Friday, April 25 2014

'Israel Needs its Friends More Than Ever' - Christina Patterson



 Christina Patterson writes an excellent piece on Israel for the Independent today, which we thought you may wish to read. She writes:

“You can see why, when much of the Arab world was uniting, and igniting, in anger against oppression, you might want to have your own ‘day of rage’, and particularly when an American President with a Muslim middle name, who came into office declaring that he would seek "a new way forward" with the Muslim world, started doing things which seemed very much like the old way."

"When, for example, he made sure that the US was the only country to veto a UN Security Council resolution saying that illegal building on other people's land was, in fact, illegal. You can see why you might think that wasn't very helpful, and particularly since this was the only country in the world whose opinion your neighbour, who was doing the illegal building, cared about.”

“You can see, in fact, why feelings on both sides might be running quite high. You can see why the country that was doing the illegal building, and taking over land that international law said didn't belong to it, because it knew that the people whose land it was taking couldn't do anything about it, might be very scared. It might be scared because one of the strongest Arab countries in the world, which is on its doorstep, and which had signed an agreement saying that you could oppress anyone you liked as long as you left the strong Arab country alone, had just ousted the man who had signed the agreement.”

"So when a British writer won a prize in Israel this week, and was given it at a ceremony attended by the Mayor of Jerusalem, who thinks that stealing other people's homes is a sensible thing to do, you can see why the writer might think it was a good idea to say something other than ‘thank you’."

“…[he] told the audience, which included Israel's President, Shimon Peres, that there was, ‘hanging in the air’, a ‘great and self-evident injustice’. He said the opposite of creativity was ‘nihilism’ and that this was a place where there was lots of nihilism. It was, he said, there in the suicide bombers, and the ‘rockets fired blindly’ into Israeli towns, and in the ‘extinctionist policy’ towards Israel of Hamas. But it was also there in the ‘continued eviction and relentless purchases of Palestinian homes’.”

“Everyone, or perhaps I mean everyone in the West, knows that the suicide bombs, and the rockets, and the ‘extinctionist policy’, are a very bad idea, but quite a lot of people in the West, and particularly people in America, seem to think stealing other people's land and houses isn't. They seem to think you can do that, and still claim to be interested in negotiating some kind of peace agreement with the people whose land and houses you're stealing. They seem to think you can talk to their leaders (not the leaders with the ‘extinctionist’ policies, who you won't talk to, but the ones who've made so many concessions that when the concessions are leaked on a website the leaders feel very embarrassed) even while you're knocking down their homes.

“You can't. And if you want your country, which is, after all, a democracy, not to be threatened by its neighbours, and particularly those neighbours who may be in the process of also becoming democracies, and may end up with governments a bit like Hamas, then you should probably listen to the very few people who are prepared to tell you what Arabs around the world are reminding us: that there comes a time when bullying backfires.”

Well said.









This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comment.
If you are experiencing problems please contact info@iengage.org.uk

Engage Publications



Books of Interest