Letter: Israel's treatment of Palestinians

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your headline 'Deportations 'kill' peace talks' (18 December) was correct in putting the word 'kill' in inverted commas. The talks are only suspended and, in any case, they had been moribund for some time. The deadlock was caused by the refusal of all the Arab delegations to engage in the process of give and take inherent in any meaningful negotiations.

Israel has made a number of generous gestures to encourage the peace process: hundreds of Arabs held on terrorist charges were released, the Arab universities in the West Bank - famous only as hotbeds of Palestinian fanaticism - were reopened, and the building of settlements was halted. All in vain. The Arab negotiators did not budge from their maximalist position. Yet they want to be recognised as moderates, in contradistinction to the Hamas hotheads.

The reason why Hamas killed six soldiers recently was precisely to derail what was left of the peace talks; and as soon as the legitimate and predictable Israeli reprisals materialised, the PLO and their partners duly obliged. In practice, is there such a difference between Hamas and the PLO?

Indeed, do the Arabs really want peace? This, of course, is not the question asked by the 'serious' media, which are once again busy criticising Israel's expulsion policies.

One only has to compare current anti-Israeli comments with the reluctance of the media to condemn the Indian government for failing to prevent the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque to

appreciate the prevailing bias against the Jewish state: when thousands die in Indian communal riots, the media and the UN, by and large, remain neutral; but when 417 Palestinian troublemakers are deported, they scream blue murder. As for the protest of our Government, may I suggest that before presuming to tell Israel what to do, it would be well advised to concentrate on defending this country against the IRA.

Yours faithfully,


London, W1

18 December