Tag Archives: hamas

Sometimes sorry just isn’t enough

Wednesday was a day filled with sorrow and reflection as I learned about a tragic event unfolding in Gaza. A missile strike by the Israeli Defence Force claimed the lives of seven individuals associated with the World Central KitchenAid organization. Among them were three British citizens: John Chapman, James Anderson, and James Kirby. My heart goes out to the families of those who lost their lives in this catastrophe, particularly those working tirelessly to alleviate the severe food shortages plaguing the people of Gaza.

The mission of World Central Kitchen, to feed the most vulnerable under dire conditions, where some have had to resort to animal feed for sustenance, is nothing short of heroic. This calamity, however, casts a shadow on their noble work, revealing the precarious nature of providing aid in conflict zones.

The admission by IDF Chief Herzi Halevi, attributing the strike to misidentification, does little to assuage the gravity of the situation. The meticulous targeting of vehicles marked with the World Central Kitchen emblem seems to point to a breakdown not just in the fog of war but in accountability and oversight by one of the world’s most technologically advanced militaries.

In a separate, equally disturbing event, a suspected Israeli strike demolished the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria. This act, resulting in the death of seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), escalates tensions further and breaches the sanctity of diplomatic missions, a cornerstone of international relations.

These events have reignited the discourse on the Israel-Palestine conflict, underscoring the urgent need for peace and the problematic nature of ongoing arms sales to Israel. Calls for a ceasefire from former Supreme Court Justices and reconsideration of support for UNWRA highlight the potential complicity in serious violations of international law.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 11 Comments

Ed on tonight’s drama in Parliament: We need an urgent end to the humanitarian catastrophe

So I managed to sleep thoughout tonight’s drama.

Waking up to a phone glowing with WhatsApp messages, I realised there had been a bit of a rammy in the Commons. I checked out the BBC summary and my immediate and instinctive reaction is that the Speaker had been right to allow votes on three distinctive positions on such a huge issue. The SNP’s motion called for an immediate ceasefire, the Government’s called for a humanitarian pause and Labour’s had a bit more meat on its bones about how you actually get to a lasting peace. Normally on an opposition day, you’d get the motion and a Government amendment. It is unusual to have a third option, but in this instance, it made sense to reflect as broad a consensus as possible. He could have done better by including a fourth option, ours.

Ours said:

Expresses its devastation at the mounting humanitarian disaster in Gaza with tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians killed, millions displaced and thousands of homes destroyed; calls on the Prime Minister to oppose publicly and at the UN Security Council the proposed IDF offensive in Rafah; further urges Hamas to unconditionally and immediately release the over 100 hostages taken following the deplorable attacks on 7 October 2023; notes the unprecedented levels of illegal settler violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories left unchecked by the Israeli Government; welcomes the recent sanctions by the UK Government against four extremist Israeli settlers who have committed human rights abuses against Palestinian communities in the West Bank; urges the UK Government to sanction all violent settlers and their connected entities; calls on the UK Government to uphold international law and the judgments of international courts under all circumstances; further notes that the only path to regional security is a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with Hamas not in power; condemns Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s repeated assertions that there is no future for a Palestinian state; and further urges the UK Government to call for an immediate bilateral ceasefire in Gaza, which will allow an end to the humanitarian devastation, get the hostages out and provide an opportunity for a political process leading to a two-state solution, providing security and dignity for all peoples in Palestine and Israel.”

You would hope that when discussing one of the biggest humanitarian disasters and most dangerous conflicts we have seen in a long time, the Mother of Parliaments would model generous, collaborative behaviour. It was not beyond the wit of the SNP to work with the other opposition parties to bring together something that truly reflected the will of the House.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , and | 12 Comments

The Gaza conflict and the hierarchy of oppression

Many years ago Winnie Mandela, wife of Nelson Mandela was considered to be a hero. She had to suffer for years whilst her husband was in jail, maybe for life. Yet she still carried on the struggle for freedom against apartheid South Africa.

I also considered her a hero, then one day she announced “With our boxes of matches, and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country”. What she was describing was a horribly sadistic method of murdering someone. In that instant, for me, she was no longer a hero. She was in fact a very nasty person. I was pleased that Nelson divorced her, although I also felt sorry for him that she had turned out this way when he was in jail. Yet for many people she remained a hero, including by left wing progressives who normally oppose the death penalty, presumably for it’s cruelty.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

Tom Arms’ World Review

Trump

Trump has been too tight-fisted for his own good. That is the judgement of number of those observing the trial of ex-president Donald Trump on racketeering charges related to his alleged efforts to subvert the Georgia electoral process.

So far, three lawyers and one bail-bondsman out of 19 of Trump’s co-defendants – have flipped, pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the ex-president.

One of the main reasons for their change of heart is believed to be astronomical legal fees. America’s top legal eagles are expected to turn up in the Georgia courtroom for the Trump trial. Their fees can be as high as $5,000 per hour and each defendant is expected to have two or three attorneys each for the six-month trial.

The fees for just one lawyer could run to $3.6 million. The latest co-defendant to change sides is Jenna Ellis. Her crowdfunding page raised $216, 431 for legal fees – a drop in the proverbial ocean. This means that most of the co-defendants face the prospect of bankruptcy unless they turn against Trump.

The ex-president may have been able to retain their loyalty by paying their legal fees. He has refused to do so. All the money being raised by his crowdfunding efforts is going to his legal fees alone, except for what he can siphon off for his presidential campaign.

