Talking over a wall. A letter from Muck

Max MacLeod is praying for peace in Jerusalem, again.

I am sitting typing this in a small cottage on the tiny island of Muck, my task today being to try and get two Palestinian nurses out of the current horror of the Middle East.

The stark contrast between the two situations here on Muck and over there in Gaza somehow raises the volume of your sensitivity and it’s hard to hold it all together and not weep, particularly when you are in a place of such breath taking beauty. Yesterday I took an hours break to heather walk in the golden sunshine beside an emerald sea and counted ten species of birds, many of them half crazy with the lusts of Spring. What was it that Tennyson wrote ( actually first published in 1842 yesterday ) In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the Robin’s breast…and I thought inevitably of the crimson that was doubtless spreading over many a fresh faced laddies breast as he was eviscerated by an Israeli sniper for the sin of throwing stones over a fence. Over two and a half thousand killed or wounded yesterday alone. How strange to think of an intervening God mastering both the beauty of Muck in May and the filthy muck of largely unwarranted slaughter amongst the lust crazed youths of Gaza. As I walked I thought heard the final cries of those daft kids echoed in the haunting mating calls of the eiderduck and had to stop and get a grip.

Back at the lap top my task was to try and ensure that two nurses that I have been working for two years to try and get out of that situation, one a Muslim and the other a Christian so that they might spend June being educated in a number of Scottish facilities.

Lest this all seems self serving pish let me assure you that my role in all of this is hardly very self sacrificial. I look after a flat for a philanthropist in Edinburgh which the nurses are borrowing. I have hardly been dodging rubber bullets and my main role in June will be to buy the pretty nurses the odd pizza and perhaps take them to see the zoo, so I make no claim for glory.

The name of the project is Talking Over the Wall. Let me explain why. Some months ago one of the senior nurses responsible for the students who will come in June came over to check things out and the airline lost her luggage, Standing at the airline’s desk trying to get things sorted out she fell in with another off the flight who had also lost his bags and they nearly fell into each others arms with empathy as they tried to convince the staff that it would be really helpful if they could be of a bit more of a help. Like now.

Then the full horror of their situation became apparent. The amusing man was a wretched Jewish Israeli whilst the distraught nurse was a wretched Palestinian. Sworn adversaries, And they had mistakenly become friends. How embarrassing for them both.

Eventually the luggage issue was sorted out and a parting remark made by the suddenly flustered man. ” How do we make our peoples friends?” Our nurse’s reply named the project.

“Well it’s hard talking over a wall.”

And so today I sit here on Muck trying to ensure that the two nurses get their visas sorted, trust me working trying to make things like that happen for Palestinians would turn a saint to drink. I’m no saint, or indeed drinker, but have already drunk half a bottle of Malt after two days of exasperation.

Some five years ago I wrote a piece, a disgusting piece, that infuriated many. I was delighted at their fury. It concerned the fact that in the times when I have been witnessing horrific situations in places like Gaza that I notice that a common occurrence is that people shit themselves as they run. It wasn’t a particularly well written piece and the subject was repulsive, but for some reason it struck a note and was posted on by many, particularly in Gaza.

May I quote the end on this awful day, because the song remains the same:

“There will be many more deaths, limbs will be coarsely ripped from limbs, disease will flourish, tears will flow in great harrowing gasps from Mothers, and none from Generals. If I shut my eyes I can imagine the sweet smell of shit, the default perfume of war. Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us now at the hour of these deaths. And pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

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  1. Justin Kenrick says:

    “tears will flow in great harrowing gasps from Mothers, and none from Generals”

    Massacres mass on
    the borders of
    the present.

    There is no way to defeat ourselves
    without losing everything we grasp

    Them and us:

    there is only room
    for both or neither.

  2. Maxwell Macleod says:

    Justine,
    It’s a perfect May evening here on Muck and I have been rowing mad-hard off horse island to try to catch both a fish for my tea and some space in my mind. Failed on both accounts and only ended up with a bunch of bastards in both . Word from Bethlehem is that they have closed the University because of the carnage so I cant make progress on confirming the visas. Chaos and the need it brings is often the child of war.
    Both you and I are the children of those who have seen such carnage and I suspect we both still bleed a little from their wounds and feel it is right to share our pain.
    Best MM

    1. Justin Kenrick says:

      Fishing with hooks,
      fishing with words

      You’re a man who knows your seas,
      and knows there is so much more
      beneath the surface

      of the reflecting water
      or the 24 hour news screen

      abominable
      beautiful
      alive

  3. Jo says:

    Thank you.

  4. Maxwell Macleod says:

    Sorry Justin calling you Justine!
    Just for record am getting messages from Newcastle that there has been a very moving demo at which the names of the dead were read out.
    Having worked quite a lot in Jerusalem I am more than slightly aware that the level of the government’s media control is extraordinary and the way this massacre has been managed illustrates this well. A quick instance of the control. I once hired a car at Ben G and told the guys I was going to Jerusalem, and then changed my. mind and headed to the fish market ( it was very early in the day and I needed breakfast) Within ten minutes I was pulled over, if you tell a car hire you are going to a certain locale they put it into the system and if you deviate then security is altered. Many lamposts have number plate recognition cameras. Welcome to the future, I’m glad I’m old.

    1. Ellis Simpson says:

      >>” I once hired a car at Ben G and told the guys I was going to Jerusalem, and then changed my. mind and headed to the fish market ( it was very early in the day and I needed breakfast) Within ten minutes I was pulled over, if you tell a car hire you are going to a certain locale they put it into the system and if you deviate then security is altered.”

      That is utter rubbish. There is no such control. That scenario is straight out of Paranoia 101.

