Am I to blame for the middle east crisis?

I haven't posted anything about the Gaza war, because, having read the blogs of those who support Hamas and those who support Israel I have witnessed the bitterness the hatred and the vitriol in the comments sections of those who allow free comment.

Criticise Israel and you are accused of being on the side of terrorism, supporting the subjugation of women, favouring the Taliban, a Nazi and an anti-Semite.

Criticise Hamas and you are a Bush lapdog, a racist, a Western imperialist, a Zionist and an enemy of Islam.

The easiest thing to do is to keep your head down, not take sides and pretend that it isn't happening. BUT isn't this the main reason for the continuing problem in Israel and the Middle east?

Most sensible people can see that there is fault on both sides, that there are elements on both sides who are engaged in evil, that extremists on both sides are cynically abusing the discord for the advancement of their extreme views.

But are they the problem?

Perhaps the biggest problem is those of us who see what is wrong on both sides, but fear to say anything lest we be caught in the crossfire.

I think it is time for the sensible majority of individuals and nations to stick their heads above the parapet and to say that enough is enough, that we will no longer be blackmailed by extremist nutters from either side and that if both sides can't come to a sensible agreement themselves that the world will impose a fair and equitable settlement in Palestine / Israel and that both sides will subscribe to it or face the wrath of the rest of the world.

As the United Nations has proved useless in this respect because of entrenched positions, can the European Union or the Commonwealth step into the breach as international honest brokers of common sense?


  1. No matter how much we protest and I am in full agreement with all you say.
    Because, as with every conflict throughout the world and time there are too many vested interests involved who want the conflicts to carry on to satisfy their own political and financial ends.
    Even with Governments and organisations who openly call for peace, behind the scenes they are contributing to further conflicts because what makes the most money for Countries and powerful people, Arms!!. Warfare and defence is the biggest earner there is for any country. Conflicts are needed, without it there would be bankruptcy throughout the world.
    Innocent people getting injured or killed do not matter, they are just an inconvenience.
    There has always got to be a bogey man to scare us with and justify their warmongering. it was Hitler then Russia and China, now it is the Terrorists from Muslim countries in the Middle East.
    As always we fall for their lies every time, what is that old adage 'tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth'.

  2. Alwyn, of course the voice of common sense. You are right (to a point) about both sides being to blame. Those of us who support Israel’s right toexist have a slight advantage. We neither seek the destruction of the Palestinians or the termination of their autonomy (or Israel does not) Not even the removal of Hamas government in Gaza. Just the right to live in peace. Put it this way Hamas is like having a equivalent of the BNP running a part of England. Its charter just exudes anti Semitism (or more correctly Judephobia). Alf this has nothing to do with Iraq!

  3. You were right Alwyn, you can't win.
    The hatred and bitterness that you mention in the responses you have is also a big factor in the conflicts around the world.
    I supose in the end it is all down to ignorance, envy and fear of something or someone we can't or won't try to understand.
    We can hate some one without any difficulty but we find it impossible to try and love them.
    What a very sad world we live in.

  4. Sorry I have only just spotted the tail end of Morgan Hens post.
    I never mentioned terrorists coming from Iraq.
    That's some of the trouble with appologists, twisting someones words into somthing they never said to suit thier own end to try and justify themselves.
    I was stating that the 'trrorist'is just another way of scaring us into accepting what they, our 'leaders' want us to believe, for thier own ends. I will say it again they need a bogey man so they can keep on producing and selling, Arms!!

  5. Of course, you are spot on. But no one is listening.

    I won't take sides here - no point, but I will say I am just a touch tired of the Israeli government's victim stance. Please!

  6. Alwyn I dont think that you are wrong. I dont agree with the “appoligist” gibe. Not once did I say that the Israeli invasion was right. My own view was understanding Israel's rationale for such a drastic action. I personally believed that Israel should have recognised the Hamas government, which would have made it hard for them to justify their armed struggle. Unless Alf1986 you have an issue with Israel's very existence. I believe that Israelis and Palestinians deserve live within secure borders with guarantees of human rights as one finds in the UN charter. Whether one likes it or not you certainly find those rights in Israel. I cannot say the same for Hamas. As for Iraq I thought that was you were getting at.

