By Stanley Walinets
September 9, 2011
The JC Letters page printed on Aug 26 a letter from me supporting the Alan Duncan video. Andrew Balcombe of British Israel Group responded to it the following week, Sep 2nd. I then wrote responding to Mr Balcombe's objections but the Letters page hasn't printed it - no doubt due to space demands.
I think my response to him was valid however, so I'm printing it here on my blog-site. I trust it will be of interest. My letter sent Sep 4th is as follows:-
I appreciate Andrew Balcombe's response (JC Sep 2nd) to my letter re Alan Duncan's 'Land Grab' video. May I comment?
(1) Mr Balcombe says the security barrier is merely for defence, the legal status of the land it covers still being negotiable. If I built a ten metre high wall inside Mr Balcombe's garden, cutting off access to his gate and requiring him to tramp several miles to reach his farm land, and his children to get to their schools, and perhaps making him wait hours at checkpoints before my security staff let him through; would he then feel OK with my assurance that my 'fence' on his land remains negotiable? (and 'negotiable' only provided he'd let my settlers remain on his land?).
(2) Mr Balcombe says Duncan's 'open land', i.e., the West Bank, "never belonged to an entity called Palestine". He also says (4) "There has never been a state of Palestine". I've known some of our brethren use that 'fact' to assert that Palestinian people don't exist either, so have no rights. However, before 1948 there was certainly no land internationally recognised as 'Israel', yet we don't pretend that we too never existed.
3) Mr Balcombe accuses Mr Duncan of dishonesty, regarding water sharing between Israeli and the West Bank inhabitants. Here are some facts. (Source the US website "What every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine", echoed in the Israeli B'Tselem website "Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories").
a) Israel consumes the majority of water from the Jordan River, despite only 3% of that river falling within Israel's pre-1967 borders.
b) Of the water available from West Bank aquifers, Israel uses 73%, illegal settlers use 10%, and West Bank Palestinians use17%.
c) When supplies of water are low in summer, the Israeli water company Mekorot closes the valves which supply Palestinian towns and villages, so as not to affect Israeli supplies. This means that settlers can have their swimming pools topped up and lawns watered while Palestinians living next to them, on whose land the settlements are situated, do not have enough water for drinking and cooking.
d) Around 50 groundwater wells, over 200 cisterns, and 35,000 meters of water pipes have been destroyed or isolated from their West Bank owners, in the building of the Security Wall.
I do feel Mr Balcombe is skilled in legalist presentation but perhaps economical with the truth. It is more in our interests to consider uncomfortable revelations such as Minister Duncan's, than to simply ignore them in anger.