      There are stop and search barriers on the roads – often random – every day of the week. That’s one of the ways the security establishment keeps us safe.

      But if you believe you were targeted because you changed your mind about where you were driving a rented car, it does at least go some way to explain the venom and bile directed towards Israel and the IDF.

      1. Jo says:

        A quick look at your own posts on this thread and the many insults you have hurled at other posters suggests the “venom and bile” storm has come from you.

        1. Ellis Simpson says:

          In your world, it’s an insult if one challenges a lie, a weak argument, or an anti-semitic trope, and holds people – like you – accountable. Funny that.

      2. Andrea F says:

        “There is no such control. ” Is there a different sort of control, then?

        Are you sure there is no such control? How do you know it is not so? If such an event happened twice or more – would you begin to wonder?

        No need to fear – if you’ve done nothing wrong. But who decides what is ‘wrong’? Is it a universal constant? Or different for various people?

        As Emerson says; “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying”

  5. e.j. churchill says:

    Sounds a lot like Scotland, the future: children spying on their parents, no singing at football games, etc.

    Maxwell, Hamas/Iran gets a free pass for you, huh?

    Bussing in fellahin, supplying food & drink, giving out wirecutters for the asking, paying for funerals, etc. Great humanitarians, eh?

    The fellahin (Palestinians in your language) have been pawns & playthings for any Arab official since 1947; there’s no reason for change, now is there?

    rgds,

    CityBankster

    1. I didn’t realise singing had been banned at football EJ? Last time I was there there was a whole load of singing.

      What is your children spying on their parents a reference to?

  6. Maxwell Macleod says:

    Dear E.J Churchill,
    Firstly thank you for bothering to reply. I think you make some interesting points and I agree that there is much that Hamas is doing that is loathsome. I also believe that there are worse injustices taking place in other wars at present but we have a dog in this fight and when a society that we have investments in, even if we only buy their food at Tescos, tells us that they had a battle yesterday in which 2,500 were killed or wounded and there were virtually no casualties on their side we have no right to just shrug and pretend to believe them go up to the checkout and say its none of our business. Even if we dont understand the complexities of the politics.
    I think the time is now ripe for a U.N intervention on control of Jerusalem, on action on illegal settlements, and on supporting greater democracy in Gaza. I dont like intervention but if you are economically integrated with a community that is performing acts that are so radically contrary to your beliefs you cannot just look away.

    1. Jo says:

      Maxwell
      Firstly, thank you for this beautifully written piece. I know many out here share your tears and pain.

      I recall my own naivety as an unenlightened early twenty-something, exclaiming to my late father, “But look at the size of Israel! How can it get away with this? It’s only tiny! How come it isn’t stopped?” I still remember his response word for word. “Israel has a big brother called the United States of America, Jo, and that means it can do whatever it likes.” I’m going to be sixty this year and not much has changed. I’m also still shocked that my dad’s words apply today just as then.

      The UN is toothless and powerless too. How many resolutions have been passed which Israel has defied successfully, and arrogantly, knowing the US or the UK would step in and veto action against it?

      Now we have the “anti-Semitism” brigade trained to pounce on anyone who dares criticise Israel! We have MPs across Party lines at the back and call of the Friends of Israel who fall over themselves in order to avoid condemning appalling atrocities by Israel in case they get “the treatment”. Even those of us who decided to boycott Israeli goods face being called anti-Semitic when, if international law was being applied, those goods be embargoed anyway as a penalty on a rogue state!

      I despise Hamas. Like others they too have exploited the people of Palestine. Worst of all I have no answer, no solution….well, I do, but it involves fairness and justice for Palestine and, let’s face it, those who could deliver those things either cannot (the UN) or will not.

      As that naive twenty-something I had hope that this wouldn’t, couldn’t, be tolerated forever. That change would come, that I would see it even if not in my dad’s lifetime. And here we are close to forty years later and…nothing.

      The frightening thing is that the solution is in the power of a few….yet they are in the power of an unspeakable terrorist state that is accountable to no one. And we have a media disinclined to report truth. No wonder we weep.

      1. e.j. churchill says:

        Jo, for reasons simple & convoluted, neither Hamas, not PA has any interest in peace beyond pious sound bites.

        Israel is a military-industrial state that depends on conflict to drive their democracy.

        ’tis sad.

    2. e.j. churchill says:

      The take-away lesson for the fellahin-hating Arab masters is, probably: quit losing wars you start, afore you REALLY piss the Israelis off. (see: Iran poking in Syria.)

      Northern Gaza is uninhabited. All those targets were cynically brought there to be shot.

      AFAIK, NO Arab League country will allow a ‘palestinian’ to become a citizen, not even Jordan. They, like the SNP would rather have a grievance than some form of solution.

      Stop Killing! Stop Provoking! is a chicken/egg conundrum, but almost ALL of the wounded were shot in the legs – plenty human in my book.

      “Even if we dont understand the complexities of the politics.”

      Anybody who feels like opining really ought to try to understand the dynamics. They are not one bit new – see: 1947.

      See above, losing wars. The Israelis have ignored every American President since Eisenhower about settlement construction.

      The UN is a farce, the only people who COULD ease the yoke on the Palestineans have no geopolitical interest in doing so – not to mention they do not need more poor, illiterate, unskilled drift & dreck in their alleys.

      I figger once Iran gets the bomb, if they suddenly grow REAL balls, and the whole region turns to glass & smoking rocks, even the dust motes will still hate each other.

      Some Wicked Problems (a term of Art) don’t have solutions, it seems.

