Friday, January 08, 2010
George Galloway picks a cause
[George Galloway and friend.]
Why no 'Viva Somalia?'
What could be worse than being forgotten in the rubble of war? As The New York Times reported this week, Gazans feel forsaken. The constant flow of humanitarian aid is staving off hunger and disease, but a pall of listlessness besets the Strip.
It is so dreary that B'Tselem, an Israeli-staffed organization that's funded mostly by European governments and American foundations, has distributed video cameras to 18 young people just to get them out and about.
They make really cool videos about all sorts of subjects - such as smuggling laundry detergent through tunnels between Gaza and Sinai; resisting the "occupation" by singing hip hop music; there's also one about a girls' soccer team.
The videos have found their way onto Ynet, a popular Hebrew news Web site.
THERE'S A revealing comparison to be made between the "siege" of Gaza and what is happening in Somalia, where the World Food Program this week was forced to abandon one million tormented people because Islamist gunmen have made it impossible for its staff to operate.
The al-Shabab accuses the WFP of being spies for the infidels and has murdered a number of aid workers. The extremists are enraged that the WFP will not pay protection money. Overall, 3 million Somalis depend on WFP relief, but the plight of 285,000 acutely malnourished children is especially heart-rending.
Naturally, the WFP also operates in the "Occupied Palestinian Territories" - that is, the area where the Palestinians refuse to create a demilitarized state of their own.
The WFP - through no fault of its own - is part of a web of international bodies that is enabling, rather than trying to overcome, dependency among Palestinians. For 60-years-plus, UN agencies have gone along with the Arab world's insistence that their Palestinian brethren remain perpetual refugees.
UNLIKE THE Somalis, the Palestinians have been fortunate in having Zionists for their enemies. How else could they attract celebrity politicians, like MP George Galloway, and superstar campaigners, like the International Solidarity Movement's Hedy Epstein, a hunger-striking 85-year-old lady who "survived" the Holocaust in London where she arrived in 1939 on the kindertransport.
Galloway's "Viva Palestina" procession left London on December 6 and arrived in El-Arish this week. He quickly picked a fight with the Egyptians over how many vehicles could enter Gaza from Sinai. Cops and activists threw sand at each other and fought with sticks.
The "Viva Palestina" spectacle was coordinated with Hamas, which needed a pretext to orchestrate an "intifada" against the anti-smuggling barrier Cairo has belatedly begun installing under the Philadelphi Corridor.
On the Gaza side of the border, Palestinians shot dead an Egyptian guard, as other guards opened fire on Palestinian rioters, critically wounding five.
Late Wednesday, Egypt allowed Galloway and 55 fellow travelers into Gaza, "bandaged, bleeding and bruised… because they tried to bring medicine to … people under siege in Gaza," said the intrepid British parliamentarian.
Too bad that Galloway and Epstein, along with the play-by-play Al-Jazeera coverage they engender, didn't drive their convoy of 150 truck and 500 international activists - self-satisfied Europeans, mostly, but also 17 Turkish legislators - straight to Somalia to face down the al-Shabab.
THE DIFFERENCE between Somalia and Gaza is that the people of Somalia are not only forgotten in the rubble, their desperation is… simply not interesting.
They are people without options.
Those responsible for their plight are Islamists, not Zionists or Westerners - though, for the Euro-Left, it's all America's fault somehow.
In stark contrast, the people of Gaza do have options that would end their misery.
They could stop supporting Hamas, which has mobilized their polity against coexistence with Israel; they could make peace among themselves and allow the comparatively moderate West Bank Palestinian leadership - which is recognized by the international community - back into the Strip. They could free IDF soldier Gilad Schalit whom they kidnapped in 2006. They could stop launching mortars against Israel's civilian population, as they repeatedly did this week. They could choose a two-state solution and accept that Jews also have a right to a homeland. They could end the "siege."
They could build instead of reveling in the rubble and in their victimization.
I am a Jerusalem-based journalist and political scientist and a senior editor at The Jerusalem Report focusing on the Jewish World. I’m a former editorial page editor at The Jerusalem Post and was founding managing editor of Jewish Ideas Daily. Over the years I’ve written for Newsmax, Israel My Glory and a range of other outlets. I was also editorial director for www.balfour100.com and recently published THE BALFOUR DECLARATION SIXTY-SEVEN WORDS – 100 YEARS OF CONFLICT. Before making aliya in 1997, I worked in NYC government and as an adjunct assistant professor of political science. My memoir about growing up on the Lower East Side (well, it is more than about that) THE PATER: MY FATHER, MY JUDAISM, MY CHILDLESSNESS is available via online booksellers, Amazon kindle, and (select) in brick and mortar bookshops. By arrangement, I brief individuals and groups visiting Israel on the conflict and Jewish civilizational issues. Let me hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
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