Palestine and Israel

Lord Soley

The terrible tragedy that continues to play out in the Middle East must serve as a reminder of the importance of getting this problem resolved. People often say that there is no solution  but people use to say that about Northern Ireland. It is the job of politicians to address apparently insoluble problems. It may take years and there may be many failures along the road but that is not a reason for giving up.

13 comments for “Palestine and Israel

  1. David Fredin
    05/01/2009 at 2:57 am

    My Lord

    The starting point to the solution of the conflict is for the politicians in Europe to tell the truth to its woters and to the Palestinian Authoroty. This is the message:

    There were never a Palestinian people or a Palestinian State. In consequence there are no Israel ockupation. The media tells the opposite and so does the arab propaganda as often it can. But the “palestinians” are arabs and prior to Israel was the Brittish Mandate, before that more than 2000 years ago a jewish state.

    Politicians should point out to the Palestinian Authority that they have no legal claim, acording to international law, on the State of Israel and it can´t be a two-state solution. Further more
    one does not hand over state-authoroty to crimminals.

    The truth, that there are no such thing as a “palestinian state”, will give some of the arabs a chanse not to hate jews for robbing them of their homeland. This is a begining to reach some peace.

    The nations in the Western World, have to remember also that the “Palestinian” Authority educate their children to kill jews and that the Hamas have children younger than those of the Hitler-Jugend in such dayly traning. Facts are found on You-Tube.

    Members of the House of Lords, not under preasure of voters, should have the courage and the competence to begin this most urgent new path.

    David Fredin

  2. 05/01/2009 at 1:47 pm

    David Fredlin,

    that’s a rather dry academic point when we’re talking about more than 400 people dead, none of whom are allowed to leave and escape the barrage of hellfire missiles, isn’t it? OK, perhaps Israel is perfectly legally justified in locking 1.5M people in a tiny strip of land and raining down missiles on them, but that really only goes to show that “international law” isn’t worth the many reams of paper it’s printed on, I’d say.

    Lord Soley,

    I’ll be honest here, what would you have us do? The “international community” is a lame and flaccid player against the USA, and since the two countries who could do anything about this problem are the largest beneficiaries of foreign aid and sensible discussion of the Israeli problem does not seem to have occurred to the US political elite (nor does there seem to be much chance of it occurring to them at any point soon, despite “change we can believe in” breaking out all over the place), is there anything meaningful that can be achieved?

    As Johann Hari says, we are watching Israel self-harm. We are also watching the USA self-harm here. It’s hard to see what anyone in Israel thinks they have to gain from this kind of behaviour, nor what anyone in the USA thinks they have to gain from unconditionally supporting it, but that’s where we are. What’s our diplomatic leverage here? Should we stride in to broke some peace accords, what shall we say? “Behave yourselves or else…?” What?

    I appreciate that back when the British Empire was huge and rich we had a hand (well, our arm up to the elbow really) in the foolish creation of this geo-political-religious quagmire, and that we thus bear some measure of responsibility for it. But as always my arguments keep going back to the question of concrete capacity. It’s depressing to think that we are powerless in the face of carnage, but what can we do?

    If anything, the fact that military options are not even theoretically available to us demonstrate the paucity of realistic options in the world, and the barrenness of the international legal community to take on strong empires. We can’t take on the USA militarily and force them to stop funding Israel. Talking about the funding of Hamas is a red herring since Hamas happens to be, despite their problems, at least democratically elected. They are Israel’s Fidel Castro – a statement made doubly true when you realise that Israel’s policy in this matter isn’t foreign policy but the crudest kind of domestic policy, the sacrifice of lives for votes.

    Were it down to me, and were such a thing possible, I would commit civil disobedience, challenge the blockade, land medical supplies in Gaza and offer safe passage and asylum for refugees. Of course, such a thing would be considered an Outrage! and Aiding Terrorists! and Misuse Of Our Tax Money By Bogus Asylum Benefit Scroungers by our own political establishment. So the world turns, we hamstring ourselves and we outlaw simple obvious charity and decency.

    Perhaps, when I say we need necessarily concentrate on our domestic circumstances first, there is method behind my quite obviously cynical madness.

  3. ladytizzy
    05/01/2009 at 6:24 pm

    Lord Soley, simple question, what is your personal assessment of Tony Blair’s contribution as Special Envoy to the UN, EU, US, and Russia, to the Midddle East?

    Thanks, Tiz

  4. Bedd Gelert
    05/01/2009 at 8:08 pm

    I don’t profess to be an expert on the Middle East [who does?] but in the absence of concerted action by the United States, nothing will happen. The Oslo Accords, the so called ‘Road Map’, and so on – they have all fallen by the wayside, because whatever progress, or lack of it, is made – the Americans keep bankrolling the Israelis.

    Maybe if Barack Obama and Tony Blair’s Quartet had the bottle to make continued funding contingent upon following through these initiatives.

