Ann Farmer cites the 1917 Balfour Declaration as justification for the state of Israel (Letters, 2 October) and points out that it promised the British government's support for a "Jewish homeland" in Palestine. Aside from the fact that the British government of the day had no right to promise someone else's land to the Jews or anyone else, the full text of the declaration includes the proviso, "...it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country". This is usually overlooked by Zionists and, given subsequent events, has clearly been trampled on by Israel and its supporters. More than 500 Palestinian towns and villages within Israel have been wiped off the face of the earth by successive Israeli governments, for example, and, to this day, Muslim and Christian places of worship are attacked by Jewish settlers.
It is interesting to see that she describes the Jewish terrorists as "nationalists" (but Palestinian nationalists are, of course, "terrorists" in her view) when the Stern Gang, Irgun and Haganah clearly used terrorism against the British Mandate authorities and local Palestinians to achieve their nefarious aims, killing hundreds of people in the process, including British citizens. She should be ashamed at the use of such a double standard.
"Millions of pounds of aid" money have indeed been spent by the Palestinians, but not on "rockets" as Ann Farmer claims. The money goes to the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and much has been used to build-up the infrastructure, a great deal of which has been destroyed in Israel's brutal offensives against Palestinian civilians. Where is the outcry that buildings built by European donations are destroyed with impunity by Israel?
Her claim that "Israeli Arabs and Christians enjoy equal status" is nonsense, as any scrutiny of the application of Israeli laws will testify. So too is her claim about "Israel surrendering the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinian rule"; all of the occupied Palestinian territories remain legally, technically and practically under Israeli occupation. Any honest visitor to the West Bank, with its apartheid wall, illegal settlements, settler-only roads, checkpoints and military raids will confirm that the occupation has not "surrendered" anything; indeed, it is taking more and more Palestinian-owned land by the day.
I continue to be amazed that Christians like Ann Farmer in the West appear to be happy to abandon the "Living Stones" of the Palestinian Christian community to the mercies of Israel's brutal military occupation in order to "defend God's Chosen People"; it is truly astonishing. Does she not care that churches have been set on fire and vandalised by Jewish settlers, none of whom have been brought to justice by the Israeli authorities for their arson?
Michael Petek's pro-Israel letter (also 2 October) is so full of myths and propaganda that it deserves to be treated with contempt. Suffice to say that his claim that "Israeli citizens - whether or not Jewish - have" the right "to settle in any part of the territory of the State of Israel" is not borne out by reality. His claim sums up the pro-Israel lobby's myth-making in order to justify the unjustifiable - the theft of the land of Palestine to create a state based on ethnicity; apartheid was unacceptable in South Africa and it is equally unacceptable in Israel.
Middle East Monitor