As Hamas is sworn into government, and Israel severs contact with the democratically elected entity, it seems the Jewish state has learnt nothing from its history.
The occupying power restricted access to Gaza lawmakers to travel to the West Bank and be sworn into power – Mother from Gaza has much more on the day’s events – and, as usual, Gideon Levy provides some much needed perspective:
The Hamas team had not laughed so much in a long time. The team, headed by the prime minister’s advisor Dov Weissglas and including the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, the director of the Shin Bet and senior generals and officials, convened for a discussion with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on ways to respond to the Hamas election victory. Everyone agreed on the need to impose an economic siege on the Palestinian Authority, and Weissglas, as usual, provided the punch line: “It’s like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die,” the advisor joked, and the participants reportedly rolled with laughter. And, indeed, why not break into laughter and relax when hearing such a successful joke? If Weissglas tells the joke to his friend Condoleezza Rice, she would surely laugh too.
The proposal to put hungry people on a diet is accepted here without shock, without public criticism; even if only said in jest, it is incomparably worse than the Danish caricature. It reflects a widespread mood that will usher in cruel, practical measures. If until now one could argue that Israel primarily demonstrated insensitivity to the suffering of the other and closed its eyes (especially the stronger classes, busy with their lives of plenty) while a complete nation was groaning only a few kilometers away, now Israel is also making jokes at the expense of the other’s suffering.
The Middle East’s “only democracy” is openly campaigning to starve the Palestinian population as punishment for the Hamas win. Imagine the outcry if the Australian Federal government deliberately cut funding for the state of Victoria because the people there elected a government opposed to Canberra’s wishes.
Of course, when it comes to the Palestinians, their needs are clearly secondary.
And for others, such as the British Julie Burchill, it’s acceptable to write this:
Anyway, from now on I think I’ll get just a few less accusations of racism when I point out that Jews can be a bit, well, narrow-minded. Mind you, it’s a long hard struggle trying to make bleeding-heart liberals see sense. Especially when you live in a country where a sizable part of the print and broadcasting media are such guilt-ridden cretins when it comes to Islam that if they saw Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein sexually sharing their own grandmother, they’d swear the poor old lady asked for it.
Actually, she was referring to Muslims, but imagine the outcry if she’d written about “narrow-minded Jews?” They do exist.