Thursday, 8 January 2009


The Iranian ambassador to Belgium, His Excellency Mr Aboulghasem Dalfi, calls to see me in my office.

Through an interpreter he expresses his concern for Palestine and the people of Gaza. I concur.

"But what about the firing of rockets by Hamas aimed at innocent Israeli civilians?" I ask. "It's immoral and it's politically self-defeating. It's used by the Israelis to justify their attacks upon Gaza. If Iran is supplying or funding these rockets then it could be said that it has contributed to the suffering of Palestinians."

The ambassador justifies the use of the rockets on the grounds that the Palestinians have been subjected to intolerable pressures. "During the intifada even when they threw stones the Israelis would kill them with bullets." The EU does nothing to stop Israeli behaviour.

I agree with him that the EU applies dual standards, and that this is disgraceful, but again condemn the firing of rockets. "If nothing else it is simply bad tactics," I argue. "It results in Palestinians being killed in response. To make any progress you have to force change on the Israelis through non-violent protests that undermine their claims to be a civilised nation that supports human rights. I know that is very hard, and I understand the anger of Palestinians, but I don't accept the "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" argument. It doesn't get anyone anywhere."

He gives no indication that he accepts any of my arguments but claims that Iran had not supplied the rockets.

I ask him about Iran's position on the Saudi peace plan that proposes peaceful co-existence and recognition of Israel by all the Arab nations in return for a Palestinian state. He indicates no support for it, poses questions about the holocaust, and leaves the impression that the continued existence of Israel is unacceptable.

Ambassadors reflect the official position of their government, I reflect. By comparison to the recent comments of his President ("criminal Bush, complicit Europeans, hostile disbelievers, Muslim governments in harmony with the usurping Zionist regime") his words could have been even worse.


Anonymous said...

While the killing of inoccents is always regretable, what has been happening to the Palestinians in Gaza and Palestine not just for the last 12 days but months and years is deplorable.
Should Hamas, a democratically elected government, be considered wrong just because they are defending their people and their land? After all, the Palestinians have been invaded and essentially held captive in what is the world largest open-air prison. Is their firing of primitive rockets at Israel really so wrong when Israel is responsible for carrying out such atrocities in Palestine? Denying simple human rights such as freedom of movement, food, water and power?

Anonymous said...

Well done for asking exactly the right questions.

Iran closed down a newspaper for publishing a letter which called Hamas a terrorist organization for taking refuge in "kindergartens and hospitals".


Iran is funding and arming Hamas and Hezbollah and is the primary reason why there is not peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy I, and many others, would have to completely disagree on that last point.

The reason is there is no peace between Israel and Palestine is because for years now Israel has been effectively carrying out what can be seen as ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The reason there is no peace is because that is exactly how Israel wants it.
Israel has to date not honoured any agreements or treaties made with Palestine, including this recent one of a ceasefire which Israel itself broke. Israel has even disregarded the UN resolutions about the situation it has created in Palestine.
And frankly, whether or not Iran is funding Hamas is pretty much irrelevant at this point as it can't be proven whereas the US backing for Israel is well known and cannot be doubted by anyone!

Is is a case of "all animals are equal but some are more equal than others?"

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that in the 21st century, when one Israeli is killed, the resonse is...:

What would you do if 1.5m of your people (including yourself) were under seige for 18 months, and all food, water, electricity, medical aid, etc were cut off, and people were starved to death with disease spreading day after day. I certainly wouldn't just sit their and wait for my death. I'd do something. We need to look at the reasons why Hamas threw rockets. How long would Gaza have survived without supplies? Also, their land has been illegitimately occupied for decades now, and yet Israelis destroy more houses, kill more civillians, kidnap more Palestinians every day. But it never got through the western media. Only this time, since the scale is extraordinary!