A perspective from Perth, Western Australia

Sunday, March 31, 2002

Political rant (Middle East)

Most people know what's going on in Israel and the Occupied Territories at the moment. For whatever maniacal reason, Mr Sharon is spearheading a campaign which seems set to destroy Mr Arafat. What's worse is he even has US support - so much for being committed to a war on terrorism. In Palestine, the army terrorise innocent civilians by bulldozing their houses and shooting them point blank, and fringe militants retaliate by going into populated parts of Israel and blowing themselves up. The US calls on Arafat to somehow find and punish these terrorists, with his destroyed police stations, demoralised police force, from his house arrest location in Ramallah, about 10km from Jerusalem. I have no idea how Arafat could go about doing this, or even why he should.

By getting rid of Arafat, though, his government is actively getting rid of any moderate Palestinian support for a peace deal with Israel. There are 7,000,000 Palestinians and 3,600,000 Jews in the region, and the Palestinians have broad support from the entire Arab world (even as far away as the Comoros Islands, east of Mozambique in southern Africa). What Sharon's government is doing is giving the extremist groups such as Hamas legitimacy within the Palestinian people, and a martyr to avenge. And the result will NOT be good.

The US is too concerned with getting votes from its Jewish population in the north eastern states of America to act in a right and proper manner in the face of state terrorism. The end result may very well be the end of the Israeli state, which would have been assured had Sharon accepted Saudi Arabia's peace deal last week.

I find it deeply saddening that the continuing bloodshed is going on and people seem to think it's inevitable. I am a descendent of Czech and Austrian Jews (non practicing - they were Catholics) and 13 members of my family were killed in concentration camps (and 2, including my great uncle, narrowly escaped). However I know that the majority of Jews, as human beings, would deplore these actions and I in fact know one or two who have told me, "Do not tar all Israelis and Jews with Sharon's brush - We want peace too". There's also Israeli peace groups like B'Tselem which are definitely worthy targets of your funds if you're of a philanthropic bent.

But who's listening? And until someone does, this will not end.


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