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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: January 5, 2009 @ 10:13 pm

    Time to shout stop over Israel-Palestine

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    It’s not enough for the international community to wring its hands and weep crocodile tears over the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza. It’s time to get serious about brokering a solution before this problem develops into a wider conflict that could bring the entire world order crashing around our ears.

    The two-state solution seems like a reasonable aspiration. Even George W. Bush committed himself to it but clearly felt unable to take any serious steps to bring it about. Maybe Barack Obama will be different although I have a nagging suspicion he’s just praying to every god he knows that the current crisis will have fizzled out by the time he takes the oath of office on January 20th.

    It’s time the ordinary people started to put the heat on the politicians. The type of sentiment displayed against the war in Iraq back in 2003 needs to be revived with the aim of securing a permanent resolution. If just a small proportion of the thought and emotion currently devoted to climate change were diverted to the Middle East we might be getting somewhere.

    The Israeli Government says it is committed to the two-state solution. Ambassador to Ireland Zion Evrony wrote as follows in a piece for The Irish Times last week:

    While confronting Hamas, Israel continues to believe in the two-state solution: two states living side by side in peace and security, the state of Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people, and a future Palestinian state as the homeland for the Palestinian people. To achieve this goal, Israel remains committed to the negotiations that have been going on with the Palestinian Authority.

    To read the Ambassador’s article in full, click here. For a contrary view, which expresses severe doubt about the Israeli commitment to this formula, read Jennifer Loewenstein’s recent contribution to the Counterpunch website. Click here to read this impassioned piece of writing (you need to scroll down a bit to get to her article which is called, “If Hamas did not exist”). If Loewenstein is right then  we’re in even more trouble than I thought.

    Deaglán de Bréadún, Political Correspondent 

    • Deaglán says:

      I suppose there is greater opportunity for instant reaction, which is one of the advantages of the Web.
      Your prescription for reporting reminds me of Eoghan Harris’s extremely interesting document from some years back where, if memory serves, he suggests a TV reporter should break into tears or voice righteous anger when reporting, say, the appalling Enniskillen atrocity. I gather one of the Sky News people did exactly that when covering the story of the missing child, Maddy McCann, in Portugal. In my personal opinion, it’s the reporter’s job to set out the facts in a fair, balanced and impartial manner and this should be done in as unemotional a fashion as possible. That’s not to say we are ciphers without feelings but the readers and viewers should be allowed to form their own reactions and we must avoid what Conor Cruise O’Brien called, “the politics of the last atrocity”. In the extremely unfortunate event that there is a terrible suicide bombing in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, the pendulum will swing the other way. I have heard this kind of reporting described as “emotional pornography”, although the phrase seems a bit hardhearted.
      As for the UN, the Americans won’t let anything be done against Israel. The UN is gerrymandered in favour of the victorious side in the second World War. Ban Ki-Moon means well but he ain’t exactly a commanding figure and his command of English, so vital in that job, is rather poor. Kofi Annan made mistakes but he had more presence.

    • Kieran Magennis says:


      I advocate intelligent reporting, not emotional reporting.

    • Deaglán says:

      They are not mutually exclusive, intelligence and emotion. I think you are being disingenuous here. Look at the terminology in your previous comment: “(The journalist) should focus on the murderous nature of the action itself . . . All killing in and around Palestine and Israel is deplorable . . . mass slaughter . . . journalists often seem incapable (or too torpid) to understand, and empathise with, protagonists in a conflict . . . This allows journalists and their audience to morally ‘wash their hands’ of what they perceive as a mess rather than trying to do something about it. The detail of conflicts and events often reveals that one side was considerably more barbaric than the other, but widespread awareness of this often emerges too late to discourage depravity . . . journalists are players rather than bystanders . . . Even the cold-hearted leaders of the Israeli assault on the Gaza strip need to justify their actions, at least to their families and neighbours, so intelligent criticism will hurt, will cause some doubt, and will have an effect”.

      I don’t disagree with all your observations in the above passage but the overall tendency is emotional.

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      “The larger the German body, the smaller the German bathing suit and the louder the German voice issuing German demands and German orders to everybody who doesn’t speak German. For this, and several other reasons, Germany is known as ‘the land where Israelis learned their manners’.” – PJ O’Rourke

    • Deaglán says:

      Not sure that will be appreciated by those who remember Germany’s historical role.

    • DesJay says:



      That’s too American right-wing for me.

      Judeo–an eye for an eye
      Christian– turn the other cheek

      Which is it?

      When American fundamentalists have recourse to the Judeo-Christian cant, they usually prefer the ten commandments to the two great commandments of Christ.

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      Deaglán, I think that is a large part of why the quote is so applicable. For all kinds of reasons the mindset of the state of Israel has been shaped by the experience its founders had at the hands of the Germans.

    • madra rua says:

      Please visit this link if you care about the crisis in Gaza http://www.gopetition.com/online/24490.html

    • Ray D says:

      Israel´s practices against the Palestinians are wholly unjustified and criminal. Israel needs to be increasingly worried over its future if it fails to sort out the problems of Palestine in a reasonable way. For me that is the one-State solution.

      On a linked matter, how can it be right that Israel offers citizenship and absorbs Jews from all over the world into its racist state? This apartheid and its consequences – more land-grabs, more settlements and more oppression of native Arabs, only worsens matters

    • kyoto says:

      In 1967 it took Israel 6 days to defeat all of its Arab enemies. It smashed their armies and captured land four times its size. Currently it is fighting Palestinians who have no army, navy or air-force. The current war is entering its 18th day. Two questions emerge from these facts: Are these ramshackle Palestinians better trained, better armed and more sophisticated than all the other Arab armies put together, or, as I suspect Israel is not conducting a war at all. Is Israel (my beloved country) conducting a genocide? Please remind your contributers that yesterday the number of killed has passed the 1,000 and the number of injured long passed the 4,500 Palestinian women, children and other civilian.

    • Liam Mullen says:

      In response to Anthony from 7th January,

      Thanks for your real and valuable input Anthony, never thought of it that way but I am not surprised by your comments.

      ´Problem is how many people are willing to listen??? I dare say none.

    • karin nordlander says:

      Israel is a neverending nightmare for the world GOD HELP US………

    • karin Nordlander says:


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