    If the funding started to dry up, that would focus Israeli minds very quickly indeed. Of course, the chances of that happening are about as high as a pig flying over Jerusalem, but we can but hope. One only has to look at the biased coverage on Fox/Sky news to know who holds all the aces in the battle of ideas.

    And of course the ‘military-industrial’ complex is unlikely to want to give up the huge profits from arming both sides in this dispute. They did pretty well out of the Iraq/Iran war over a good number of years, so they are unlikely to have any scruples about doing the same in Israel.

  5. Ammi Elzion
    06/01/2009 at 1:45 pm

    Lord Soley,
    The anti-Israel pro-PA propaganda is widespread. Is there anyone who isn’t aware of the fact that in a war, there are people who die and there are people who get hurt?

    you count only onesided.
    What about the civilians who get hurt and die in Southern Israel? How about counting all the slaughter, suffering, damage and distruction caused by Hamas and other terroristorganisations? These things have been going on for far too long!

    The PA haven’t held its part of the Oslo-agreement at all. Israel has held its part of the deal, allthough it cost more than it tasted. The agreement was LAND for PEACE. The PA got land- but Israel never got any peace at all.
    Hamas continued firing rockets into cities in Israel, sending terrorists and bombing innocent civilians. And yet, Israeli hospitals treat everyone, even those who belong to their enemies. And even more: Israel keeps on sending food and medical support between IDF’s controlled strikes against Hamas.

    You say, that Hamas was democratically elected.
    So what? HITLER WAS DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED TOO. How many innocent people were killed as a result of that fact? Count them.

    IDF does not hide behind the citisents of Israel, IDF defends Israels population consisting of not only jews: christians, arabs, druses, etc. Hamas forces women and children to stand before them as human shields – and you blame Israel: instead of blaming those truly responsable for the dead and injured PA civilians.

    Are you aware of the fact, that Hamas even kills their own citicens, at the mere suspicion of collaborating, allthough these civilians merely are just simply asking for peace?

    Lord Soley,
    You have the possibility to demand objectivity concerning Israels war against the terroristorganisation Hamas.
    What Israel needs, is Your open and wholehearted support in its fight for finishing Hamas terror against innocent people. For now, it is not proper time to ask for ceasefire, as it will only benefit the terrorists, not Israels suffering civilians, neither will it help the innocent babies on the other side.
    Ammi Elzion

  6. David Fredin
    06/01/2009 at 2:28 pm

    Mr McDuff, You are rigth, one may question international law as such, but aside from that, the fact is that to be able to finish off Hammas Israels Defence Force have to send down hellfire as You
    rigtfully call it. That’s the terríbly part of any warfare.

    If the IDF (Israel Defence Force) would not do what they do, our own army would have more deaths. I prefere that the ideological and religious corrupt have their share than the defenders of good values. It is not crual.

    IDF stands at the same situation as the RAF:s bombardment of Berlin, and it is right to equal Hammas with the regime of the Thrid Reich. The Hammas voters are civillians and so were huge numbres of germans belonging to the Thrid Reich, both groups were bombarded and both were killed in hellfire.

    The academic point as You called it, wich it is, is the ground that
    might give result in the long run. To call the palestinians arabs and declare there was no Palestine homeland is vital.
    It is so because as Lord Soley said; “it address apparently insoluble problems”. Only “my way” can uproot the feeling of those
    arabs beeing something they are not: palestinians. Thats the base for real peace talks in the future to come.

    David Fredin

  7. David Fredin
    06/01/2009 at 6:03 pm

    Sorry for the spelling-error above, due to a hurry. “Rigth” should of cause be “right” and “Thrid Reich”,”Third Reich” and “Regads” “Regards”.

    David Fredin

  8. Senex
    09/01/2009 at 7:51 pm

    Tiz: “what is your personal assessment of Tony Blair’s contribution as Special Envoy to the UN, EU, US, and Russia, to the Midddle East?”

    You’ll be lucky but he might say: Penitence!

  9. 10/01/2009 at 6:11 pm

    The Israel-Palestine issue does bring people out to play, doesn’t it!

    The IRA bombed people in London and caused death, injury and property damage over some quite similar (not exactly comparable, but close enough for Jazz music) political and religious rivalries. Nonetheless, had we enclosed Belfast in a big wall, stopped food and medicine getting in and then started bombing the place to the extent that Israel now bombs Gaza, there would have been two things that were true.

    1) It would have been morally wrong by any measure except the most brutally tribalist;

    2) It would have been at absolute best unproductive and in far more likelihood counterproductive, assuming the goal was to stop the IRA killing people.

    Indeed, the death toll is now 800 and rising, Israel are dropping leaflets telling people in the strip it will get worse, and Hamas (the third reich, Mr Elzion? Really? We have a law on the internet about people like you, honoured more in its breach though it is) have not run out of their makeshift rockets. If the aim of the barrage as expressed by the Israeli government is indeed to topple Hamas, then they are doing very badly. We recall the recent debacle in Syria when Hezbollah managed to claim a strategic victory because they “stood up” to the IDF, which lost any moral support among the local population when they bombed them.

