By Stuart Littlewood – London, UK
While the fragile ‘freedom’ boats and their courageous volunteer crews steer a course for Palestinian territorial waters in an effort to break Israel’s illegal siege of the Gaza Strip, our western leaders are once again tripping over their double standards.
"X has invaded a sovereign neighbouring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people,” lectures Bush. “Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century. X’s government must respect Y’s territorial integrity and sovereignty."
On cue, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown chips in. X’s military action in Y "threatens the stability of the entire region and risks a humanitarian catastrophe,” he chirps. “We are committed to working… to ensure a peaceful and speedy resolution… which maintains Y’s territorial and political integrity."
UK Conservative leader and PM-in-waiting David Cameron brands X a "dangerous bully" and urges the international community to stand up and condemn its action. He tells the BBC: "The only language that bullies understand is when someone stands up to them… What X has done here is used massive and disproportionate force. It’s breached international law and it has violated Y’s territorial integrity… It has acted as a massive and dangerous bully and we can’t allow this to go ahead without it being challenged."
These statesmen, the great white hopes of the western world, must be talking about Israel’s military boot on Palestine’s throat, right?
Wrong. They are ticking off Russia for stamping on Georgia while too cowardly to criticise Israel for similar breaches of international law and crimes against humanity.
The US-Israel axis and its UK dogsbody are not noted for concern about other people’s democratically elected governments. They stick their nose into Georgia because oil and gas pipelines run through it and Israel has a number of sweet arms deals on the go including the supply of remote-piloted vehicles (RPVs, or drones), other advanced weaponry and training for the Georgian army’s infantry forces.
Apparently Georgia’s military is modelled on the IDF/IOF, so heaven help it’s neighbours. And now there are reports that the US is re-routing arms and ammunition intended for Iraq to Georgia.
Thanks to Georgia and wall-to-wall coverage of the Beijing Olympics, I almost forgot that the ‘freedom’ boats left Cyprus for Palestinian territorial waters 24 hours ago and I haven’t seen or heard anything about their voyage in our mainstream media. Is there another blackout against any news that might focus on the devastating injustice of the situation? What have Bush, Brown and Cameron to say about this small but significant attempt to dent the siege and help bring to an end the humanitarian crisis imposed by Israel? Doesn’t it warrant their attention?
Where is Bush’s concern for Palestine’s democratic government – the one he and his chums tried to destroy but whose remnants are now holed up in Gaza and running the show there? Where is Brown’s concern for Palestine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty? And where is Cameron’s concern for the disproportionate force used against Palestinian civilians? Have these three heroes ever challenged the "dangerous bully" Israel in the only language it understands?
The freedom boats, such easy prey to Israel’s vast array of death-dealing military hardware, are determined to call the bully’s bluff. They make up for what Bush, Brown, Cameron and western media bosses lack. Whether or not they succeed in their mission to reach Gaza, let’s salute them for upholding the honour and decency of millions in the civilised world, east and west, who do not have their hands on the levers of power and are unable, for the moment, to kick out the lunatics that do.
-Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.