Back in June 2007, Daily Mail columnist Andrew Alexander demonstrated breathtaking ignorance and a penchant for making sloppy errors when he attempted to get inside the mind of a suicide bomber. In his latest effort, “Just one Wise Man would make a change“, Alexander clearly shows that he is no such Wise Man when it comes to Israel and the Mideast.
In a one-sided approach, Alexander criticises Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank and the security barrier, while failing to mention the Palestinian terror that necessitated such measures in the first place. Palestinians are “virtually cut off from the outside world by an Israeli blockade”. Has Alexander forgotten the Qassam missiles that continue to rain down on Sderot and the surrounding region? Why does Alexander hold only Israel responsible for Gaza when the Egyptians have closed their own border and the rest of the international community refuses to deal with Hamas?
Alexander claims that the UN has condemned Israeli settlements as a “violation of the Geneva Convention”. Yet, as pointed out by Mitchell Bard, the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the forcible transfer of people of one state to the territory of another state that it has occupied as a result of a war. The intention was to insure that local populations who came under occupation would not be forced to move. This is in no way relevant to the settlement issue. Jews are not being forced to go to the West Bank; on the contrary, they are voluntarily moving back to places where they, or their ancestors, once lived before being expelled by others.
Alexander wrongly claims that the Israeli government “has now started plans for a settlement of 10,000 new apartments plus the enlargement of an existing settlement.” In fact, a proposal to build 10,000 units in the Atarot area of northern Jerusalem was dropped the day before Alexander’s article was published.
Despite the fact that Hezbollah started the 2006 Lebanon conflict with a cross-border incursion, kidnapping and the firing of missiles at Israeli targets, Alexander refers to the “disastrous American-backed Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006.”
In Andrew Alexander’s world, Islamic extremism, Palestinian terrorism and Arab refusals to recognise Israel’s right to exist do not appear. Instead,
The solution, of course, lies with the U.S., which provides Israel with the military and economic aid needed for survival.
If Washington insists on Palestinians regaining all (or nearly all) the land lost in the 1967 war, long the basis of negotiations, Israel will have to make the essential concessions.
If you disagree with Andrew Alexander’s faulty analysis, send your letters to the Daily Mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
BETHLEHEM: NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM
While Andrew Alexander makes the usual seasonal references to Bethlehem and the plight of Palestinians, perhaps he should read The Independent’s story, “All beds booked in Bethlehem for first time in seven years“:
After seven lean, intifada years, Joseph Canavati, owner of the modern Alexander Hotel on Manger Street, the snaking main road leading to the Church of the Nativity, is dusting off his “No vacancies” sign. The pilgrims are coming back.
“This is the best year we’ve had since the uprising,” he beamed. “There are peace talks. There’s no violence in the Bethlehem area, no violence in Jerusalem. Our business depends on tranquillity. If there is no violence, there is business.”
Read more here.
RECOMMENDED READING IN THE BMJ
The British Medical Journal has previously published a number of politicised reports and articles that go beyond the BMJ’s remit. So it is refreshing to read a piece by Patrick Stafler in the BMJ’s Careers section, describing his experiences during a clinical attachment in an Israeli hospital:
… I witnessed a conciliatory atmosphere and saw how health care brings people together…
Although we are all taught not to discriminate against patients or colleagues… seeing this happen in an emotionally torn environment is impressive. In the Israeli emergency room, perpetrators and victims of terror attacks receive identical treatment, with resources allocated according to clinical need.