Hounding the journalists who believe they're above it all

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Elect terrorists? Lara Marlowe will support you!

"Palestinians now being punished for choosing Hamas," goes the headline in Ms Marlowe's article last Saturday. "Israel and the United States," she continues, "are concocting a Palestinian state that is famished and thirsty, shrunken and chopped into pieces."

Throughout, Ms Marlowe shows one core belief in particular: whomever a people elect, other nations must recognise them. Period. Not only this, but the terrorist haven that has become the West Bank and Gaza must now be subsidised by the law-abiding West?

I have a terrible time, say, approving of a terrorist leading a Department of Education, but for respect to be demanded for a political movement that, since its inception in 1988, has never derived from its tenet that Israel must be destroyed - well, that's quite a leap of faith.

Ms Marlowe believes that once a people hold a, "free and fair election that [is] regarded as exemplary throughout the Arab world," that that is enough. Doubtless, she is a supported of various State-subsidy. And what good has that done anyone - be it individuals or whole nations? We have welfare ghettos in all cities, but in the West Bank and Gaza, we have a whole people becoming welfare dependents, while their leaders siphon off funding for their jihad.

(I shall leave the Irish Times's blind - maybe even willful? - ambivalence towards the danger of Islamist parties gaining power for another day.)

Ms Marlowe believes it is "gutless" for the European Commission to have cut aid to the Palestinian Authority. "The EU once showed a modicum of courage," she continues, "in attempting to counter-balance Washington's unconditional support for Israel...Now the EU slavishly follows Washington's cue."

Clearly, Ms Marlowe does not credit the EU for having the ability to (a) make independent decisions, and (b) see right from wrong, thus leaving aside easy, expedient decisions. Interestingly, the former point conflicts something terrible with Ms Marlowe's own criticisms of the EU. The Palestinians have made their own decision - one for which she shows no observable dislike - in electing HAMAS. However, when another democratically-derived decision, this time by the EU, is not to her liking, therefore must be criticized.

While throwing us a bone ("Yes, Hamas carried out horrific suicide bombings." - Ms Marlowe, this body are connected with none other than Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah.) Swiftly, to cleanse her soul, she adds: "Dare one even mention the disproportion in casualties, that more than 3,000 Palestinians have been killed since the second intifada started in September 2000, compared to some 1,000 Israelis?"

She may dare, and, moreover, I fear her blithe arithmetical moralizing will sit easily with most Irish Times readers. I recommend Alan Dershowitz's The Case for Israel to clarify errors like this. In particular, The Case explains away, in painstaking numeric detail, the morally repugnant equivocation between Israeli-Jewish deaths and Palestinian deaths from suicide bombings, targeted air strikes and so on.

Included in the Palestinian death count are considerations - i.e. those which Ms Marlowe fails to supply - like that Palestinian deaths from self-detonated suicide bombs count just the same as death at the hands of an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldier. Moreover, accidental detonations (like in the bomb-making factories widespread over cities like Jenin) count. So too do shootings by the IDF on known would-be suicide bombers, en route to a target. So too do human shields of children used by Palestinian terrorists. So too do assassinations of masterminds, such as the late HAMAS leaders, Yassin and Rantissi.

Now, should a people come under the moral criticism for being better at defending itself than its opposition? This is blatantly implied by Ms Marlowe, in her citing the 3-to-1 ratio of Palestinians to Israelis deaths.

This is particularly disgusting, because the leaders of Israel's enemies have such little regard for using their own resources, as well as copious international funding, for making the lives of their people more prosperous and peaceful. Rather, they inculcate hatred and death-cultism in their people, coupled with control of education and information materials, from school textbooks to media, as a weapon against Israel. The Palestinian Authority's funding by outside bodies enables them - nay! it encourages them - to continue their hostility towards Israel. With a steady flow of humanitarian aid for its people, the people themselves will never need to question the policies of their leaders, who have destroyed what was, before the second intifada, by far the richest society in the Muslim world. "Two-thirds of Palestinians now live on less than e55 per month; the average monthly salary in Israel is e1,268." Yes, but who is to blame?

