Monday, 5 January 2009

And yet more on Gaza

Just been reading Iain Dale's latest posting on Gaza, "Hamas's Useful Idiots". Always a bit of a cheap shot that, interpreting opposition to one side's actions as wholehearted endorsement of what the other side stands for (as in, all opponents of the war in Iraq = apologists for Saddam Hussein).

Today's report on injuries to children in Gaza reminded me of a conversation I had with an aid worker in a refugee camp in the West Bank, a couple of years ago, about the almost total lack of counselling services or awareness of the psychological impact on children of the ongoing conflict. The casualty figures in Gaza are horrific - the Guardian guide states 512 dead, 2,300 injured on the Palestinian side, 5 dead, 62 injured on the Israeli side - but these relate to physical injuries. The toll on the mental health of people living in Gaza - and, I accept, those living in fear of Hamas rocket attacks in Israel - will be much higher.

Have received an invite to meet with Bill Rammell, the FCO Minister, tomorrow for an update, so will be going along to the FCO for that. Will try to put to him all the questions people have raised with me in emails.

35 comments:

Dick the Prick said...

Craig Murray's been saying that our UN team have been given different instructions from those that the PM has been stating. Guess he's got a book to publish but....

thebristolblogger said...

The description of casualty figures of 500-odd as "horrific" is over the top.

50 casualties a day is actually quite small even for a minor border war of this kind.

By way of comparison during the 11-day events of Black September when Jordan drove the PLO and Palestinians out of their country estimates of between 10,000 - 20,000 are usually suggested for the 11 days of fighting.

Kerry said...

I think 500 deaths, including many children, would be described as horrific if they happened, say, in Barcelona (similar size population) wouldn't they? Are you saying it's not a big deal really, that we should all stop making such a fuss?

Terry said...

How many deaths in Zimbabwe Kerry? You mentioned Barcelona not me.

Remember Remember said...

Well tell this Bill Rammell chappy employee of ours that half of us are utterly fed up with the endless pandering to Israel and USrael's whims.

We want a boycott of Israel and British warships off Gaza to escort humanitarian aid.
Come to think of it, how about enforcing the broken Balfour deal militarily? Now there's something I wouldn't mind paying taxes towards.

Dick the Prick said...

I think you should stop making a fuss. We've killed a million in Iraq and yet no inquiry has been permitted. God alone knows when the region will be stable so that figure is rising.

Yet there are those that demand a higher standard from Israel where there are national security issues. I genuinely don't get it.

Remember Remember said...

Ah yes, well remembered Dick. Where's Blair hiding presently?

thebristolblogger said...

"I think 500 deaths, including many children, would be described as horrific if they happened, say, in Barcelona (similar size population) wouldn't they?"

I was trying to put the events in a relevant context. I don't see what the relevance of contemporary Barcelona is to anything.

"Are you saying it's not a big deal really, that we should all stop making such a fuss?'

No. I'm saying you should make a fuss that's relevant to the minor regional conflict it actually is rather than turning the whole thing in to some grandiose major geo-political event of earth-shattering significance.

Kerry said...

Israel/ Palestine has never been just a 'minor regional' matter.

Remember Remember said...

(LOL! Blair is being awarded a medal by Bush today! How ironic...)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7812582.stm

Remember Remember said...

Bristolbog: Doesn't it strike you as perverse that a population the size of Barcelona's can cause so much aggravation and be a nuclear power today?

Many people think Israel is some major nation when it's not.
The sum population of Israel is 2 million LESS than London.

Worth falling out with 1.2 *B*illion Muslims over?

Kerry said...

It's Gaza that has the same population as Barcelona, not Irsael... Can we forget I ever brought Barcelona into it. Please?

thebristolblogger said...

"Can we forget I ever brought Barcelona into it. Please?"

No. I think we have the potential for a running joke on our hands here.

Kerry said...

Terry seems to think it's somewhere in southern Africa.

Terry said...

Kerry

Like your party, your comments are out of touch. Don't make cheap jibes about the Zimbabwe situation to score points. The sooner you are out of office the better.

Remember Remember said...

How about: The population of the nuclear state of Israel is two million less than London.

The Bristol Blogger said...

"How about: The population of the nuclear state of Israel is two million less than London."

So states smaller than London should cease to exist?

Terry said...

Kerry

Are you DI Alex Drake? Just remember Gene will sort you out.

Kerry said...

Terry. I have no idea what you are on about. Again. (Some obscure reference to living on another planet, maybe?)

Remember Remember said...

BristolBog:
Despot Israel is of no concern to us, 1.2 Billion Muslims with oil are.

