John Dowdle called on Watford’s citizenry to join the protest march last Saturday (Palestine support, Letters, May 10). I hope he made sure that Hamas and Hezbollah flags were not flown. Hezbollah is a proscribed terrorist organisation and police have been instructed to deal with this. Hamas is the violent terrorist group holding the benighted Palestinian citizens of Gaza under an elected dictatorship and chucking the odd dissenter off the roof, be that for opposing their extreme political views or for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality.

The Netanyahu intransigent, hard-right Government of Israel and its offensive ‘Nation State Law,’ could have the rug pulled out from under its feet by one simple thing, the removal by Hamas from its basic manifesto of a declared intent to destroy Israel by war and eliminate its Jewish population. By stopping the provocative rocketing of Southern Israel and quite deliberately causing the death not only of Israelis, but its own citizens too, Israel would be compelled to respond.

As to Dr Toorawa’s talk ‘The Holy Land - whose land is it, Israel or Palestine?’ Well, the territory of Palestine dates back to pre-Roman times, but there was never a State of Palestine. Indeed the West Bank was part of Jordan pre-1968. A case for a two state solution may be the answer now, but no one was campaigning for Jordan to hand the West Bank over as a Palestinian State.

The Jews of the region were expelled in 586BCE and again in 70CE, after the destruction of the second Temple. Their return by agreement of a majority UN resolution took place in 1948, when many Arabs of various faiths – Muslim, Christian, Druze –fled, just as Jews from Arab lands were also expelled or frightened into fleeing their homes. Refugees on both sides suffered.

Subsequent wars have seen Palestinians subject to being ignored, not to say hounded out, by their brothers in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Their plight does not lie solely at the door of Israel, which left Gaza 14 years ago, hoping for a democratically run neighbour.

If after the Six Day War, the Arab states had accepted Israel’s offer of peace for a return of all captured territories, the past 50 years of conflict, not to say international Islamic terrorism, might never have happened. The Khartoum conference reply though was ‘No peace, no negotiation, no recognition.’

Perhaps Mr Dowdle would now like to organise a march in support of our Rohingya sisters and brothers, slaughtered and exiled by the vicious Burmese dictatorship with the acquiescence of former heroine Aung San Suu Kyi; or the million Muslim Uighurs being persecuted by China; or the Christians being murdered in numbers in Egypt, Sri Lanka and other Muslim states. I somehow doubt it. His fixation is on the one truly, warts and all, democratically governed Middle East State, where Arab parties sit in Parliament.

Barry Hyman

Bushey Heath