Senseless in Gaza

A wounded Palestinian is carried near a UN school in Jabalya, Gaza Strip

Powerful article in today’s Guardian, written by Avi Shlaim, Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford.  In it he argues that:

Establishing the state of Israel in May 1948 involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians. British officials bitterly resented American partisanship on behalf of the infant state. On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by “an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders”…

Gaza is a classic case of colonial exploitation in the post-colonial era. Jewish settlements in occupied territories are immoral, illegal and an insurmountable obstacle to peace. They are at once the instrument of exploitation and the symbol of the hated occupation. In Gaza, the Jewish settlers numbered only 8,000 in 2005 compared with 1.4 million local residents. Yet the settlers controlled 25% of the territory, 40% of the arable land and the lion’s share of the scarce water resources. Cheek by jowl with these foreign intruders, the majority of the local population lived in abject poverty and unimaginable misery. Eighty per cent of them still subsist on less than $2 a day. The living conditions in the strip remain an affront to civilised values, a powerful precipitant to resistance and a fertile breeding ground for political extremism…

He concludes:

This brief review of Israel’s record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with “an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders”. A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practises terrorism – the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these three criteria; the cap fits and it must wear it. Israel’s real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours but military domination. It keeps compounding the mistakes of the past with new and more disastrous ones. Politicians, like everyone else, are of course free to repeat the lies and mistakes of the past. But it is not mandatory to do so.

Patti Smith: Qana

There’s no one
In the village
Not a human
Nor a stone
There’s no one
In the village
Children are gone
And a mother rocks
Herself to sleep
Let it come down
Let her weep

The dead lay in strange shapes

Some stay buried
Others crawl free
Baby didn’t make it
Screaming debris
And a mother rocks
Herself to sleep
Let it come down
Let her weep

The dead lay in strange shapes

Limp little dolls
Caked in mud
Small, small hands
Found in the road
Their talking about
War aims
What a phrase
Bombs that fall
American made
The new middle east
The rice woman squeaks

The dead lay in strange shapes

Little bodies
Little bodies
Tied head and feet
Wrapped in plastic
Laid out in the street
The new middle east
The rice woman squeaks

The dead lay in strange shapes

Water to wine
Wine to blood
Ahh qana
The miracle
Is love

Patti Smith’s Qana waswritten in response to the bombing of the UN compound in Qana, Lebanon, in 1996, when more than 100 lost their lives.

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