Thursday, 1 January 2009

The issues are land and water

Years ago a fellow-student at Yale Law School said to me that the mid 20th century was not a good time to set up a racist state. This startling comment returned to my mind as I listened to the radio news of Israel's government sending in the air force to bomb Gaza. In such a densely populated place this was bound to result in hundreds of Palestinian deaths (just over 400 was the last figure I heard - and the injured probably are in their thousands). Spokesmen are wooing the sympathy of the world but this latest action has crystallised my thinking in a way they won't like.
A racial supremacist assumption underlies this offensive, that Palestinian deaths do not count for much. The spokesmen's line is that the issue is Hamas rockets. That is just skimming the surface. The issues are, and have from the beginning been, land and water - the fields and groves that Palestinian farmers had tended for centuries, from which they have been ousted by various means, and the precious freshwater resources that are not enough to supply the ambitions of both the Jewish state and the Palestinian non-state. The injustice that was inflicted on the Palestinians gave rise to Hamas and their rockets.
The bombing offensive is not going to stop the rockets. The only thing that will stop the rockets is justice. Let there be no more lies and obfuscation about the land that has been and still is being illegally annexed by fanatical settlers. Quite simply the annexation must stop and the land must be returned. And there must be equal treatment of all people in the region whatever their origins and religion. If the fanatical elements in Israel will not wear this, then the threat of Hamas rockets will go on and on.
Increasingly I suspect that the increasingly embattled Jewish state may not be viable much longer. Israel has sought to protect itself by militarism, but it keeps making more enemies. The only thing that really protects minorities is the trio of liberty, equality, democracy, not setting up a militarist state. In my view, young Israelis would be well advised to emigrate.

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