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Gary Spedding of Queen’s University Students’ Union (Letters, Oct 31) brands those facts that contradict his argument as Israeli government ‘propaganda’.
Area C, of Judea-Samaria (the West Bank), is not “off limits” to Palestinians, as Mr Spedding says, but contains only 4% of the Palestinian Arab population (the rest have autonomous self-government in Areas A and B). This arrangement exists, not by “Israeli military edict”, but under the Oslo Accords, signed by both Israel and the Palestinian leadership in 1993-95.
Consisting of empty desert, Area C is also where most of the Jewish settlers live, on about 2% of the land of the West Bank, and where Israel maintains a military presence — to curtail the suicide bombers and terrorists who have, since Oslo, killed 1,500 Israelis.
Mr Spedding conveniently blames what he calls the “illegal” Jewish settlements for the lack of peace.
He might recall that not a single Jew lived in the West Bank in 1964, when the PLO was founded with the aim of destroying the “illegal” state of Israel, or in 1967, when four Arab states sent their armies to wipe out Israel.
Mr Spedding can chant the mantra of “illegal settlements” all he wants, but cannot abolish the right of Jews — conferred by the San Remo Treaty of 1920, confirmed by the League of Nations in September, 1922 — to settle anywhere west of the Jordan river. The 250,000 Jews of the West Bank live there by this right, which has never been rescinded.
As Israel has a 20% Arab minority, why cannot a future Palestinian state have a 10% Jewish minority?
Or is Mr Spedding telling us there are places on the planet where Jews may not be allowed to live?
As for Israel ‘crippling’ the Palestinian economy, the Jewish settlements employ at least 15,000 Palestinian-Arab workers — supporting 60,000-70,000 dependents — who are paid double the average West Bank wage.
Take these away and you would then cripple the economy.
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