      Do your best to get your nursen here and don’t let them return, is my suggestion. Save TWO.

      rgds,

  7. Ellis Simpson says:

    “we have a dog in this fight”

    How? On what basis?

    “when a society that we have investments in, even if we only buy their food at Tescos…”

    Last time I looked, the food in Tescos and other supermarkets came from all over the world. If that’s your alleged right of interest, I would suggest you should be busy elsewhere. I mean, if there’s all this talk of proportionality, it’s a bit strange focusing on Israel when there are many more much more deadly encounters going on around the world. I don’t believe you are saying you only care for some dead people and not others. What about the body count in Syria which, this week alone, was much higher than the gaza border battle?

    “tells us that they had a battle yesterday in which 2,500 were killed or wounded and there were virtually no casualties on their side we have no right to just shrug and pretend to believe them go up to the checkout and say its none of our business. Even if we dont understand the complexities of the politics.”

    Glad to see there’s no pretense here of it being just “protests.” So sorry we didn’t have any casualties. Not. Do you realize how preposterous that narrative you wrote is? Would you happier if there had been Israeli casualties? Would that have made you happier? It is of absolutely zero relevance how many casualties Israel suffered in defending its border. Regrettably, it seems to be of equally no relevance to Hamas that people must die to make a wholly unnecessary show of violence towards Israel.

    As for “just shrug and pretend to believe them,” why should you pretend to believe them? More pointedly, why do you not believe them? Anyone else you don’t believe, or is it only the Jewish State that is not to be believed? Fair enough if you want to be skeptical, but beyond that you are crossing a hateful line.

    “I think the time is now ripe for a U.N intervention on control of Jerusalem, on action on illegal settlements, and on supporting greater democracy in Gaza.”

    UN Intervention? Not going to happen.

    And as for “illegal settlements” the correct terminology is “disputed”. We are still waiting for a truly objective independent properly constituted court to rule on the matter. I’ll back our lawyers against the world’s!

    It’s not about democracy in Gaza. It would be good, but the cultural traditions are so strongly entrenched, it’s unlikely. What would be better would be a policy of peace, not war. When Israel left Gaza the Palestinians and their leadership were given the opportunity to build a state for themselves. Instead, they built a haven of hate, and a base for terror attacks. Money that should have been spent on civilian infrastructure was spent on missiles and attack tunnels. And the poor Palestinians suffer, and will continue to suffer, until there’s a change for the better.

    “I dont like intervention but if you are economically integrated with a community that is performing acts that are so radically contrary to your beliefs you cannot just look away.”

    Economically integrated? Community? That thinking is unclear.

    What do you think happened on the border? You do know Hamas has owned up to the majority (50/60) deaths being Hamas members. They weren’t at the border to sing songs of peace. Check out this posting from someone who was there on the front line:

    http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/i-was-at-the-gaza-border-we-did-all-we-could-to-avoid-killing/

    And once again, if defending the borders of our country is contrary to your beliefs, then you are likely to continue to be disappointed.

    Nobody is asking you to look away. But if really do want to intervene, try your luck in persuading the Palestinians to sit down at the negotiating table. Israel wants peace. Nobody else has to die. But that depends entirely on the Palestinians, or more typically, their leadership. And it would help if so-called liberal thinkers in the west were not so trigger happy in their hypocritical two-faced condemnations. But then, it’s good to dream.

    As was said by another wise man: “If it was, say, Egypt killing Hamas members at the border, the media would have cheered them. But when Jews act in self-defense, they are the ones who are vilified.”

    1. Jo says:

      There are none so blind as those who will not see.

      1. Ellis Simpson says:

        Says the man who couldn’t help himself but post a typical antisemitic trope. (Although you are by no means the first here.) Criticize Israel. Do it honestly. Do it without antisemitism. It’s easy. We Israelis do it all the time. If you find it hard, maybe you should be taking a good long look in the mirror.

        1. Jo says:

          First off, as Eowyn said to the ring wraith, “I am no man!”

          I am also no “anti-Semitic” person either. You are the one who needs to look in a mirror. You cannot tolerate criticism of Israel without resorting to that pathetic defence. How many Jews are ashamed of what their state has come to stand for? The answer is many, many!

          The horrors of the Holocaust were evil. The Israeli state today dishonours those who suffered unspeakable cruelty by, today, showing the same type of wickedness towards the people of Palestine. They shame their ancestors.

          I have my views and I am entitled to express them without being insulted with the anti-Semite label. I am no such thing.

          We all bleed. Israelis bleed. Palestinians bleed. Israel is 70 years old. Palestine, essentially, still doesn’t exist! This needs to be addressed, not on Israel’s terms, but on humane terms. If you can’t see that then you’re the one with hate in your heart. Whatever….don’t label me anti-Semitic! It is grossly offensive and also defamatory. And untrue.

          1. Ellis Simpson says:

            >>“First off, as Eowyn said to the ring wraith, “I am no man!” “

            OK. My mistake. No offense intended, but I should not have made that assumption.

            >>“I am also no “anti-Semitic” person either.”

            Should I take your word for that? But here’s the thing – and the free lesson in reading comprehension: read what I wrote. I never called you an anti-Semite. I said you posted an anti-Semitic trope.

            Now, there are several reasons why somebody might do that. It might be because they think it’s a cool thing to do, because lots of people in Bella Caledonia do it, so it must be OK. It might be because they are ignorant, and don’t know what they are posting. It might be because they don’t care what they say and lack a gearbox between brain and mouth. It might be because they are so enmeshed in antisemitism, they just cannot see it. Or, it might be because they are an anti-Semite. Maybe there are other reasons?

