What is Left for Palestine? 417


Western media and politicians are now firmly coalesced around the Israeli government narrative. Israel is unwillingly fighting a war of self-defence in Gaza after hostilities were commenced by aggressive Hamas military attack. The storming of Al Aqsa mosque, the shooting at people in prayer, the right wing mobs attacking East Jerusalem, the Krystallnacht style destruction of Palestinian businesses and lynching of Arab Israelis, none of that ever happened at all. What happened was that Hamas launched a missile war and Israel was obliged, ever so reluctantly, to exercise its right of self defence, with enormous care not to hit civilians, except that, entirely accidentally, the IDF has killed a couple of hundred civilians including scores of children.

Palestinians die in the passive voice in western media. The media always says they “have died”; they were never “killed”, and there is virtually never any attribution of the death. By contrast, Israelis are active voice “killed by Hamas” or “killed by missile strikes”. Look out for this journalistic sophistry – once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

I used to be a firm opponent of missile strikes from Gaza. My view was firstly, that they cannot be militarily targeted so constitute an attack on civilians, secondly that they were a gift to Israeli propaganda, and thirdly that they were militarily ineffective. All of those remain true, and yet my view has changed and I find myself celebrating the fact that Hamas has, against all odds, managed to acquire more and better missiles. Part of that change of view is that I have come to see that there is no such thing as an innocent adult coloniser. But the bigger part is that I cannot see what on earth else the Palestinians are supposed to do.

Western politicians obviously believe that the Palestinians should accept apartheid quietly, and should have the good grace silently to wither away. The ultra-venal leaders of the majority of Arab states also wish the Palestinians would just die and allow them to enjoy the lavish personal benefits of their new alliances with Israel. It is absolutely plain there is no political process of any kind in train to alleviate the Palestinian plight, that even those “liberal” western politicians who floated the idea of a “two state solution” meant, at best, internationally recognised apartheid and bantustans. Joe Biden manages the remarkable feat of being still more zionist than Donald Trump.

Were I a Palestinian, I should undoubtedly have concluded that for an entire nation to turn the other cheek to a power which is seriously intent on genocide, is not a viable policy. Military resistance may seem hopeless, but sometimes to attempt to live with a shout of defiance and an effort to fight is the only dignified option remaining to a human.

It was a beautiful day in Glasgow yesterday for the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Committee demo, and it was great to be able to meet up again with so many magnificent and public-spirited people. It was an especially young crowd, which was excellent, and I was able to meet many Palestinians who drew comfort from the public support at a traumatic time.

Watching Mick Napier very much in charge of events, I was struck by the thought that there are so many really excellent and altruistic people who put their heart and entire lives into good causes for very little credit. Mick has been involved with SPSC as long as I can remember, has won important court victories in Scotland against ridiculous definitions of anti-semitism, and I have seen him at vigils on cold wet nights with a dozen people there. It made me realise how many Mick Napiers I have had the great privilege to know. We must not take the good-hearted for granted.

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417 thoughts on “What is Left for Palestine?

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  • N_

    Part of that change of view is that I have come to see that there is no such thing as an innocent adult coloniser. But the bigger part is that I cannot see what on earth else the Palestinians are supposed to do.

    Yes. When your backs are to the wall, you have to come out fighting. Same as in the Warsaw Ghetto.

  • Ian

    What can we do?
    Well, one thing, in a Palestinian-Scottish connection, is support Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, whose memoir is being published by Scottish imprint Drunk Muse Press.

    Dareen was imprisoned on charges of inciting violence and terrorism after publishing her protest poem, ‘Resist, my people, resist.’ on the internet. Her books are banned in Palestine and Israel. Such is the power of language and poetry.

    You can buy a ticket to hear her reading and reciting at the Scottish Poetry Library, and/or buy her book, My Threatening Poem, published at the end of the month.

    https://spl.online.red61.co.uk/event/764:12/

    No doubt the trolls will try to censor it, as they do just about anything Palestinian.

    • Republicofscotland

      Ian.

      We can stop buying US and Israeli produce, of course and its again fear of sanctions, not expect the UK or any of the devolved nations governments to speak out and act against US and Israeli interests, though I wish they would. Impacting on the Israeli economy by not buying anything produced there does help, again the USA is the largest economy in the world, but it also has the most debt, snubbing American produce is one thing we can do, will it help, well it surely can’t hurt to do it, but very few governments will come out and ask their citizens to stop buying US/Israeli products lest that country be hit with sanctions in return.

      • Ian

        I didn’t ask what we can not do or to be told how insignificant such a gesture would be, I suggested what we can do, which is much more positive and life affirming, and helps support a persecuted Palestinian. If you wish, join the BDS campaign.

        • Republicofscotland

          Ian.

          You did start your comment with what can we do, anyway more power to you for your proposal.

      • arby

        Israel barcodes start with 729
        US barcodes start with a number in the range 100 to 139

        “Every little helps”

        • Goose

          That kinda assumes everyone in the US agrees with the people who decide foreign policy. It’s clearly more complex than that in the US, but the two-party system doesn’t allow political expression of those differences.

          Look at Congressional opposition, street protests, activists like Rachel Corrie, who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer.

          • barbara

            Rachel Corrie was killed by an over-size bulldozer, with the capacity to do that for which it was used ( to smash dwelling-places ), on a day when it was being operated by someone quite other than the young Israelis Rachel Corrie had been drawing into giving greetings to each other: people may recall the poster showing Rachel Corrie in a contemplative mood, with the caption beneath her picture: “Israel, stop killing Peace.”

