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Tragic Plight of the Silent Hostages

Your editorial comment and exhaustive report of the real-estate scene in Jerusalem omit a detail (26 August). Any Muslim or Christian who sells or negotiates the sale of real estate to a Jew is liable to summary execution by the Palestinian Authority. Recent instances show this rule to be ruthlessly enforced, even against the elderly and the destitute who may have sold their only asset.

None of the many international, European and charitable funds that regularly replenish the coffers of the PA goes to alleviate the plight of Palestinians who wish to sell up and realise the market value of their property. The real hardship of the Palestinians is that they are silent hostages to the tyranny of their own corrupt authority, in whose hands they are mere pawns.

Since 1948, well-intentioned UN and European organisations and charities have succeeded in perpetuating the refugee state through three generations, a unique feat in the history of the UN. By cynically holding out unrealistic hopes and paltry refugee benefits, the crude carrot-stick methods of the Palestinian Authority are denying its people the basic freedom to move on and to improve their lot.

If Jewish charitable funds were to be applied in the way you claim, namely to compensate or even to over-compensate hard-pressed Palestinian families for their property, such funds would be fulfilling their charitable role in as worthy and wide-ranging a manner as their traditional purposes allow.

l Kensington W8

L. Shamash

From the Evening Standard 1.9.98


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