Sunday, 31 January 2010


Was speaking to my dad and he came out with:

The Guardian is a Jewish newspaper, never trust what they say they're biased.

So I was a little defensive. I like the guardian, I read it for football updates, I read it for world news and mostly, I read it to stay informed about the situation in the Middle East, predominantly the situation in Palestine. So for me to hear they are biased particularly regarding this issue was a little... Strange.

I went off on one. We've recently hooked a media center PC running Ubuntu on it to our Telly in the living room. It works great, amazing resolution it's a 1080p Sony Bravia screen so you can imagine the picture quality is pretty good. Perfect for me to bring up the Guardian website and read an article out to my dad.

The first article we came across. In the home page of the guardian website:

Israel denies Gaza war crimes in report to UN

So immediately we see that this proudly left-wing newspaper is pretty critical of Israel's use of force in it's attack on Gaza. In fact, here are a few of the figures it quoted in the article:

-Only ONE Israeli soldier has been reprimanded after the war in Gaza, for stealing a credit card from a Palestinian home and stealing 250 pounds.

-The three week war left 13 Israeli dead, in contrast to the 1,400 Palestinians killed.

-Israel defended it's use of White phosphorus in it's attacks on Gaza.

There's more. Needless to say, I was feeling justified in my defense of the Guardian. Then my dad did his signature, patting my leg saying, "You're right son" patronizingly and moving away.

I would have argued more but it was pointless. He was right in his mind, I'm right. Full stop.

A trait I seem to have adopted for myself from him (alongside the balding) is my stubbornness. I'm argumentative and often for no reason. So, sorry if I appear to be... what's the word? Well, if I come across as a prat, I'm sorry.

Anyway, I carried on reading about this Israeli attack on Gaza and there was a video of eye witness accounts and relatives of innocent civilians who had been murdered in the attacks.

But to bring you back on the phosphorus attacks that Israel carried out in Gaza. White phosphorus is an incendiary material that is very reactive. It can set stuff alight.
The legitimacy of it's use is somewhat open to debate. In the US, the field manual Rule of Land Warfare states that incendiary weapons can be used against such targets that require them to be used against, essentially, they shouldn't be prohibited outright because there exist SOME targets that you may only be able to effectively hit using such weapons.
Others state clearly that it is outright "Against the law of the land" to employ white phosphorus against personnel targets. So fine, you may be able to use it against tanks or, I don't know aircrafts in a way, but not against personnel.

So then their can be no reasonable justification for Israel's use of WP (white phosphorus) in tank shells bombarding a UN School in Gaza. Initially they claimed it was because the school had opened fire on them, though the claims were retracted shortly afterward. So where is the investigation into this attack? What ramifications will be placed on those responsible? None. Instead it has paid $10m to the UN and as such, cleared itself from any blame.

A while back I wrote about military drones that the US deployed in Pakistan and their pin point precision. Well, Israel has it's own batch of top secret drones which it uses to carry out areal attacks and with the range of civilian casualties, it would seem they do so quite indiscriminately.

The video I went on to watch, which a can't embed because it's a Guardian video (though if you want to watch it, just go here) describes these attacks. I only just found it's a series of three so if you have the time, I'd advise that you check them out here.

And I don't mean to give you a reading list, I hate it when some dude who's developed a temporary complex on one thing suddenly insists I do all sorts of reading into that topic. But I feel that a lot of people I know actually care about these issues. Particularly Muslim youths who have feelings of antipathy towards policies and governments but can't actually shape those views into coherent opinions because of, perhaps a lack of thorough understanding of a situation.

I say Muslim in particular because I feel that we develop a sort of kinship with other Muslims worldwide (wars between Muslim nations like Iraq/Iran notwithstanding). Not that non Muslims cannot feel empathy, (on the contrary, some of the most vocal human rights protesters are in fact non Muslim) it's just that it's an ingrained part of Islam that all Muslims are brothers and sisters. Regardless of race or gender or social background, Muslims- in my experience- show an innate compassion towards other Muslims. And when you're bombarded with images of old women in Burkas crying over the remains of their relatives, or seeing demolished buildings and streets full of rubble, seeing young children have to bring up their younger siblings alone it strikes a chord with you. Especially in light of the flagrant injustice your own government tries to pass off as laws and conventions which are implicitly detrimental to those people you see on the TV set. If not detrimental, then insulting; laughing at the idea of their humanity.

When you live in a democracy you have to take responsibility for it's decisions. Just as you may stay up at night and cheer when the party you voted for gets elected, what do you do when your Foreign secretary and Prime Minister rescind judgments by Judges to hold people responsible for crimes they have committed.

Perhaps this analogy needs some background first. In December of last year, a London Judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Israel's former foreign secretary, Tzipi Livni for crimes committed against Gazans.

David Miliband, our foreign secretary called the court's actions "Insufferable" and Gordon Brown, likewise refuted the action and the warrant was then repelled.

I'm going on and on, and by now most of you would have stopped reading no doubt.
My point is that there's a lot wrong with the situation in Gaza, it's almost surreal that so much is still debated and that we- Britain- are allies with a country that seems to have a 0 accountability approach, uses excessive force, butchers civilians and steals land from beneath the feet of people. And I don't mean Britain as a sort of... nationalist or some sort of patriotic gesture of our endearing moral code- hell we conquered loads of the world in very, very bad ways. No, what I mean is that we live such a sheltered, easy life here, where the biggest injustices we face is blaring music on a bus or something. And we just sit back and tolerate evil on the scale of Israel. It's not cool. I say tolerate but we're (Britain) culpable for the state of Israel's conception and by extension, any of it's subsequent (and numerous) crimes. Though I'm pretty sure I've already blogged about that in a previous rant.

If any of you would like to read a few articles based on the issue of Palestine/Israel, then you can read these short articles here:

And tell me if my dad was wrong about the Guardian.

1 comment:

  1. Your right and wrong.
    Your dad is right and wrong.
    Adding anything else to my post would be xenophobic and incriminating.