Letters: There is only one Gaza – and it is being destroyed

These letters appear in the July 17 issue of The Independent


Having met, once, Israel’s Ambassador Daniel Taub  at a meeting in 2003 to “exchange evidence” on the shooting of my son, Tom, in Gaza, I feel compelled to respond to his deeply disingenuous article (“We believe Hamas prevents Gaza prospering in peace”, 16 July) in which he frames his points by dividing Gaza into three.

I’m not going to answer the inaccuracies, half-truths, misrepresentations and cruel logic but will leave this to others.

Mr Taub, there is only one Gaza, currently being bombed to pieces by the might and sophistication of Israel’s military as a “response” to the incomparably cruder Hamas rockets coming out of Gaza.

Fortunately, Israel has the infrastructure, funds and basic materials to build bomb shelters for its people.  Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank continue to suffer: an internationally recognised, illegal military occupation, extreme provocation brought about by settlement-building on Palestinian land in spite of international condemnation, the utter thwarting of prosperity due to closed borders and blocked coast, grossly disproportionate civilian deaths and injuries, the destruction of thousands of homes, and a lack of food, water and medical supplies.

It shows a breathtaking lack of empathy to refer to the “third Gaza that could have been” had they built a “prosperous society with tourists flocking to its beaches”.

Given the history of this conflict, it would take a lot to convince me of Mr Taub’s words that Israel “sought to avoid confrontation altogether”, that it acts with restraint, and that “quiet would be met with quiet”.

Jocelyn Hurndall
London NW5


Daniel Taub makes a carefully constructed argument that Israel is only against Hamas’s underground world in Gaza of rockets and tunnels. That part is understandable; firing rockets at Israeli civilians is wrong and a war crime.

But Israel has also hit Palestinians in Gaza above ground, civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools, homes and medical facilities. 

Taub promises “quiet for quiet” yet this is not on offer at all. A ceasefire cannot come soon enough, and then Israelis can return to a life we can all recognise as normal.

Palestinians in Gaza will remain in hell, under siege, deprived of basic liberties and rights, with power cuts 12 hours a day and water not even fit for animal consumption. They will have no port, no airport, and cannot trade and travel freely.

Some Dubai-like dream world was never on offer and would take decades to create, even in the finest circumstances.

Chris Doyle
Director, Council for Arab-British Understanding
London EC4


It is no surprise that Hamas has rejected the Egyptian peace proposal. Hamas cannot have peace with Israel because its strategic culture calls for a constant conflict. The group defines its raison d’être as fighting the Israeli right to exist, not its occupation.

Its war against Israel is, therefore, not about winning, as Hamas cannot possibly win, but to keep the anti-Israel war hysteria boiling – which means that mounting causalities, civilian deaths, destruction of infrastructure etc are of no consequence to Hamas’s strategic calculus.

It is a shame that the West has allowed this state of affairs in Gaza to continue for so long. The Gazans will surely benefit from not having to live under rulers who are constantly driving them into pointless and destructive wars.

Instead of merely denouncing Israel for its military action, is it not time the West also took notice of the plight of Gaza’s besieged citizens and helped free them from Hamas’s quasi-legitimate rule?

Randhir Singh Bains
Gants Hill, Ilford


Israel refers to Palestinians who take armed action against the Israeli forces as “terrorists”. However, the Palestinians are simply reacting against an army of occupation and siege.

We do not refer to the French Resistance during the Second World War as “terrorists”. And we admire the Jews in the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto against the occupying Nazi soldiers – we would not describe them as terrorists and the Israelis certainly don’t.

John Lohrenz
Godalming, Surrey


Does Ambassador Taub think the British are stupid enough to believe his propaganda? Many countries were quick to impose sanctions on Russia because of interference in Ukraine. Why not the same sanctions on Israel?

Michael Pate
Preston, Lancashire


Daniel Taub implies that Israel’s actions in Gaza are proportionate to the firing of Hamas’s utterly ineffective missiles. Let’s be absolutely clear: they are not.

When the IRA bombed Canary Wharf, Warrington and the Arndale Centre in Manchester, killing scores of people, the UK didn’t order the RAF to heavily bomb the Bogside.

Mark Holt
Waterloo, Merseyside


Gove dismantled our education system

There have been only two Conservative education ministers who have radically reshaped the English education system.

One was Rab Butler who in 1944 forged a system out of disorganised fragments shattered by war; the other was Michael Gove who dismantled a functioning system, shattering it by rhetoric and calumny.

With all its faults Butler’s system lasted 70 years; will Gove’s non-system, with its still greater fault lines, last even seven?

Professor Colin Richards
Spark Bridge, Cumbria


Richard Garner writes (16 July): “Mr Gove was certainly the most ideologically committed and zealous Education Secretary I have come across.”

I would question whether a free and democratic country should have someone in charge of education who is informed by ideology and is a zealot.

Having been a teacher in the UK state system for 33 years and a teacher in China for 10, I would urge every parent and taxpayer to be extremely wary of mixing ideology with any child’s schooling, unless there is a very wide consensus on the understanding and correctness and, most importantly, the wisdom of the ideology.

Is it not ironic that  during the watch of the ideological Mr Gove some schools have been found to  have governors whose ideology is deemed to be unacceptable?

Patrick Wood
Hong Kong


David Cameron apparently reckons that he will improve his election chances by moving Michael Gove after “Lib Dems warned they would exploit his unpopularity” (16 July). Wouldn’t it have been better if they had kept that to themselves?

Kate Francis


New data law based on bogus argument

The fact that the Data Retention and Investigative Powers Act was being voted through Parliament over just three days this week is a travesty. David Cameron’s justification for the emergency legislation is events in Iraq and Syria and the threat from criminals and terrorists targeting the UK. This is bogus.

Before the invasion of Iraq and the bolstering of the anti-regime forces in Syria by Washington and London, there was no terrorist threat emanating from these countries. Moreover, the Western powers have been actively aiding opposition forces in Syria as part of their goal of regime change.

Once again, the “war on terror” is being employed to abrogate civil liberties.

Alan Hinnrichs


What is the cost of weight-loss surgery?

You report that the NHS could offer weight-loss surgery to people with type 2 diabetes (report,  11 July). Has a survey been conducted of the long-term benefits? I have met people who have had a gastric band fitted and, after losing a huge amount of weight, they have gradually returned to their former size. Before billions of pounds are spent on these operations we should be assured of their long-term value.

Mike Stroud


When are people going to get it into their fat heads that obesity is not necessarily the fault of the sufferer? Yes, it might come from personal greed or be a result of years of allowing the food industry its pernicious head, but it may also be the result of illness: a metabolic failure.

I gained weight relentlessly for some 20 years. The belief that it was somehow my own fault was one of the reasons why my illness wasn’t diagnosed until I was very ill, my career and social life had been wrecked, and I had had a stroke.

You can imagine how my mental health was affected by the moral judgement I encountered almost daily.

Eventually I found a doctor who actually listened to me and believed me when I told him I could starve myself to death and I would still die fat.

He sent me to a man who knew what he was doing and bariatric surgery has not only saved my life, it has given me back a good quality of life.

Sara Neill
Tunbridge Wells, Kent

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Newspaper stands have been criticised by the Child Eyes campaign  

There were more reader complaints this year – but, then again, there were more readers

Will Gore

People drink to shut out pain and stress. Arresting them won’t help

Deborah Coughlin
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?