Belfast and the Middle East

The Blanket takes a distinctly eastern slant on politics this week. Henry McDonald suggests that with the proliferation of Israeli and Palestinian flags, both sides in Belfast are glossing over a very uneven and at times nasty reality in the Middle East:

“At the heart of the apologias for Palestinian terror or Israeli oppression is a denial of the facts. A large section of the Palestinian populace back movements that are murderously anti-Semitic. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are dedicated to the total destruction of the Israeli State, and consequently its people, from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. Even Egypt – the only Arab country that signed a peace treaty with Israel – is currently broadcasting a soap opera which repeats historically discredited Tsarist lies about the Jewish plot to take over the world, the notorious ‘Protocols of the elders of Zion’.”

And with regard to Israel:

“There are dark chauvinistic forces in Israel dedicated to the so-called war of civilisation. They drove a fanatic to gun down Yitzhak Rabin and a zealot to machine-gun Muslim worshippers in a Hebron mosque. Moreover, the IDF’s cruel, ham-fisted approach to civil disturbances in Palestinian towns and villages has only exacerbated the conflict and fuelled the flames of Islamic fanaticism in the region.”