Doing some washing up on Monday evening, I was listening to the news on Radio 4. They had some Israeli loony going on about how Arafat was the cause of all the problems in the Middle East.
Then it turned out that the loony was making a speech to the Israeli parliament. Ok, lots of loonies there – their electoral system positively encourages small splinter parties.
(Upset with your party? Think you could get just 1% of the vote? Then split! Israel is treated as one constituency and anyone getting 1% of the votes is guaranteed a seat. The one good thing about it is that it shows how split down the middle the country is on the whole 'land for peace' issue – recent elections have been 51%-49% affairs, if not 50.25%-49.75%. With the UK system, one side or the other would have been given absolute power on 40% of the votes.)
Then it turned out that the loony was the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, the man responsible for the massacre of thousands of Palestinians in two Beirut refugee camps in 1982 and responsible for dozens of illegal settlements in the occupied territories.
And he thinks Arafat is the problem?!? Sharon should be in prison, not the premiership!
Someone with Sharon's record (I haven't even begun on his current policy of assassinating innocent and guilty alike, rather than the tedious process of putting people on trial) should be extremely careful about accusing others of being terrorists. Unfortunately, the country without which Israel could not exist – the USA – is currently trying to win the War Against Terrorism and is prepared to let him do what he wants.
It should go without saying that Israel has a right to exist. But it doesn't have the right to act as if other people do not, not least because this greatly decrease its chances of surviving.
How to encourage that? Well, we could stop buying food produced in the illegal settlements – if you want links to what effect they have on the local non-Israeli population, I can find them.
Typically, it turns out that produce from the illegal settlements is labeled as being from 'Israel', despite being from outside the country's internationally recognised borders. So that's the end of buying goods from Israel here…
Oh, and have a read of this from the Evening Standard and stop buying The Times too.