The state of Israel

Timothy Lole's explanation of the re-establishment of the Jewish state (Letters, 15 October) is economical with the historical record. In 1939, the Chamberlain government, without obtaining the prior permission of the League of Nations, but in an effort to appease Islamic opinion in the empire, signalled its determination to curtail and eventually stop further Jewish settlement in east Palestine. This policy was illegal. The assassination of Lord Moyne (who supported this policy) and the bombing of the King David Hotel were carried out by way of reprisal. The postwar Attlee government grudgingly acknowledged the right of Jewish self-determination in east Palestine, but lacked the courage to facilitate this right itself, and instead placed the matter in the hands of the United Nations. The right of the Jews to national self-determination has never been acknowledged by mainstream Islam, which has never accepted the legitimacy of the re-established Jewish state or of the UN resolution underpinning that re- establishment. These refusals - based, I understand, on religious conviction - are at the root of the present-day conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

Professor Geoffrey Alderman
New York, USA