SIR – I refer to J Rowe’s letter in response to my correction of his assertion that there never was a Palestinian land or people when Israel was established. He now claims that Jews had a major presence in the area prior to the establishment of the state while Arabs were only there because of Jewish endeavour. He should first consider how contemporary Israel rests on land taken from Canaanities and Philistines by Jews millennia ago before their displacement in turn by others.
The truth is that, from 1882 onwards, thousands of Easter European and Russian Jews began settling in Palestine; pushed by the anti-Semitic persecution and pogroms they were facing in the Russian Empire, and elsewhere. In the 1880s the Palestinian Jews, known as Yishuv, in contrast to the Zionist Jews who arrived later, did not aspire to build a Jewish state in Palestine and were well received as people in need.
In the 1880s, Palestinian Jews amounted to three percent of the total population, so again, claims by Mr Rowe are totally incorrect.
In 1936, Palestinian Arabs uprose against British occupation and British support for Zionist settler-colonialism, known as the Arab Revolt. The British crushed the revolt over ensuing three years, destroying Palestinian homes and put 9,000 Palestinians in concentration camps (similar to internment) and subjected them to torture and deportation.
The Zionist Jews also took on the British during occupation and notably in the bombing of the King David Hotel killed 91 top brass and British administrators.
The British decided to abandon the disaster they had created in Palestine and ended their mandate, so that it was handed over to the now UN. At the establishment of the Zionist Jewish state, the Zionists in Palestine constituted one-third of the population and owned less than 6% of the total land area.
Under the UN partition plan, the Zionists were allocated 55% of the land including the main cities and coastline. Palestinians were deprived of key agricultural lands and seaports which led the Palestinians to reject the proposal and we have been in much the same quagmire ever since.
It is rich that Mr Rowe, sitting in his Manchester pad, should lecture the Irish on how the colonial invention of the state of Israel should be permitted to carry on with its illegal Palestinian land theft and settlement by people with no Middle East connection while denying Palestinians, dispossessed of lands and homes, the right to return. Israel is in military occupation for 51 years now imposing control on Palestinians which is similar to colonial times.
The killing of unarmed protesters demanding that right to return by the Israeli snipers is unacceptable in any civilised world and there is no excusing it.
Israeli snipers demonstrated their lack of rules of engagement by shooting press, medics and children.
Just recently a bill to the Knessett (Parliament) seeking equal status for Jews and Arabs within Israel proper was rejected and so the apartheid laws which ensure the Jewish majority demographic and other controls continues. Israel continues to act as a colonial power with unclear borders and given its nuclear weapons of mass destruction continues to threaten the region and the world rather than making peace with its neighbours.