Saturday, 17 January 2009


I will not be drawn into the Kaka circus. For once, I find myself siding with Arsene Wenger, and, like Simon Hattenstone, I must admit to feeling a little bit ashamed of all these goings-on.

Instead, for what they're worth, I will express some opinions on the current atrocities in Gaza.

I recently spoke about this with an ex-pat Iraqi who drinks in my local (he is an educated man, who has studied Islam in detail, along with other philosophical tracts, and has as a result discounted the requirement to abstain from alcohol, which is a decision I can respect) who a while ago spent some years in Palestine working as an engineer. He even - and I thought this was quite impressive - met Arafat, whom he described as a 'sloppy kisser'. As such, I believe he has something of a greater authority to speak on the issue than I do. This does not mean, of course, that I don't have my own opinions.

In any case, this is a summary of what he said:

The people of Palestine are steeped in blood. It is all they know. He has given up on the whole area because there is no hope of a solution. He recalls a football match with teenage boys where a rough tackle was met with the injured party producing a hand grenade and getting ready to destroy everyone on the pitch. He said that the referee rushed over, blowing frantically on his whistle, and clasped his hand over the grenade, thus preventing a horrific incident. The children of Palestine play with weapons in the same way that children of the west play with toys. At public meetings, he would stand up and rail against the calls for brother (Fatah) to wreak death and destruction on brother (Hamas) but his words would go unheeded.

Many believe (as does he) that the Hamas was funded early in its history by the Mossad in order to provide a balance against the leftist PLO and Fatah movements, but now it suits the Israelis' purpose, and fits with the current US Crusade, to demonise and destroy them. Israelis, he says, were given the land in which they live by the countries of the west, in order to suit the political manoeuvrings of the time, and have no choice but to live there. In essence, like Pilate, he washes his hands of the whole affair.

For myself, I see something a little deeper. An illustration of the nature of the human beast. We all know that Yahweh is a jealous god, who has not been afraid to smite his enemies terribly when they have stood in the way of his chosen people. Throughout the OT are stories of merciless decimation of entire populations by the armies of the Israelites, of slaughter so terrible as never to be forgotten. The current conflict can be seen as just another of these. We are sorely deluded if we think these people will pay the slightest attention to what Ban-Ki Moon (I feel sorry for this guy) or Barack Obama (might) say.

Of course there will be a ceasefire, just in time for the inauguration, and Israel's position will again be strengthened, leaving behind a trail of murdered children and shattered lives.


EP said...

The Israelis would settle for peace, I think.

Hamas don't want peace. Only victory will do.

EP said...

Myeral said...

I beg to differ (haven't read your linked piece yet, however) and think that Israel too want victory.

EP said...

They want it. I think they'd make do (was going to say "settle" but decided that could be phrased better) with peace however.

Not so sure about the gentlemen in green.

Myeral said...

Then I guess a definition of 'victory' might clarify matters.

EP said...

"The founding charter of Hamas declares that the whole of Palestine is Islamic land - that includes the territory that now comprises Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.

It commits Hamas to the destruction of the Jewish state. That commitment was not mentioned in the Hamas manifesto for the elections but it will stay."

Myeral said...

From the book of Joshua:

I am handing over to you every place you set foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north. It will extend all the way to the great River Euphrates in the east (including all of Syria) and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to resist you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not abandon you or leave you alone. Be strong and brave! You must lead these people in the conquest of this land that I solemnly promised their ancestors I would hand over to them.

EP said...

One is enshrined in a present-day manifesto and one isn't. I think there is a real difference. I guess we can all sit back and watch the fireworks anyway.

Myeral said...

You don't get more enshrined than the Torah, me old son.