Monthly Archives: August 2014

Through a Glass Darkly: Ulster & Palestine

In 2006 Carter called the treatment of Palestinians the nearest thing to apartheid in the world today. He made his disgust at the outcome of the 2nd Camp David accord well known at that time also. So there is an American conscience after all. At present the press is focusing on George Mitchell’s failed mission – it all seems to be about compassion for Mitchell and the intractable nature of the problem. But I really don’t see how the Gaza ‘entity’ can be a state in any meaningful sense and it is inconceivable that the Israelis will give up the West Bank, as Carter and other have demanded.

Incoming Palestinian rocket - June 2014

Incoming Palestinian rocket – June 2014

That is why I think the Zionists have drunk the dragon’s soup and become genocidal colonists – the ‘solution’ for Israel is the end of Palestine and Palestinians, none other. The growing violence in the region will probably facilitate that outcome rather than the contrary. The entire civilised world is disgusted.

I watched Al Jazeera tonight and was so sick at what I saw. Then I listened to the World Service – after an RTE transmission on Gaddafi – and frankly the heating up of the Ukrainian thing – with Russian ‘boycott’ on EU goods threatening energy wars next winter … and of course the persecuted Christians of Iraq and Ebola in West Africa – am I alone in thinking we are at a new nadir? Continue reading

Politics of Water in Israel-Palestine

Olive-groves-PalestineA novelist friend of mine has recently written on her Facebook page about the repeated destruction of olive groves by Israeli settlers in Palestine – with heart-rending photos of the long-suffering victims and their ruined crops. In another context it might be treated as vandalism. In the colonised regions of Palestine in can only have one meaning: an attempt to drive out the farming population – whose olive trees have been funded, on this occasion, by international supporters determined to ensure that they are not starved out of their own traditional land. groves As always, I wrote back immediately to say that no state should tolerate such malicious, criminal, and racist attacks – but of course they are tolerated, even encouraged – especially where the Israeli extremists are on a mission to extend the national territory and drive out the rightful inhabitants. Continue reading

Charlie Hebdo and the French Free Press

Nothing warrants or excuses the atrocity in Paris but I have some misgivings about the nature of Charlie Hebdo‘s satirical campaign. France – La France – is a secular country in principle and its culture of Free Speech is central to its historical self-esteem although, in practice, speech and print are both governed by highly conventional rules excepting for the outre magazine (Canard enchainé and Charlie Hebdo).

Charlie Hebdo Killings (7 Jan. 2015)

Charlie Hebdo Killings (7 Jan. 2015)

Because it is secular on principle, it does not indulge religions or religious groups – as the sartorial rules for school children amply show. By contrast, Britain has laws forbidding anything that is deemed to incite racial hatred aimed at any religious or ethnic group and the satires of Charlie Hebdo might well qualify for censure under such laws. The Dutch, like the French, take the view that Theo van Gogh’s publications were admissible under the ‘free press’ rule. There is, however, another principle which applies in all such cases, and this is common decency and common sense. Continue reading

Hamas, “Defensive Edge” & ISIL

Nothing mitigates the tragic fact that the international community has condoned the Israeli use of massive force against a civilian population – all, that is, except an honourable list of South American countries who have recalled their diplomatic missions from Jerusalem (Brazil, Chile, et al.)  – but there is no way of bucking the fact that those heads of state have had sufficient reason for doing so in the shape of the present conflict: namely, Hamas’s thousand missiles fired, however, ineffectually, against neighbourhoods in Israel.

In principle, at least, the case for “self-defense” is a good one; and once that case has been granted, the only difficulty is know where to draw the line – if not the wider question whether any line can be drawn at all in such a fraught situation. When, in other words, does strategic intervention to disarm the neighbouring terrorist state become total war against its civilian population (albeit on the pretext that its population  is “harbouring” the terrorists who have taken military and political control. Continue reading

Gaza: Democratic Vacuum – Sectarian Abyss

Netanyahu won't halt attacks on Gaza (8 Aug. 2014)

Netanyahu won’t halt attacks on Gaza (8 Aug. 2014)

Nothing alters the fact that the international community has allowed Israel to use massive force against a civilian population but there is a reason why heads of state have been repeatedly confirm Israel’s right to ‘defend itself’ against Hamas missiles – in principle at least. Once the point is granted ‘in principle’, then the difficulty is where to draw the line.

The reality is that Israel withdrew from Gaza leaving a substantial infrastructure and that Hamas-Palestine has uprooted it and created no alternative. This is a ‘proof’ of Netanyahu’s prophecy that Hamas would not use its electoral mandate to ‘govern’ Gaza but only to wage war on Israel. And this is exactly what they will do as long as they can – even if it seems increasingly unlikely that they would get elected again. Even still, that is not the basic problem. The basic problem is – and will always remain – Zionist colonialism in the Palestinian homeland and the apartheid character of the Israeli state. Continue reading