Letter of the week: Real meaning of a siege

Israel "under siege" ("No peace in our time", 30 October)? Really? How many Israelis are scavenging on rubbish tips for food as a result of a military and economic blockade imposed on their democratically elected government? How many Israelis are struggling to survive on less than $2 a day as unemployment reaches 50 per cent? How many Israeli hospitals are starved of resources by a real siege, while their patients die for want of basic medical care or never even reach hospital because of arbitrary military checkpoints? How many Israeli schools barely function because they lack the most basic teaching materials and their pupils are too traumatised? How many Israelis are reduced to intermittent water supply, while illegal settlers steal their water as fast as they steal the land? How many thousands have been forced from their homes, or walled in to ghettos to make way for more illegal settlers? Roughly how many square kilometres of Israel are under an illegal and racist occupation devoted to the ethnic cleansing of the land's indigenous people? If you are going to use a word like "siege" on your cover, I suggest you take the trouble to find out what it really means to be under siege and abandoned by the so-called international community.

Chris Webster
Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

This article first appeared in the 06 November 2006 issue of the New Statesman, Planet saved?: Why the green movement is taking to the streets