Thursday, 29 January 2009

BUILDING ON THE RUINS

The messages are mixed and yet there is hope that progress can be made in the Middle East. Obama plays the right mood music. The appointment of George Mitchell is to be welcomed hugely; the man's independence and track record speaks for itself. But then there is Hilary Clinton giving words of support for Israeli actions that most across the world condemn. Maybe she has to - good cop, bad cop - but her business-as-usual signals suggest that the hope could prove forlorn.

I don't think the majority of Israelis have the slightest desire to create a genuinely viable and independent Palestinian state. At most I imagine they foresee some kind of economic colony, which may explain the destruction of factories, flour mills and food processing businesses in Gaza. There will have to be a huge change in Israeli perceptions if Palestinian ideas are to be realised and selling a deal that involved this would go far beyond the ability of Israeli politicians alone. Nothing is possible without Obama, certainly don't waste your time looking to the EU for leadership (I despair!).

How do you even start to address the racist fact that too many Israelis seem to believe that a Palestinian life is not as important as one of their own?

Francis Wurtz, the French leader of the GUE (left) group in the European Parliament, has just returned from Gaza. Read his account here, and demand to know why European leaders have not demanded an immediate suspension of the EU-Israel association agreement.

2 comments:

De Vere Stackpole said...

Congratulations on the brave stance which you are taking over the Israeli invasion of Gaza and the situation of the Occupied Palestinian territories. I am very glad that you were able to go to Gaza and report at first hand what you saw.

I also support your demand that the EU-Israel Agreement should be suspended. It seems extraordinary that a nation that falls so short of the requirements for respect for human rights should be awarded such a favourable status, and such a suspension would be a very effective way of pushing Israel towards negotiating a peaceful and just solution.

Jimmy said...

You are wrong to categorise all Israelis as racist imperialist.

Many, if not most, Israelis would be very happy to see a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (at least part of it). But this has to be a state that lives in peace with Israel, not out to destroy it. You will be perfectly aware that a number of Israeli leaders have made significant concessions in the search for a peaceful two-state solution.

Israel removed its settlements from Gaza, and removed all military from the area for a considerable period of time. These are not the actions of a nation intent of colonialisation but those of a nation stepping closer towards a two state solution.

It is up to Hamas if they wish to work to achieve this two state solution based on the Olso/Geneva/Saudi plans, or to continue to attack any Israeli target they can find and work towards a one state solution without Jews, Christians or Fatah.

I do not only blame Hamas. It is perfectly reasonable to call for a halt to all Israeli actions in Gaza, but not when arms continue to be smuggled in and used against Israel. You cannot continue to call for an end to all hostilities by one side only.

Your characterisation of all Israelis as racist is disgusting and you should be ashamed to be a Liberal Democrat, I'm certainly ashamed to see such comments by a Liberal Democrat. British people believe British lives are worth more than Iraqi, Sudanese, Afghan, or even French - that is why we have an army that defends our people by attacking other people. In your mind surely every nation with an army is racist.

Criticise the Israeli government all you want, but it would be nice to see some balance, some understanding of the Israeli people as human beings, some understanding that Hamas must bear some of the responsibility for the start of the war, for endangering civilian lives, and for developing a system designed for martyrdom rather than nation building.