Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Israelis blind to the logical way of moving on

THERE can be no justification for the mayhem and merciless assault on innocent life in Gaza. The charge of anti-Semitism is disingenuously used to silence all critics.

Many Jews seek to dissociate themselves from what is happening in their name – they, too, are opposed to the current drift of Zionism, particularly the settlement expansion on the West Bank and the continued medieval-type siege of Gaza. The branding of the justified assertion of our basic rights as "terrorism" has been the psychological weapon of choice by states that have a lot to hide.

This tactic was used by Margaret Thatcher in her dismissal, as "terrorists", of Nelson Mandela and his fellow opponents of apartheid.

In Northern Ireland, one of the greatest political misjudgments was the refusal to address the glaring injustice raised by the civil rights movement.

The Israelis have persistently failed to acknowledge the depth of injustice felt by the people of Gaza. There has been similar blindness to the inevitable consequences of the inequitable distribution of power between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq.

The drift to the Right in Israeli politics has closed the door to genuine rational debate. The unshakeable belief that God decreed that a wandering semi-nomadic people would inherit a land of their own is a myth of origin that sits uneasily with reasoned discussion.

The overwhelming international support for a two-state settlement seems to be the only constructive way forward.

PHILIP O'NEILL

Oxford

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