            But the over-size bulldozer used to kill her unique work for Peace was not made in Israel, it was made in the United States, by the Caterpillar company: there had some years earlier been a long, exhausting strike against the company by its union members: when the strike was finally broken, Barak Obama, then a member of Congress, flew to the company’s headquarters to offer his congratulatons.

          • Shatnersrug

            Oh Goose you really are a woolly type aren’t you? Would you have said that about South Africa during apartheid – I know loads of south Africans from that era that wanted apartheid to end but we all refused to buy their products

          • Mary Bennett

            Goose, two things about the American public are relevant here.

            1. We can no longer afford overseas wars. This is known and understood widely in the USA, if not by the neocons in their hermetic gated communities.
            2. (offensiveness alert) Moslem migration is not popular here. Members of that particular faith did not build our railroads or our skyscrapers nor are they seen picking crops or mopping floors. BTW, I have done both those latter things. We understand very well where Israel intends to send its’ unwanted Palestinian population and we are not interested. Apologies to those offended.

            Biden understands all this very well. He is what he is, but he does know how to read political weather signs.

    • N_

      Resist, My People, Resist Them by Dareen Tatour,

      Resist, my people, resist them.
      In Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows
      And carried the soul in my palm
      For an Arab Palestine.
      I will not succumb to the “peaceful solution,”
      Never lower my flags
      Until I evict them from my land.
      I cast them aside for a coming time.
      Resist, my people, resist them.

      Resist the settler’s robbery
      And follow the caravan of martyrs.
      Shred the disgraceful constitution
      Which imposed degradation and humiliation
      And deterred us from restoring justice.
      They burned blameless children;
      As for Hadil, they sniped her in public,
      Killed her in broad daylight.
      Resist, my people, resist them.

      Resist the colonialist’s onslaught.
      Pay no mind to his agents among us
      Who chain us with the peaceful illusion.
      Do not fear doubtful tongues;
      The truth in your heart is stronger,
      As long as you resist in a land
      That has lived through raids and victory.
      So Ali called from his grave:
      Resist, my rebellious people.
      Write me as prose on the agarwood;
      My remains have you as a response.
      Resist, my people, resist them.
      Resist, my people, resist them.

        • Ian

          Otherwise it looks like you have appropriated her work to do a bit of moral grandstanding. No links, no context, no appreciation or understanding of her, or her position. Typical.

  • T

    Resistance is far from futile. This we know from the histories of many deeply oppressed, apparently crushed peoples. Palestinians have more cause for hope than any of those peoples ever had because they can see that the world is with them and against their oppressors. Not billionaire owned media or black hearted pols like Biden, Putin and Starmer but all people of good conscience, all with the barest sense of natural justice. For that reason Palestinians must know deep down they will eventually prevail.

    • Ian

      One form of resistance is cultural – keeping alive the memory, history and culture of Palestine – something Israel is very keen to erase, as evidenced in their persecution of poets (as above), writers, filmmakers and musicians (not to mention their unbelievable crippling of Palestinian footballers). Anyone who has spent time in Palestine or Palestinian company knows their incredible fortitude and generous culture. The least we can do is support that in any way we can.

      Justice may be a very long way away, but in the meantime we can support their efforts at staying alive and retaining their cultural history and memory – buying their output, donating and spreading the word.

    • Goose

      Israel has over a million Russian immigrants – hence Netanyahu’s wooing of Putin and trips to Moscow – their votes clearly matter. Despite this, Russia remains fairly neutral and the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque and Eastern Jerusalem. They’ve since called for a cease-fire.

      Someone ought to tell General Nick Carter perhaps, while he’s busily deepening defence ties?

      • Tom Welsh

        Brainwashed by many decades of cynical nonsense about how the USA is “the policeman of the world”, Westerners find it hard to grasp that the Russian government’s main goals are concerned with the safety and wealfare of Russia and the Russians. They wonder vaguely why the Russians don’t grab more, beat their chests more loudly, or try to “project power”.

        If they don’t know, of course, they will never understand.

        Mr Putin has some very delicate balancing to perform. As well as the large and very influential Jewish community, Russia also has some very big Muslim communities. The trick is to do what is necessary abroad to keep Russia safe, without unduly provoking any of the internal groups who have strong ties to Israel, Turkey and other Arab nations.

        The trick is rendered far, far harder by the certain knowledge that if the slightest roughness develops between Russia and another country, the US government will jump heavily into the middle of things and start causing as much trouble as it can. And of course, Israel has an uncanny measure of control over Washington.

    • M.J.

      I’m afraid that what Hamas are doing by way of “Resistance” is not only futile but will make matters worse. The rocket attacks could precipitate an invasion of Gaza and its conversion into an “area C”. If that happens, Hamas will be destroyed with all its infrastructure, and that will be that.
      Firing rockets into Israel was foolish and stupid, and all Gaza will pay the price. That is the hard truth. Once it is faced, then better methods of improving the lot of Palestinians can begin to be found.

        • M.J.

          I’m glad I spoke of actions, not persons (perhaps a bit too strongly). Also that I’m far removed from the situation, including any cultural pressure to ‘do’ something, however ill-advised. But I suspect that many Gazans with responsibilities would not have approved of such attacks, seing what was coming.

  • Coldish

    In response to Craig’s reluctant support for the rockets from Gaza: bombing campaigns almost always strengthen support for the leadership of those who are being bombed. So the rocket volleys from Gaza play into Netanyahu’s hands, getting him out of a hole.. They distract national and interrnational attention from the almost unprecedented intercommunal clashes on the streets of Israeli towns, while the events which gave rise to those .clashes (the evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the assault by Israeli forces on the al Aqsa mosque) are quickly forgotten. Netanyahu can breathe again.
    As a territory under an illegal and criminal blockade Gaza has a right to hit back militarily at the blockading power. But confronted as Gazans are by vastly superior forces, firing off a few thousand rockets will do nothing to end the blockade. As Palestinian writer Ali Qleibo (who lives in Jerusalem and has family and property in Gaza) says in an interview in today’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, “Most people in Gaza are normal families who have to pay their bills. They dream of the day when their children can get married. Now they have to suffer again under the collective punishment inflicted by Israel”.