As is customary, such reporters evoke images of starving children to excuse every despot and dictatorship - heaping more blame on those who try to fight them. "Since January, there have been shortages of milk and flour in Gaza, where children are suffering from malnutrition," exclaims Ms Marlowe. I wonder if HAMAS care. Correctly, Ms Marlowe explains that, "since Hamas won the election, Israel has kept $50 million per month in customs duties which it collects at crossings into the Palestinian territories." And rightly so.

No country should ever be forced to contribute to a system that is hell-bent on her destruction. This is particularly terrifying, when one considers that, since Israel's disengagement of Gaza last August, the Gaza-Egypt border at Rafiah is now free for the transportation of terrorist and their machinery. "This money belongs to the Palestinians," believes Ms Marlowe. Yes, just keep paying your enemies, hoping they will respect you - correct?

"Hamas," Ms Marlowe continues, "has maintained a unilateral ceasefire for nearly a year and a half." Tell that to the people of Ashkelon, immediately North of Gaza. They have rockets fired on them literally daily. Now, it has gotten far worse, with the use of a far more powerful rocket, the Katyusha. Reported by ynet on March 28,

the strike marked the first time that a terror organization in Gaza has used a Katyusha rocket to attack Israel. The rocket is much more accurate and powerful than the homemade Qassams customarily used by terrorists. Similar rockets have been used by Hizbullah in Lebanon.

And just like their logic on Northern Ireland, believing every assurance that Sinn Fein are doing all they possibly can to keep Republican "splinter groups" at peace, the Irish Times refuse to point the finger of blame at the authorities in Gaza, believing them to be good-willed, simply unable to stop such attacks.

No small-time terrorists or criminals could have acquired Katyusha rockets, not least use them without the consent of the authorities.

We move to recognition of Statehood. Ms Marlowe criticises the US and Britain's demand for HAMAS to recognise the existence of Israel (not suggesting for a minute that HAMAS's refusal to do so unconditionally is a disgrace in itself), asking, "when did Israel recognise Palestine, renounce violence against Palestinians or observe past peace agreements?"

A reporter of Ms Marlowe's experience will therefore know that on four occassions, Israel has agreed to a Palestinian state existing alongside Israel. The last, and more clearly defined and publicly observed, was at Camp David and Taba, Egypt, in 2000. Under the stewardship of US President, Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat discussed Palestinian statehood. Despite being offered 98% of the land demanded, and control of East Jerusalem, Arafat refused at the 11th hour. The Second intifada soon followed.

But don't rely on my reporting. Fellow-Muslim, and no great friend of Israel, Saudi Arabian ambassador, Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan, said,

If Arafat does not accept what is available now, it won't be a tragedy, it will be a crime

Ms Marlowe then claims Ariel Sharon "renounced the Oslo agreement." The Oslo Agreement, signed in September 1993 by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, essentially repeated the demands held in UN Resolution 242. (The repeated citing of Israel as acting against international law coming from a bastardised understanding of the demands in Resolution 242.) The resolution was signed after the Six Day War in 1967, demanding the,

Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict; Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force

Never in the 58 years of Israel's existence have her neighbours committed to their side of the bargain. While a certain level of peace exists between Israel and Jordan, along with a cooling of tensions between Israel and Egypt, it would be suicidal for Israel to do more than to place conditional demands on the Palestinian Authority - slowly waiting for it to fulfill its side of the deal.

Ms Marlowe follows the line of the Irish Times in her belief in the good intentions of Sinn Fein. Likewise, naive optimism, coupled with a disdain for an Israel in her efforts to avert genocide, lights her way with the Palestinians. Ms Marlowe can say all she wants about HAMAS leaders making noises about a 2-state solution, but until they act accordingly, Israel would be insane to fulfill her side of Oslo and Resolution 242.

(Concerning Ms Marlowe's mentioning of territorial disputes, I shall return to this at a later date, as there is far too much to discuss here.)


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