View of Middle East is too black and white
PAULINE McNeill MSP (Insight, 9 September) obviously lives in a world where everything is black and white and truths are crystal-clear.
Thus she is able to write an article about the Israel/Palestine conflict which is completely imbalanced. For example, she writes about half a million Palestinians fleeing from their homes in 1948, but omits that this was when the Arab leaders rejected the UN resolution to create Jewish and Palestinian states in Western Palestine (the Arab state of Transjordan had already been carved out in Eastern Palestine in the 1920s) and after the Arab states had invaded the new Jewish state of Israel.However, she has no thoughts about the 800,000 or more Jews who fled Arab countries around that time, leaving their property and money behind and settling in Israel – in effect an exchange of populations.
Likewise, she lists Israeli “crimes” but gives no perspective on actions on the Arab side which may have contributed, such as the creation of an anti-semitic Hamas government in Gaza committed to the destruction of Israel, or the constant bombardment from Gaza into Israel over the years.
Harvey Kaplan, Glasgow
IN THE 30 years that have passed since the massacres at Sabra and Shatila, which occurred during the Lebanese Civil War when 95,000 died and thousands disappeared, it has become difficult to separate fact from exaggeration. In Pauline McNeill’s analysis of events (Insight, 9 September) and in building to her conclusions on Israel’s standing in the world, she ponders little on the question of why Arab countries and their governments deny citizenship to the refugees in their midst, nor acknowledges Israel’s achievement in absorbing very quickly hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees ejected from Arab and other Muslim countries between 1947 and the early 1950s.
Ms McNeill eventually concludes that Israel has lost the moral argument around the world, but I would argue that it has not, certainly not with regard to the Sabra and Shatila massacres, which were conducted wholly by the Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia. After public outrage in Israel itself, the Kahan Commission of Inquiry found that Israel was indirectly responsible for not anticipating the possibility of Phalangist violence.
In her wish that we remember the innocents, Ms McNeill will perhaps acknowledge the deaths of 635 and 2,500 wounded at the hands of Muslim militiamen in May 1985 at the same Shatila camp and that of Burj-el Barajneh. There was little outcry about that incident but it is well documented, as is that of October 1990 when Syrian forces overran Christian-controlled areas of Lebanon, killing 700. Pauline McNeill will doubtless want to be selective when it comes to comment on the Middle East.
Dr Graeme D Eddie, Dunbar
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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