    • fonso

      Sure, if it wasnt for those darn rockets Israelis would probably have been really cross with Netanyahu. So too the EU and US. Could have been a real game changer for the Palestinians. Why couldn’t they see that?

      • Tom Welsh

        Why would the Palestinians want a (possibly) slightly less corrupt fascist murderer than Netanyahu in charge of Israel?

    • Ian

      Can’t disagree with that, but at the same time Israel has a vested interest in provoking resistance which it can portray as ‘terrorism’. Ignoring, of course, their own far worse, systematic and ongoing terrorism. This is the dilemma and cleft stick Palestinians are stuck in, especially with the control of the narrative that Israel has, and enforces on others. It is Kafka-esque, exactly as it is designed to be. Israel loves it when Hamas strikes back, especially as they know virtually no damage will be caused. You can see idiot boy Netanyahu getting over excited and jubilant about it. He, like the Israelis who pull up sun loungers to watch Gaza being bombed, can hardly contain himself.

      • Akos Horvath

        Please enlighten us about (i) what strategy the Palestinians should adopt after 70-years of Western ‘advice’ that has only resulted in more Israeli land theft and (ii) why should the oppressed Palestinians give a toss about what Westerners think about their struggle in the first place? You really want them to wait for your Godot that never comes?

        • Ian

          No, I am not suggesting anything other than supporting them in whatever limited way we can. I wouldn’t dream of telling them what to do. How could I possibly do that? There is no reason they should ‘give a toss’ about what I or you think. But anyone can see how desperate their situation is, and want to help, pitiful though that might be. The Palestinians I have met are very eager to share their stories and culture, and I welcome that. None of that involves telling anybody what to do. Classic trolling behaviour to demand solutions to your questions where you can’t provide any yourself, as if that proves something. What do you suggest for them, if if you are so enlightened and perspicacious?

          • Akos Horvath

            I support EI and other Palestinian organizations by modest financial contributions. I try to educate my small circle of friends about the apartheid nature of Israel and I practice BDS whenever I can. I certainly don’t lecture the Palestinians about how to resist the apartheid state. Armed resistance is their prerogative.

            Only the Palestinians can find a solution to their plight. And whatever it is, armed or unarmed, I accept. I can only help by demanding that my tax euros don’t help Israeli apartheid and my government don’t participate in violence.

            You seem to be one of those Westerners who think you have to offer ‘solutions’ to the natives. Which usually amount to urging them to give up and accept apartheid. But you will preserve their books for a museum. I seek advice on how to help from Arabs and Palestinians, such as Asad Abukhalil’s Twitter. Not from Western White Men.

          • Ian

            Oh good for you, do give yourself a pat on the back for your condescending efforts.

    • N_

      bombing campaigns almost always strengthen support for the leadership of those who are being bombed.

      That is a huge generalisation. In Gaza the Zionist bombing even when it is “only” of Hamas installations has eroded the line between Hamas and not-Hamas, insofar as while one might have criticisms of Hamas they are mostly irrelevant because everyone should be mucking in together in the fight against the oppressors when the air raids are happening, the buildings are collapsing, and the power is out. Only in one sense is that “support for the Hamas leadership”, because it also causes the Hamas leaders to raise their game. In any case, life expectancy of any particular Hamas leader is short and one has to admire their courage. They are not like the creeps in the PLO leadership (Yasser Arafat being an exception) who took a rake-off from the cement for the apartheid wall.

      • Johny Conspiranoid

        ““bombing campaigns almost always strengthen support for the leadership of those who are being bombed.“”

        Israel’s bombing of Gaza strengthens support for Hamas.

  • DunGroanin

    It is crime against Humanity even the Groan is forced to report it.

    “ A week of relentless Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip has destroyed power lines, smashed water pipes beneath roads and left human waste spilling out of the ground.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/16/human-waste-spills-on-to-gazas-blacked-out-streets-as-crisis-looms

    What R2P bollocks?
    What of Biden koolaiders?
    What of the GKH Labour leader ?

    Who can complain if Israel’s infrastructure – especially Water desalination and power lines are equally hit?

    The gamesmanship has finally landed the IAF into a probably literal dead end.
    The shots have been fired across their bows are they really going to March on into the valleys of death?

    I really don’t want that to happen to the innocent Israelis who have no part in the continuing right wing imperialist project that some Israelis insist is a god/given right.

  • 6033624

    Around the world, not talking about the press, there has been a bit more vocal disapproval on this occasion of Israel’s attack on the Palestinian people. I think the Human Rights Watch declaration that they had looked in detail at the Crime Against Humanity of Apartheid and its legal definition and compared it to the laws in Israel and found that Israel is, legally speaking, committing the crime of Apartheid against the Palestinian people. I think this has allowed people to be more vocal. No longer can Israel hide behind knowingly defined rules on Anti-Semitism.

