x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Republicans lose way on Palestine

Other letters discuss the UK's stance on euro treaty, tragic fire in India and identifying criminals.

Newt Gingrich's comments on Palestinians was a denial of the two-state solution, readers say. Kevork Djansezian / AFP
Newt Gingrich's comments on Palestinians was a denial of the two-state solution, readers say. Kevork Djansezian / AFP

I read with interest the article entitled Euro fury as Britain blocks new treaty (December 10).

Prime Minister David Cameron believes that if the EU treaty was to have been changed to allow the euro-zone countries to have new rules, it was also important to keep the single market fair and open for key industries, including financial services. He therefore sought a limited number of provisions to prevent discrimination in the single market and to confirm previous EU agreements on the roles and powers of European supervisory authorities.  The safeguards we sought were for the EU as a whole, not simply for the UK, and other countries blocked the protections we were seeking.

Britain's interests in the European Union - keeping markets open, free trade, selling our goods and services with rules over which we have a major say - are not changed. However, this does not mean that we have to agree on each and every matter with other member states.

There have always been different groupings within Europe - for example, Britain is a key, central member of Nato but we're not in Schengen. Similarly, we will continue to be a key member and driver of deepening of the single market, but we're not in the euro.

The UK remains fully committed to the European Union, is at the heart of the single market, is influential over its development and is committed to work for a more flexible and dynamic Europe.

Dominic Jermey, UK Ambassador to the UAE

Has GOP lost its way on Palestine?

I was stupefied to read the comments of US Republican presidential candidate and one time university professor Newt Gingrich that the Palestinians are an "invented" people (A dangerous ignorance leads US Republican politics astray, December 12).

In the days when the Republican party could still justifiably be linked with Lincoln, its treatment of Palestinians was quite different.

As a (very junior) official of the UN Relief and Works Agency, the Palestinian relief agency, I spent a lot of time in Jordan from 1967 to 1970. My job was to help publicise emergency funding requirements for newly homeless Palestinian victims of the recent Six Day War with Israel - and it was a new US organisation called NEED (Near East Emergency Donations) that gave the most stirring international response.

A group of leading Republican donors, both in and out of Congress, founded NEED. They put together over $13 million (Dh47.7 million) (in those days, a very substantial sum) to build schools, shelters and clinics for tens of thousands of victims. The group raised the funds openly across the US, despite the lukewarm reaction of a Democratic administration. I am convinced to this day that the NEED initiative was vital in preventing an anti-US backlash in Jordan and elsewhere.

The Palestinian people have lived in their own land, under occupation, for many centuries. Perhaps the woefully ill-informed Mr Gingrich should consult some authentic history before he next opens his mouth on this issue - and take a lesson in statesmanship from his predecessors.

Stefan Kemball, Dubai

This is a fine piece, but it is mistaken in attributing Newt Gingrich's remarks to ignorance. The line he took against existence of the Palestinian people is a popular canard among right-wing Jews, both in Israel and the United States.

This view reflects their hope that the West Bank will go back to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt, thus avoiding the two-state solution.

To the constituencies he is courting, Mr Gingrich's use of this line clearly signals his opposition to the two-state solution, as your columnist Afshin Molavi rightly concludes. But Mr Gingrich knows perfectly well what he is doing.

Daniel Serwer, senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies,US

Punishment for India fire needed

The news Hospital officials in India arrested after 89 die in fire (December 10) was heart wrenching. What is the punishment given for violation of safety regulations which has put an abrupt end to so many lives?  Will this be treated as a criminal offence, no matter what political connections emerge?

Unless the wrongdoers are punished in crimes like these, the rest of the world will never learn. Let the law rescue the wronged.

Prakash Manhapra , Dubai

Naming policy is inconsistent

The National has an interesting habit of identifying the nationality of the victim, however not that of the criminal (Police officer molested boy, 14, court told, December 12). This is very peculiar and makes one question the ethics. Should we assume that if nationality is not named, it is Emirati?

Eric Sandler, Dubai