21 May 2007

The Right To Life

We Australians are all complicit - every one of us - in this innocent one's murder:
As soon as she got out of bed, the bullet struck her. Bleeding, she fell on the nightstand by her bed...

The children, who had awakened, were hysterical, especially the youngest, 3-year-old Jad, at the sight of the blood trickling from the front and back of their pregnant mother, who lay wounded on the floor. The bullet had struck her from behind, passed through the fetus' head and the mother's intestines and exited through the abdomen...

Dr. Ihab Shareideh was the surgeon who was summoned to the hospital in the middle of the night to operate on Maha. He says that her recovery has been more difficult and slower than usual, not only because of her injuries, but because of her traumatized mental state... The fetus died as a result of the bullet that penetrated its brain on the way to the mother's intestines.

The anesthesiologist, Dr. Iyad Salim, a resident of nearby Hawara, roams the hospital corridors. On his cell phone camera is a video of the operation and the removal of the fetus. So close to being a fully developed baby, with a bullet wound to the head. The memorial poster shows the fetus bleeding from the head. The image is unbearable.
The Howard government strongly supports Israel and consistently helps the USA block UN resolutions condemning Israeli aggression.

And yet we still pretend we are in Iraq to help bring elevated ideals like Freedom(TM) and Democracy(TM) to the poor, suffering people of the Middle East. How hypocritical are we? What shame has come upon us!

This is from a recent speech by Ross Burns, a former Australian Ambassador, to the Australian Friends of Palestine:
Though little has been said publicly and – perhaps even more significantly, no probing has come from the Opposition or the minor parties - an important indicator [of our official stance on the Israel/Palestine question] has been how Australia votes in international forums. Mr Downer's publicly aired ideas appear to signal Australia’s switch from a middle-of-the-road voting position in the UN to a pattern which aligns Australia uncritically with Israel, though the reasons are not set out clearly nor have they been tested against public opinion...

Commendably, Australia still abstains on the votes on occupied Syrian Golan (a particularly outrageous act of territorial appropriation by force) and on Jerusalem (on which we have historically sought an internationally agreed resolution). However, on the main ‘Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine’ resolution we have now gone from an ‘abstain’ (with a ‘yes’ in 2003) to a consistent ‘no’ since 2004.
2001 = abstain
2002 = yes
2003 = abstain
2004 = no
2005 = no
2006 = no
Now this resolution is no expression of passing whimsy by the 'automatic majority' that Israel so often criticises as driving UN decisions. This resolution is at the heart of the international efforts to bring a peaceful resolution to the region's problems, the central vehicle for expressing international support for the ‘road map’ and international efforts to bring peace to both Israel and Palestine. By moving now to a 'no' what message are we sending?
Burns cites comments by Alexander Downer with respect to UN resolutions condemning Israel:
These resolutions are deeply anti-Israeli, deeply anti-Israeli, and big majorities always carry them. And we are always being told, the best thing for diplomacy is to: all right minister, you don’t like the resolution, but in the interests of diplomacy why don’t you abstain? And I say, let’s vote against it because it is wrong.

And the more we and other countries stand up to this sort of behaviour, the more we stand a chance of success… the more we try to appease, the more we will encourage. And it is enormously important to remember that.
And so we vote with the US and other moral giants of the world stage like Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands. And the press, of course, do not report it, because our big media moguls have their own powerful friends in the Jewish lobby.

This question of Australia's continued (and unpopular) support for Israel's violent apartheid should become a central issue in the coming election. We are sowing the seeds of poverty and misery. We are helping to create terrorists.
As we saw in Iraq, by-passing the international framework can be a risky option, particularly as there is simply no need for Australia to involve itself by encouraging such a course.

It’s time we re-examined our exposed stance and sought again a more even-handed approach; one that seeks restraint in an increasingly dangerous environment. For Australia is missing the real warning signs of the ‘war on terror’ by tolerating a situation of perpetual confrontation over Palestine, onto which are now projected truly ominous indications of a runaway bidding war in extremism between Shi’ite and Sunni forces given the tragedy and chaos that Iraq has brought.
Interestingly, Burns was the Australian ambassador to South Africa during the period when Nelson Mandela (long branded a "Terrorist") came to power.

You reap what you sow, Australia. It's time we paid more attention to what our government is doing in our name, and why.