    So much so is this true that I have seen what are obvious attempts by the Israeli Govt to reframe criticism of their actions as Anti-Semitism eg the pictures of three or four cars driving and someone with a loudhailer saying something (which was inaudible to me) which is, allegedly, anti-Semitic. There were a maximum of three speaking (I only heard one) But they are trying to smear an entire movement with the actions of three people. That would smack of the same abuse that Israel accuses its detractors of (blaming a group for the actions of a few)

    The UN seems to be toothless and the US is doing all it can to prevent anything being done on an international level. And Israel has taken out the only building where there was a good view and where journalists felt safe. A very obvious attack on press freedoms (again)

    It’s a slow holocaust on top of regular pogroms against the Arabs. They are put in ghettos and slowly killed through having water and medicine kept from them and occasional bombings which kill thousands of civilians. Then there’s the ‘Administrative Detention’ where they pick up Arabs without charge and without limit of time. There’s so much more but why is this allowed to continue? Why does this rogue state get a free pass from UN Resolutions and the Geneva Convention?

    This must stop. Otherwise we will be as bad as the appeasers of the 1930s who were content to see the anti-Jewish laws that the Germans put in place.

  • Sneed

    “Palestinians die in the passive tense in western media. The media always says they “have died”; they were never “killed”,”

    “passive tense”

    “have died”

    I’m not sure about that couple of sentences.

  • writeon

    The BBC World Service had a grotesque report today where two young Palestinian women were interviewed in relation to hard it is to live a normal, modern, middle-class life…in Gaza! Why, oh why, didn’t they just leave and move somewhere else! One doesn’t know whether to weep or scream at this kind of thing, no?

    Later, another BBC journalist, Sebastian Usher, actually admitted that Gaza was, effectively, a ‘prison.’ To say that is something very unusual indeed, for the BBC.

    Then they had a report about why Google Maps has chosen to ‘blur’ Gaza as seen from the air. This was difficult because it’s linked to an American law that makes it an offence for US media to do anything that might support ‘terrorism’ or undermine Izreel’s national security!

    So much of modern life is beyond satire and difficult to ridicule properly. Brazen hypocrisy and blatant double standards have become the norm, in a society that’s rotten to the core.

  • writeon

    Labour… friends of racism, as they line up to support Izreel’s right to defend itself.

  • laguerre

    My view, for what it’s worth as a mere person who’s lived and worked in the Middle East most of his life, is that Israel and Gaza have reached a stalemate. Israel neither can nor wants to defeat Hamas, nor wants to make peace. “mowing the lawn” is the aim, but not even that works. One “senior Hamas commander” killed can always be replaced by another; they’re nothing special. Haniyeh runs the show from Qatar, where I imagine he takes precautions from an assassination squad. Of course Netanyahu knows all this; his aim is to avoid prison for corruption, and to secure a new term as PM.

    The only change will come when there’s a change in the balance of power. So far Netanyahu has successfully blocked what Obama called “the pivot to Asia”, a policy which is a US mainline. If there’s a real crisis with China, will there be so many resources available to support Israel? Especially after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and what looks like a future withdrawal from Iraq (they can’t stay much longer, with the high level of popular resentment). I don’t know whether it will be that, but things can’t get better for Israel.

    • Goose

      Fairly obvious what the strategy is : a greater Israel.

      Encourage as much Jewish immigration as possible, from anywhere and everywhere, including by overstating threats to Jews in western countries eg., Labour(Corbyn) at the 2019 election. The theory being these masses will defacto make a Palestinian homeland impossible. The strategy has been obvious for a long time and its becoming a reality.

      However, who’d want to leave Europe or elsewhere to settle on disputed land, living in fear of a future war.

      • laguerre

        I think that that the ambition of a greater Israel has been forgotten. They are down to survival. Hizbullah were probably better off not to launch their missiles. Even if they can destroy Tel Aviv, it was not the right moment. The launch is a single action, they can do it once, but not again. Israel is affeared of that. They manoeuvre to avoid that, but it is always in the air. Hizbullah likes to maintain that fear.

  • Goose

    UK govt busily ramming the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism down local authorities and universities’ throats. I doubt Jenrick and co have even read it. It’s more about political point scoring for the political right, after false ‘antisemitism ‘ accusations were deployed so successfully against Corbyn.

    We are screwed as a society if we don’t resist these cheap political moves with long-term implications for freedom of speech.

    • laguerre

      From what I’ve seen, public opinion is massively pro-Palestinian. Even in the Red Wall, actual sympathy for Jewish suffering is not much in evidence. The question is, can hasbara talking in the ear of power maintain its customary influence for ever?

      • Goose

        Probably, yes.

        To Israel’s credit they’ve captured so much of that which shapes western public opinion. News rooms are dominated by openly proud Zionists; senior editorial staff and reporters, Zionists hire fellow Zionists, they’ve been very, very thorough.

        • laguerre

          Yes, Israel’s capture of the western media is significant, but that doesn’t change the reality of a stalemate. The media will soon discover nothing has changed.

          • Goose

            And more and more immigrants will flow to Israel + occupied territories, as though the process of filling the occupied West Bank is somehow natural and normal. The conspiracy is one of western political silence about this ‘in plain sight’ injustice.

    • Tom Welsh

      I cannot think of a more effective way of stirring up widespread and vilent anti-semitism than those political gestures which threaten our liberties.

  • Tom Welsh

    “Western politicians obviously believe that the Palestinians should accept apartheid quietly, and should have the good grace silently to wither away”.

    Just as the Native Americans and Australian aborigines did.

    There is a significant difference, though. The “Western” measure of “civilisation” is weaponry; and while the Native Americans did get hold of some rifles, they never had Gatling (or Maxim) guns or deadly diseases. And, like all indigenous hunter-gatherers, they were hopelessly outnumbered by the grain-eaters.

    The Palestinians, however, do have access to some modern weaponry, More important, they have friends who have friends; and those friends have some very unpleasant and powerful weapons.

    • Goose

      More important, they have friends who have friends; and those friends have some very unpleasant and powerful weapons.

