Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fill circle

There is an obituary in Saturday's Guardian of Hamas leader Said Siam, killed recently by the Israelis. He doesn't, on the evidence here, seem a terribly nice man (he "led a unit that killed Palestinians suspected of informing for Israel", and "human rights agencies highlighted his ministry's use of torture"). But here it is, the story of Palestine, which tells us a great deal about the roots of this conflict, and probably a great deal about said Siam: "...he was born in a Shati refugee camp, Gaza, to a family who hailed from Al-Jura, a now destroyed village west of the Israeli city of Ashkelon...".
John Pilger in The New Statesman (12/1/09) reminds us of the "...infamous Plan D of 1947-8" which "resulted in the murderous depopulation of 369 Palestinian towns and villages" - much like Al-Jura. He also reminds us of the "massacre of Palstinian civilians in such towns as Deir Yassin, al-Dawayima, Eilaboun,..." and so on. Ben Gurian when asked "What shall we do with the Arabs?" made (according to Israeli historian Benny Morris quoted here by Pilger) "..a dismissive, energetic gesture with his hand and said 'Expel Them'..."
And on it goes.

It takes all kinds

Geoffrey Robertson in his Guardian obituary of John Mortimor says that: "In Henley, he encountered with interest the bookshop-owning lesbians who had taken opium with Cocteau, and a prim, elderly lady who had, in her youth, urinated regularly upon pioneering sexologist Havelock Ellis...". I think possibly Politaholic has led a very sheltered life.

In praise of...Israeli refusniks

Politaholic has a lot of time, a lot of respect, for people whose moral boundaries are not wholly circumscribed by their own ethnicity, and who can look beyond their own ethnic identity to, well, a common humanity, a universal sense of right and wrong. I mean the white South Africans who stood against apartheid, the white (and perhaps impossibly brave) young people who participated at great risk in the voter registration drives in the Deep South in the 1960's. So it is heartening to read in Saturday's guardian about Israeli "refusniks". These are people whose views on the Middle East are, I suspect, not coincident with my own; but they are brave, and their ability to see beyond "my own ethnic group right or wrong" deserves respect. One of these, No'em Levna (who was imprisoned for 14 days) is quoted as saying: "Killing innocent civilians cannot be justified...Nothing justifies this kind of killing"; and he also refers to the "incontinent theft" of Palestinian lands.
Meanwhile The Independent reports (18/1/09) that: "British Jews have been attacked for expressing support for Palestinians suffering under Israeli military strikes in Gaza. Police confirmed yesterday that they have provided protection to a number of people believed to be victims of UK-based Zionist extremists angered by expressions of solidarity with Palestinians..."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I blame the parents

The News of the Screws has a story about Harry Windsor calling a colleague a "Paki" and referring to "fucking rag-heads". Harry - son of Phillip, grandson of the "Queen Mother" - a racist? No shit Sherlock. I am as shocked as This chap.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Licensed to Kill

The death-toll in Gaza is now - what - 800 and rising? - as Israeli's genocidal onslaught (which is also their their peculiar form of electoral campaigning) continues. The victims include 13 members of the same family after their house came under tank fire. They include those killed in the two schools which were targetted by the Israelis after they had been given their GPS co-ordinates by UN officials who identified the schools as refugee centres. (UN officials were in control of the schools and deny the presence of Hamas fighters). Why did the Israelis target the schools? Because they are deliberately targetting civilians. Consider this: how many Israeli soldiers have been killed in the last few weeks (excluding "friendly fire" incidents) and how many Palestinian children (the figures are less than ten compared to several hundred). The children of the colonised are at far greater risk than the "soldiers" of the occupying colonial power. Israeli is, as Avi Shlaim argued in G2 (7/1/09) a "rogue state" which "habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction, and practices terrorism - the use of violence against civilians for political purposes". And, as we can see in the picture above showing Israeli settlers apparently jubilantly watching Gaza bombed and children killed, they think murder is a form of entertainment. But then Israeli is always held, by the western powers, to a different and lesser standard of morality than anyone else on the planet. Robert Fisk quotes Fintan O'Toole in The Irish Times: "At what point does the Nazi genocide of Europe's Jews cease to excuse the state of Israel from the demands of international law and of common humanity?"