Letters: Why do we swallow Hamas propaganda?

These letters appear in the Tuesday 15th issue of The Independent

Share

Hamas must be so disappointed. Only 170 dead and not many of them the children they took such care to put in the line of fire. You see, they understand the Western media better than we do ourselves.

Hearts bleed copiously whenever Israel tries to stop Hamas rockets being launched from a clutch of domestic housing. It’s nothing to do with me. I’m not Jewish and have never been to Israel. I’m a great admirer of Arab culture and the Sufis.

But why do the Hamas/Islamic Jihad threats of genocide seem to mean nothing to the bien-pensants here? Why do we keep swallowing their propaganda whole and, without pausing for a little chewing-time, start vilifying the Israelis? 

Steve Kerensky, Morecambe

 

Professor Walker is right to remind us that European colonisation has historically been catastrophic for the peoples of the territories that have been annexed. Canadian Indians, Australian Aborigines, Caribs suffered horrendously. The Spanish Empire wrecked civilisations. And it is no different with Israel. Since that country has already instituted apartheid, the logical thrust of its brutal treatment of the Palestinians, the original owners of the land, will be to obliterate them.

Michael Rosenthal, Banbury, Oxfordshire

 

I wonder if the Israeli government realises how its lethal and apparently indiscriminate attack on Gaza is affecting public opinion, even among moderates, around the world?

Harriet Kennett, South Warnborough, Hampshire

 

Your correspondent Dr Jacob Amir’s (Letters, 12 July) history of Palestine in 1947 is highly selective, and accords with what Israel wants us to believe.

He claims that Palestinan Jewry accepted the 1947 UN partition plan, but ignores the many Jews who rejected it and wanted still more land than the 60 per cent they received from the UN. He also ignores the many Arabs who then and today oppose ethnic discrimination and favour ethnic equality within a democratic state (what today is called “the one-state solution”).

Within this framework, there would be no need to dismantle the settlements, but the settlers would have to accept the principles of democracy and ethnic equality. What is so bad about that?

John Bibby, York

 

The Israeli government has told residents in Gaza to leave their homes before the planned attack takes place. Just where are they supposed to go?

Alison Chown, Bridport, Dorset

 

In the current conflict in Gaza casualty figures play a large role in the minds of uninvolved observers. When they hear that no Israelis have been killed by missiles fired from Gaza into Israel, but that 100 Gazans have been killed by Israeli counter-strikes, people tend to sympathise with the side that has the larger body count. But that is simplistic.

Notwithstanding the fact that c.650 missiles that have been fired from Gaza into Israel in the past few days, starting the conflict, there have been no deaths in Israel because the majority of the missiles targeted at populated areas have been intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. This has been developed by Israel at great expense precisely to protect its civilian population from such repeated attacks. The Red Alert alarm sounds to warn civilians to run for cover.

Jack Cohen, Netanya, Israel

 

Has Israel never considered another option in its relationship with Gaza? Instead of endless bombing which achieves nothing except to stoke further resentment and hate why not try killing with kindness? Building hospitals, schools, and generally contributing to the welfare of the people of Gaza would considerably lessen the appeal of Hamas and it might cause Israel to pause before it destroys its own handiwork.

Nicky Ford, Guildford, Surrey

 

Return of the ‘snoopers’ charter’

As Benjamin Franklin  said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty,  to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” When is a snooping charter, not a snooping charter– when David Cameron and his stooge Nick Clegg call it the Data Retention and Investigation Powers Bill (report, 11 July).

Will this legislation be applied to companies?  Will it apply to multinationals that supply weapons to terrorists?  Will it apply to tax dodgers? Will it apply to politicians? No? Thought not.

This draconian law isn’t happening in other EU countries, so why just the UK? It would seem that Obama and the NSA’s influence trumps everything, even EU law.

In 1979 Stiff Little Fingers sang “They take away our freedom in the name of liberty”. They were singing about the terrorists; 35 years later it could equally apply to our government.

Julie Partridge, London SE15

 

The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill has been allotted one day this week before the Commons and one day before the Lords before voting day and the summer recess.

This Bill has the support of all three political leaders and directly flouts the ruling of the European Court of Justice that the UK government’s powers to submit all UK citizens to electronic surveillance without particularity, judicial oversight, appeal or review are essentially illegal.

The European Human Rights Convention provides guarantees of legal protection for all citizens. This essential security is explained in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 1948.

Respect for the Declaration, and implementation of the international human rights conventions that followed, is as fundamental to democracy as is the independence of the judiciary.

What evidence suddenly convinced Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Miliband that this Bill was so urgent that it must be whipped through to the vote, thereby denying Parliament the time to consider the implications and consequences of  their votes?

And why, given the acts of terrorism and violence, does the UK Government impose severe cutbacks on our police forces, and deny the police a more than decent pay rise?

Vanessa Redgrave, London SW1

 

Network Rail is definitely on track

Network Rail has been entrusted by its regulator and Government to spend and invest £38bn over the next five years in running and improving Britain’s railway (“Trains, fines and big claims – Network Rail is way off track”, 11 July).

A strong and diverse supplier base is crucial to our success. We have over 4,000 regular suppliers and of the £7bn spent and invested in our railway last year, 98.5 per cent was with companies that are based or have significant presence in the UK.

As someone new to the industry, I see clearly that we need to make further improvements, especially to train punctuality, which currently stands at 90 per cent, and we will do so over the coming years. Overall, the rail network is providing its users with a service that is seeing record levels of safety, passenger numbers, satisfaction and investment but there is still much to improve.

We recognise that we are entirely accountable for investing wisely and making every penny count to improve our railway. That is precisely what we are and will be doing.

Mark Carne, Chief Executive, Network Rail, London N1

 

Failing schools? Blame the council

The head of Ofsted castigates councils for not raising concerns about under-performing schools (report, 12 July).

So, after 12 years of successive governments forcing the transfer of nearly all education funding from Local Education Authorities to schools and the private sector, thus leading to the dismantling of School Effectiveness Services across the country, followed by drastic reductions in other council funding which make it impossible to find money to maintain such services, how exactly are councils supposed to do that?

John Prescott urged Tony Blair not to abolish LEAs because then any blame for shortcomings would fall on national government. Wrong again, John.

Paul Clein, Liverpool

 

Same-sex ballroom dancing ban

Joyce Grenfell would have been dismayed to learn that two ladies should not dance together and then would not have written, “Stately as a galleon, we glided across the floor...” (report, 11 July).

Lorna Roberts, London N2

 

Bemused by bearded barbs

Janet Street-Porter writes (12 July) that she doesn’t know a single woman who finds a full beard remotely attractive. As someone with a full beard, I can put her mind at rest.

Steve Mills, London SW17

React Now

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

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia  

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Oliver Poole
Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup