New year, new war

Gaza Carnage

To be published in Metro Eireann, 15 January 2009.

What a start for the new year!! On 27 December, the Israeli Defence Forces launched an attack of unprecedented scale on the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli government, the attack was in response to unyielding Palestinian rocket and mortar fire into Israel since the end of the Egyptian negotiated ceasefire. Israeli F16 planes bombed more than 400 targets through the densely populated Gaza Strip, which Israel pulled out of but kept it under siege ever since, killing, at the time of writing, about 721 people, at least 169 of them young children, 46 women and 6 medical personnel, and injuring some 3200. Rather than succeed in stopping the rocket attacks, since the attack started Palestinian militants continue to fire short and long range rockets, some landing in major Israeli towns and cities. Only on the thirteenth day of the attack has President elect Barack Obama spoken for the first time about his plans to organise negotiations between Israel and Hamas, something Israel has rejected since Hamas was democratically elected.
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Gaza Rage

Gaza CarnageThe war in Gaza is entering its seventh day with the Israeli ground surge in force as I write. I feel entirely helpless and nearly immobilised by rage.

But reading Ilan Pappe’s ‘Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza’ in Electronic Intifada helps to make sense of the murderous attack. My work on the commemoration of the Nakba by Israelis links me to the need, as Pappe, argues, to historicise this conflict from its inception, and the Zionist ideology which has engendered ethnic cleansing and the dehumanisation of Palestinians ever since 1948 and before.

Pappe writes: ‘Israel is engulfed once more with righteous fury that translates into destructive policies in the Gaza Strip. This appalling self-justification for the inhumanity and impunity is not just annoying, it is a subject worth dwelling on, if one wants to understand the international immunity for the massacre that rages on in Gaza’.

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Equality aftermath

In the aftermath of the resignation of Niall Crowley, Chief Executive of the Equality Authority, the Minister for Justice made ‘no apologies’ for cutting the Equality Authority’s budget, privileging instead police spending. This is in line with seeing equality work as defending Irish society’s problematic marginal populations, rather than maintaining equality for all, which was what the EA was about.

Denying racism and declaring itself post- and anti-racist, Ireland, like other EU member states, in restricting immigration, limiting it to those migrants who are useful to ‘our way of life’, and castigating Travellers and poor people for not playing their part, particularly now that the economic boom is over.

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