LETTERS: Softly-softly US approach to Israel

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The Independent Online
From Sir Anthony Parsons Sir: Sarah Helm ("Troops in land-grab clashes", 31 December), is right that Israeli land seizures are illegal under Geneva conventions, specifically the Fourth Convention which governs the behaviour of an occupying power. The US government used to take a similar view, as did the European community. In the 1980s the American attitude softened. The settlements became "obstacles to peace". Now they are apparently only a "complicating factor" and US provides for their "natural growth".

There was a time when the UN Security Council and the EU would have publicly pronounced on an incident such as that reported by Sarah Helm. Now only the media speaks up. This quietism is presumably designed not to upset the "peace process". This argumentwould be more convincing if progress had not ground to a halt. As it is, the international failure to react to the expansion of Israeli settlements will not have escaped the notice of the Palestinians and will serve only to deepen their disillusionment and encourage radicalism.

Yours faithfully, ANTHONY PARSONS Ashburton, Devon 1 January

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