Saturday, 21 February 2009

Palestine - a scandal ignored

The western media is devoting lots of space to the shenanigans over who is going to be Israel’s next Prime Minister, but suppresses news of how Israel continues to oppress the Palestinians in the territories it illegally occupies. People like the BBC present Benjamin Netanyahu as the right-wing Israeli candidate, with Tzipi Livni as the “centrist”! (Yes, that is the same Tzipi Livni who just a few short weeks ago massacred 1,300 Palestinians.)

What you can be sure of is that the outcome in Tel Aviv will make no difference to life for the millions of Palestinians living under an occupation that has now gone for 10 times as long as the Nazi occupation of France during World War Two. If you listen to those who support and bankroll the Israelis – Barrack Obama, Britain’s Labour government, the European Union – you will hear the refrain that if the Palestinians would just bow down to the Israelis, like Fatah has done in the West Bank, rather than resisting them, like Hamas is doing in Gaza, everything would be o.k.

Events on the ground constantly give the lie to that, but fortunately for our leaders, our media largely ignores them. Last week, Israeli troops invaded a West Bank village called Jayyous. They did the kind of things they did in the parts of Gaza they managed to penetrate – vandalising homes and schools, beating up local people, looting. They also kidnapped up to 90 people, to join more than 11,000 Palestinians they have already interned. These kidnappings go on the whole time. Last week the Israelis also abducted people from Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and two other West Bank towns.

The reason for the assault on Jayyous appears to have been that local people had dared to mount peaceful protests against Israel’s Berlin-style wall which has robbed the village of thousands of olive and fruit trees in addition to a crucial part of its water supply. The Israelis are reportedly planning to use some of the land they have stolen to expand one of their settlements.


  1. Great blog; just for fun you should stick it on the Telegraph site, if only to witness how such a wretched and upsetting situation for the Palestinians will be used as just another excuse to incur much indignant fury, immediately whipping up a torrent of eaccusations ranging from gullibility (fool, didn't you know the BBC is still run by a cabal of Guardianistas?) to out-and-out anti-Semitism. Sometimes the big one is thrown in early on, so you can't make any appeals whatever to basic human sympathy. But, anyway, you probably know that...

    What is interesting is that you are developing your blogs to focus on disaster as a way of life; where ordinary people, whose lives cannot conceivably continue in this way, still have to manage to coexist with outrageous, catastrophic neglect, something that seems to go with territory, and pretty much taken for granted by veryone.
    Remember the trouble poor old Cheri got into all those years back for muttering something vaguely sympathetic about the plight of the ordinary Palestinian people? Something along the lines of, if there's no future, well what can you do? It might not have been even that inflammatory, but she got it in the neck almost as soon as she said it.

  2. yes, when I started the blog, I hadn't expected to write so much about contemporary events - especially not the financial crisis and the police-state-by-stealth project, but events in these arenas and Gaza have become so pyschedelicly surreal that they seduce constant comment. It reminds me of what someone on "That Was the Week That Was" (David Frost?) said - that however outrageous and satirical they tried to be, they were constantly outflanked by what those in power were actually doing.