Advancing the Cause of Peace

By Felicity Arbuthnot

The world community is encouraged to celebrate and commemorate two occasions this year: Israel’s theft of Palestine and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.

As the British government announces that the educational curriculum is to now include school children visiting Auschwitz “lest we forget” the horrors of the Holocaust and to learn that such inhumanity must never be repeated, the Vice Israeli Minister for Defence Matan Vilnai, threatened a new “Holocaust” in the Gaza Strip.

Surely, a far better education for the young would be to stay with their counterparts in Gaza and experience the real thing. Rows of children’s shoes and silent gas chambers are terrifyingly thought provoking, but pretty yesterday, when it can actually be lived: real human remains, real blood and even those reduced to real ashes – the real thing, in real time, at a Mediterranean venue near you. A learning experience never to be forgotten.

The 1.5 million souls to whom Gaza is home are entrapped, with no place to hide, pounded from ground and air, by tanks, F-16’s and Apache attack helicopters (courtesy of the “land of the free”) in a reign of terror unleashed by “the only democracy in the Middle East”. As little Gaza is set to become the next Sabra and Shatila massacre (with the advanced warning ringing round the globe) the world’s governments deafen with their shameful, craven silence. War criminal turned Middle East “peace envoy” in our Kafkaesque world, Anthony Charles Lynton Blair Q.C., was unconcerned, taking a break from his stressful life counting his piles of ill gotten gains, holidaying at an African game park owned by Virgin Airways founder, Richard Branson.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, has seemingly borrowed his predecessor Kofi Annan’s two word lexicon (“concern” and “regret”) and announced his “concern” at the situation. That, only after he had spoken of Israel’s threat from home made rockets, fired by Palestinians, before verbally tiptoeing round Gaza’s threat from weapons of mass destruction fired by the land baggers.

Jordan’s King Addullah did better, citing Israel’s “state terrorism, in violation of all international covenants”, with his acting Foreign Minister, Nasser Judah, demanding a halt to the carnage and slamming Israel’s violation of “international law”. Rogue states, as Israel however, care naught for international law.

As the bodies, and the pathetic remains of humanity, a foot, a leg, a head, a hand, a torso and the injured mount, Israel’s Prime Minister Olmert stated that Israel was: “… taking an elementary step in self defence”. One of his Ministers told the BBC that the killing and the destruction of infrastructure would continue. Whilst citizens can land in a Court of Law for running a red light, leaders (even in a country which has announced an intended Holocaust) ignore international laws enshrined in the Geneva, Hague and Nuremberg rulings with impunity.

Olmert and his shameful excuse for governmental law makers, of course, are not ending the fragile lives of human beings. They are targeting “terrorists” and “Hamas”.

Should not those suspected of crime be brought before the law rather than summarily executed ? Israel’s actions in Gaza are indeed “state terrorism”.

Hamas, of course is a democratically elected government, fully entitled to its followers. Under the new world disorder, sovereignty of elected government also means nothing. Not for nothing did Neil Mackay call his towering book embracing the pack of lies fed the populous on the Middle East in recent history: “A War on Truth” (Sunday Herald Books 2006.)

And in the new world language, the untried executed are declared “insurgents”, “Taliban”, “terrorists”, statements near never questioned. There are no mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, no toddlers, teenagers, children, infants. The names and ages of countless dead are the silent scream which addresses this monumental, murderous lie. A family breakfast as the sun’s rays spread, dispersing the night’s cool, turns to carnage. Kids playing football become seared flesh against the dusty pitch, shouts and laughter forever silenced, in an instant.

A source with considerable expertise also believes that: “The devilish weapons (in Israel’s) most extensive armoury (include those) I think designed to disfigure and amputate, so that the loved ones are terrorised.”

A third of the victims of this declared Holocaust are children. There is no kinder transport, no child evacuees sent to safety for the duration. Babies are being buried. Normal people nurture the young. They wake numerous times in the night, for years, to creep and check that the sleeping miracle they have created is still safe, warm. Their heart swells at the waking smile. They wash, cream, dress this new being in special clothes, dream up treats, carry him or her, hugged close, breathing in the special scent of hair and skin. They clutch a small hand in a fledgling walk and speed up to catch them when they run, should they be in danger of tripping, falling. Normal people do not kill kids.

"Uncle, I do not want to die; I want my dad", a toddler screamed as doctors tried to treat burn wounds across her body in Gaza’s main Shifa Hospital. The girl was injured in a house which the Israeli army said was used to store and make weapons, reported the Jordan Times (March 2) Israel’s “democracy” spreads abnormality at every level. For most benefiting from democracy, few toddlers would even know what dying was.

One image speaks for all the child victims and those left behind, as a result of Israel’s criminal actions. It is a father, bent low, laying a small, wrapped child, in a grave, hewn in hardened earth of burned ochre, the sides tooled with care. The little figure looks utterly lost, unbearably vulnerable, searingly alone, the grave seemingly so large. The father, the family will have watched as it was covered and filled in, leaving that mite for ever alone, in rain, shine, cold, heat, unable to ever again wake in the night to stroke the hair, comfort a fear. No faith could ever ease such pain, replicated again and again by America’s client state.

"Shame on the Arabs, shame on the Muslims, shame on humanity…” said Tawfek Shaban, a forty four year old school teacher, of Israel’s actions.

Shame on humanity indeed. A friend, currently in Palestine, compares the world’s shocking indifference to the remarkable Amira Hass’s allusion “to what her mother, Hanna saw when women were being taken to the death camps as German women looked on in silence.” Hass wrote: “The vortex is sucking louder and the world looks on from the side.”

My friend concluded: “Palestine is the hinge of humanity. If the world’s people turn away, look from the side, the vortex will become a typhoon.”

Prime Minister Olmert sees it differently. Striking at “Hamas”, he said, only advanced the cause of peace.

-Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist and activist who has visited the Arab and Muslim world on numerous occasions. She has written and broadcast on Iraq, her coverage of which was nominated for several awards. She was also senior researcher for John Pilger’s award-winning documentary, "Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq". She contributed this article to

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