      Indeed they do and who is to say stuff won’t escape from any one of a number of countries venturing down the nuclear/ bio weapon path. A dirty bomb could render Israeli cities uninhabitable – it’s CS-137 that made Chernobyl uninhabitable for the next 300 years. At some point they are going to have to live in peace with their neighbours, lest risk catastrophe.

      • laguerre

        No doubt that’s why Israel is playing a delicate game. An error would be disastrous.

          • laguerre

            Bombing Gaza they are free to do, but that’s all. Hizbullah they’re frightened of, and don’t dare attack.

          • Goose

            Israel isn’t afraid of anyone, because ultimately they have the nuclear option. That’s the problem.

          • Goose

            Well, anyone except for the American political establishment.

            Hence why Netanyahu made time to speak to his American audience the other night. Netanyahu is superficially charming I suppose, but he’s in his seventies and faces corruption charges. He’s certainly not Israel’s future.

          • Laguerre

            “Israel isn’t afraid of anyone, because ultimately they have the nuclear option.” That’s wrong. the nuclear weapons can’t be used. And Israeli policy is increasingly constrained; Hizbullah has a dagger to the throat of Israel.

          • Akos Horvath

            The Israeli nuclear option is a bluff and it will be called. The country is tiny, so while the world, including the Arab/Muslim world, would survive if the apartheid state started lobbing its nukes around, but Israel wouldn’t. Israel has no strategic depth. I think their nukes are more of a liability. Threatening the world with a nuclear hissy fit like a child does not generate much sympathy for this apartheid state, imho.

      • Natasha

        Goose, its egregious or ignorance or both to suggest “its CS-137 that made Chernobyl uninhabitable for the next 300 years”.

        For those here who prefer facts, about 100 people live there now, the last remnants of more than 1,000 mostly older women who moved back into the exclusion zone in the weeks and months after the disaster.

        https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-04-26/30-years-after-chernobyl-these-ukrainian-babushkas-are-still-living-their-toxic

        Anecdotal evidence suggests that women who stayed in the exclusion zone have generally outlived their neighbours who stayed away, “happiness” — or relative happiness, anyway — is a key reason why.

        Further facts, according to biologists, far from a Nuclear wasteland, the exclusion zone has become a sanctuary for flora and fauna – precisely because people were forced to flee.
        https://mymodernmet.com/chernobyl-wildlife-tours/
        https://theconversation.com/why-plants-dont-die-from-cancer-119184

        National Geographic “30 Years After Chernobyl, Nature Is Thriving.”
        https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/00000154-1bd4-dbf2-a1f5-1ffc0b080000

        BBC “The Chernobyl exclusion zone is arguable a nature reserve.”
        http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160421-the-chernobyl-exclusion-zone-is-arguably-a-nature-reserve

        Visitors to the 30 kilometre radius exclusion zone will get more radiation from the flight they take to get to a guided tour. The problem is that at the very low doses found in the exclusion zone, its practically impossible to correlate any irradiation with certain biological effects. This is because the baseline cancer rate is already very high with the risk of developing cancer already fluctuating 40% because of individual life style and environmental effects, obscuring the subtle effects of low-level radiation. Secondly, and this is crucial, the truth about low-dose radiation health effects still needs to be discovered. It’s still not exactly known whether these low doses of radiation are detrimental or beneficial nor where the thresholds are.
        https://www.nuclear-power.net/nuclear-engineering/radiation-protection/sources-of-radiation/
        https://undark.org/article/nuclear-radiation-fear-lnt/

        • Goose

          If that’s factually wrong, I take it back, but it was only used in the broader context of dangers.

          I was pointing out that there are lots of dangers short of those posed by openly nuclear rivals, present & future. Biological weapons and dirty bombs, we’ve seen with the damage caused with the current pandemic what future bio weapons might look like – whilst not a bio-engineered weapon itself, scientists can’t rule out the idea it may have escaped from a lab where research on various suitable vectors was being conducted. As technology advances, and costs decrease, that which was once the reserve of first world countries can come from anywhere. Look how North Korea and Iran have become serious players both in nuclear / ICBMs and especially electronic/ cyber warfare.

          The smug Israeli hubris we see from the likes of Netanyahu isn’t justified in such a dangerous world.

  • glenn_nl

    Along with Palestinians dying in the passive tense, we have Israel launching defensive attacks against Hamas. Always. The Palestinians, by contrast, are out for blood – indiscriminate bombing! Attacks against civilians! Thousands of bottle-rockets against an Israeli city, and someone actually got hurt today! They are causing terrible disruption, the scoundrels – people cannot go about their business, air raid sirens! People – even children, for god’s sake, lying in their beds worried at night!

    Quite in contrast to the minor inconvenience the Palestinians have to put up with – which was all of their own doing anyway – as the Israelis try to defend themselves in their strikes against Hamas.

    The attacks against “Hamas” comprise the deliberate demolishing of apartment buildings. Targetted assassination of individuals in the street, or in a particular house or car – never mind there might be plenty of others in the area. Even the Israelis and their apologists cannot pretend all the children killed were actually terrorists/Hamas. All other air-raids and bombing can be put down to attacking “Hamas tunnels”.

    But the Israelis are so merciful and dedicated to the presence of all human life, that they give the people five minutes to get out – sometimes. That’s a strange way to bomb your specific enemies, giving them a five minute heads-up, surely? Isn’t it more likely they are simply punishing a population for daring to have people in their midst who won’t just give up, lie down and die, like the rest of the population is supposed to?

    Not that I speak with many people these days, but a number of individuals surprised me by volunteering how disgusted they are at the Israeli terrorism from the IDF, along with craven acceptance of this outrage by our government. Strange – when public opinion is so strong on an issue, ministers cannot wait to get to a microphone to denounce it (such as the football super-league). Here, we get fed an official diet of both-sides-ism, and led to assume there’s nothing we can do about it anyway.