            >>“You are the one who needs to look in a mirror. You cannot tolerate criticism of Israel without resorting to that pathetic defence.”

            Here’s the other funny thing. I resorted to no such defense. Look at my original post. It sets out point after point after point with nary a mention of the “A” word. I am prepared to defend my country on the facts and the principles. And what’s your contribution? Is it a rebuttal? Is it an argument, an opposing proposition, or a quest for more information? No. It’s a one liner straight out of the “I have nothing useful to add to the conversation” playbook. Well done!

            I absolutely can tolerate criticism of Israel. I do it myself. You are just plain wrong.

            >>“How many Jews are ashamed of what their state has come to stand for? The answer is many, many!”

            What’s your source for that? And what’s your definition of many? And what difference does it make?

            >>“The horrors of the Holocaust were evil.”

            We agree on that.

            >>“The Israeli state today dishonours those who suffered unspeakable cruelty by, today, showing the same type of wickedness towards the people of Palestine. They shame their ancestors.”

            Bollocks. Oh, and you’ll never guess what you have just done. Shameful. Nobody is saying that life for the Palestinian people is a bed of roses, but that comparison is obscene. If you cannot see that, you really do have a problem.

            >>“I have my views and I am entitled to express them without being insulted with the anti-Semite label.”

            Agreed. Unless you are an anti-Semite.

            >>“I am no such thing.”

            The jury is out.

            >>“We all bleed. Israelis bleed. Palestinians bleed. Israel is 70 years old.”

            Agreed.

            >>“Palestine, essentially, still doesn’t exist! “

            More agreement!

            >>“This needs to be addressed, not on Israel’s terms, but on humane terms.”

            You are suggesting Israel isn’t humane. I think you are wrong, but we will probably have to agree to disagree on that one.

            >>“If you can’t see that then you’re the one with hate in your heart. “

            Which bit are you alleging I cannot see?

            For the record, the Palestinian issue does need to be addressed. But until there is some kind of change as mentioned in my original post, it’s not going to happen. They and their leadership are the authors of their own misfortune.

            >>“Whatever….don’t label me anti-Semitic! It is grossly offensive and also defamatory. And untrue.”

            See above.

            Finally, if you want to take this forward and deal with the issues, go back to my original post and answer the points I made.

          2. e.j. churchill says:

            Ellis, you’re missing some facts that can be pretty arcane – but are common & easy to conflate and cause irritation.

            Most people (wherever) unless they are news junkies, AND with a mid-east skew, can’t differentiate between the various hyphenates: -jew, -jewish, -semetic, -zionist – israeli.

            And leftists of all stripes and persuasions (academics are the stupidest, of course) make cluelessness and herd mentality an art-form. (plus ‘Palestine’ has the greatest PR machine, ever.)

            Of course Jews clearly do not recognise their friends as they continue to support Leftist politics and causes. Madness/Dumbness.

            All Arab leaders & pretenders should tattoo this on their forehead (in at least three languages), “it is never a good idea to lose a war YOU started.”

            rgds,

            CityBankster

          3. scrandoonyeah says:

            Jo,

            Well said.

  8. Maxwell Macleod says:

    There’s a story told in Jerusalem ( you’ll have to forgive me I’m only a pretend journalist I’m really just a story teller.) that five people got stuck in a lift in that city. By the time they were released five new political parties had been formed, someone had threatened to kill someone else and two had got engaged.
    Silly story? No. An accurate , if fictional, portrayal of chaos. Anyone who says they understand the politics of the middle east is proving that they dont understand the politics of the middle east.
    The best word in all the comments made on this blog is when someone said it was sad.
    Sad. Horrifying. Complex almost beyond comprehension. I remember once waking at four in the morning in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem to find a huge crowd gathered around my apartment block baying for the corpse of a baby to be released to them so that they could undertake some ritual to ensure it’s soul’s entry into heaven. In my breakfast Jerusalem Post some orthodox Jews of a certain stamp were entering Gaza to stand with Hamas as they said that Israel had no right to exist, whilst my Jewish landlady ( a London trained Barrister )told me she had never visited Bethlehem ( twenty minutes bus ride away ) for fear of being slaughtered.
    She then turned on CNN to decide whether to send her kids to school or into her bomb shelter in case they were bombed. Did it every morning. It was still not nine and I was confused already. But I love Israel. I truly love being there. If I had a choice which area of the Mid-East to live in it would be Israel every time. It’s what Israel does that sickens me.
    But in the midst of our confusion let us stick to certain truths. We cannot stand bye and allow Israel to randomly pick off stone throwing children with snipers. One commentator on this blog asked me to check out an Israeli newspaper where a soldier claimed that he had been at the border ( What border? The term is ludicrous in this context ) and that every shot fired had been done so judiciously and with reluctance. Over two thousand five hundred killed or wounded? Hmm. That’s a lot of careful evaluation. If it really was a battle and they were fighting for their lives its remarkable that no Israelis died. If they were so expedient how come they didn’t have any, as far as I know, objective journalists observing and their reporting came from a jock?
    No we should not allow Israel to get away with it’s brutality and infringement of international law. Complex it may be, but there has to be red lines of our tolerance and God knows they have now been crossed.

    1. Maxwell Macleod says:

      You might want to make a contrast between the claim in the Israeli newspaper that it was suggested in this blog that I read when the supposed eye witness Israeli soldier said that all the shots fired were done to after careful evaluation and the remarks made by the Canadian doctor who was some distance from the protestors and was working his trade when he was shot by a sniper.https://www.facebook.com/democracynow/videos/10156352172868279/UzpfSTUwMTI1NDU0NDoxMDE1NTgwNzY4OTA4OTU0NQ/
      You decide who was nearest the truth. This on the day that Netenyahu is simultaneously describing as a great day.

