Monday, January 30, 2006


Last week the Guardian published a piece by Jonathan Steele which justifiably caused a bit of a stir in blog world. He gets a well deserved shoeing from neo-neocon:
I was most aghast at the following sentence of Steele's,
"Murdering a Palestinian politician by a long-range attack that is bound also to kill innocent civilians is morally and legally no better than a suicide bomb on a bus."
I've heard such sentiments before, it's true. But usually from commenters on a blog rather than a senior foreign correspondent of a major newspaper. If this is an example of his reasoning power, his editors should be canning him, pronto.

Interesting that Steele says "murdering a Palestinian politician," as though the Israelis are in the habit of killing the Abbas's or the Arafat's of the Palestinian world. The word "terrorist" seems to stick in Steele's craw, even when there is no doubt in the world that is what is meant. This sort of subtle use of inexact language is as pervasive as it is pernicious.

But even beyond that is the idea itself, treating all civilian deaths in a way that is devoid of context, intent, history, goal--anything but the sheer fact of a death. By that type of reasoning (and I use the word "reasoning" advisedly), an accidental traffic death is as bad as gunning someone down in cold blood, police killing a bystander with a stray bullet while pursuing a murderer would be the same as the killer him/herself, and on and on and on. Yes, the collateral damage resulting from the killing of a terrorist who purposely hides among civilians is a terrible thing, as is the purposeful blowing up of Israelis by a suicide bomber. But to say they are morally and legally equivalent is abhorrent.
Read it all. Steele's views on the democratic theory have been brought into question before - here's Norm's take from last May.

Not content with publishing Steele's suck-up to Hamas, the Guardian managed to outdo itself by printing an article today entitled: Hamas will make a deal.
If Israel withdraws from the territories it occupied in 1967, the movement will end armed resistance

Contrary to the claims of alarmists who see the Hamas election victory as a threat to peace, new opportunities for making peace could now emerge. The peacemaking episodes of the past were based on assumptions absolutely unacceptable to the majority of Palestinians and those who support the justice of their cause. From Oslo to the road map it was always assumed that Israel was the victim that needed to live in peace and security and that the key to this was the end of Palestinian terrorism. The new peace process that Hamas may indeed be willing to be part of should be based on the fact that the Palestinians are the victims and have been victims since Israel was created on their soil. It is not Palestinian terrorism that is the problem, but Israeli aggression.

Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, who was cut to pieces when Israel shot him with an air-to-surface missile, spelled it out long ago. We shall never recognise the theft of our land, he said, but we are willing to negotiate a ceasefire whose duration can be as a long as a generation, and let future generations on both sides decide where to go then. His ceasefire conditions are fully compatible with international law. Israel would have to give back what it occupied in 1967 - then without any Jewish settlements - and release all Palestinian prisoners. For that Hamas would halt its armed struggle and instead pursue peaceful means.
Nothing wrong with a bit of wishful thinking now and then. I mean, if Israel were to go back to her pre-1967 borders everything would be fine and dandy wouldn't it?

If this were true I'm wondering why there were two wars (1948 and 1967) which were fought between Israel and her neighbours when Israel had, um, pre-1967 borders?

Unlike the eternal optimist Jonathan Steele, I don't believe the author of this second piece can be accused of wishful thinking. That's because the article is written by none other than Azzad Tamimi who, at the bottom of the article, the Guardian tell us:
is director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought; his book on Hamas will be published this summer.
But that's only half the story. What they forgot to tell you was, and this from an article the same man wrote last January, also for the Guardian:
Azzam Tamimi is spokesman of the Muslim Association of Britain and director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought.
Oh the MAB. Everyone's favourite hardcore Islamists. Now why shouldn't I be surprised that he's shilling for Hamas? Perhaps because he's made his position on Hamas (and terrorism in general) quite clear. From CampusWatch:
Consider, for example, an interview given by Tamimi to a leading Spanish newspaper last November. Headline: "I admire the Taliban; they are courageous." Tamimi begins by assuring the interviewer that "everyone" in the Arab world cheered upon seeing the Twin Towers fall. "Excuse me," says the interviewer, "did you understand my question?" Tamimi: "In the Arab and Muslim countries, everyone jumped for joy. That's what you asked me, isn't it?" The interview continues in this vein, to a point where Tamimi accuses the United States propping up all of the dictators in the Arab world. "They must be eliminated if anything is to change." Interviewer: "And how to eliminate them?" Tamimi: "The people of those countries should rebel, fight, sacrifice, spill blood. The French Revolution cost lives. The American revolution cost lives. Liberty is not given, it is taken!" Later, Tamimi gives his solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict: "The Israelis stole our houses, which are today occupied by Jews from Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Morocco, Ethiopia, Brooklyn. They should return to their homes, and give ours back to us!...That's non-negotiable. Therefore I support Hamas."
What a nice chap. And just what you'd expect of a left-leaning paper like the Guardian: to be printing the opinions of a hardline conservative Islamist without mentioning his background. They seem to be making quite a habit of it these days.


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