There are other reasons for bail bondsman Scott Hall, and lawyers Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro to switch sides. Agreeing to help the prosecution means that prison time has been more or less ruled out. And the lawyers are hoping that the most they will be found guilty of is a misdemeanour. If the jury opts for a felony charge then they will be disbarred and lose their legal license.

There are, however, risks in turning against Trump. He has repeatedly proven himself to be a vengeful man with thousands of followers prepared to harass those who turn up against him and even issue death threats. And death by shooting is a very real danger in America – as the people in Lewiston, Maine discovered this week.

Israel

Why are we waiting? Is the question being asked by thousands of Israeli soldiers camped on the Gaza border and in the street cafes of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised a ground invasion of Gaza to end the power of Hamas once and for all. But so far no Israeli boots have trod on Gaza ground.

There have been a lot of exploding artillery shells – an estimated 8,000 of them. And there has been a watertight blockade which has left 2.2 million Gazans without food, water, electricity and vital medicines. As a result an estimated 6,000 Gazans – many of them women and children – have died, and the world’s sympathy is shifting from Israel to Gaza.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 4 Comments

Observations of an ex pat: Worst and much, much worse

Too often the choice facing international decision makers is not between good and bad but between bad and worst. In the Middle East, at the moment, it appears to be between worst and much, much worse.

The possible consequences of the likely Israeli reaction to the attack by Hamas are terrifying and potentially global in their impact.

Let’s start with Israel itself. The overwhelming majority of Israelis are calling for massive retribution for a terrorist assault which left 1,300 dead, 3,300 injured and 150 held hostage in underground Hamas dungeons. It would be difficult for any Israeli government to ignore the public demands. For arch-conservative Benjamin Netanyahu it is nigh impossible.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has formed an emergency government of national unity. He has also called up Israel’s 350,000 reservists who will be added to the 150,000 Israeli troops on active service. The bulk of this force are already massing on the Gaza border waiting for the whistle to launch a ground offensive.

There will also be major deployments on the borders with Lebanon and Syria to prevent Hezbollah from joining the fray. And in the West Bank to control Palestinians there.

Massive and painful retribution appears inevitable. But what detailed form will it take and how will the world react? Gaza has been subjected to Israeli ground offensives and occupations in the past. These have resulted in a temporary reprieve. But each has been costly in military lives and cash expended. Neither has solved the long-term problem. Successive Israeli governments have failed to grasp the fact that oppression is not a long-term security solution.

This Israeli offensive is likely to be different. Already they have imposed a total blockade of Gaza. No food, water, energy, medicine or any goods of any kind are allowed into one of the most densely populated and impoverished strips of land in the world. A million residents in the northern half have been warned to immediately move to the southern part of Gaza, and all Gazans have been advised to leave their homes.

But they have nowhere to go. Their only other land border is with Egypt which has refused them asylum and has worked with Israel to enforce a long-term blockade. The possibility of a heavy handed response is very real. How the world reacts could result in fearful consequences.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 9 Comments

Lib Dem Chief Whip on David Ward: “I do not intend to take further action in relation to the tweet”

David WardThree weeks ago, Lib Dem MP for Bradford East David Ward tweeted: “The big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes”. The following day he issued an apology, saying:

I utterly condemn the violence on both sides in Israel and Gaza. I condemn the actions of Hamas, and my comments were not in support of firing rockets into Israel. If they gave the opposite impression, I apologise.

That wasn’t quite the end of the matter, though. The Lib Dem disciplinary process required a meeting between the party’s Chief Whip, Don Foster, and David. That’s now taken place, and it’s been decided there will be no further action. The Yorkshire Post has published the statements issued by both:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 34 Comments

LibLink: Nick Clegg – Israel must open talks with Hamas

Clegg Speech 40Writing for today’s Guardian Nick Clegg has this to say about the ongoing conflict in Gaza:

The daily images of human torment in Gaza have been harrowing and heartbreaking. More than 1,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed. Were it not for international aid rations, half the population would be without food. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are seeking shelter in UN schools – and even these offer little safety.

It is difficult to deny that Israel’s military action appears disproportionate and, combined with the Gaza blockade, is resulting

Posted in Europe / International and LibLink | Also tagged , , and | 9 Comments

Hamas: sickening behaviour

Reuters reports:

Hamas condemned the United Nations Sunday, saying it planned to teach Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip about the Holocaust … the movement’s Popular Committees for Refugees said: “We refuse to let our children study a lie invented by the Zionists.”

Hat-tip: Matthew Harris

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • David Symonds
    One of the key things that Conservatives and Labour like is negative campaigning. They prefer to throw mud at each other than tackle the problems the country is...
  • Denis Loretto
    May 2 is very important. It is crucial that maximum effort continues to be put into the local government campaign. In Westminster terms it is probably too late ...
  • Michael Cole
    "We need more than a change of government; we need a change in how we are governed." Yes, indeed. Electoral and constitutional reform is a vote winner. ...
  • Gordon
    Russell, A major point that RFK correctly makes is that Ukrainian voters DON’T get to make substantive decisions. Those are driven in part by the US aggre...
  • John McHugo
    Something else we can draw more attention to is our principled stand for a cease-fire on the Israel-Hamas war (while condemning atrocities by both Hamas and Isr...