SIR – Ms Linda Hart of Haifa, in her letter, ‘Face facts about Israel,’ claims that I am unfamiliar with facts on the ground, so let me refer her to certain facts about her city of Haifa which reflects how her right-wing fundamentalist government treats Palestinians.
In 1914, 87% of the population of Haifa were indigenous Palestinians. The Israeli historian, Benny Morris, writes how the nationalist Haganah Zionist and the Irgun Zvai Leumi settlement militias set about separating the previously co=existing Palestinian and Jewish communities and ethnically cleansing Haifa of its Palestinian Arab population. Some 121,000 people from Haifa and surrounding villages were dispossessed of their homes and land to be replaced by a Jewish majority of 66% by 1948.
The removals of Palestinians and their replacement by mostly European Jewish immigrants has continued ever since, leaving Haifa with a total population of around 280,000, of whom now only 18% are Palestinian (14% Christian and 4% Muslim). A further 6,000 Palestinians approx. are unregistered.
As with Haifa, the ongoing creation of the state of Israel has involved displacement of Palestinians from their homes and livelihoods with many ending up as refugees for the rest of the world to accommodate. This process makes Israel a state with no defined or internationally recognised borders.
Now Netanyahu in a last-ditch effort to get elected is promising that a third of the already illegally-occupied West Bank will be annexed to Israel. There is no talk of peace and any hope of a two-state solution has disappeared with the strategic settlement programme dividing up the remaining Palestinian land and control by the longest military occupation in modern times.
Ms Hart characterises the victim-hood mentality of a beleaguered Israel surrounded by enemies while its armed forces have killed hundreds of unarmed protesters, medics, press and children and maimed thousands over recent months. Israel meanwhile threatens its neighbours with its unregulated and uninspected nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Israel is, no doubt, emboldened by Trump and the billion military aid and latest strike aircraft it receives each year.
Peace offers to Palestinians have only ever amounted to demands for their capitulation. The US peace envoy, Jared Kushner, with his Foundation’s financial assistance to illegal Israeli settlements, has no credibility.
It is hard to see how the beleaguered Palestinians can escape their imprisonment and oppression unless a new US administration seeks to restore world order and enforce the international laws which Israel currently flouts.