Letter: Culpability of the Israeli government and army for the Hebron massacre

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Hebron mosque massacre was not entirely unexpected, nor unusual execept in the sheer numbers involved. Baruch Goldstein is seen as a hero by his own community, which shows he was not, as some claim, an individual lunatic but just one member of a large group. Extremists such as the settlers in and around Hebron are armed by the Israeli govenment for 'self-defence', despite all of the settlements being illegal under international law (Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 49).

During 1991-92, I lived and worked in Hebron as a volunteer nurse. Throughout my time there, I witnessed daily acts of brutality and blatant racism by the Israeli army, but most particularly by the settlers towards the Palestininians. As a nurse, I was appalled to hear that immediately following the massacre the army sealed off the mosque, thus preventing emergency services reaching the wounded and dying for at least 90 minutes.

An international peace-keeping force must be sent immediately to the occupied territories, all settlements dismantled and the Israeli army withdrawn. The way can then be paved for the only possible just solution: a fully independent Palestinian state.

Yours faithfully,

GAIL BECKETT

London, N9

28 February

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