Monday, January 05, 2009

Israel's Actions Will Turn Palestinians Towards Extremists.

Gary Younge covered this very subject in today's Guardian:

The trouble is that over the last seven years, the war on terror has been thoroughly discredited - not only morally, but militarily and strategically. Nobody listens to moderates, let alone to reason, when bombs are falling and people are dying. That is as true for the rockets that have killed a handful of Israelis as it is for the barrage of bombs and now tanks that have killed hundreds of Palestinians.

By erasing any prospect of negotiation, the violence did not weaken extremists but emboldened them.
Israel may want to boost the moderate Fatah faction which governs the West Bank now. But Hamas's electoral rise was a direct result of the contempt the Israeli's showed them in the past.

I find the hypocrisy the Americans are displaying here quite breathtaking. Lets remember what they said about Russia after it responded when Georgia attacked South Ossetia. At that time McCain and others told us it didn't matter who started the war, but that Russian aggression was "disproportionate". And Georgia didn't merely fire a few dud rockets into South Ossetia - as some Palestinians have done to Israel - they invaded with an army and committed war crimes as they did so.

Eyewitnesses have described how Georgian tanks fired directly into an apartment block and how civilians were shot at as they tried to escape the intense fighting.

Research by the organisation Human Rights Watch points to indiscriminate use of force by the Georgian military and the possible deliberate targeting of civilians.

Indiscriminate use of force is a violation of the Geneva Convention and serious violations are considered to be war crimes.

And the question, asked by one reporter, asking if Israel was, "fighting back after years and years of absolute terror" seemed to utterly ignore the other - utterly valid - side of that same coin; are the people firing the rockets, "fighting back after over 40 years of brutal military occupation and eighteen months of an immoral siege carried out as deliberate policy on a civilian population?"


Yuval Steinitz, head of the Knesset Defense Readiness and Fighting Terrorism Committee, makes the mistake of being interviewed on Al Jazeera by Imran Garda. Garda makes all the points that I have been making on here. It's simply ludicrous for the people who have been carrying out the longest occupation in modern history to attempt to portray themselves as the victim of the piece just because their illegal occupation is opposed.

When asked about Israelis who disagree with Israel's policies Steinitz makes the mistake of thinking it wonderful that in Israel all views can be expressed, even if he personally disagrees with them, and hails this as a victory for democracy. This, of course, leaves him open to the counter question of why his country didn't respect Palestinian democracy when they elected Hamas.

The silence before he replies is simply priceless. And he then gives an answer which utterly fails to address the point.

And when asked how long Israel has been planning this attack, he admits that this incursion was planned for eight months in advance. In other words, before the ceasefire was even implemented, this attack was being planned which means the ceasefire was entered into in bad faith. As far as interviews go, he won't regard this one as his most successful. Perhaps he's more used to western journalists who accept the Israeli narrative?

Can you imagine what it would be like if other interviewers stopped only asking questions according to the Israeli script?


Todd Dugdale said...

Another great, eloquent post.
The philosophical underpinnings of this policy are rotten through. I saw in the Guardian today that Israeli officials are practically admitting that the invasion is not about stopping rocket fire, but rather is an effort to remove Hamas from power.

The media coverage has been appalling, I agree.

Kel said...

It's extraordinary Doug, that they can so casually talk about removing the people that the Palestinians chose as their democratic representatives, whilst applauding the advantages of their own democracy.

And no-one, apart from Al Jazeera, is calling them on it.