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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 19 July 2007
Israel continues trying to find a path to peace

• SIR Geoffrey Bindman’s article (Can Tony Blair perform a miracle for Palestine? July 5) in your newspaper raised valid concerns regarding the welfare of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza – concerns shared by all right-thinking people.
However, in his zeal to show his credentials as a critic of Israel he has ignored many of the salient issues that make the situation in the region so complex and a solution so much more elusive than simply remonstrating with Israel.
It is particularly blinkered to divorce the situation of the Palestinians from the existential threats that have faced Israel since 1948 and Jewish residents of the region even before that.
It is as wrong to depict Palestinians as purely victims of the conflict as it is to blame them alone for their misfortunes. The truth is far more complicated. 
The failure by Hamas and other terrorist groups to renounce violence, rampant corruption by generations of Palestinian leaders and the role of Syria and Iran in fostering conflict have meant that the dividends from peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan continue to elude those living in the West Bank and Gaza. 
The recent attempted terror attacks in London and Glasgow give an insight into the constant threats facing Israel’s Jewish, Muslim, Christian and multi- cultural population, including countless suicide-bomb attacks and daily rocket barrages from Gaza into southern Israel.
To try to address this problem, the Israeli government has been building a security barrier, which for over 90 per cent of its length is a fence rather than a wall. It has been controversial, but it has also saved many lives by foiling further attempted attacks. Where it has caused particular hardship the Israeli Supreme Court has frequently supported petitions from Palestinians to reroute the barrier or open access points, security considerations notwithstanding.
Inevitably in such a bloody conflict civilians have become casualties, but even here there is a stark contrast between the Israeli security forces on the one side and the terrorists on the other, whose express aim is to inflict widespread murder and mayhem using nails and ball-bearings in rockets and strapped to suicide bombers.
As with the UK’s own 7/7 bombers, the killers of Hamas and Al Aqsa brigades publicise their intentions, in self-made videos: their desire to murder as many Israeli civilians as possible. As recent events have shown, Israelis are not the only victims and yet, surprisingly, Sir Geoffrey fails to mention savage infighting between Fatah and Hamas factions in Gaza in their struggle for supremacy, that resulted in the death of hundreds of innocent Palestinian citizens.
Significantly, he also fails to mention Israel’s sincere attempts to make peace with its Arab neighbours.
Of the lands captured by Israel in 1967, when resisting the combined attempts of four Arab nations to wipe it from the map, the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in return for a peace treaty.
Gaza was handed over to Palestinian control in the summer of 2005, in the hope that the foundations for Palestinian self-rule and co-existence with Israel might follow. These painful concessions have been made by Israel despite real fears that such moves would be seen as weakness and even though attempted terror attacks against Israel continue daily.
Even now, the Israeli government is in on-going negotiations with the new government headed by Fatah leader Abu Mazen, in the West Bank, in the hope of finding a peaceful solution satisfactory to both sides.
Chief Executive
The Board of Deputies of British Jews
Bloomsbury Square, WC1

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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