I was planning to post excerpts from Mark Steele’s column in Wednesday’s Independent. But when I went to retrieve the URL, guess what
Sorry but we haven't been able to serve the page you requested - please try again
Well, I have tried again, and again. As there’s no problem loading other content on the site, I surmise this column has been removed, probably for reasons that won’t be hard to fathom. So here it is in full for your delectation.
Mark Steel: Now we've all seen through the Israeli government's excuses
If the Hamas rockets are so lethal, why doesn't
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
The worrying part about whether the ceasefire in
The disregard for life from these terrorists and their supporters is shocking. For example Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, wrote that the purpose of the Israeli attack must be to "inflict a heavy death toll and heavy pain on the
These things are capable of terrorising a whole nation for years apparently, yet the Israelis have neglected to buy any, wasting their money on gunboats and stuff. Given that their annual arms budget is $7.2bn plus $2.2 bn in "aid", they'd save enough to buy a selection of banks in every country in the world.
The military advantages would be enormous because the Israelis' complaint about Hamas is the use of tunnels to smuggle arms. But if
Whatever you say about
Watching the reports from
Another way to allay their worries about Hamas breaking the ceasefire is to read the report from their government's own Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre. This states that during the ceasefire "Hamas did not take part in any rocket fire and sometimes prevented other organisations from attacking." Still, with all that's been going on I suppose they haven't had time for reading.
Despite all this there might be one cheery sign, which is that never before have so many people seen through the Israeli government's excuses for handing out mass destruction. The demonstrations in support of Palestinians have been bigger than ever before, and even the United Nations and the Wall Street Journal have suggested
Maybe, best of all, was genetics expert Steven Rose who appeared on Radio 4's Today programme to talk about a new study that's located "morality spots", the part of the brain that deals with our morality. [Gary Olson on the ‘mirror neuron system’ alleged to hardwire human beings for empathy. EH] Asked how we could know whether this was true, he said in a marvellously posh academic Radio 4 voice "Well we could test the brains of the Israeli cabinet and see if they've got no morality spots whatsoever."
And the most immoral part of all is the perfectly cynical timing, as if three weeks ago Bush shouted: "Last orders please. Any last bombing, before time's up? Come along now, haven't you got homes to demolish?"
Let me be clear:
Or, as Joseph Massad put it on Electronic Intifada on Tuesday,
Now is the time for Arab states to act on the initiative's promise by supporting the Palestinian government under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, taking steps towards normalizing relations with Israel, and by standing up to extremism that threatens us all.
That would be the same President Abbas whose term expired a fortnight ago, and the same Salam Fayyad who abu Mazen himself appointed to the position after Israel abducted and incarcerated many of the elected Palestinian Legislative Council members and Abbas dissolved the ‘unity government’ that Hamas had agreed to form in spite of winning the January 2006 election outright.
That election, by the way, is often described as ‘free and fair’. I beg to differ. There is no such thing as a fair election under military occupation – voters are always conscious of and sensitive to the Damoclean sword of looming unspoken but well understood consequences of electing the wrong candidates. Even if it were possible, the restrictions placed on the movement of candidates, the harassment many of them suffered, the influx of US funds for Abbas to distribute to his supporters…ensured that in this case, the election was anything but fair, even if observers detected no widespread fraud on the day. What surprised me, and I think just about everyone, was that with the deck stacked so comprehensively against them, Hamas still managed to secure a decisive majority of seats. Aside from the fact that there is no Palestinian state and therefore no ‘Palestinian government’, by identifying the Presidential overstayer who usurped the elected Council and his illegally appointed PM as the ‘government’, President Obama signals his attitude to democracy, even to the democratic trappings of elections and terms of office.
As many have written, one of the expected outcomes of
The BBC’s refusal to broadcast, in accordance with an arrangement in place for over four decades, an appeal for donations from the Disasters Emergency Committee, a consortium of 13 British charities, is despicable. Far be it from me to discourage individuals and organisations from making donations, but it does seem a bit rich that after all the destruction Israel has perpetrated against the people and infrastructure of Gaza, infrastructure largely built with donations from The International Community in the first place, it’s back down to us to pay for the damage Israel quite deliberately carried out. But then, it’s typically the losers who end up forced to pay war reparations, and since
Some actually perceive this as a loss for
The outpouring of rage around the world in response to
And yet, in my little backwater here, the Palestine solidarity group decided to cancel the rally we had planned and announced for last Friday, on the grounds that Israel had declared a ‘unilateral ceasefire’. In yesterday’s New York Times, Ethan Bronner, writing of the first day back at
Jabaliya refugee camp’s middle school, couldn’t resist slipping in, ‘…
Despite Obama’s embarrassing genuflection to Aipac, his support for
I’m optimistic, too. Literally millions of Americans decided to ignore Obama’s record and explicit policies, and placing their own interpretation on his promise of hope and change, poured heart and soul into getting him into the White House. Their expectations are high, and utterly unrealistic. Since at least last August, he has proclaimed his intention to attack
Obama’s most ardent supporters believe he was serious about the hope and change – the reactionary policies were just part of his remarkably successful marketing campaign. Sooner or later, they are going to realise that he meant everything he said about policy and the hope and change were the window dressing. There is a real danger that their disappointment will lead to despair and demoralization. But my hope is that they’ll get good and pissed off. Then we may really see some change we can believe in.