  • Duncan Cragg

    Um .. “there is no such thing as an innocent adult coloniser” – so all adult Israeli civilians are guilty, and their punishment is to be blown apart by missiles from Gaza? Not sure if that’s what you’re saying, but that’s how it comes across!

    • Peter Hayes

      I agree. I am wholly opposed to Israel’s horrific attack on Gaza. But blowing more people up only makes things worse. “No such thing as an innocent adult…” was Bin Laden’s justification for 9/11. I never found that very convincing. But for those who do, what if a missile hits a child? How on earth does that increase the dignity, or whatever, of the person who set off the rocket?

    • Wikikettle

      If the Palestinians had an army, navy and airforce, they could engage the invaders. If they had drones and satellites and precision guided munitions they could target the invaders. Their home made rockets are are less effective than David’s slingshot against Goliath. They throw stones at snipers. Gaza will not bend. The Israelis can assassinate all their leaders, cut off water, electricity, sink their fishing boats and artillery barrage Gaza and bring down their tower blacks. The Palestinians have suffered a thousand 9/11’s. Yet they will not bend.

      • Jimmeh

        “David’s slingshot against Goliath”

        Poor analogy – David was an Israelite, Goliath was a Philistine (i.e. a Palestinian).

        • Wikikettle

          You obviously don’t do Irony. Let me explain : Israel is the Golioth and David is Palestinian!

  • Goose

    Reports : Deaths of doctors have further hit medical services in Gaza.

    Doctors have to treat fighters, whether they want to or not. Fighters probably targeted through signals intelligence. This is a tragedy for Gaza losing so many qualified medics this way. Another atrocious aspect to these hostilities.

  • DunGroanin

    AP and other media tower block was flattened by missiles
    https://apnews.com/article/israel-middle-east-business-israel-palestinian-conflict-fe452147166f55ba5a9d32e6ba8b53d7

    This after these media outlets were used in a ruse to report Israel forces had entered Gaza to target Palestinian forces.
    ———————
    China is currently head of the Security Council and apparently the invisible potus Biden is the only one of 14 nations vetoing a motion.

    ‘ At an emergency high-level meeting of the Security Council on Sunday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the U.S. to join the 14 other council members and support a statement urging a halt to the violence and reaffirming support for a two-state solution to the decades old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.’

    – I guess the game is about to get put on the straight and narrow, as the BRI progresses through the region.

    ‘ Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao said Monday that China “strongly condemns” violence against civilians and calls for an end to air strikes, ground attacks, rocket fire and “other actions that aggravate the situation.”
    Israel should “exercise restraint, effectively comply with the relevant United Nations resolutions, stop demolishing Palestinian people’s houses, stop expelling Palestinian people and stop expanding its settlement program, stop threats of violence and provocations against Muslims, and maintain and respect the historical status quo of Jerusalem as a religious holy site,” Zhao said.’
    ‘ He welcomed “representatives of the two sides to come to China for direct negotiations.”
    https://apnews.com/article/united-nations-china-middle-east-diplomacy-6eb7ca65282e387793d40329694ac2f3

    – Along with the next phase of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation maturing into 25th year and next stage of expansion, the Oldest Great Games are finally going to be over as reported here:
    https://www.indianpunchline.com/china-blocks-us-bases-in-central-asia/

    No one should doubt that we are finally witnessing the great worldwide conflict that has been raging for 25 years approaching the beginning of the end? With the belligerents – us in the west – having to decide between complete annihilation like Nazi Germany or humiliation like Japan. A very real question for the not yet century old Israel.

    • Goose

      The sad reality is, that the Palestinians have nothing of any importance to the US.

      The US only has interests, as Kissinger once elucidated.

      Were China to approach/threaten vitally important microchip producer Taiwan (TSMC), the US would be there at full force, instantly.

      • Laguerre

        The US may only have interests, but supporting Israel is not one of them. It’s something the Lobby forces on the US through its political functioning. The US interest would be to make peace with the ME.

        • Carl

          Biden, the ultimate empire politician, said if Israel did not exist the U. S. would have to invent it.

          • laguerre

            Politicians say a lot of things to please their audience. Sometimes they even believe them.

    • DunGroanin

      The hypocrisy Groans on this morning

      ‘the US blocked – for the third time in a week – the adoption of a joint UN security council statement calling for a halt to Israeli-Palestinian violence.’

      The absurd headline leading the report by the violent Zionist nationalist supporting rag, the Guradian :

      “ Biden expresses support for Israel-Gaza ceasefire as pressure on US rises”

      These readers here who still believe in the light that emanated from that paper’s fundament must surely need no further proof of how the grubby little wizards behind the curtain sucker you every single day.

  • N_

    The word “smuggling” when applied to the Gaza-Egyptian border is an Israeli propaganda term. Behind it are

    1. the idea that the Palestinians are wicked when they obtain weapons with which to defend themselves, and
    2. the idea that their physical links with the outside world should be kept under the watchful eye of their Jewish masters, who should be able to decide exactly what is and what is not allowed and whether to permit such links to remain open or to shut them down.
    • Peter Mo

      News media always refer to “Violence in Gaza”.
      Quite frankly I haven’t seen any violence “in Gaza” via TV reports. Plenty violence in Israel and West Bank. Destruction, bombardment in Gaza YES but violence NO.

  • JD

    The media’s bias is so blatant, it’s disgusting. There was no mention on TV of the 16 year-old lad who was shot in the back by the Israeli army and died. That was before the trouble in Jerusalem. I put ITV news on after reading about that atrocity, and heard the presenter say “Israel…” – at last, I thought, their crimes are being reported – “…is hoping its covid-free beaches will attract UK tourists this summer…”.