      1. Ellis Simpson says:

        >>”You might want to make a contrast between the claim in the Israeli newspaper that it was suggested in this blog that I read when the supposed eye witness Israeli soldier said that all the shots fired were done to after careful evaluation…”

        Supposed eye witness? You really don’t like Israeli soldiers, do you. What are you saying? He was not a soldier? He was not there? He made up his story? I’ll tell you one of the reasons I believe him: this is such an open and self critical society, that if he was saying anything that was not correct, somebody would have spotted it and it would have all been over social media in seconds. I have seen NOTHING to contradict his narrative.

        >>”and the remarks made by the Canadian doctor who was some distance from the protestors and was working his trade when he was shot by a sniper”

        I don’t know what happened to him. It’s possible he was shot by an Israeli sniper. And if so, there will have been a reason. Of course, it could have been a mistake, because mistakes happen in all walks of life, especially war. It’s also possible he was shot by Hamas ‘friendly fire.’ And it’s also possible that the IDF’s PR own goal of having a no go zone for press and media was crap for PR, but good for press and media safety.

    2. Ellis Simpson says:

      >>”We cannot stand bye and allow Israel to randomly pick off stone throwing children with snipers. ”

      If that was happening, you would be on more solid ground. You are in a Hamas directed fantasy film production. You did see Hamas owning up to 50 of the dead being Hamas members?

      >>”One commentator on this blog asked me to check out an Israeli newspaper where a soldier claimed that he had been at the border”

      Claimed? Do you think he made it up?

      >>”( What border? The term is ludicrous in this context )”

      Since when is a border ludicrous?

      >>”and that every shot fired had been done so judiciously and with reluctance.”

      What kind of evil do you ascribe to the IDF to think they would wantonly target children? Do you ascribe that evil to anyone else’s army? Anyone else? If you believe, seriously, that is how the IDF behaves, you are out of touch with reality. I bet you have a theory about 9/11 as well. Now, if you were to say that civilian casualties were to be condemned, that might be more reasonable. However, it’s a fact that in war there are civilian casualties, but that doesn’t prevent and never should prevent an army fighting to protect its people.

      >>”Over two thousand five hundred killed or wounded? Hmm. That’s a lot of careful evaluation.”

      We agree on something.

      >>”If it really was a battle and they were fighting for their lives its remarkable that no Israelis died. ”

      Another one who wants more dead Israelis. Sorry to disappoint you. Not.

      >>”If they were so expedient how come they didn’t have any, as far as I know, objective journalists observing and their reporting came from a jock?”

      Simple. In a glorious PR own goal of momentous significance, the IDF declared a 2 km no go zone for press and media. They did not want the media in the firing line. (There were shots fired at the IDF. And at Sderot.)

      >>”No we should not allow Israel to get away with it’s brutality and infringement of international law. Complex it may be, but there has to be red lines of our tolerance and God knows they have now been crossed.”

      Do us all some good and learn when to use “it’s” and “its”. You are letting your (weak) arguments down.

      You say “brutality” and I say steadfastness. Thank Heaven we have the IDF protecting us.

  9. William Ross says:

    You would never know that Gaza is run by a homicidal, anti-semitic, misogynist, terrorist organisation called Hamas. You would never know that the Hamas Charter is dedicated to the elimination of Israel and the Charter refers with approval to “Protocols of the Elders of Zion. ” This is Hitler-compliant. Hamas equals Nazi. You would never know that dead children do nothing to help Israel but everything to help Hamas. You would never know that Israel actually withdrew from Gaza is order to swap “land for peace”. You would never know that Hamas hoped to overrun the Israel border and proceed to slaughter Israeli citizens. You would never know that one fifth of all Israel’s citizens are of Arab origin. These live in Israel with full civil rights. You would never know that Israel delivers free aid to Gaza every day despite the provocations. You would never know that Gaza is sealed off both on its north ( with Israel) AND to its south ( with Arab Egypt). I wonder why? You would never know that what happened yesterday was that more than 50 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more injured. This is not the same as “2500 were killed or wounded”

    There are legitimate questions to be raised regarding why the IDF used live ammunition? Was there no other way of controlling the militants? This is a question which can sensibly be directed at a military ( IDF) subject to constitutional control. There are precious few examples in the neighbourhood, or in the UN as a whole.

    Maxwell, your article is a sad distortion of reality.

    Have another malt.

    William

  10. Maxwell Macleod says:

    Dear William
    Thank you for your offer of a malt. If you can send it to Bella I am sure they will post it on. My article is a sad distortion of reality. Quite possibly so. The truth is always the first casualty of war. I am a story teller. There is a tale told of the Archbishop of Canterbury arriving in New York and being asked if he was going to any night clubs. Are there any here ? He asked. And so the papers ran a story…the Archbishops first question on arrival was…..I suspect that historians will be able to pick holes in both our accounts so if I may I would respectfully ask about a couple of core points in your own explanation.
    Your core thesis is I believe, and correct me if I am wrong, that much of the action on Monday/ Tuesday was forced on innocent folk by wicked Hamas either by stealth or force.
    I am not entirely convinced by that. Quite an achievement to persuade so many by either technique. I believe, and this is entirely speculative, possibly absurdly so, that if Hamas were to be magically erased from the scene there would still be huge anger and manifest disquiet. Our labour party is now run by extremists whose views are not a reflection of even a tiny minority of those who would vote for them if there was a general election. To impose their views on those voters is similar to what you seem to suggest
    You are right to criticise me for giving such a reliance on the 2,500 dead or injured. I have seen it everywhere but have yet to nail the source or detail. Neither of us know, and with respect your figures are equally speculative. My core belief is that the IDF did not behave as well as they should have on Monday/Tuesday and that they should have had inbeded reporters. I am not convinced by their excuse that they were keeping the media safe by keeping them 2kms away. There was a sense of triumphalism after my clansman ( his Mother was a MacLeod ) Donald Trump’s intentionally provocative action. See what happens when two misogynists go head to head? If you can maker the Malt a Talisker I would be grateful, The twelve year old will do.
    MM

  11. e.j. churchill says:

    To all soft-hearted/headed people who dislike seeing civilians ‘gunned down’,
    when you (willfully clueless of the complexity of a host of issues)
    appropriate the moral high ground for yourself,
    you’re being lazy and dishonest.

