Thursday, January 24, 2008

Reflections on the Gaza situation

Naomi Ragen captured the bitter irony of the Gaza situation very well

Picture this: the electric plant which supplies 70% of electricity to the Palestinians in Gaza is in Ashkelon. The Palestinians in Gaza have been shooting kassam rockets at the
plant ever since the "disengagement" i.e. the abandonment of Gush Katif. Now, Palestinians are crying that they don't have enough electricity. They are complaining about Israeli sanctions against them. They are going to the U.N.

The truth is, Israel has not stopped supplying electricity to Gaza. Not only that, but Israeli electric company employees are risking their lives to do so.

Mickey Tsarfati, head of the union of electrical workers, said: "It is unbelievable chutzpah for them to complain. We have not stopped supplying them with electricity for a minute. And they have not stopped logging bombs at us for a minute." Many of the workers who fix the lines to Gaza daily are residents of Sderot. It has happened more than once that bombs fell next to their homes as they were fixing the lines to supply electricity to the bombers.

Now the U.N. and the Quartet, and the Arab League are all getting demands to stop Israeli "sanctions" against the Gazans....

You tell me what other country would be supplying electricity to people who are bombing their children on a daily basis, and risking their lives to do so.

The situation is indeed unprecedented in the history of the world. One country A under brutal, unprovoked and continual attack from a neighbouring country B whose government is committed to killing or expelling every citizen of A. Yet A is not allowed to defend itself, and also has to supply its enemy B with the means for their further continued attacks. And the whole world has sympathy only with country B.

Even if you try to think of analogous situations in history it is impossible to come up with anything as far fetched. The closest I could think of was 1940 Britain: No longer with any forces on mainland Europe. No active allies. All alone against the Nazis who occupy the whole of Western Europe including France next door from where they threaten to invade. Night after night German bombers blitz London. Now imagine that, when the RAF sent up its brave pilots to confront the Nazi planes, there was an outcry from the rest of the world about Britain using disproportionate force and about it 'creating a cycle of violence'. Even this analogy does little justice ot Israel's comparative plight. For a start, unlike Britain, Israel is completely surrounded by deadly enemies, so for the analogy to work you would have to imagine that Ireland, Scotland and Wales were in the hands of the Nazis. And you would also have to imagine that there was no British Channel separating Britain from France. Moreover, it would have had to be the case that Britain supplied the fuel for the Nazi warplanes and that the rest of the world condemned Britain when it threatened to withhold that fuel from the Nazis. And you would also have to imagine that the rest of the world (including countries like the USA, Canada, and Australia) were openly rooting for the Nazis even though they were not involved in the fighting.

But the worst shame about where the analogy breaks down is that Israel has no Churchill to lead them. Someone who, above all else knows that there can never be any compromise with the Nazis.

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