyhounds. The docile creature known affectionately as the Irish hare is the running target for the savage bloodletters .

These ‘sporting’ events are attended by people who see nothing wrong in watching a poor hare being caught by baying greyhounds, flung in the air, tossed about and muzzled to death, and squealing all the while in pain and fear.

The real shame are the people who attend these sadistic meetings, for enjoyment. And shame on us, for our collective inability to sway the gutless politicians into stopping this vile practice. Hares can’t vote.

It’s a bad hat, when we have to stoop so low and beg those in Leinster House to stop a practice that originated in another century, and which the majority of right-thinking people in this century definitely don’t want. You don’t need to be an animal lover to show your disgust at these barbaric rituals. These wild hares are in our care. We must cherish and protect them, not let them be slaughtered by the vile minority.

Holly Barrett

Waters Place
Mallow
Cork

Kate’s courage a lesson for us all

Thank you for Kate Tobin’s update on her health. It puts in context most of our own little gripes. The poor woman is going through a dreadful experience.

Could there not be a write-down on her debts? And a free computer? I am not going to give an opinion on assisted suicide. It is a personal matter. And if I was in such intense pain, and discomfort, what would I do? One can debate moral arguments. But unless you are personally in such distress, how can you make a judgment? Human beings are just flesh and blood, but deep within we all have something inside so strong. Our spirit. That divine spark that no-one can extinguish.

Anthony Woods

Marian Ave
Ennis
Co, Clare



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