  7. Morgan, you don't actually have a clue what you are talking about.

    Imagine if Britain defined itself as a WHITE State. Imagine if Britain said that Black and Asian British citizens were denied the right to live on more than 90% of the land in Britain. This would be regarded as pretty racist, no? You might wonder if the BNP had come to power.

    This is actually the situation in Israel, despite Israeli Arab 'citizens' making up almost 20% of the population, they are denied the right to live on 90% of Israel which is set aside for Jews only. It is actually illegal in Israel for a political party to advocate full equal rights for all its citizens (Jew and Arab) as this would undermine Israel as a 'Jewish' state. I should mention that Arab political parties have now been banned from standing in Israel (a right they only won after massive demonstrations in the late 70s)

    This racism also relates to Israel's "right of return" laws. Morgan could convert to Judaism and have 'the right of return' to Israel & go and live there, but a Palestinian who was born in Israel, whose ancestors for generations lived their, but was driven out in 1948 has no 'right of return'. The Palestinians now constitute one of the biggest and most consitent refugee populations in the world.

    The reason Israel won't let Palstinian refugees return (in defiance of the norms of international law) is simple, if the Arab population of Israel increased it would make State Racist Discrimination untenable.

    This is why many people on the left challenge the 'right of Israel to exist', rather than a two-state solution, we believe the most just solution is One State of Israel/Palestine that dispenses with racism & lets Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Christians or whatever live with equal rights. You may have read a recent article by Rabbi Dan Cohn Sherbok in the Western Mail who recently argued for a one-state solution also.

    Israel is a state founded upon principles of race supremacy. You can carry on deceiving yourself.

    Adam J

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Its a shame Adam in your rush to correct me of my errors that you apparently forgot to check your facts. Here hey are. The Israeli Supreme Court in 2002 issued a ruling that Israeli Arabs could live wherever they want. Discrimination on grounds of race, sex or religion is against Israeli law. I also took the time to check your site (Cardiff Respect) for links to the type of web site that promotes a “one nation secular state”. I found none. You apparently do not seem to have a site dedicated to other peoples (Dhafur, Tibet or Zimbabwe). That tell me that you are selective in those causes you choose to support.

    Israel is a secular state with Arabic and Hebrew as official languages.

  10. Okay let's deal with some Morgan's points.

    Firstly, on our site, I think you will find articles on several global issues including Zimbabwe, Latin America etc.

    Secondly, as it happens I am involved in many solidarity campaigns, particularly with the Congolese, a conflict that doesn’t get the publicity of Darfur in the West but which has seen more die than in Darfur, in the millions over the last 100 years.

    What you fail to identify is the central role of Britain in the Israeli/Palestine conflict, which is far more direct than Britain’s indirect role in other global injustices. It is also at the sharp end of global imperialism. Britain and America use Israel as a tool to dominate the oil fields of the Middle East.

    It was the British who first offered the Zionists a homeland in an area that didn’t belong to them, that our ruling class occupied (The first intifada was actually the 1936 Arab revolt in Palestine against British occupation, part of a wave of anti-colonial struggles across the Middle East - Zionist militia aided the British army in putting down the rebellion).

    It is Britain who have bloc-ed with America in blocking ceasefires both in the Lebanon and in the war on Gaza.

    It is Britain that leads the EU in blockading Gaza and in the attempts to destabilise the democratically elected administration that the Palestinians have elected.

    It is Britain (along with France & Germany) who are offering Israel to send war-ships to blockade the flow of weapons into Gaza, while they relentlessly arm the occupying power.

    We could go on.

    As you can see Britain is far more directly involved in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict both historically and at present.

    Adam J

  11. Look, Morgan you are simply wrong.

    Consider the illogic of even your own statement that discrimination is illegal in Israel, but at the same time only in 2002 were Arab citizens allowed to live where they wanted (your are incorrect on this, as some of the documents below will show, there is often complex supreme court battles in Israel where Arabs move onto land set aside for Jews, occasionally they are sucessful)

    It is simply not possible for Israel to be a Jewish State and a democratic one. This is the central tension. We should also mention a central point that Israel refuses to use the term that it's Arab citizens use themselves - Palestinian - because to admit that they are Palestinian would draw attention to Israel's original sin, that Israel was founded upon the ethnic cleansing of its indigenous population.

    For a start, Arab political parties have just been banned from standing in Israeli elections, and parties such as Balad were banned in 2002 for arguing that all Israel's citizens should be equal.

