By Irfan Jalil
This issue of the Revival has had the displeasure of having to sift through numerous candidates for the un-coveted prize of Turkey of the Month.
First off was the farcical raid by Sir Ian ‘Turkey’ Blair’s Metropolitan police on the home of two Muslim bothers and their family. 250 anti-terrorist officers in full protective gear and guns to boot forced themselves into a single terraced house looking for a chemical suicide-vest-type bomb.
During the raid one of the brothers was shot. But the police told reporters that he was shot by his brother! As it turned out that was a lie and the first of many smears to be levelled at the completely innocent brothers.
Then there was the cold-hearted commander of Guantanamo Bay who said that the suicide of three prisoners was an ‘act of war’!
Three men kill themselves after suffering years of imprisonment without trial, humiliation, and torture – and that’s meant to be an act of war? Probably shouldn’t except any better from a commander of Guantanamo. Being callous and unmerciful must be in the job description.
But unsurprisingly the Turkey for this issue of The Revival comes from the Middle East. Israel, in July, bombed Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon indiscriminately and in violation of international law.
We would have gone with George W Bush and Tony Blair for repeating the mindless mantra “Israel has the right to defend itself” – but who can blame ‘em? It’s not their fault that their governments are held to ransom by the pro-Israeli lobbies in Washington and London. The whole of the American governmental system is in synch to Israel’s tune.
No American politician dare say anything against Israel or he’ll face having no funding to fight elections and questions about his private life in a media-fuelled smear campaign. Blair dare not say anything otherwise
Israel-loving Lord Levy will go and grass to the cops about all the bribes Tony’s been taking. Blair and Bush definitely have blood on their hands by giving Israel the green light to bomb Lebanon back to the dark ages!
But the undoubted Turkey of the Month is Ehud Olmert, prime minister of Israel – the man behind the psychopathic bombing of Palestine and Lebanon.
Hamas broke-off its unilateral ceasefire in response to hundreds of missiles which were fired into the crowded Gaza Strip and destroyed Palestinian lives and property – including an Israeli attack on a beach killing seven members of a Palestinian family and leaving dozens of other Palestinians injured.
Hamas’ first acts was to attack an Israeli army post and capture a soldier. In order to rescue the soldier Olmert ordered the bombing of Gaza’s roads, bridges, power station, and other infrastructure. Despite the UN’s warnings of a humanitarian disaster the bombing and killing of Palestinians continued.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Olmert derailed a very real chance of negotiations between him and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. As bombs were raining down on Gaza Abbas was trying to get Hamas to recognise Israel’s right to exist. Just as it appeared Hamas might have tacitly recognised Israe,l Olmert sent in the troops – Israeli soldiers went into Gaza and detained Hamas cabinet ministers and MPs.
Hezbollah launched an attack on Israeli troops and captured two in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians and Hamas. Hezbollah demanded the release of women and children prisoners held by Israel but instead Israel released it’s American-supplied might on Lebanon.
Israeli bombing of Lebanon left over 900 people dead and half a million displaced. Under the pretence of trying to rescue soldiers Israel has bombed villages, refugee convoys, apartment blocks, roads, bridges, airports and other Lebanese civilian targets. At the time of going to press Israel was preparing to invade southern Lebanon.
Human Rights Watch accused Israel of committing war crimes and deliberately targeting civilians in its war on neighbouring Lebanon, demanding an international commission to probe such violations and war crimes.
“In some instances, Israeli forces appear to have deliberately targeted civilians,” said the New York-based rights group in a report posted in its website. “In some cases, these attacks constitute war crimes,” added the 52-page report, entitled “Fatal Strikes: Israel’s Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon.”(1) The international watchdog said Israel has systematically failed to distinguish between civilians and combatants. “The failures cannot be dismissed as mere accidents and cannot be blamed on wrongful Hizbullah practices.”
Olmert, it seems, is taking lessons from past events. In 1982 Yasser Arafat, the then Palestinian leader, wanted to negotiate with Israel and the US was pressuring Israel to talk to him. Israel responded by invading Lebanon and trying to destroy Arafat’s party, the PLO.(2)
During the invasion Israel targeted every civilian area, every institution in West Beirut, hospitals, schools, apartments, shops, newspaper offices, hotels, the prime minister’s office, and the ports – Israel killed over 18,000 people, mostly civilians. (3)
And that wasn’t the first time Israel bombed Lebanon – it’s been bombing Lebanese villages since 1967.
Ehud Olmert is trying to prove to Israelis and Palestinians that he is just as ruthless and barbaric as any leader Israel has had in the past. For this reason he is the Turkey of the Month!
- Human Rights Watch
- Beyond Chutzpah, Norman Finkelstein
- Pity the Nation, Robert Fisk