Magazine article The Spectator

Letters

Magazine article The Spectator

Letters

Article excerpt

A fence against terror

From Nikki Ginsberg

Sir: Following Emma Williams's article on the Israeli 'wall' (Trapped behind the wall', 15 May), it's time to talk facts, not fiction. The security fence is a temporary measure. It did not exist before the onslaught of terror attacks against Israel in September 2000 and it will be removed with the end of terror and the dismantling of terrorist organisations. In addition, the so-called wall is composed of 95 per cent chain-linked fence and only 5 per cent walled section, in areas vulnerable to sniper fire.

The fence has already proved its worth as a security measure. It has saved countless lives by significantly reducing the number of successful terrorist attacks in those areas in which it has been completed. Between April and December 2002 (before construction of the fence), 17 suicide attacks were committed within Israel by terrorists who infiltrated from Samaria. Yet in 2003 (after construction) there were only five attacks by terrorists infiltrating from Samaria.

The Palestinian people have a right to freedom of movement, but the Israelis have a right to life.

Nikki Ginsberg

London

From Arthur O'Connor

Sir: Emma Williams's excellent report on the miseries caused by Israel's illegal wall asks if there is a way out of this cycle of violence. Of course there is and she touched on it in her report - that of a single binational state. The right of the Palestinians to return to their country must be enshrined in the solution and they must be compensated for their suffering and for their loss of dignity and humanity since the state of Israel, by an act of international brigandry of the order of the invasion of Iraq, was imposed on them in 1948. The resultant demographics would end the problem once and for all. The zealotry which stems from the beliefs of Judaism and Islam will erode as soon as ignorance and poverty in the area are wiped out and the funds invested in armaments are deployed in education and development.

Arthur O'Connor

Sunbury on Thames, Surrey

Fake it and sue

From Frederick Forsyth

Sir: The investigations to check out the truth, if any, behind the cruelty accusations against British troops in Iraq continue (Politics, 15 May), and hopefully with all speed. But there are two aspects of our decadent society that indicate such claims will only be the precursors of a dismal list.

One is the compensation culture. The dim and greedy have learnt that it is only necessary to sustain a few bruises, perhaps from a friendly relative, and some equally mendacious support, to be able to claim huge sums.

The Law Lords have pronounced open season on our soldiers, and a solicitor is already in situ hunting up Iraqis ready to sue the British army for fortunes.

The other aspect is chequebook journalism. Those of a mood have only to draw up some horrible accusation, concoct a 'cod' roll of film (with digital technology extremely easy and virtually unprovable) and it's off to the Riviera via the editorial offices of the Daily Mirror.

There is, of course, a condign remedy. A lying claimant should pay all his own costs including forfeiture of all assets, and editors falling for conmen should pay ten times the purchase price of the lies to charity, half from the editor's salary. Of course that would take political guts which, alas, we lack. But it would stop the rot.

Frederick Forsyth

Hertford

From Tom Livingston

Sir: The pictures of low-life American guards grinning at the camera over Iraqis put into humiliating positions for the benefit of the photographer are an affront to the prisoners' dignity. They do not, however distasteful they are, show real physical abuse.

If Peter Oborne thinks they are 'the most bestial of the atrocities', I think that he needs to get out more.

Tom Livingston

Winchester, Hampshire

From Major (Rtd) H. S. Gilbert

Sir: Jonathan Mirsky (Letters, 15 May) is completely wrong-headed, morally, organisationally and geographically, when he accuses the British army of teaching torture. …

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