Israel, Palestine and reconciliation

Envoy failed to mention Hamas

Letters to the Editor. Illustration: Paul Scott

Sir, – I was greatly moved by the opinion piece written by the Ambassador of Palestine to Ireland Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid in which she outlines 76 years of “Israeli policies of colonisation, dispossession, oppression and dehumanisation”, culminating in the deaths of 35,000 Palestinians and in tens of thousands of injured and missing persons since October 7th when “Israel launched a vicious aggression” on the people of Gaza (“Palestinian ambassador: Ireland has a strong affinity and connection with our people”, Opinion & Analysis, May 15th).

Like the majority of Irish people, I empathise with Palestinians in their suffering, support their right to self-determination, and condemn the political and military actions directed by the state of Israel against Palestinians for over 70 years.

I was, however, greatly perturbed that Dr Wahba Abdalmajid failed to make any reference to the “vicious aggression” inflicted by Hamas and other militants on the 1,200 Israelis on October 7th – and the 253 who were taken as hostages, many of whom remain in captivity still. I believe it was disingenuous of the Palestinian ambassador not to comment in her opinion piece on this appalling incident which, in this instance, led directly to the attack on Gaza by Israel.

In addition, it may not be unreasonable for some to ask if the Palestinian ambassador’s failure to mention this act of terrorism implies that she does not condemn it; the ambassador’s rationale for the omission would be welcome, particularly in the context of the Irish Government’s plan to give official recognition to the state of Palestine shortly.

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“Vicious aggression” has been committed by both sides in this conflict – predominately by Israel, but also, in part, by Palestinians. To achieve a long-term peaceful solution and reconciliation, this will need to be acknowledged by both sides. – Yours, etc,

CHRIS FITZPATRICK,

Dublin 6.

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