Hello, the holly-decked halls of Westminster. Be of good cheer, all you chaps in your little festive bubble.
At this important time who can forget how the British government, after its eager support for the Iraq war and its antics in Afghanistan and Libya, was itching to unleash more death and destruction a few weeks ago? This time, its target was the Syrians while simultaneously imposing relentless hardships on the citizens of Iran.
And who can forget the British government’s backing for Saddam in the Iran-Iraq war and, earlier, the economic ruin it inflicted on Iran’s fledgling democracy in order to reinstate the dictatorship of the Shah? It’s little wonder, as I was told in a recent letter from my Tory MP, that we live in a world where terrorists and other extremists are becoming ever more ruthless.
Yessir, the Tory Party’s foreign policy, work like a charm when it comes to stoking up hatred around the globe. And that suits the industrial-military complex just fine. It puts us all in harm’s way, of course, and does no favors for the innocent civilians of the countries we destabilize.
British only hurt, not help Palestinians
We are bombarded with horrific images every day of the squalor, misery and massive injuries suffered by countless refugees and other displaced persons. But don’t let things like that worry your noble heads, ladies and gentlemen of Westminster. UK Prime Minister David Cameron doesn’t. He rushes to South Africa and basks in the reflected glow of Mandela’s memory. It’s so much easier than actually trying to emulate the great man.
Nowhere is Britain’s foreign policy more misguided and cruel than in the Holy Land, where our political elite have supported the insane Zionists for nearly a hundred years. Instead of constantly reciting the mantra that U.S.-supervised and AIPAC-orchestrated negotiations are the only path to peace they ought to read what Richard Falk says in the interview Stealing Palestine.
Please note Professor Falk’s remarks about the dreadful Christmas in store for the children of Gaza. Cameron insists that Israel’s enemies are our enemies. Does that include these poor kids and their families? If not, what have he and the rest of you done, as John Lennon asks in his Christmas song? Anything to protect them? No. And please do not repeat the rubbish written by minister Hugh Robertson about “expressing concern,” “calling on Israel to ease restrictions” and “providing practical assistance.” We’ve heard it all before ad nauseam and, let me tell you frankly, it’s insulting.
The British government knows, or should know, that peace in the Middle East – and maybe worldwide – hinges on justice for the Palestinians. Everyone who has been paying attention also knows that the only language the despicable regime in Tel Aviv understands is sanctions and boycotts, appeals to reason having been contemptuously brushed aside.
Naturally I wish our rulers at Westminster a peaceful and plenteous Christmas luxuriating in the snug safety of their leafy constituencies. But I wonder how many will lift their heads from the trough long enough to spare a thought for the misery their predecessors created in the Little Town of Bethlehem and all across Palestine, and which their own inaction now perpetuates.
A Christmas message
Palestine’s president Mahmoud Abbas is not someone I normally look to for words of wisdom. But parts of his Christmas message this year are very moving and bear repeating here:
“We celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem under occupation… This Christmas Eve, our hearts and prayers will be with the millions who are being denied their right to worship in their homeland. We are thinking of our people in Gaza, trapped under siege, and of those who are prevented from worshipping in Bethlehem. Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Al Dbayeh Refugee Camp in Beirut, along with all of our Palestinian refugees – Christians and Muslims uprooted from their hometowns in 1948 and who, since that time, have suffered the vicissitudes of a forced exile.
“Our prayers are with the churches and mosques of Jerusalem which remind the world of the Arab identity of our occupied capital… On this occasion, we are reminded of the sad fact that more Bethlehemites will be lighting their candles in Santiago de Chile, Chicago, San Pedro de Sula, Melbourne and Toronto than those in Bethlehem. To them we say that Bethlehem is their town and Palestine is their country. We will continue working tirelessly to give them the freedom to decide where to spend Christmas.”
“Christians are not a minority here: they are an integral part of the Palestinian people. Orthodox, Catholics, Armenians, Assyrians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Copts, Melkites, Protestants and others are all part of the rich mosaic of this free, sovereign, democratic and pluralistic Palestine we aspire to…”
“On behalf of a people struggling for justice that will lead to peace, we remember the birth of Jesus Christ in a humble grotto in Bethlehem. His message, for us, as for millions around the world remains as pertinent as ever. ‘Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill’.”
Stuart Littlewood is a marketing specialist turned writer-photographer in the UK. He is a regular contributor to Al Arabiya English website and the author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation.