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Monday, May 20, 2024
Letter of the Week: Many parallels between Gaza and the Troubles in Northern Ireland
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

The letters to the editor in The Lake Report over the past several weeks regarding the tragic war in Gaza have expressed many viewpoints. This is in reply to all of them.

I tend to view the war in Gaza through the lens of the conflict in Northern Ireland.

The terrorist group, the Irish Republican Army, had never recognized Northern Ireland as a separate entity within the island of Ireland and part of the United Kingdom as Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel.

From 1969 to 1998, the IRA waged a bloody campaign to reunify Ireland under a Dublin government.

They had some support in the Nationalist (Catholic) community in Northern Ireland after decades of discrimination by the Unionist (Protestant) government in Belfast.

They achieved terrorist “goals” that Hamas could only dream about: 2,000 souls killed, 30,000 injured and billions of pounds worth of commercial property destroyed.

They almost succeeded in assassinating Margaret Thatcher but did kill four of her staff as well as the wife of one of her cabinet ministers.

In a separate attack, they killed the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by planting a bomb in his car. It blew up in the House of Commons parking lot.

But their most spectacular act of terror was the killing of the Queen’s cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, his grandson and a young Irish lad helping out on their fishing boat in the west of Ireland in 1979.

Yet despite these multiple atrocities, the IRA realized this was an unwinnable war and was persuaded with the help of third parties to come to the table with their archenemy, the Ulster Unionists.

They forged the Good Friday agreement, which, despite a few wobbles, has held.

The moral of this is that Israel (probably not Netanyahu) must talk to Hamas or its successor if a long-term peace agreement is to be reached.

However with 38,000 Palestinians dead, thousands more likely to die from starvation and disease, and Gaza uninhabitable, there may be nobody left to talk to.

Richard James

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