Warren Kennedy, Mullumbimby
In his defence of Israel Danny Wakil uses the same old discredited tropes about Israel and the Palestinians.
One of these is that ‘Israel has put forward numerous decent peace offers’. The peace negotiations have been a sham. By creating the perception that negotiations would lead to some kind of ‘peace’ and an illusory ‘two-state solution’ the Israeli government has used Oslo as a ruse to cover its deepening control over Palestinian life and land through settlement construction, restrictions on movement, the incarceration of thousands, and command over borders and economic life. A Palestinian may preside over the day-to-day administration of Palestinian affairs but ultimate power remains in Israel.
This structure has reached its peak in the Gaza Strip – where over 1.7 million people are penned into a tiny enclave with entry and exit of goods and people largely determined by Israeli dictat.
This cruel and oppressive, illegal occupation of Palestine has, for over 50 years, brutalised the people of Gaza and the West Bank.
Compounding the injury is the illegal settlement of Israeli citizens on Palestinian land, with the obvious intention of annexation. In the process they have gone out of their way to make it as difficult as possible for the Palestinian administrations and people to function or even exist.
Enforced deprivation has caused widespread child malnutrition in Gaza and hospitals are left without enough fuel to keep their generators going reliably. Ninety-four per cent of Gaza’s water is undrinkable because Israel has destroyed the water-treatment plants.
Mr Wakil disingenuously claims that ‘Jews have lived on the land for thousands of years and didn’t turn up on a P&O cruise after WWII’ although many of them did. The majority of Jewish Israelis are immigrants or children of immigrants. By contrast, the families of Palestinian refugees who were driven from their homes and land in a massive act of ethnic cleansing, to make way for those immigrating Jews, had lived there continuously for thousands of years. If anyone had a claim to that land in 1948 it was the people living there.
An Israeli soldier, who shot in the back and killed a fleeing unarmed 15-year-old Palestinian boy, was promoted recently. A teenage Palestinian girl who slapped an Israeli soldier spent eight months in prison. Kill a Palestinian, get rewarded; slap an Israeli, get prison. That’s Israeli justice.
These are some of the reasons why letters criticise Israel and not so much other countries. No other countries treat their neighbours as inhumanely or so obviously steal their neighbours’ land and water while claiming to be seeking peace.