Sunday, December 28, 2008

The barbarians live in E14

The Independent on Sunday editorialises on the Gaza attacks, urging 'restraint' but also pretty well regurgitating every Israeli propaganda theme in the book. This, however, is appalling:

But there are always grounds for hope. Before yesterday’s attacks, there were some signs that disillusion with Hamas was setting in among the people of Gaza. Partly because of the continuing Israeli blockade, Hamas has failed to deliver higher living standards. Some Gazans even complain that life was better under the Israeli occupation. (via Jamie)

The paper that likes to sermonise about Third World hunger and poverty now openly advises us that the deliberate imposition by blockade of malnutrition and miserable poverty on 1.5m people, which has been condemned by the same relief groups and UN personnel that the Indie often relies on in its exhortations, provides "grounds for hope". So atrocious was the blockade that it made some Gazans compare it unfavourably to Israeli occupation, when there was at least an economy to speak of, and this is "grounds for hope". It is important to recognise that the tolerance for such barbarity, the ability to say such things in public without embarrassment or shame, is a function of the dehumanisation of Hamas. Those who imagine they can defend Palestine while conceding the lies about Hamas - that they are fascist, murderous brutes who reject dialogue, rather than a legitimate resistance movement who have consistently offered dialogue and ceasefire even under the most unpromising circumstances - are the victims of some strange illusions.

Still, this is comparatively civilized. Soon, the tanks that are gathering around the borders of Gaza, this "enemy entity", will be rolling in. As hundreds of deaths turn into thousands, the argument will be heard that no nation can tolerate missile attacks being launced against its civilians (exactly the same argument that was offered to justify the slaughter in Lebanon, and just as disingenuous). The racist logic of this argument is obvious enough: it will never occur to these people to ask why Palestinians should tolerate being occupied and confined, subject to regular killings and a military blockade. We will also be reminded that Hamas broke a six-month ceasefire, although Israel never respected its terms and finally broke that truce on 4th November long before Hamas declared that it wouldn't be renewed (as there was no longer a truce to be renewed). Perhaps as the war grinds on, someone will call for "lights out in Gaza" until the Qassam missiles stop and Gazans depose their Islamofascist masters. "You want 1948, we can bomb you back to 1948." Etc. Maybe we will be advised that Gazans are being collectively punished because they bear collective responsibility for supporting Hamas' slow-burning genocide against the Jews. Maybe someone will say that not enough people are dead, because too many jihadists are still alive. There might even be a benefit concert for poor, captive Sderot, with Paul McCartney singing about freedom and Maureen Lipman channelling Joyce Grenfell. Public discourse is about to get very ugly.