ON SATURDAY, I did something that I haven’t done for many years: join a demonstration protesting against the increasing Israeli assaults on Gaza and against the distorted media reporting about the conflict. It was a peaceful and noisy protest, with a range of good speakers and strongly held views.
On the one side we have Israel, receiving financial and moral support from the United States, the UK and other western countries in return for a security foot-hold in the Middle East. It has an army, a navy and an airforce with access to every weapon it wishes. Over the years it has taken land from its neighbours by force, and behaves towards them in a way that is no different to the worst apartheid practices in South Africa.
Now we read of hundreds of deaths of civilians in Gaza, including a large percentage of children, as Israel pursues its uneven battle, justified, it says, by rockets being sent from Hamas “terrorists”.
The three million Palestinians, hemmed into their narrow strip of land, with a “Berlin” wall built to control them on one side and an Israeli navy firing at them from the sea, are not allowed to have an army, a navy or other services. They are told to leave their homes to allow Israeli forces to bomb them.
How did Israel reach such levels of hatred against another race when you would have hoped tolerance would have been its lesson from history? Did the Israeli education system ever give a balanced account of the history of Palestine before 1948?
This is one battle that Goliath is destined to win over David, unless there is support for Palestinians from the outside world. The disproportionate actions from Israel serve to show that the Israeli government sees itself as above international law.
Weasel words are offered by Messrs Obama, Cameron et al, asking Benjamin Netanyahu to “please try not to kill more innocents” – not that this has made any difference in the past. The vast majority of politicians and press and television swallow the much-repeated and untrue Israeli script which, roughly translates as “Hamas started it and we will finish it”. This conflict started long before the blockade and each year Israel fuels more provocation.
The outside world needs to support the Palestinians now. The only practical way is to do what Chile has done and introduce trade boycotts until such time as western governments come up with a once and for all solution – which includes the long awaited creation of a new Palestine nation, with realistic borders.
Moral and financial support should go to the victims of crime, not the oppressors themselves. There are moderate Jewish voices in Israel and across the world and all religions should work together to stop this aggression.
Mr Netanyahu, if you want to stop terrorism, look in the mirror and ask yourself what other methods of finding a solution there might be that are in accord with your religion and international law.
On SATURDAY afternoon, Glasgow was treated to yet another placard and banner display from perennial protestors chanting inane demands at full volume –“Free Palestine”, “Stop Bombing Gaza”, etc.
To Hamas terrorists, Gaza is effectively an arms dump, a missile launch pad and a plentiful supply of human shields. These Islamists seek the abolition of the democratic state of Israel and, as a consequence, never tire of blasting smuggled Qassam rockets into Jewish communities.
What, then, are the alternatives to blockade, occupation, a wall that prevents suicide bombers, and occasional military strikes aimed at Hamas targets?
Netherton Gate Glasgow