REPLY TO RUTH DUDLEY EDWARDS, SUNDAY INDEPENDENT, 10 JULY 2011

Dear Editor,

Ruth Dudley Edwards should not let her granny’s anti-Semitism filter out information that does not fit her world-view.

Information such as the following contained in my open letter to Minister Eamon Gilmore from which she quoted only one line referring to the starving people of Gaza:

“The most recent figures published by the UN and international humanitarian and human rights organisations confirm that roughly 80% of the population (of Gaza) rely on international aid in order to survive; 65% live below the poverty line; 52% are food insecure; nearly 40% are unemployed; there are no building materials for much-needed schools and hospitals; nearly all of the drinking water is contaminated and unfit for consumption; cancer and other seriously ill patients cannot get access to the specialist treatment that would potentially save their lives; and children are suffering untreated post-traumatic stress as a result of the white phosphorous shells used illegally in Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in January 2009.”

Israel’s appalling attitude towards the Palestinians was summed up by senior Israeli official Dov Weisgloss, who said in 2006 that: “the idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger.”

The UN Security Council's resolution 1860 of January 2009, calls for a lifting of the blockade to allow humanitarian assistance and also confirms that Israel's blockade of Gaza is illegal, which has been reiterated by various human rights organisations including Amnesty International, the International Committee of the Red Cross,  Human Rights Watch and by Navı Pali, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. If Israel still seeks to control Gaza, as its blockade clearly implies, then it has a duty of care to the citizens under the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Ms. Dudley Edwards’s accusation of anti-semitism against the members of the flotilla sounds like a cry from the last refuge of a scoundrel. The realisation is gradually dawning on more and more people, including many of the Jewish faith, that the apartheid state of Israel is a negation of the noble tradition of struggle for justice that runs through the history of Judaism and is actually a deep insult to the memory of the Holocaust. 

Yours sincerely,

JIM ROCHE
PRO Irish Anti War Movement, Member ISTG & IPSC,
ISTG Office,
29 Eden Quay,
Dublin 1.