I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the United Nations General Assembly’s stance on ceasefires, particularly when comparing its treatment of Israel and the situation in Afghanistan in 2002.
That year was marked by intense global efforts to combat terrorism, with the US-led coalition undertaking operations in Afghanistan to address the threat posed by the Taliban and al-Qaeda. During this period, civilian casualties occurred in the pursuit of restoring peace and security.
What raises eyebrows is the conspicuous absence of a UN General Assembly call for a ceasefire in Afghanistan despite the significant and far larger number of Afghan civilian casualties resulting from the coalition’s operations. The lack of a comparable response, when measured against the overwhelming calls for Israel to cease its operations, suggests a troubling double standard and a blatant bias against Israel.
The UK government’s call for a “sustainable ceasefire” in Gaza only makes sense if it involves the permanent removal of Hamas as that enclave’s ruler. If the jihadi terrorists are left in power, presumably with their weapons intact, it will represent an egregious betrayal of the warm and friendly overtures made from Downing Street at the start of this conflict.
Rishi Sunak was clear that Israel had a right of self defence and that its political objectives, namely removing Hamas and destroying its terrorist assets, were necessary. There is understandable concern over the high level of civilian casualties but this is a disagreement over tactics, not over Jerusalem’s fundamental goals. Any attempt to undermine Israel’s strategic objectives will simply hand Hamas, and its Iranian sponsor, a very dangerous propaganda victory.
Director, B’nai B’rith UK Bureau of International Affairs
Louise Ellman, in her quest for a peaceful solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict, makes the common error of transposing western liberal, democratic values onto a people with a completely different mindset, philosophy and modus operandi (We cannot let go of faith in the hope of making peace, 15 December).
There can be no “sustainable two state reality” with a people who declare that their ultimate goal is not to live alongside Israel but to replace it with a Palestinian state, ethnically cleansed of its Jews. This is the stated position of the “moderate” Palestinian Authority.
The Gaza experiment has been enough to convince Israelis of all stripes that the “land for peace” concept is a dangerous illusion. Hamas has done exactly what it said it would, bolstered by the support of at least 75 per cent of “innocent” Palestinians.
Never in history has the defeated aggressor in a war been rewarded by territorial enlargement at the expense of the victor. Such a suggestion is the theatre of the absurd.
Moreover, the peace treaties Dame Louise mentions with Egypt and Jordan were not at the expense of giving up Israeli land, and have always been a “cold peace” — a result of their realisation that Israel would never be defeated militarily.
Following the Six Day War, when Israel liberated Gaza and Judea/Samaria from Egyptian and Jordanian occupation, a delegation of high ranking American military experts visited Israel on a secret mission. They reported that for minimum security Israel must retain the majority of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan. The creation of a Palestinian state in these areas would render Israel indefensible.
There needs to be another solution: to stop the indoctrination and hatred of the next generation of Palestinians, inculcating in them that Israel is here to stay, in what they hitherto regarded as exclusive Islamic lands.
James R Windsor
Moral high ground
The devastating and heartbreaking news of the three Israeli hostages shot dead by the IDF has brought to the fore a growing movement of Israelis demonstrating their dismay and dissatisfaction with Netanyahu’s leadership — a tenuous leadership that draws on self-preservation and which is encouraged by a xenophobic right-wing faction.
Israel was founded on secure Torah values of justice and democracy, as a beacon of liberal freedom in a region characterised by blind theocracy and where personal freedom is compromised.
Israel must now recognise that it has to take the moral high ground to free the remaining hostages, but more importantly lead the way to peace.
Woodford Green, Essex
History will mark two key events that brought so much misery to Israel. One is the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the other is the coming to power of Mr Netanyahu. Both were together in bed for the best part of the last two decades, both fed off each other until one violated its part of that unwritten contract on October 7.
But if one may be eliminated soon, who will save the Jewish state from the other?
Although I have not really encountered antisemitism and continue to wear an Israeli flag pin badge on my coat lapel and a gold chai, there are certainly problems with social meetings with non-Jews. Sooner or later someone will ask (fair enough, they are concerned) how my family in Israel are. Then they comment that the situation in Israel/Gaza is really dreadful and I have to reply.
This happens wherever I go, and I feel that the subtext is: “Your people are killing thousands of innocent Palestinian families.” Maybe I’m paranoid, but I am now wary of such meetings and seem to be more drawn towards synagogue and other Jewish groups where I can let my guard down.