    Hamas/Iran herded all the ‘civilians’ into N.Gaza to be targets and, I’m sure hoped for many, many more fatalities.

    That the vast majority of the wounded have leg-wounds is a testament to IDF humaneness.

    Your contra-thoughts and baseless-opinions are worse than useless.

    Yes, Jo, YOU! manufactured forced and false equivalence with no suggestion of a solution is … not worth much, save for a cooling breeze.

    ’tis sad

    1. Maxwell Macleod says:

      Fascinating. Hamas herded all the people into north Gaza to be targets. Cant wait to see the footage.

      1. e.j. churchill says:

        Maxwell, nobody lives in N.Gaza … maybe a few goatherds.

        All of those citizens live elsewhere and were bussed in. Hamas provided food, water, transportation, tents, medics, fighters … and wirecutters.

        There is just no sense wasting a good anti-US protest, when you can have a two-fer, now is there?

        rgds,

      2. e.j. churchill says:

        Maxwell,

        Hamas providing crowds at the designated time & place (and with a pile of rocks, made handy) is not exactly new news, Arafat started it, PA does it, also.

        naif.

    2. Jo says:

      And the insults just keep coming….from someone who calls it “humane” to merely shoot unarmed people in the legs.

      1. e.j. churchill says:

        Jo,

        that you are a naif is not an insult, Pls, it is a state of being.

        And ‘humane’ has gradations.
        The chest is a bigger, easier target, so yes, shoot legs is non-fatal and takes a lot more skill & effort.

        Have you a solution to the conflict – either temporary or permanent – perhaps?
        It’s not easy to take you seriously if you don’t.

        rgds,

        1. Jo says:

          I was not referring to the word “naif”. I meant your post three back from that.

          You seem comfortable demanding solutions from everyone else while calling people useless and worse. You call it humane to use live ammo against the unarmed because they’re only being shot in the legs. You forget people died! You behave as if this is a new thing!

          You offer no solution yourself. You just demand one from others while you criticise them.

          There is a solution. Of course there is! I said so in my earliest post. The trouble is that the UN will not be permitted to act because those who could impose real change will not allow it. The US and the UK.

          1. e.j. churchill says:

            IOW, you have no solution. if, and, but, and UN … laughable. N.Gaza was a CHOSEN ground.

            Call me Cassandra if you wish. I cannot NOT see facts-on-the-ground.

            I don’t think there IS a solution, but it would be a delight if one of the eeeevillll armament-makers would put some thought into developing a 50-150m non-lethal weapon. Rubber bullets and shotgun beanbags are urban solutions. Is there a nextgen?

            Shooting legs (v. chests) IS *more* humane, not that it is, per se, ‘humane’ … that said, circumstances matter.

            OTOH, Killing anybody advancing who has a wire-cutter in hand makes perfect sense.

            The ONLY solution I see that stands a chance of anything resembling ‘peace’ is to relocate all of Israel to … Kansas?

            rdgs,

  12. Justin Kenrick says:

    The mentality of bullies is

    a compulsion to take revenge for their own inability to empathise. . .

    Each act of bullying, deepening a shame that drives them to bully further to try to hide that shame.

    Scornful, contemptuous, dismissive, denying, projecting, trying to hide the fact they cannot listen to themselves because they cannot listen to others.

    Impoverished by the ‘this is all mine’ and ‘you deserve nothing’, ‘I am all right’ and ‘you are all wrong’ attitude of the impotent powerful. An ability to relate shrivelled by a need to dominate.

    An inability to empathise – empathy being the fundamental quality that makes us human – leaving them lashing out, and desperate not to hear the consequences:

    The bullies hollow out their humanity until there is almost nothing left.

    But still we empathise and care. There is always a route back if only they stop and see what they are doing, not just to others but to themselves.

    We’ve all been bullies at times, and we can all be bullies at times. It’s nothing special, it’s just not ok. And most of us learn early that when we act inhumanely it renders us inhuman, and utterly utterly sad.

    There is always a them and us,

    in many shapes and forms and sizes.

    It can utterly enrich life if we reach out to make alliances with all that cares in those who are different to ourselves, and to seek to protect them. It utterly impoverishes them and us if we cannot see ourselves in them, if we cannot insist on care.

    Condemn the bullies actions, whether taken with words or bullets. Draw sharp red lines that say no more of this.

    But they are never beyond reach to us, even if they seem beyond reach of themselves. Their actions condemn them to a limp and lifeless hell within a shiny shell that cuts them off, unable to feel what they are doing to themselves as a direct consequence of what they are doing to others.

    The grandmother screams to the man the boy’s become: Stop.

    The boy remembers the warmth of sitting on his grandmother’s lap: Yes.

  13. William Ross says:

    Maxwell

    You have very fine taste in malt, as Talisker is also my tipple.