    I have friends in Israel, both in the refusenik movement (Israeli citizens who refuse to serve in the occupied territories) and in the Israeli Arab Civil Rights movement (which has some resemblances to the civil rights movement of Catholics in Northern Ireland in the 60s, right down to Bloody Sunday, in 2000, 13 unarmed Israeli Arab demonstrators were gunned down)

    I enclose a few articles for you giving some of the historical background and background on land from an Israeli Arab Civil Rights organisation:



    Adam J

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Finally, returning to Morgan's BNP analogy.

    He might be aware that a senior Israeli politician, Livni, the Foreign Secretary recently said in the event of a Palestinian state being created on the West Bank and Gaza, Israeli Arab citizens should leave Israel asap, as it is a Jewish State and doesn't belong to them. Kind of smacks of the 'repatriation' ideas propounded by the far right in Britain. Only this is from the Israeli equivalent of David Milliband rather than a fringe group.

    We might remember in the 80s, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin's infamous phrase that Arabs were "the two legged animals". I recall to another Israeli politican, the tourism minister around 2001 who referred to Palestinians as 'lice'.

    As I know that Morgan is a catholic, I would highly recommend two excellent books by an Israeli Arab catholic priest who lives in Galilee, Fr Elias Chacour (now Archbishop of Gallilee) - 'Blood Brothers' and 'We belong to the Land' these books document the systematic and pervasive discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel. Famously, the Israeli state always refuses or delays to give building permits to Arab citizens, yet people need houses and schools. There is a moving passage in the book where Chacour suceeds in raising cash to build a much needed school for an Arab community in Israel, they can't get a permit, so they put it up illegally, it is bulldozed to the ground, they raise money and finally build another school, a year later it is razed to the ground. And all they wanted was a school building so that their kids could receive an education!

    There's a good article here for Morgan to read, it is a review of a book by a Jewish woman who was an ardent zionist but whose conscience led her to campaign for the civil rights of Arab citizens of Israel:

    "The housing crisis and "ghettoization" of Tamra is a familiar facet of life for Arabs in Israel. Across the country, Arabs are refused building permits, so as to strictly define the land area of Arab communities, and preserve land for Jewish farms and settlements. As such, thousands of families build their homes without official permits. Judged to be "illegal" by the government, these homes are subject to demolition. Many families recall police with bulldozers rolling into town at the crack of dawn and tearing down houses, rendering them homeless in an instant. Often these "illegal" homes rest on land that has been inhabited for many generations by the Arab families."

    The issue of land is only the most blatant form of racial discrimination in Israel. I could mention numerous others. For example, the unequal distribution of budgets, so that most Arab villages find themselves receiving less cash and facilities.

    There is also the issue of jobs. Israel is a militarised society, most jobs especially the best paid have a clause that those who do not serve in the military are not eligible.

    Military service is compulsory for Jewish and Druze citizens of Israel, but Arab citizens of Israel are not allowed to serve in the army (99% wouldn't want to take part in operations against fellow Palestinians), but this means that Arab citizens of Israel are massively disadvantaged when it comes to employment.

    Adam J

  14. Adam the only facts that you have shown me prove that Israel is a rather imperfect (like most) liberal democracy. The other facts like “Balad” Being banned for merely wishing all Israeli Citizens to be equal are simply not true. Their leader was indicted because he had made statements glorifying Hezbollah, and had aided Israeli citizens crossing. The Israeli High Court of Justice threw it out because Azmi Bishara had immunity because he was a member of the Knesset. The Central Election Committee banned Balad from standing in the 2003 election on the grounds that they “advocated the overthrow of Israel” The Supreme Court threw it out, and lifted the recent ban on its legality. Yes, Adam is Israel is not perfect, but just remember what makes a democracy truly free is the independence of its Judiciary. Because some tin pot dictator has been elected don't make it free. Your other comments about Israel being a racist state that ethnically cleansed the Arabs is below contempt, and your party's support for Saddam Hussein and the Taliban shows how much you really value real freedom. When did the SWP believe in democracy at any time.

  15. No I am an Episcopalian actually, and I do accept that Arabs may face discrimination in Israel. Saying that they still far mre rights than Jews in Arab countries and Iran where they are classed as Dhimmis or second class citizens.

  16. The media are shying away from reporting all the work 'ordinary' Palestinians and Israelis do together. They conveniently forget about those making peace!