Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Death in Gaza

Whilst today has been undoubtedly a good day (Democrat success in America, an abortion ban in South Dakota was rejected, a Muslim is elected to Congress and Daniel Ortega winning in Nicaragua), it is not all good news. Despite the widespread elation felt across the Western world, in the Middle East things are as depressing as ever.

Once again, the IDF stands accused of killing innocent women and children in Gaza while claiming to be targeting militants. According to Haaretz, 19 Palestinians have been killed and dozens more injured as a result of Israeli shells being fired into Beit Hanun. Israeli shells were fired at a row of houses at 6am in the morning, local time. The Guardian claimed that the dead and injured - including nine children, four women and six men - were sleeping when the first shell hit. Apparently, many of the victims were taken to hospital in their pyjamas. Witnesses claimed that at least seven houses were hit. One witness said:

"It is the saddest scene and images I have ever seen. I saw people coming out of a house covered in blood. I started screaming to wake up the neighbors."

Of course, the usual line has been trotted out by the Israeli government. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said:

"Israel has no desire to harm innocent people, but only to defend its citizens. Unfortunately, in the course of battle, regrettable incidents such as that which occurred this morning do happen."

Notice the lack of an apology. Just another 'regrettable' incident in Gaza.

The fact of the matter is that, despite the welcome shift in American politics, the Palestine/Israel issue is a stain on the conscience of the West. Successive American governments, Democrat and Republican, have not only failed to resolve the issue, they have given tacit support for the Israeli government to perpetrate such vicious acts against the Palestinians. Having a Democratic House is not going to shift things noticeably in the region, nor will a Democratic president. The two parties are virtually indistinguishable in their capitalist zeal. Their foreign policy is only marginally different (many Democrats supported the invasion of Iraq) in that they might do things slightly differently in Iraq. Whatever the similarities or differences, there will always be one certainty - that an American government will not condemn Israeli actions. As long as the parties of the Establishment are in power, that's the way it will stay, whatever the suffering of the Palestinian people.