    I fully agree that Gaza is a seething bed of discontent. There are lots of very unhappy people there and also in the West Bank and all over the Middle East really. But the events at the Gaza -Israel border are Hamas -organised. Note that there was no equivalent border charging along the West Bank. Totalitarian governments have an immense ability to coerce people to do things. Fear becomes a dominant emotion. Goebbels, Castro and Mussolini were all brilliant at this. And the Arab street needs little encouragement to riot against Jews.

    I am glad that we share a common understanding of the extremists and charlatans who have taken over Labour. No decent person can be a “friend” of Hamas and Hezbollah.

    Embedding reporters in the IDF looks like a good idea. I want to know the reasoning behind the live ammunition even if I believe that it was justified.

    Enjoy your weekend, and good luck with the nurses.

    William

  14. I see that the UN’s senior human rights official has castigated Israel, saying there is little evidence that its armed forces attempted to minimise casualties during protests by Palestinians this week during which dozens of demonstrators were killed.

    As a special session of the UN human rights council voted to set up a commission of inquiry to look into Monday’s violence, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that while 60 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured in the day of protests, “on the Israeli side, one soldier was reportedly wounded, slightly, by a stone.”

    The UN meeting in Geneva was told that many of the Palestinians injured and killed in the protests “were completely unarmed [and] were shot in the back, in the chest, in the head and limbs with live ammunition.” He said there was “little evidence of any [Israeli] attempt to minimise casualties”.

    The council voted 29-2 with 14 abstentions to set up a commission of inquiry and back a resolution condemning “the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians”.

    1. Iain McIntosh says:

      The actions of the “Israeli Government” for the past 15 or so years have been utterly despicable. The value placed on Palestinian life by the Israeli Government is zero. This hatred is reciprocated, but only one side has the arms, power and infrastructure, and is in control, therefore responsible.

      The two state solution now appears to be dead, the settlements have killed it off. Neither Gaza or the West Bank are viable, they resemble two mega prisons where the prisoners are all in for life with no parole. This situation for both the Palestinians and Israelis is not sustainable.

      The end game being devised by Israel and the US is to resettle the Palestinians in surrounding Arab countries. The quid pro quo to these Arab countries will be the US will deal with Iran. US exiting the nuclear deal with Iran was one of the first steps.

      How the US deals with Iran is unclear, but we do know that all Western interference in the Middle East has been counter productive, resulting in wide scale human misery.

      Do we need further Western inference in the Middle East?

    2. e.j. churchill says:

      How absolutely unsurprising, unexpected, ordinary and thoroughly mundane.

      1. Iain McIntosh says:

        Responding to a fool dignifies that fool!

        Sadly it aslo distracts from the content and direction of the discussion, don’t responmd to a fool!

  15. William Ross says:

    Wow, Mike, you have just knocked me out with a total killer argument. The UN Human Rights Council has blamed Israel for the 60 deaths WITHOUT EVEN MENTIONING HAMAS. How many times should the UN condemn Israel is a year? Not 7 but seventy times 7!

    And just look who were among these upright 29 countries. They include China, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE and Venezuela. They have got such moral authority……

    Only one Israeli soldier injured. Such a pity. You have to be fair on medieval killers.

    1. Jo says:

      Whereas you, William, have not even an argument but just one word…Hamas…to justify everything Israel does.

      That’s disturbing indeed.

      1. Justin Kenrick says:

        Shouting ‘Hamas’ with fingers in ears to block out the meaning of so many killed on one side and none on the other.

    2. Their report did mention Hamas – I did not. There’s an awful lot of moral certainty here. The reality is the equivalent of apartheid era South Africa – an international pariah. That’s just an unequivocal fact derived from decades of misrule. Sad but true.

      1. e.j. churchill says:

        Mike, what may be even sadder, is there is no equivalence – moral or otherwise – between RSA & Israel.

        Other than the easy-to-grab ‘pariah nation’ handwave nonsensical lizardshit.

        RSA always had a solution (guarantee safety, security and property of the De Klerks while dropping cash + investments here-and-there); if there is anything resembling a solution to Israel/Palestine, I do not think I have heard it mooted. Have you?

        Hamas (and their sponsors) and the PA are committed to the destruction/extinction of Israel, and it is hard to see any kind of negotiating climbdown for them.

        The BEST chance of peace was in 2000: the Camp David talks between Barack & Arafat, and (properly or capriciously) Arafat queered them (and some credit France as the real villain.)

        LOTS of folks here worship their willful ignorance and proud a-history.

        ’tis sad,

        CityBankster

  16. e.j. churchill says:

    Jo, et.al, this may be informative:
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180519-hamas-condemns-swiss-ministers-comment-about-right-to-return/

    The UN is a politically-captured organisation. it is nowhere, nohow, notime an ‘honest broker.’

    The U$ i$ of course, the UN$ $ucker and huckleberry.

