Michael Laws has a great column on Israel and Gaza in today’s Sunday Star Times
Worth re-printing in full;
IT WAS no surprise that anti-West activist, John Minto, singled out Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer as an agent of evil this past week but that was the minor aberration in a week of anti-Jewish weirdness.
There was twit-nit Catholic priest Gerard Burns daubing his blood over a peace monument, bizarro MP Keith Locke accusing Israel of war crimes, and sundry radio commentators giving full voice to anti-Semitic outrage.
All followed a simple maxim, straight out of Animal Farm: Israel wrong, Palestinians right.
They were assisted in their cause by an error of war a UN-controlled school receiving a direct hit from an Israeli shell. This prompted one caller to my radio show to describe Peer as “a baby-killer“.
The Middle East is a tragedy wrapped in a catastrophe. This recent outbreak of hostility is small beer compared to its blood-soaked past but it has served to launch a new wave of liberal handwringing.
Almost without exception, liberals accept that the Israelis are the baddies. They are the ones with the fighter planes, helicopter gunships and tanks tearing through the ghettoes of Gaza. As John Minto opined this past week they are the primary aggressor. Ipso facto, they are morally inferior.
The truth is considerably different. The Gaza Strip is a territory controlled by an Islamic fundamentalist faction that has sworn to wipe Israel from the planet. It has been doing its best by launching rockets at Jewish settlements, arming and directing suicide bombers, and ending the uneasy ceasefire.
It knows it cannot beat Israel militarily but that is not its aim. Its aim is to provoke a reaction and for any Israeli incursion to kill innocent Palestinian children. This is intended to incite other Arab nations to collaborate in the cleansing force required to be rid of these dreadful Jews.
The only problem is that Hamas are not freedom fighters. In fact, they are not even sane. They are religious fanatics. Fundamentalist nutters armed with guns, rocket-propelled grenades and rockets. Their idea of a Palestinian state is one that eradicates Israel. They emerged victors after a bloody civil war with the Fatah party in 2006 killing plenty of innocent civilians themselves and now consider that Hamas is the frontline in the fight against the infidel.
Yet these are the people that Minto, the Greens, the Catholic fringe and Kiwi liberals seek to embrace.
The history of the Middle East is labyrinthine but modern Israel was legally established by the United Nations in 1947. In fact, the UN plan was to establish two separate countries a Jewish Israel and an Arab Palestine. It was not a perfect answer but then none were available. It was the best of a bad situation.
To cut a long story short: the Arabs accepted neither solution nor resolution. Israel was a Zionist abomination and a pan-Arab military force instantly massed to invade. They were badly beaten, the nascent Palestine was scrubbed, and hundreds of thousands of displaced Arabs escaped into non-statehood.
Voila the grievance of these past 60 years.
For decades, any genuine solution foundered against the Arab insistence that Israel had no right to exist. That it was the wrong people in the wrong place at the wrong time. That impediment is now, mostly, gone.
But not for Hamas or their backers in Iran. Jews are devils end of story. Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia may accept that Jewish folk are entitled to their place in the sun but as for Hamas-controlled Palestine that’s a different matter entirely.
Nothing less than the repudiation of the Israeli state and the confiscation of all their land will suffice. And so their continuing attacks upon Israeli civilians. And equally so, the expiration of Jewish patience.
This is not to suggest that Israeli actions over these past 60 years meet any antipodean morality test either. There have been inhumane actions and outrageous abuses. But not this time: not in Gaza in 2009. Israel is responding as any nation would were it under continual military harassment.
If Fiji, for example, were to send suicide bombers and rain down rockets on Auckland and surrounds, in protest at past actions, I wonder how long before New Zealand’s patience similarly snapped? Especially if the governing Fijian regime wanted this country for themselves.
Such a scenario seems surreal. We can’t possibly comprehend a thought process so perverse. It is not within our frame of reference. But we do understand TV images of dead kids, and that a tank versus a Kalashnikov has never been a fair fight. This accounts for our Kiwi squeamishness.
Veteran liberal correspondent Robert Fisk has condemned the Israeli incursion as disproportionate. He draws an analogy with the IRA bombing Britain: did England carpet bomb Ireland in return, he asks? The difference being that the Irish government actively opposed the IRA’s leadership and tactics. And that the IRA wasn’t the government, using its institutions to wage a terrorist war on the UK with the ultimate aim of tipping England into the sea.
Yet I detect this past week in real and middle New Zealand that the average Kiwi has developed a grudging respect for these dogged Israelis. We were not keen on them filching the identity of our dead people for their covert operations but that scorn has passed.
Neither will we be conned by the Mintos, Lockes and Burns of this world. We know that Shahar Peer is guilty of nothing but a weak backhand. And that fanatics must be resisted from under whichever rock they may slither.
The death of innocents in Gaza is regrettable it is sad and it is wrong. But all the more so for being orchestrated by Hamas, in pursuit of their despicable ends.