09 August 2006

A big rant! Arguments against my position welcome. Unless you're some psycho rightwing Fox-viewing neocon religo freak.

Well, since I warned I was gonna allow myself to ramble aimlessly, I should get on with it! One of the things that has obviously led to the most debate recently and the thing that winds me up unbelievably is the current situation in the middle east. I guess some people might call me a bleeding heart leftie, but I'm reasonably comfortable with that label and if you don't like it don't read any more! However, I can't believe that the international community has let the situation get anywhere near where it has and that the Israelis weren't forced to show restraint right from the start.

I should probably say first up that I'm not anti-Israel (although I think the world would probably be a safer place without it) but I find their way of dealing with its neighbours absolutely counterproductive, short-sighted and incomprehensible. Incomprehensible because only a couple of years ago, even Ariel Sharon was making great efforts towards a peace with Palestine by giving back some of its settlements (although really only very limited amounts compared with the amount to land that they have taken since the original 1947 UN partition plan) and now they will have to restart the peace plan (if indeed they ever want peace) from a much weaker position. By weaker I obviously don't mean militarily weaker, but as history has shown them again and again, military strength and the threat of nuclear warfare doesn't equal anything like a peace. To be respected as cooperative neighbours would go a lot further towards a lasting peace. I also realise that many argue that Israel only gained all its extra land due to Arab aggression, however showing a genuine willingness to return it would help moderate parties like Fatah gain genuine power in Palestine. Whilst Israel constantly undermines Fatah how can it possibly expect it to be a strong partner in negotiations. Whilst it constantly alienates the Palestinian people with concrete walls and blockading its borders how can it expect them not to become extremist and certain members aggressive.

The thing I find the most depressing and ridiculous is the fact that all this was started by the fact that Palestinians voted DEMOCRATICALLY for Hamas in government. The context of this vote has to be understood. Most commentators agree that this represented a lack of faith in the Fatah government with regard to internal issues rather than pushing for aggression against Israel. Indeed Hamas did not go on any sort of warpath upon coming to power even when it's funding was withdrawn. I do not wish to show support for Hamas, as obviously terrorism in any guise is wrong (including when military powers do it). However, for several months Hamas were keeping their heads low and there seemed to be real hope that they may be more moderate now that they were in power. In fact there were reports on the BBC that Hamas had drawn up a statement implicitly recognising the state of Israel - a monstrous step forward.

Also interesting to put in context is the original "kidnapping" of an Israeli soldier (a military target and therefore in my opinion not a terrorist act). This act came after a series of shellings from Israel into Gaza including the missile which killed a Palestinian family of seven on the beach (I guess you remember the pictures). This sounds quite provocative to me, but then the day before the "kidnapping" Israelis also launched an incursion into Gaza and "arrested" two Hamas members. I realise that Hamas is defined by Israel as a terrorist organisation, but given that it is supposed to have given control of the territory to the Palestinian authority, the lawful course of action is to approach them. By undermining the Palestinian authority's territorial control and carrying out "arrests" in Palestinian territory its actions effectively add up to no more than a "kidnapping". Is it hugely surprising then that certain radical groups (which apparently did not include Hamas) chose to carry out their own border crossing raid and attack one of the MILITARY outposts that had been shelling innocent families on beaches? And what is Israel's response to this retaliation? To bomb the only power station in Gaza, the university, the parliamentary buildings, the foreign office, to threaten to assasinate the democratically elected prime minister and to take prisoner a large chunk of the government. Hmmm. Good, I like what you've done there. Not enough you say? Oh ok, close the borders completely cutting off all trade, and severely hamper any access of aid. (Remember people, trade aid sell Palestinian olive oil - buy it - it's great!)

And what exactly do the international community do. The lefties go 'that's ridiculous, completely disproportionate and collective punishment' which is against Geneva conventions and all that is humane. The powers that be do nothing. A week passes and still Gaza is under siege. Powers that be : nothing. Another week passes. Hezbollah enters the fray. I guess my point is - TWO WEEKS passed before Hezbollah got in on the action. In that time I was about ready to bomb the IDF and I'm not a crazy muslim extremist! (Not Israel I hasten to add, but God did it annoy me that their army were allowed to get away with it) Can the international community lay the blame for what was to happen afterwards anywhere but at their own door? Tony Blair, I can't imagine how you're going to get on at the ol pearly gates, mate. You can't even represent your own party, let alone your country. Then again most of our fair nation is populated by Sun and News of the World readers - maybe you do represent the majority.

