Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Our differing approaches to terror

From today’s Independent. Worth reading the lot but here’s the end:
“Compare and contrast, as exam papers say. The IRA and its front organisation Sinn Fein want to undo the partition of Ireland that was effected by the creation of a separate province of Northern Ireland in 1920. To that end the IRA deliberately murdered many people, including ordinary Protestants, and that end, if not the means, “is shared by many of our citizens”, Blair says, as well as by millions of Irish Americans.

Hamas wants to undo the partition of Palestine that was effected by the creation of a separate state of Israel in 1948. To that end it has deliberately murdered many people, including ordinary Jews. And that end, if not the means, is shared by hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims as well as others in Asia and Africa. Why does their support not equally validate the objective?
When Blair spoke he was still prime minister. He has since gone on to highly paid fresh fields and lucrative pastures new. One of his supposed jobs is as envoy to “to promote an end to the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict in conformity with the road-map”, which was one of the justifications with which he previously sold the Iraq war to his deluded followers.
He has totally failed in that role, as the eminent Israeli historian Avi Shlaim observes, not least because of “his own personal limitations; his inability to grasp that the fundamental issue in this tragic conflict is not Israeli security but Palestinian national rights”. Shlaim adds that this is precisely what has endeared Blair to the Israeli establishment, so that at the very time, a year ago when the people of Gaza were mourning their dead, Blair received an award from Tel Aviv university as “laureate for the present time dimension in the field of leadership”, accompanied by a modest cheque for $1m.
As Shlaim says, the award was absurd in view of Blair’s “silent complicity in Israel’s continuing crimes against the Palestinian people” – but it was no less so in view of his indulgence towards Adams and McGuinness.
But then perhaps all this is too elaborate. It might be that the shade of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, and for that matter of any of the Taliban men recently extirpated by CIA drones, could contemplate tomorrow night’s repulsive programme and simply ask, like Ali G: “Is it ‘cos I is black?””

Welsh Nationalist. Rugby Fan. Know a bit about History and Railways…

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