    The Sunday UN meeting (delayed due to the US) was broadcast live on Al Jazeera, Sky and the BBC. Just as the Palestine representative started to speak, the BBC cut the feed and aired ‘The Media Show’, a prerecorded load of bollocks about how great the BBC is. Even Sky News showed the Palestinian guy FFS.

    The only hope is mass awareness via the internet. The BBC etc are total hasbara Israeli puppets. Their claim to be neutral is just futher insult to the Palestinians. Al Jazeera is the best TV news channel, at least they’re giving plenty of airtime to this crisis.

    • Carl

      A proud tradition, Ireland to this day the only western state standing up for Palestine.

      • craig Post author

        Are you sure? The Irish foreign minister did an appalling tweet on the situation a few days ago.

        • Vivian O'Blivion

          The situation is not clear cut. In 2019, the Dáil Éireann passed a bill 78 to 45 to outlaw the importation of goods manufactured in Zionist settlements on the West Bank. Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney opposed the bill and continues to oppose its implementation.
          So, yes, Simon Coveney is a bit of a dick but the Dáil is significantly more independent from the US State Department than most European legislative bodies (and that very much includes Holyrood under Sturgeon).

        • ET

          Simon Coveney’s address to UNSC May 16 2021.

          Mr President,
          Thank you for convening today’s meeting, which Ireland strongly supported. We have already waited too long to express ourselves in an open meeting of this Council and the current cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, and the world is watching and listening to every word that we say.
          Thank you too to the Secretary General for your presence and for your important remarks, and Special Coordinator Wennesland for your briefing also.
          I would like to thank the Palestinian Foreign Minister and the Israeli Ambassador for their remarks. Let me also acknowledge the remarks of my colleagues from Jordan and Egypt.
          We gather after a week of deadly escalating violence, in which so many innocent Palestinians and Israelis have lost their lives in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and across Israel.
          Our thoughts are with their families, and all of those whose lives have been blighted by hatred and yet more violence.
          Every day we delay in assuming our responsibility at this Council, is another day lost in saving innocent lives.
          So let us send a clear and united message from this Council today that the cycle of violence and bloodshed needs to end now.
          I echo the Secretary-General’s calls for de-escalation and I reiterate his call for an immediate end to violence.
          The last week is the latest tragic cycle in a conflict whose recurrence shames all of us at the United Nations and as an international community. 
          The violence, trauma and killing reminds us again of the consequences of our collective inertia and enduring failure to achieve a political resolution to this conflict.
          We in Ireland know like so many other countries that the most intractable conflicts require the greatest collective response.
          This Council must exercise its responsibility. It should start today by adding its voice to the calls around the world for an end to violence, and progress towards a just and lasting peace.
          Mr. President,
          Responsible leadership on all sides must now urgently work to reduce tensions and prevent further attacks.
          We call today on all parties to refrain from violent and provocative acts, including rockets and incendiary devices launched from Gaza into Israel by a terrorist organisation, indiscriminately targeting civilian populations and infrastructure.
          However, Israel must abide by the provisions of International Humanitarian Law, particularly in relation to the Protection of Civilians, including when exercising the right to self-defence.
          Ireland calls on Israel to ensure that its security forces act in full respect for the principles of proportionality, distinction and precaution in the conduct of military operations. Accountability must be ensured for the actions of the Israeli security forces.
          Mr. President,
          The plight of children in this conflict is reprehensible. Over 55 children from as young as 6 months have now lost their lives and many others are missing, as UNICEF has confirmed again this morning.
          In addition to the tragedy of these killings and injuries, no child, anywhere, should have to endure the trauma of an onslaught of rockets and missiles. All violations against children must end, including and in particular attacks on schools. Children must never be made prisoners of history, and that is exactly what is happening right now.
          Humanitarian access into the Gaza must be ensured, especially through the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings. Israel, as the occupying power, is duty bound to ensure unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance.
          The United Nations and humanitarian partners must be permitted to bring in vital food, fuel, and medical supplies and to deploy humanitarian personnel. We urge all parties to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel.
          All parties must adhere to international humanitarian law and for respect human rights.
          The destruction of homes and damage to vital infrastructure such as roads, electricity networks and water installations is unacceptable.
          I am very concerned that UNRWA buildings were damaged during military operations in Gaza. UNRWA plays a vital humanitarian role in Gaza and needs to be protected and never targeted.
          I pay tribute today to the dedicated staff of UNRWA and other UN agencies and NGOs who provide critical services and support even in the most harrowing of circumstances.
          I also emphasise the importance of media freedom and the essential role played by journalists and the press in reporting on conflicts like this one. I condemn in the strongest terms yesterday’s strike which destroyed media outlets. Freedom of expression and information and the work of journalists must be protected without exception.
          Ireland remains gravely concerned at the clashes and violence in East Jerusalem, including around the Holy Sites and across the West Bank. We are deeply disturbed by the reported use of live ammunition by Israeli Security Forces in the context of protests and clashes.  There is a right to peaceful protest and that does need to be upheld.
          This week has also seen tragic incidents of inter-ethnic violence, intimidation, arson and even loss of life in the mixed cities of Israel.  Such clashes serve the interests of no one, except those bent on exclusion, violence, revenge and extremism.
          We must acknowledge that the current escalation has not happened in isolation.
          Our focus now is on de-escalation and avoiding any more civilian casualties, but we must also look beyond and ask ourselves: how do we move past the current recurring cycles of violence?
          We cannot return to business as usual after this. That is simply no longer an option in my view.
          We cannot return to the flouting of international law, with the expansion of illegal settlements into occupied Palestinian territory
          We cannot return to forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank.
          We cannot return to demolition of Palestinian property, settler violence and intimidation.
          We must acknowledge that these actions, occurring at a rate unacknowledged for many years, are a source of legitimate grievance among the Palestinian people and undermine prospects for peace and reconciliation.
          Bridging the divide requires that all sides live up to their commitments and comply with international law and obligations.
          Human rights, including fundamental rights of freedom of expression and association, need to be respected even in difficult times.
          Serious and sustained efforts are urgently needed to reinvigorate and renew credible negotiations to establish a genuine political horizon leading to a two-State solution in line with UN resolutions and international law.
          This Council must play its part in that effort. 
          Mr President, two million people living in the Gaza Strip cannot endure another war. They have suffered far too much for far too long already.
          Years of illegal blockade have resulted in extreme hardship including poverty and food insecurity.
          Cycles of violence and now the COVID-19 pandemic have further eroded coping mechanisms leading to a mental health crisis which particularly impacts on women and children.
          Civilians in Gaza have nowhere to flee. They are a population under siege; not just now, in the midst of this cycle of violence, but consistently, and this has got to end.
          For their sake, and for the sake of all Palestinians and Israelis alike, we demand an immediate end to the violence, which poisons their future.
          We have a collective responsibility here, today, to say that with one strong voice.
          Thank you President.

