I don’t understand why just about the whole world is condemning Israel for what is usually termed ‘a brutal and disproportionate response’ (and that’s the diplomatic version) to the Hamas rockets. I don’t understand why everybody is talking this way, but those with the power to confront Israel aren’t doing so. I don’t understand why, when Milliband tells Cameron that he should be taking a firmer line, Cameron comes back with the disingenuous retort that the Leader of the Opposition is ‘disgracefully making political capital out of a tragic situation.’ For once, he isn’t. The situation is tragic; the current ‘score’ is 1800 Palestinians dead (almost wholly civilians and including a lot of children): 67 Israelis dead (mostly soldiers.) That’s precisely why Cameron should be taking a firmer line – and Obama, and the UN, etc… Isn’t a ratio of nearly 30:1 a little disproportionate? Killing children? Hitting markets and schools? Displacing huge numbers of innocent people? Isn’t that terrorism on a grand scale?
And here’s something else I don’t understand. For years now, Israel’s reputation has been getting lower and lower until it’s beginning to resemble that held by the white supremacist minority in South Africa during the apartheid years. I know the two situations aren’t the same, but there are similarities and the reputations are getting closer. And yet Israel doesn’t seem to care. Why? Is it because the Israeli government knows it enjoys some sort of immunity from prosecution? So why is that? Is it the obvious reason, or is there something hidden which we don’t know about?
Yes, I know there are plenty of good Israelis who just want to live in peace with their Arab neighbours, but they’re not the ones in charge, are they? And yes, I know all about the history of pogroms, and diasporas, and the Holocaust, and the horrors of anti-Semitism, and Israel’s vulnerable position surrounded by hostile or potentially hostile states. But a line has to be drawn somewhere, and now is surely the time to draw it. Isn’t it?
There: that’s a lot of my inner dialogue set down in script. Once I started, it was hard to hold back. That’s because I’m confused. And greatly troubled.