May 14, 2008

Take two reality checks and then some

There are two Comment is free pieces on Palestine today. The first I noticed was Ben White's Reality check and the second is Ian Black's Gaza won't go away.

What's interesting about both of the articles is that they both point to realities ignored or flagrantly lied about by the so-called quartet. Ben White highlights the difference between the rhetoric of the likes of the US, Israel and the UK (not necessarily in that order) and the reality on the ground:
What seem like irreconcilably different positions become easier to understand if one decodes the language of the peace process in recent years. It has now become par for the course to verbally support the idea of Palestinian statehood, from Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, to Condoleezza Rice and Tony Blair. What it all hinges on, of course, is what that would actually mean.

Furthermore, the Bush administration's approach to peace, which has been typical of the Quartet in general, has been to view the conflict through an almost exclusively Israeli perspective, while making a nod towards Palestinian humanitarian or economic suffering. A good example is the notorious checkpoints.

Media coverage of the peace process in recent months has been littered with references to the checkpoints, with the likes of Condoleezza Rice making them one of the main issues she has pressed when meeting Israeli officials. Firstly, it is important to note that the fragmentation of the West Bank through checkpoints, closures and the permit system has actually worsened since Annapolis, while Israel plays games with checkpoint removal for PR purposes. Secondly the language used to talk about checkpoints is often supportive of the Israeli security pretence.
I've always been suspicious of Ian Black but he does make a good point about why and how Israel should talk to Hamas:
Exchanges on Cif about the Hamas charter and attitudes towards antisemitism and the Holocaust provide sobering evidence of some of the more toxic aspects of its ideology. But it is fundamentally a political not a religious movement that owes its support in large measure to the failures, corruption and incompetence of the PLO - and the absence of hope for a just peace settlement.
Ok, he manages to avoid casting any blame on Israel but see this last paragraph:
Neither Bush nor Blair dare visit the Gaza Strip but on any clear-eyed, practical view the continuing blockade can only contribute to more suffering, desperation and hatred. Gaza is a daily reminder that the Palestinians and their problems will not just go away - and a timely one as Israel marks its 60th anniversary. The elephant in the room is also the ghost at the feast.
He also provides links that, like Ben White's piece, expose the gap between the reality of Palestine and what we see in the mainstream media.

One of his links is to a Cif piece by Hamas's Health and Information Minister in Gaza, Bassam Naeem, responding to the recent ballyhoo about something or other on Palestinian tv "about" the holocaust:
In fact, the al-Aqsa Channel is an independent media institution that often does not express the views of the Palestinian government headed by Ismail Haniyeh or of the Hamas movement. The channel regularly gives Palestinians of different convictions the chance to express views that are not shared by the Palestinian government or the Hamas movement. In the case of the opinion expressed on al-Aqsa TV by Amin Dabbur, it is his alone and he is solely responsible for it.

It is rather surprising to us that so little attention, if any, is given by the western media to what is regularly broadcast or written in the Israeli media by politicians and writers demanding the total uprooting or "transfer" of the Palestinian people from their land.

The Israeli media and pro-Israel western press are full of views that deny or seek to excuse well-established facts of history including the Nakba of 1948 and the massacres perpetrated then by the Haganah, the Irgun and LEHI with the objective of
forcing a mass dispossession of the Palestinians.

But it should be made clear that neither Hamas nor the Palestinian government in Gaza denies the Nazi Holocaust. The Holocaust was not only a crime against humanity but one of the most abhorrent crimes in modern history. We condemn it as we condemn every abuse of humanity and all forms of discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender or nationality.
Ah, so not quite the "unambiguously antisemitic" organisation they've been accused of being then.


Post a Comment