          • Vivian O'Blivion

            Bravo Coveney. Now stop blocking the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill. And stop using the bullshit excuse that it might contravene EU Law. If the Germans could stop the importation of beef products from a fellow EU state because of dubious claims around BSE, then Ireland is free to ban imports from a third party state.

          • ET

            I get the technical parliamentary procedure being used to block it. I don’t get how politically he is getting away with it.

  • Sean_Lamb

    Just on the grammar side of things, the difference is not with the active or passive voice per se, but that the verbs used are either intransitive or transitive. Intransitive verbs don’t have an object.

    Palestinians died – [no object, the person or persons causing the dying, is required] – although you could say Palestinians died at the hands of Israeli missiles [but I think that would be a verb modifier rather than a direct object – although my grammar scratchy]

    Whereas “to kill” has both a subject and an object – regardless of the active or passive construction:

    eg Hamas killed Israelis or The Israelis were killed by Hamas are both fairly equivalent in terms of impact IMHO

  • Sam

    If Israel would give Palestinians the vote, none of these wars would be happening. Of course, if Palestinians could vote, Israel would be voted out of existence.

    • Akos Horvath

      Apartheid Israel would be voted out of existence. Just like apartheid South Africa ceased to exist.

  • Gordon Hastie

    The Guardian epitomizes the disgusting hypocrisy of the western media. However, today in the G there’s an excellent long essay by Peter Beinart on the right of return.

    • DunGroanin

      Gordon,
      That is a panicked fig-leaf the Groan has put on out of its un-concealable shame.

      Note – no comments open on that gig leaf.

      The original of that article is from here
      https://jewishcurrents.org/

      Which is about as good an example of a genuine proletarian democratic socialist liberal Jewish American that has ever existed.

      They are anti facist Zionist. Anti Nakba denialist. Pro Palestinian restitution, Anti Corbyn bashing …etc

      The Board of Deputies and the various Parliamentary Friends of Israel types and Nutty’s bitches AND the sly Guardian editors in no way are genuine believers of Jewish Currents.

      So take aim at that gig lead and give it a kick!

    • Goose

      Owen Jones has been very outspoken and critical of the Israelis, and about Starmer and his polling freefall (his net job approval rating has gone from +27 in June last year to -48 in the latest survey, in May) This transformation is entirely down to Starmer, since he started with incredibly positive ratings.

      Whether this signals Owen isn’t long for the guardian, who knows?

      • DunGroanin

        Owen is limited hangout merchant who is positioned to attract soft minded readers to the rag who can then be gaslighted.

        It is the MO of that shilling shite.

    • Ian

      Very good article on the history of the Nakba,

      ““You never stopped dreaming,” the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish once told an Israeli interviewer. “But your dream was farther away in time and place … I have been an exile for only 50 years. My dream is vivid, fresh.” Darwish noted another crucial difference between the Jewish and Palestinian dispersions: “You created our exile, we didn’t create your exile.”

  • Bruce H

    I’ve about come to the same conclusion. What leaves a bad taste in the mouth is that saying this, or writing it, publicly will or already is against the “law”.

  • DunGroanin

    I see the White Helmets are rushing into Gaza to help the Palestinian children being bombed by high tech missiles and aircraft and shell fire, dragging out babies and children from the rubble whilst providing the visual record through sophisticated head cams – NOT.

    No they are happy tweeting Eid Mubarek with their little pretty girls in the happy Syrian camps whilst NOT A SINGLE TWEET let alone ANY mention of their ‘fellows Muslims in the same region!! Apparently they have a inflatable bow for beach games ( err ‘rescue’!!!) who needs ‘rescuing’ with a boat in a ‘refugee camp’ controlled by the WH??

    It seems more likely it is their version of the bouncing white helmeted ball that used to guard the Village , in the tv series the Prisoner.

    Any fool who believes that the White Helmets are anything more than tools of these same Zionists and their head chopper mercenary thugs should really really stop doing their dumb monkeys act.

  • Goose

    ‘Anti-Zionism is antisemitism’ says Tory Robert Jenrick

    When so many who are not even of the Jewish faith claim they’re Zionists? And on a wider point. Just what are the acceptable ways to describe fanatical Jewish settlers ransacking Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem in pursuit of what they believe is their ‘god given’ right? Seems to me, western politicians are trying to create a legal minefield for their citizens when trying to criticise outrageous Israeli behaviour.

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