IF DUNCAN IS WRONG ON LAND GRABS, WE MUST REFUTE HIS CLAIMS
Last week’s front page ( JC, August 19) reports remarks by Alan Duncan, Minister for International Development. He makes very specific criticisms, for example that “the wall hasn’t just gone along the lines of the proper Israeli boundary but has taken open land which actually belongs to Palestine, so it’s not a security wall, it’s trying to annex land that doesn’t belong to Israel”.
He also said: “Israeli settlers can build what they want and then immediately get infrastructure that takes water deliberately away from Palestinians.
“The Israelis can build and this is not their country but the Palestinians, whose country this is, cannot build.” These are highly specific statements.
The front page item also reports the response of Andrew Balcombe of the British Israel Group, who said: “It is appalling that a Minister of the British Government is the speaker on a one-sided video that is inaccurate and inflammatory”.
It is a pity that Mr Balcombe’s criticism did not specify any facts that would refute what the minister had spelled out. Aren’t there any? Stanley Walinets, Mickleton, Barnard Castle, Co Durham
Alan Duncan, Minister for International Development, and the Government appear very selective in their views of “land grabs”. I am not sufficiently au-fait with the legal position of the Israeli security wall to take a position, one way or the other. I note, however, that it has prevented many deaths over the past few years.
Perhaps the minister, in the meantime, could give us his opinion about a much more serious “land grab” which occurred in 1974 when Turkey invaded the Republic of Cyprus and seized some 30 per cent of the island, displaced its Greek inhabitants, replaced them with Anatolian farmers and their families and told the Greeks that the land would never be returned to them
As Britain was one of the guarantors of Cyprus’s independence, it remains inexplicable that HM government should be encouraging Turkey’s aspiration to join the EU, while that state continues in its illegal “land grab” and 37 year occupation of Cypriot territory. JD Norman Hillcourt Avenue, London N12
You express great concern about the statements made recently by the Minister for Development Alan Duncan regarding Israel deliberately taking water from the Palestinians.
He is not actually incorrect. According to Friends of the Earth Middle East Israel director Gidon Bromberg, the sharing of water in the West Bank is very unfair with 80 per cent going to the Jews and 20 per cent to the Palestinians
As to the River Jordan, that water is shared between Israel, Jordan and Syria with none going to the Palestinians. This does indeed seem to be a seriously unfair situation. June Jacobs firstname.lastname@example.org