    There will/can never be ‘peace’ ‘tween Jew & Arab.
    The UN is full of ‘unrealistic dreamers.’

    rgds,

    1. Just seems like anonymous far-right gibberish psycho-conspiratorial nihilism.

      1. e.j. churchill says:

        that could be one way to view it, i suppose.

        rgds,

  17. maxwell macleod says:

    I have decided that my best contribution is to tell you a story about a rat in my attic and how it made a contribution to the resolution of the issues we have been discussing. I was in Romallah trying my best to have a constructive conversation with some of the big hitter politicians- who had nothing better to do, their parliament was closed, there was dust on the photocopier and we had been watching one of those orchestrated demonstrations marching uop and down to no purpose outside the Parliament.
    They had parroted their set pieces, I had smiled and made notes even although you could get it word perfect on line. Everyone was wasting their lives away. Suddenly I made the breakthrough that had eluded the diplomats. ” My bloody sister is driving me nuts. I’m due home in three days and the lodger has complained to her about a rat in the attic. She has responded by getting in an emergency carpenter, and we all know how much those bastards charge, who has ripped up the floor supposedly looking for rats but in fact just looking for a bigger invoice . She’s normally an amazing woman, I just can’t fathom what got into her.” Stunned silence from assembled company. People are called in from the passage, Clerical staff, cabinet members, cleaners. You have to understand that there was nothing else to do. I am asked to repeat my story, more silence. Tnen the deluge. There were some on the side of my sister, some on the side of the lodger, some on the side of the carpenter, some on the side of the rat . I made more progress in getting to know those people in that twenty minutes than I had done in the previous hour and I decided that if ever I managed to wangle my way back into that room again I was going to bring pictures of my sister, the invoice , whatever. There have been two golden moments in this thread so far. One when the two were both trying to get their luggage back and the second when I made a damn silly comment about William Smith buying me a bottle of whisky. We have to break moulds, find ways to talk through walls. I’m going to call it rat diplomacy.

  18. William Ross says:

    Jo accuses me of having only one word “Hamas” to justify all that Israel does. Well Jo there is a big problem in that Hamas does run the city of Gaza ( after Israel withdrew from it). With respect to Jews Hamas does pursue similar objectives as Adolf Hitler. That does make it difficult. However, if you look at my earlier posts you will see that I wrote that I am questioning the use of live ammunition. Most or all of the 60 dead are probably Hamas operatives but since Israel is a democratic constitutional state it is meaningful to ask such a question. Check out the Jerusalem Post for instance and you can see the free debate. It is not meaningful to ask such a question in Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Cuba etc.

    Israel has to constantly defend its existence in an unprecedented way. No other country or people could have taken on that kind of challenge and yet remain so truth to deep democratic and liberal principles.

    If this week we had faced throngs of genocidal Englishmen trying to rush a hard border at Berwick in order to kill as many people in Jedburgh as possible, bring down the Scottish state and kill every living Scotsman then I think we would be glad of a well defended wall and relatively few casualties. It would be really odd if some Irishman was to question why no Scottish soldiers had been killed. Not fair, they might say.

    Mike observes that there is a lot of moral certainty around. Well here is what is certain Mike. If you walk into Gaza with skull caps on you die.

  19. William Ross says:

    So Israeli soldiers just shot down peaceful Palestinian protesters for fun? 40,000 people just “happened” to be staging a “grass-roots” protest in an arid desert region within yards of the Israeli border? Even though the killings did absolutely nothing to help Israel and everything to help a group that believes in “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”? Funny that Hamas has now admitted that more than 50 of the sixty “martyrs” were its operatives?

    The socialism of fools? Or just socialist fools?

  20. MAXWELL MACLEOD says:

    So here’s the latest on me bringing two Palestinian nurses over to Scotlad to do some training. After two years of faff one has her visa denied four daysd before she arrives.
    A co-incidence? Try doing business with Israel when a Palestinian is involved and this sort of stuff jis normal, I am not in the least surprised.
    This is not a comment loaded against Israel, I repeat that I love the country and indeed last night I had dinner with a Rabbi, it’s just a bit of reportage on what its like to try and talk through a wall. It seems that every effort is stopped in as annoying a way as possible.Now we have to cancel the accommodation, and the training.
    Unusual? How many instances do you want . I have a file full

    1. Ellis Simpson says:

      If that’s what happened, then indeed it’s a bum deal she got. Of course, I don’t know who this person is, or what ties she might have to terrorist groups – or not – but on the face of it, not good. I’m just grateful I don’t have the responsibility of making these decisions. I’m assuming she lives in Judea or Samaria. If she lives in Gaza, she could have applied to leave via Egypt.

  21. William Ross says:

    Maxwell

    From this piece and its comments and your subsequent piece on Scottish Islands, I have no doubt that you are a good-hearted and well meaning man who is on the whole cultured, reflective, comic and even wistful. Unlike most authors on Bella Caledonia, you have taken the measure of Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum.

    But your article above is shockingly irresponsible. To summarise your piece, you are enjoying the wonderful beauty of Muck and you think of Tennyson’s quote about robins. Then you think of the Palestinian laddies “eviscerated by an Israeli sniper for the sin of throwing stones over a fence.”.
    Simple as that, was it? The harmless “fence” was the Israeli frontier and 400 yards behind that “fence” were toddlers in Jewish houses. How would they have been if your “laddies” had broken through the “fence”? No problem for you Maxwell? There was an easy solution? And “eviscerating” Palestinian “laddies” is what Israeli snipers do all the time? Oh No, it’s not Maxwell. Dead Palestinian children do nothing to help Israel and that is why there are so few of them, given the constant homicidal threat to Israel’s very existence. When 40,00 people try to break through a crucial border there are bound to be people hurt, particularly if they are whipped up by an organisation like Hamas. Your article gives no hint of that.

    You also insinuate that its all simply a matter of Israel building “fences” and dividing the World like the Berlin Wall or like apartheid states do. You did not use the word “apartheid” I know but that is where you are heading. Well since Israel won its victories in 1967 it has pursued a determined policy of withdrawing from conquered territories ( including Gaza, ironically) making peace with its neighbours and attempting to negotiate peace with the Palestinians. Who was it that said that the Palestinians never miss a chance to miss a chance? No-one would ever have known it.

    I put it to you that what you wrote above in the article was without any balance, context or fairness.

    Have another Talisker, and better luck with the nurses.

    William

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