    One must ask, if the arguments in support of Israeli actions are correct, at what stage of destruction do we say “no more”? Because one would assume either that there is a limit, a point at which Israeli action really is over the top, or that if indeed everything is permissible then it would be indeed better to firebomb the entire place and kill all 1.5M of the population. Israel are a nuclear power, it could be done with a couple of small nukes. That would stop the barrage of rockets, wouldn’t it?

    One must ask, if that would be too brutal, why isn’t this. Especially since this isn’t working.

    Incidentally, the “hellfire” is a kind of missile fired from a helicopter. Many of them have landed in Gaza. I was not being poetic.

  10. 10/01/2009 at 6:24 pm

    Those wanting reportage, unfortunately biased by dint of being present rather than more sensibly sat half a world a way pontificating about the subject, may wish to read In Gaza or Gaza-Sderot. The latter is particularly illuminating, featuring posts managing to somehow, amazingly, accept that life in Southern Israel under the threat of rocket fire is difficult and dangerous and yet not feel that everything Israel does is automatically morally justified.

    Listening to people talk about it over here, bravely facing down the talk about rockets and courageously telling us how many of other people’s children they would sacrifice, you would be astounded that someone actually living in Sderot could have such barmily nuanced opinions. I am sure that if we examined him, however, we would find that he is just suffering from shell shock and cannot be trusted, so all would be well once more.

  11. Clive Soley
    11/01/2009 at 11:51 pm

    I have chosen to use my influence in this situation by forming the Arab-Jewish Forum. I started that largely at the request of Arabs in my former constituency. It is modelled in part on the British Irish Association which helped opinion leaders from the relevant communities to have influence on the peace process.

    In the current Middle East conflict I think it is important to remember that there are powerful influences from outside. Iran and the US are the two most obvious ones but don’t forget the growing conflict between other states in the region. The refusal of Egypt to open the border with Gaza is about rivalry with Iran. There are others too.

    Lady Tizzy. Tony Blair will have influence and I am sure he will be talking to various parties including the new US administration. Tony’s strength in situations like this is his tenacious approach and his recognition that you have to get a process going that can continue despite the barbarity of some aspects of the conflict. This was true in Northern Ireland. Various groups tried to blow the talks out of the water. The same happens in other conflict zones but if you persist with the process you can succeed in the long run. Sadly it is often a very long, long run and you can’t rule out a much wider conflict taking place in the Middle East.

  12. Senex
    12/01/2009 at 3:37 pm

    McDuff calls me a romantic in another post so I must respect his observation being one that is largely true. We exist because we dream of better things and it has been no different for those of the Jewish faith down the ages.

    They are the progenitors of western civilisation being equipped with a religious identity, literacy, numeracy and an unfortunate tendency to clump together wherever they have located themselves. They have been persecuted for being the smart kid on the block. Easy Targets!

    They have risen from their despair by a hope that ‘Tomorrow Jerusalem’ would someday come true. It has, and they now live its reality. For me there are two central pillars of this reality that make the dream a nightmare.

    Firstly, to be of the Jewish faith is to automatically become a citizen of Israel, the need always is to fit a pint into a half pint pot. This exerts pressure to expand their borders. They should embrace reality and stop this.

    Secondly, there are in Israel those who live in houses with pointed rooftops and others that have flat ones. Westernised immigrants and Aramaic residents, one is a waster and the other a conserver; one abuses the land whilst the other lives in harmony with it.

    Then there are the Islamic objectors to the state of Israel. They are members of an Islam that has lost its way by becoming a Church; a single interpretation of a holy book containing the words of God recompiled by men. Nobody of the Islamic faith should belong to a Church; their Church is the ground they stand on.

    Both Judaism and Islam are but two sides of the same coin. On one side is Judaism poisoned by persecution in the west and on the other side is Islam poisoned by the ambitions of an unholy Church.

    Both are the offspring of Abraham and God will have his vengeance on both of them unless they give up their vanity and live their lives according to their respective teachings, in peace, with love and in harmony with the land.

  13. 16/01/2009 at 3:42 pm

    Lord Soley

    Egypt is the second largest recipient of US foreign aid after Israel itself. I do not think anyone is naive enough to think this has no bearing on its decisions regarding Gaza, although of course the fact that the population of the strip now represents an unwanted, malnourished and radicalised refugee crisis for any country that takes them on will also come into play I’m sure! I don’t think Iran is irrelevant to Egypt’s policies but I don’t think they’re the principle driver here.


    The reason romanticism is a touch useless is aptly realised in your post there. Yes yes dear boy, blissful harmony is a noble dream and all the rest of it, but while we’re waiting for God to wreak his vengeance on the Jew and Muslim (and presumably the Christian Arab as well, there being rather a few of those in Gaza) for not living in harmony with nature (what does that even mean? Dying of the flu is “harmonious with nature”!) it does seem to be rather scarce on what actions we mere mortals should take in the concrete here and now where God is conspicuous only by his absence.

Comments are closed.