Saturday, March 12, 2005

Middle East, UK and others...

Let's start with a bit of controversy:
Sharon is war criminal says Livingstone (Lord Mayor of London)

Ken Livingstone has reignited his
dispute with Britain's Jewish leaders by launching a provocative attack on the
"war criminal" Ariel Sharon.

In a riposte to criticism from the Board of
Deputies of British Jews, the London mayor accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing"
and said its prime minister should be imprisoned. He also accused Israel of
demonising Muslims.

How the Israelis and Palestinians came to war
The best journalism on the conflict, from around the web
Mayor row logged as racial incident
Count on the United Kingdom to bring us the most unexpected situations. Ken Livingstone might very well be all the nasty things he has been called, after his unfortunate remarks, comparing a Jewish journalist to a nazi camp guard, and the Standards Board of England, and SCotland Yard are looking into that - as they should. And it might very well be that he is using Ariel Sharon as an evasive maneuver. That should not divert people's attention over the fact that Ariel Sharon, at some point of the history of his country, was barred from ever holding public office again, due to his responsibility in the horrendous massacres of Sabra and Shatila, making him somewhat of a war-criminal... he is Prime Minister today. And Israel's inhumanity to the Palestinians, and the second-class citizenship status of Arab-Israelis, really do not give Israel a moral case in the matter. Let's not forget - incidentally - that what we call terrorism today, was a phenomenon started by the guerila tactics of the United States, in their rightful fight agains UK power in the 18th century, and more recently by... Israel (no matter how hey spin it). This does not excuse present day terrorism, of course; but we need to be able to put things in perspective, and hold EVERYBODY accountable, and stop having double standards as to every people's right to defend themselves from injustice. That said, it is sad that Ken Livingstone would use this o get himself out of a WWII related comment. It does not seem to be related to his actual remarks. We'll wait and see.

In related news, I found a website today, BitterLemons, that showcases both Israeli and Palestinian viewpoints and opinion articles. A coincidence has it that I went to school with the children of both the Palestinians showcased today (Ali Jarbawi and Ghassan Khatib). They both make a wonderful case. The Iraeli viewpoints by Yossi Alpher and David Bedein make strong arguments too, though I have to lagely disagree with the latter, as the argument hardly seems to be fair to the PNA's efforts in the past months; voices of extremism have to be qualmed on all sides though, that much we can agree on.
For even more insights on the Middle East, visit BitterLemons International.

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