Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Letters: Eamonn McCann silent on Arab treatment of Palestinians

Why do we never hear Eamonn McCann speak out about the treatment of Palestinians in Lebanon, where they are forbidden to own property and hold certain jobs (DebateNI, June 23)?

I have never heard him speak out about Jordan revoking citizenship from Palestinians, or occupying the East Bank. He is silent about the treatment of Palestinians by Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Unlike the surrounding Arab countries, all Israeli citizens – Armenians, Bedouin, Circassians, Druze, Jews, Maronites, Muslims and Russians – have the right to vote, speak their language, practise their faith, and protest against Government policies.

Israel is a democracy. It has free and fair elections, and an independent judiciary. It has a large mix of political parties, a freewheeling parliament, including members who have openly cavorted with the country's enemies, and a free Press.

Israel protects freedom of worship for all. It has a vibrant gay community, strong unions and minority communities have legal protections and certain rights not afforded to Israeli Jews.

Oh, I almost forgot: a fifth of the Israeli population is Muslim Arab. How big is the Jewish population in the surrounding Arab countries, Eamonn?

A Hamas-run society is a society with all-enveloping political and religious suffocation, relegation of women to the status of virtual male property, intimidation of the tiny Christian (or any other faith) community, and unadulterated anti-Semitism.

There is nothing worse than to see the truth and tell a lie.

GARY CAMPBELL

By email

Illegal actions of Israel ignored by America and UN

Israeli bombs rain down on Gaza again, to date killing more than 100 people, wounding more than 700, making many homeless and traumatising a trapped population living under an illegal land, sea and air siege.

Gaza's hospitals are struggling to cope; according to Medical Aid for Palestine, the list of zero stock medicines is now 139 items. In the West Bank, 936 Palestinians have been arrested since mid-June and at least nine have been killed.

Yet the media presents the Israeli narrative of its actions being "retaliation", simply ignoring that Israel is the occupier, the aggressor, has an army, an air force, a navy and the support of the US and the EU.

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the International Court of Justice ruling Israel's wall, snaking far beyond the Green Line into Palestinian land, is illegal, yet there has been no sanction for this or any other of its breaches of international law.

ZOE LAWLOR

By email

Government's lab animals vow worthless

When this Government came to power it pledged to reduce the number of animals used in vivisection. But the number of animal experiments in 2013 was the highest in nearly 30 years.

There is an attempt to conceal the bad news by suggesting that the exponential increase in the use of genetically modified (GM) animals does not somehow represent animal suffering.

But, as Animal Aid's detailed investigations have shown, GM animals are subjected to some of the most horrific torments imaginable.

Part of the tragedy is that these animal victims are sacrificed pointlessly: the data extracted so violently from them cannot be reliably applied to human medicine.

And yet there are so many non-animal, human-relevant research methods, such as the use of human cells and tissues, computer modelling and studies on human volunteers.

Biomedical researchers have a duty to embrace such methods wholeheartedly, so that animals can be saved from the pain and misery of the laboratory.

ISOBEL HUTCHINSON

Animal Aid

Land swaps can help solve conflict

Israel is being blamed for the current escalation in the Middle East, although it is Hamas that started the conflict.

The Arab world is in turmoil, but the engine that drives it is powered not by the Israel-Palestine dispute, but by Sunni-Shiite sectarianism.

What better way to shift the focus to Israel than to attack her with rockets, thereby forcing her to respond?

Israel, however, instead of escalating, should channel its rage towards finding a peaceful solution, whose framework has now existed for several years.

This involves land swap, whereby the Palestinians cede their claims to the larger Israeli settlements, in return for which Israel would surrender territory in predominantly Arab areas.

It is a pity that, although this proposal has been on the table for many years, President Mahmoud Abbas, instead of signing the proposal, chose to build bridges with Hamas, thereby sowing the seeds for the current conflict.

RANDHIR BAINS

By email

No difference in Mafia and IRA

The Pope recently excommunicated the Mafia for their murdering and racketeering in Italy.

Will the Pope's representative in Ireland now consider excommunicating our very own IRA mafia, who operate out of south Armagh with impunity? They are making vast sums of money out of racketeering, as well as beating to death those who cross them.

They even have connections with the Italian Mafia, as a former IRA bomber is currently in an Italian jail for money laundering.

CURIOUS

Lisburn, Co Antrim

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz