The controversial Al Jazeera story on Gaza’s humanitarian crisis

16 Nov

Bravo to Chris Davies, Liberal Democrat MEP for being a critical voice against the Israeli illegal occupation of Palestine. His interview in Al Jazeera’s Insider Story on Gaza’s humanitarian crises was spot on as he refuted the points made by Dan Schueftan, the controverisal guest speaker who  dismissed UN as anti Israel and B Tselem, a human rights organisation, as ‘leftist’.

I cannot find any substantive reason and find it objectionable that the station has chosen this man as one of the speaker who was once infamously quoted, “My views [snip] are extremely unpleasant and politically incorrect. But I am right”, in a New York Magazine article, ‘Separate Peace‘. In that same article: “Even by Israeli standards, I’m arrogant, but I have such good reason to be that any kind of modesty on my part would simply be false modesty’.

What therefore is the purpose of having Mr Schueftan who has regurgitated extreme biasedness and lies througout the entire segment? Thankfully, Chris was there to expose this man’s inconsistencies.

It is refreshing if not heartening to know and read of Chris Davies’s work on the Occupied Territories. After having first visited Israel and Palestine since 2006, his criticism of Ithe former’s policies on the Occupied Territories have earned him unfair accusations of being anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli by the Jewish press. Nevertheless, he has continued to speak out. Recently, he also took part in a peaceful demonstration in Belin, Jerusalem and documented police violence against the protestors. Here is an excerpt of the experience:

We were expecting it, but the deafening noise of the first sound bomb still came as a shock. The cry went up, “gas, gas,” and blue-white smoke hissed out from a tear gas grenade.

“No violence. No violence,” someone shouted. “Hold your hands in the air.” But the gesture was not reciprocated. The grenades kept coming, perhaps 20 in all. Fortunately the wind carried most of the gas away across the fields.

Standing in the clear air between two spouting grenades I pressed a European Union flag against the fence and shouted to the soldiers: “This is Palestinian land. You are breaking international law. How can you hope for peace and security if you steal the land of the Palestinians?”

A gate was opened and Israeli troops came through, pointing guns, barging and shoving the 100 or so protestors, forcing them backwards down the gravel path. I was knocked to the ground but was unhurt. Others were not so lucky, but today there were no serious injuries.

We were pushed back as far as the village track, where the troops halted. Tensions gradually calmed. “Shalom,” I said to the front row of young men. “Take care of yourselves.” With others, I turned and walked away.

Truly admirable stuff.

Watch this Al Jazeera interview and hear Scheuftan’s dismissive attitude towards the UN: ‘This is an anti-Israeli organisation’.

See how Chris pointed out that in his direct contact with Palestine’s Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, ‘He [Ismail Hanieyh] made it clear, as Prime Minister, supported the right of Israel to exist. He disputed the borders. But then, we don’t know what the borders are…’ or ‘… the EU’s position, is well, its deplorable really… we funded the Palestinian elections and yet we refuse to accept the results and since then we very much have been trying to follow American leadership’.

Chris also voiced out the inconsistencies of the EU’s position, ‘what the EU should be doing now, is saying to Israel, you cannot keep one and a half million people in Gaza in the extreme sense of poverty that they exist simply because they vote for the wrong people. You just have to recognise they have rights too. They are human beings… and the fact that, just at the moment, for many of it, it looks as if Israel was trying to wipe them off the map rather than Gaza, Gazans trying to do the same to Israel’.

Azzam Tamimi of the Islamic Institute of Political Thought, sums up the Palestinian position and what I like to call, the ‘unpleasant truth’ version, “It is preposterous and unacceptable for the oppressors to ask the victim to recognise that oppression and occupation as legitimate. It is the Israelis who have been destroying our nation, who have been occupying our country…’

Al Jazeera – Inside Story – Gaza Humanitarian Crisis – November 14 2008, Part I

Al Jazeera – Inside Story – Gaza Humanitarian Crisis – November 14 2008, Part II

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