The Foreign Secretary has expelled a senior Israeli diplomat as a result of the cloning of British passports, thought to have been used in the murder of a Palestinian. The British government refers to Israel as a friend but who, in this country, would have dared to refer to South Africa in the days of apartheid as a friend? And yet Israel is openly practising a form of apartheid today. By continuing to build illegal settlements on occupied territory and imposing checkpoints and pass-laws Israel has become an apartheid state. Israel is also a clandestine nuclear power, dependent on American support and impervious to United Nations resolutions over many years. In 2008 an assault on Gaza resulted in 1,400 Palestinian dead, and yet the barbaric quarantine of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the strip continues to this day, making the place into an effective open-air concentration camp. “By their friends shall ye know them”, wrote Aesop, and by continuing a town-twinning arrangement with Israel, Bournemouth council is effectively conniving at the apartheid and atrocities carried out by that country. There is a growing movement around the world to bring pressure to bear on Israel to discontinue its settlement building and to come to terms with the Palestinians. Bournemouth can become part of that pressure by reviewing the town-twinning arrangements and ending Council junketing in that country. If there are any future trips by councillors, they would be well-advised to keep hold of their passports!

Tony Williams, Warnford Road Bournemouth