Your report of Thursday’s Commons debate (Downing St and Foreign Office at odds, July 21) suggested that I thought the Israeli action in Lebanon was “necessary”. In fact, as I pointed out later in the debate in response to a question from Susan Kramer, my view is “I would not wish to see the events continue for a second longer”. I would repeat the further point I made. Hizbullah started this crisis and Hizbullah can bring it to an end. The quickest way to end the violence is for Hizbullah to release the soldiers it has kidnapped and to stop firing its rockets into Israel.
Margaret Beckett MP
As we approach the 50th anniversary of the start of the Suez crisis, it seems a tragic irony that once again Israel appears to be in a conspiracy with two other nations, including Britain, to wreak havoc on a neighbouring state. Anthony Eden considered himself to possess a special wisdom in foreign affairs and I’m sure Tony Blair also believes himself specially gifted when it comes to acting on the world stage. As in 1956, the consequences of the prime minister’s blind inflation of his abilities will be just as damaging to Britain’s strategic interests and our future role in the world. The real tragedy is the many innocent lives lost or destroyed while our prime minister plays statesman.
Congresbury, North Somerset
Israel and Hizbullah are not the only ones who miscalculated (Comment, July 21). Hamas is an equal culprit. If Hamas, immediately after its victory in January, had declared that it was prepared to recognise Israel the day it returned to 1967 borders, it would have gained the initiative and outwitted Israel – and thereby could have avoided the current bloodshed.
Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui
The Muslim Parliament
Ambassador Heifetz’s letter (July 21) in response to Martin Rowson’s cartoon is symptomatic of the way Israeli politicians excuse their murderous policies by insinuating their opponents are anti-semites. Yes, Rowson’s cartoon has “blood-spattered Stars of David – a Jewish symbol that you will see on synagogues around the world”. But you can also find the Star of David on the flag of the state of Israel, which is quite obviously the target of Rowson’s satire. This conflation of Israel and Judaism has led conservatives like Heifetz to compare critics of Israel to the Nazis and call Jews critical of Israeli policies like myself “self-hating”. If anything is inciting anti-semitism today, it is Israeli state policies, not cartoonists like Rowson.