SIR – When I read the correspondence from the various supporters of Israel which is in military occupation of Palestinian territory, I compare their propounding of the alleged humanity and consideration shown by Israel towards ungrateful Palestinians with a conversation I had with Joshua Tartakovsky, an ex-Israeli soldier.
Joshua said that he was appalled, as a soldier, at the cruel and barbaric treatment gratuitously meted out by the army in its everyday dealings with Palestinians. He said he was trained to be deliberately confrontational, aggressive and provocative, particularly at the checkpoints, of which there are some 600.
He said the army is a tool for the ‘colonial settlers’ who are subvented by the state and encouraged in every way with the forcible eviction of Palestinian families in the West Bank area. He describes the Palestinians as people without any rights or recognition by the Israeli state. The army is trained to treat them all, irrespective of age or gender, as terrorists and when you drive them to irrational acts in despair you arrest them. That is why there are at least 12,000 Palestinians permanently in prison, mostly without a trial.
Joshua, who now lives in London, sees the expulsion of all non-Jews from the occupied territories as the only solution which will be acceptable to the Israeli authorities. The UN, which has condemned Israeli colonialism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, has been rendered toothless by a US president and a Congress which are in the stranglehold of the American Public Affairs Committee, an agent of the Israeli government.