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Dr Kevin McCarthy (Letters, April 20) suggests that the civil war in Syria justifies Israel’s refusal, in breach of International Law, to return the Golan Heights to Syria.
This is a spurious argument because, long before the Syrian conflict began, Israel refused to return the Golan Heights and as Benjamin Netanyahu has made clear, even when the conflict ends Israel will refuse to return the Golan Heights.
Dr McCarthy asks what would be the response of the Irish Government if a war machine dedicated to the destruction of Ireland as an independent state existed in the Dublin mountains. A more pertinent question surely is what would be the response of the Irish government if Britain decided it had to occupy the Dublin mountains in order to preserve its independence?
For centuries England (from 1707 Britain) occupied Ireland in part out of fear that Ireland could be used as a base to launch attacks on England. The right of the Irish people to self determination counted for nothing, Britain’s perceived security needs trumped all. Britain also “justified” it’s occupation of Ireland by claiming the Irish were unfit for self-government and would be dictated to by the the Roman Catholic clergy. Dr McCarthy uses similar reasoning when he claims the present Syrian government is so odious that Israel is justified in defying international law. Israel’s continued occupation of the Golan Heights has as much justification as did Britain’s occupation of Ireland.
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