Monday, September 22, 2008

British humanitarian clown-in-chief:

I. There is a relief:

Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of former British prime minister Tony Blair, left the Gaza Strip on Saturday nearly a month after sailing in to protest an Israeli blockade of the territory.

"Lauren Booth was able to leave Gaza today through the Rafah crossing with Egypt," Jamal al-Khodari, the head of the Popular Committee to Break the Siege, told AFP. Other activists close to Booth confirmed she had left.

The crossing -- the only gateway to Gaza not controlled by Israel -- was opened Saturday to allow 1,500 Gazans, mostly Muslim pilgrims on their way to Mecca, to leave the impoverished territory of 1.5 million people.

Booth had arrived in Gaza on August 23 with 43 other activists in two small fishing boats in a demonstration intended to highlight Israel's blockade of the territory, which has been ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement since June 2007.

Since Hamas seized power, Israel has sealed Gaza off from all but vital humanitarian goods and severely restricted movement in and out.

II. The lies:

By now, people who have followed even cursorily this story would know that this account contains a number of lies.

By BILL DIENST, the ship's doctor's own article , the aim of the initiative was to provide :

... a sealift in order to open Gaza to unrestricted international access... to ... bring much-needed supplies. ...urgent medical care...

Considering the boats ended up bringing, instead of "urgent medical care" supplies, 200 hearing aids and 5000 balloons, it would appear that Dienst was simply lying, a common practice when your aim is demonising a people or a country.

And the piteously-worded appeal to man's better instincts by describing how "Gaza stands on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe [because] Israel .... denies the vast majority of the population access to .... basic necessities. " has been fully disproved by Booth's being photographed shopping happily at a Gaza grocery store apparently in much dire need of a greater variety of breakfast cereal brands...

III. Context;

Ironically enough, on the day that Booth managed to escape from her ill-fitting "humanitarian" mission, this news broke out, to very little media attention:

Two Palestinians suffocated inside a tunnel used by smugglers under the border between the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and Egypt on Sunday, local medics said.

Several Palestinians have died in similar incidents in recent months in the tunnels, which are used to smuggle arms, fuel and other supplies into Gaza.

What kind of urgent humanitarian relief goods are those tunnels used for?

Dozens of tunnels run under the Gaza-Egypt border. Smugglers of fuel, weapons, drugs and other contraband have become increasingly daring since Israel and Egypt closed their borders with Gaza last year, following the violent Hamas takeover of the territory.

That is, if you needed another proof of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

IV: Comparative analysis

I suggest a look at what a real siege looks like:

The Arabs also cut off the water pipe to Jerusalem. Convoys of armoured vehicles which carried supply to the Jewish population were repeatedly attacked on the road to Jerusalem, inflicting heavy casualties and bringing the Jewish residents to the brink of starvation.

Here is an eye witness report about Passover under siege was like:

The mayor of Jerusalem, Dov Yosef, had instituted a draconic rationing program that was to save the city. For Passover, however, there was a special ration. For families the ration was: 2 lbs. of potatoes, ½ lb of fish, 4 lb. of matzo, 1 ½ oz. dried fruit, ½ lb. meat, and ½ lb. of matzo flour. Foreign students were allocated one egg each, a welcome addition to their diet. This made it possible to celebrate Passover with a "feast."

V: A humanitarian fallacy:

According to this report:

The Israeli move was dubbed by international human rights groups as “collective punishment”.

Frankly, considering all of the above;

considering Booth's obscene analogies of Gaza to a "concentration camp" worse than Darfur;

considering that Booth herself is an active member of such "human rights groups",

do we really give much credence to what these groups dub or call or report on anything?

They seem to have a moral compass that goes completely crazy when Israel is even remotely in the vicinity of any story.


At 12:12 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst atrocity of the 1948 war was the siege and bombardment of Jewish Jerusalem. The siege was carried out by Palestine Arabs, the shelling by British-officered Arab Legion units. Many hundreds of civilians were brutally killed. Needless to say, no Arab or Brit has ever been prosecuted for the war crimes they committed against Jerusalem's Jews.

At 2:20 PM EDT, Blogger E.D. Kain said...

Excellent post, Contentious. Ever since first reading about Booth's "imprisonment" and seeing the photos of "darfur-like" Gaza (see, Darfur must not be so bad, with such nice grocery stores!) I can only feel badly for Mr. Blair, who I admire so much, and who must be rather embarrassed by his moonbay sister-in-law.

Thanks for this rundown of events.


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