SIR – F Baigel, in his letter, ‘Writer should come and see for himself,’ challenges my condemnation of the destruction of Palestinian villages to make way for settlements and invites me to come and see for myself. It is ironic that he gives his address as Turmus Aya, a Palestinian village from which land was confiscated to establish the Israeli religious community settlement of Shiloh in 1979.
As with the ongoing expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Shiloh is illegal under international law. This land was taken illegally from its Palestinian owners and settled with Jews from around the world with no previous Middle East connection.
The forced removal of Palestinians from such villages resulted in the large population of refugees that moved to Jordan and continue to seek refuge around the world because of the Israeli law which forbids them the right to return to their homes.
Baigel decries the Gazan protesters as meaningless and suicidal. It would surely be more appropriate to understand the desperation that drives these protesters from their blockaded confined prison of Gaza to try to return to their dispossessed homes.
It is important to acknowledge that such protest is internationally recognised as legitimate: The UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/3246 (XXIX) of 29 November 1974 affirmed the legitimacy of the people’s struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle. It strongly condemned all Governments which do not recognise the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the Palestinian people.
Our government, preoccupied as it is with Brexit fallout, should take time to demand a cessation of illegal Israeli settlement expansion on stolen Palestinian land with the resultant creation of still more refugees with nowhere to go.