Friday, October 27, 2006


Patrick Seale:
Israel has killed 2,300 Gazans over the past six years, including 300 in the four months since Corporal Gilad Shalit was captured in a cross-border raid by Palestinian fighters on June 25. The wounded can be counted in the tens of thousands. Most of the casualties are civilians, many of them children.

The killing continues on a daily basis - by tank and sniper fire, by air and sea bombardment, and by undercover teams in civilian clothes sent into Arab territory to ambush and murder, an Israeli specialty perfected over the past several decades.

How long will the "international community" allow the slaughter to continue? The cruel repression of the Occupied Territories, and of Gaza in particular, is one of the most scandalous in the world today. It is the blackest stain on Israel's patchy record as a would-be democratic state.


Even more disturbing than the silence from London at these developments, and the collusion of Washington, is the entry into the Israeli government of Avigdor Lieberman as deputy prime minister. Born in Moldovia, Lieberman, a burly 48-year old, came to Israel at the age of 20. He is the leader of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu (Israel our home), a party composed mainly of Russian immigrants.

Best known for having recommended flooding Egypt by bombing the Aswan Dam, he is an ardent champion of the settlers and opposes any withdrawal from Palestinian territory. His solution is the "transfer" of Arabs out of Israel so as to create an ethnically pure country. He has advocated death for any Arab members of the Knesset who dare to meet members of Hizbullah or Hamas. In any truly democratic country he would be denounced and shunned as a dangerous fascist.

Instead, Lieberman is to be given the job of formulating Israeli policy regarding the "strategic threat" facing the country - a code word for Iran's nuclear activities. As Haaretz, the left-of-center Israeli daily, commented: "The choice of the most unrestrained and irresponsible man around for this job constitutes a strategic threat in its own right."

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