So Hezbollah deflect attention away from Gaza. One particularly interesting fact is that many news sources are now saying that actually Hezbollah captured two soldiers during an Israeli incursion into the Lebanon at a village called Aitaa al-Chaab. Sounds to me like Israel are on pretty thin ice when they claim "kidnapping" when they were actually arrested by Lebanese police on Lebanese land. Even if they were "kidnapped" the ensuing carnage that the IDF have unleashed on the population is absolutely criminal. To bomb highways and bomb convoys of civilians trying to flee the absolutely indiscriminate attacks on the Lebanese infrastructure is inhumane on the highest level. I don't know the most recent figures but a couple of days ago the number of children killed by Israeli fire in the Lebanon was 35 % of all casualties. The average % of the Lebanese population under 16 is 27 %. Now to me that, at best, represents a complete ineptitude of the IDF and Israeli intelligence (unlikely given that they're known to be amongst the best in the world) or a deliberate terrorist style emphasis on killing innocent people. I would find it very hard to believe that statement until two events occurred. Firstly check out the following picture (I don't wanna copy it in case it's copyright) http://www.sfgate.com/c/pictures/2006/07/25/mn_mideast_lebanon.jpg
That pretty much sums up for me the IDF's attitude. A high precision missile right through the centre of the red cross sign of a red cross vehicle evacuating wounded civilians. If you read about it you'll find that while the medics in a second red cross van helped to pull injured children out of the first vehicle, their red cross van was also bombed. A RED CROSS vehicle. I mean, seriously. I actually can't describe how mad that makes me. Two RED CROSS vans taken out by precision guided weapons. How the HELL did they get away with that. As if that isn't enough, they then kill four UN peacekeepers after those peacekeepers contacted them 10 times to tell them that they were PEACEkeepers and that they were in very serious danger of being killed. Each time they were told shelling would stop. Clearly UN peacekeepers don't harbour Hezbollah militants or terrorist rockets. What does that say about Israeli intelligence if being told 10 times by peacekeepers not to bomb here doesn't prevent them from bombing.

I'm sorry if this post has got a bit out of hand, but I figured if I put all my political crap into one post you can at least ignore the whole thing! If you've made it this far that means you either want to write a scathing comment in reply (most gratefully accepted, cos I have maybe been getting a biased view - although I do try to get as balanced sources as I can) or you agree with lots of what I said and are reading this on your way out to the protests against the IDF aggression! If the latter is the case PLEASE make a life size effigy of me and take it with you! It's so frustrating not being able to go to protests here. We need to put pressure on our government to take a stand against Israel and show them that what they are doing is not acceptable. Within days of the invasion into the Lebanon the French prime minister visited Beirut as a show of solidarity with the Lebanese. What has our own prime minister done? Four weeks later and there is still no ceasefire. Stalling only leads to escalation as seen when we did nothing to halt the collective punishment in Gaza. This is not part of the war on terror, this is the reason for the need of a war on terror. Every day that we allow this carnage and aggression we create a hundred new terrorists and a hundred new excuses for terrorism.

I leave you with a quote from the Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon: "We received yesterday at the Rome conference permission from the world... to continue the operation". Please help change his mind.
I hope you're all hunky dorey. Things are good here; cold drizzle. Excellent! Miss y'all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Go Annabel! Go! I just can't believe the international community doesn't have the guts to react in an appropriate way... It will now take ages to sooth. The only positive action I've seen in this part of the world for years was a summer camp set up by both Israelis and Palestinians to mix the teenagers and have them do a whole lot of trust/action activities (like walking attached together on a rope a few meters above the ground). The only way for it to ever stop is trust, certainly not agressive attacks. But I guess war is good for someone's economy... Money, isn't it all that matters nowadays...