Monday, May 21, 2007

"As we ate, an Israeli soldier playfully pointed his gun at us"

In The Battle for the Holy Land tonight on Channel 4, we are finally treated to an excellent and horrifying display of human baseness: we get to see the Israelis acting as a mob in Hebron.

You thought only Arabs could constitute a mob? This lot are even more convincing: we see little and big thugs: pint-size settler children throwing stones and childish, racist insults, and the best of all: we see the young and 'brave' settler men with fuck-off big black beards. Now we have to ask, who are the religious fundamentalists in the Middle East?

Notoriously right wing journalist Rod Liddle (author of many of the anti-Arab, anti-Islam diatribes in the English press of the last few years) went to the West Bank to look for evidence of Israel's democratic state. Whilst shamelessly repeating the myth that the Israelis 'made the desert bloom' where the Palestinians have made nothing of the land - that is what remains for them after their occupiers have helped themselves - he did find, he admitted, "a fundamental flaw" in the much championed 'only democracy in the Middle East'.

Watching the documentary, I witnessed something more explicit, more sordid on the individual and communal level than this 'fundamental flaw': gross ignorance, spitefulness, vulgarity and cowardice on the part of Israeli settlers. And while Rob happily accepted the myth that Palestinians neglect to irrigate and farm their land to its full potential - the inference being that they are lazy donkeys - he had no problem accepting from his articulate Palestinian hosts and guides a hospitality that was never less than perfectly gracious, patient and generous. Yet Rod, while shocked by the glaring inequalities and a ritual humiliation of West bankers, leaves admiring Israel for at least making a 'thoroughly efficient modern state in the middle of an inefficient region'. And at most?

And with what amazement did we hear the innocent replies of the mother and daughter settlers, emigrated from Brooklyn, when asked why they think Palestinians might be angry with them: "We don't know why they are angry." they say. "Maybe because of Islam. Maybe because they hate the West and Europe and they see us as an outpost of the West."

Not then, because you have built an ugly big wall around their houses, stolen fertile ancestral land and forced them out of their homes, then denied them access to their water? No, it cannot be for material and economic reasons - it must be IDEOLOGY.

"Well I don't know" said the nicely educated young girl finally admitted: "I never spoke to any of them."

Then my dear sweet child, you are an idiot and so is your mother. And while we are crying at the cruel and unnecessary suffering you are subjecting Palestinian men, women and children to, and shouting at the television for the injustices you perpetrate under the blind eyes of the IDF, we are also laughing at your incredible ignorance from the West, and from the Arab world or the Islamic world, or whatever you want to call it.

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