Final day of the SNP conference and ego’s attention was focused on the ‘Friends of Palestine’ fringe meeting on Israel’s flouting of international law in the West Bank. One of the speakers repeated the same little anecdote from the Medical Aid for Palestine meeting a couple of days previously about an irrelevant meeting he had had with Arafat about 25 years ago along with his unreserved praise for the confidence trickster Shimon Peres, while the other speakers, with the exception of Hugh Lanning from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, almost competed with him when it came to giving voice to an array of platitudes, even if they did, at least, appear to have their hearts in the right place.
The theme appeared to be that we have to concentrate on justice now and not on the history. The Palestinian Right of Return was mentioned, but it was put into a context where it might be recognised and applied as a trade off in final status negotiations, although UN Resolution 194, which guarantees that right, is reaffirmed regularly in the UN General Assembly.
And there we have the problem; very often good people are doing good and very necessary work. However, it really didn’t start with the building of illegal settlements, it didn’t even start with the illegal occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. It started with the Zionist project. The oxymonic Jewish democracy has to be called what it is and Israel has to be held for account not only for the crimes which are being perpetrated on a daily basis, but indeed for an ongoing ethnic cleansing which began in 1948.
That ethnic cleansing appears to be reaching its conclusion and while the symptoms still have to be addressed, it is important to get to the root cause of this cancer. Until that happens there can be no justice for Palestine and it is time for all those with their hearts in the right place and, who knows, maybe even the “anecdotal man”, to recognise this.