Israel broke the Balfour agreement and ignores just about all others. They made their own bed. We should be forcing them to comply, not keep supporting their crimes against humanity.
Go read what they don't tell you in their media.

Kerry said...

Dave H - wasn't comfortable with posting your comment/link. I know you were quoting from another source, but not the sort of quotes I really want on this site.

thebristolblogger said...

Remember:

It's the Balfour Declaration not agreement. It's a statement of the British government's view from 1917, 30 years before Israel existed.

How can Israel break an agreement that wasn't an agreement anyway that they weren't party to?

And isn't this all a rather long time ago? Has anyone checked the terms of 1902's Anglo-Japanese Alliance lately?

If the Japs have broken any of it, I say send in the gun boats. A deal's a deal innit.

Kerry said...

Agreed. I think constant harking back just provides an excuse not to deal with the here and now.

Remember Remember said...

Kerry, you will find that "harking" backwards forwards and sideways is their speciality.

It's quite relevant because it's an argument frequently used by zionists today to underpin the legality of their "claim" to country status, and one of various claims which are still in dispute.

Emerald said...

"...Israel is of no concern to us..."

I think you'll find that it is. On a number of different levels.

Remember Remember said...

Ok, well I am clearly right about Miliband being a zionist. A call to stop clandestine shipments of arms to Hamas but no mention of stopping UK arms shipments to Israel. I didn't even know we supplied arms to this despot regime too. Beyond Crazy!
Give Mugabe guns too whydontcha!

I'll make it more widely known that Labour supports "arms for Israel", who are already the biggest per-capita arms manufacturers in the world.

Dave H said...

"Dave H - wasn't comfortable with posting your comment/link. I know you were quoting from another source, but not the sort of quotes I really want on this site."

Fair enough. Your blog. As a matter of fact I didn't post the worst for that reason.

However, just to reiterate in a less inflamalaboury tone, the document was so outrageous I did wonder if it was a forgery designed to stir things up, a kind of Protocols of The Elders of Palestine.

However it does chime with comments made by the President of Iran (whose name I tellingly can't spell from memory) and Iran sponsors Hamas. That has to make it more plausible. If it was genuine and Hamas was (one assumes) democratically elected, that document represents the majority Palestinian view. And that means, well, I vaguely remember translating a ghastly phrase aptly describing this conflict: multus sanguis fluit.

Remember Remember said...

Another piece of the puzzle: Gaza sits on natural gas reserves! (google it) Given the chance they could be wealthy.
The Zionists want to stop that and steal it. Yet another reason they make sure peace doesn't break out.

Kerry said...

More than a little uncomfortable with the use of the phrase 'the Zionists' too.

Remember Remember said...

Why? The term "Israeli" is inaccurate because most of the Israel loyalists live abroad and don't have Israeli citizenship.
The term "Zionist" is accurate too, because a lot of Israelis and Jews are anti-zionist.

Zionism is an 'ism, just like Socialism, Communism or Nazism are.
I hope you are not trying to attach stigma to yet another descriptive term for them. What would you suggest? Maybe "Chosen Ones", "Our Masters" or "The Untouchables"?
You should be out preventing UK arms shipments to the murd.., eeer whatever you want to address them as.

Kerry said...

I know it may be factually accurate, but it sounds uncomfortably close to talk of a global Zionist conspiracy, etc, etc. The Israeli govt?

The Bristol Blogger said...

Remember:

The legality of Israel's "claim" to country status derives from its recognition by the UN in 1947, not the Balfour Declaration, which if memory serves was superceded by League of Nations announcements in the 20s anyway.

Your implication that Israel should not exist is for the birds.

Remember Remember said...

You mean it might be "too accurate"!
Anyway, it's not just "the Israeli government" but all manner of organisations who support, propagandise and fund the zionist cause.
If you haven't twigged that, you have no place being in politics.

How about you object to people calling Hamas "terrorists" instead.
Although Israel have kidnapped or assassinated the elected leaders of Palestine as a policy, they are still the governing party.

Emerald said...

Genesis 27-28: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it …" “

Whenever the Haredim become a sufficiently large proportion of the (now) Israeli population then Judaism may finally succeed in opposing Zionism. Until that time the competing Abrahamic populations of these arid areas look set to spiral ever further beyond safe and sustainable levels, intensifying resource conflicts and further degrading the environment. Demographic warfare is ultimately self-defeating - you can’t buck Nature!

Kerry said...

It's very awkward Remember being called that - it just sounds like an exhortation to people to remember something.

On the way back from the West Bank after the January 2006 elections I was at Tel Aviv airport with Lord Kilclooney (formerly k.a. John Taylor, the Unionist politician). He came up to us and hissed 'there's a terrorist over there'! Turns out it was a Sinn Fein MEP.