December 2006

End of the Strongmen

19 December 2006

The era of the Middle East strongman, propped up by and enforcing Western policy, appears well and truly over. His power is being replaced with rule by civil war, apparently now the American Administration’s favoured model across the region. Fratricidal fighting is threatening to engulf, or already engulfing, the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Iraq. Both Syria and Iran could soon be next, torn apart by attacks Israel is reportedly planning on behalf of the US. The reverberations would likely consume the region. Western politicians like to portray civil war as a consequence of the West’s failure to intervene more effectively in the Middle East.

The problem facing the Palestinian leadership, as they strive to bring the millions living in the occupied territories some small relief from their collective suffering, reduces to a matter of a few words. Like a naughty child who has only to say “sorry” to be released from his room, the Hamas government need only say “We recognise Israel” and supposedly aid and international goodwill will wash over the West Bank and Gaza. That, at least, was the gist of Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert’s recent speech during a visit to the Negev, when he suggested that his country’s hand was stretched out across the sands towards the starving masses of Gaza — if only Hamas would repent. “Recognise us and we are ready to talk about peace” was the implication.

We didn’t disappear

14 December 2006

Region – 14 – 20 December 2006 Issue No. 824 The official political leadership of Israel’s more than one million Palestinian citizens issued a manifesto in Nazareth last week demanding a raft of changes to end the systematic discrimination exercised against non-Jews by the state since its creation nearly six decades ago.   Included in […]