Stewart Mills (NSW) responds to Mendes’ “Israel boycott harms Arabs too”, The Australian, 8Apr11 April 8, 2011

The Australian: “Israel boycott harms Arabs too”, by Philip Mendes, 8 April 2011

Why should Israel not feel the sting of international condemnation? (“Israel boycott harms Arabs too”, 8 April). The people of Gaza certainly feel that condemnation with an economic and political siege and yet Israel continues to enjoy first world status.

43 years of soft diplomacy have failed to convince Israel to give self-determination to Palestinians. That means that today there are 4 million people under effective Israeli control with very restricted rights to what we in the West normally enjoy.

The successive promises of a Palestinian state have not been realised.  Oslo and the Road Map created false hope and left a further entrenchment of Israeli control in the West Bank.

Mendes and others want to talk about the killing of innocents.  During the suicide bus bombing phase of resistance (1994-2004) the equivalent of 6.4 city buses of Israelis filled to capacity were killed.  According to the Israeli Human Rights Organisation, B’Tselem, twice this number of innocent Palestinians were killed in Israel’s 3 week Operation Cast Lead Attack.

In the past ten years the equivalent of 52 city buses filled to capacity with Palestinians not involved with hostilities have been killed.  In today’s internet age there is no excuse. Anyone can go on you tube and see the killing of Basem Abu Rahmeh.  Shot in the chest with a tear gas canister.  Anyone can see a blindfolded Ashraf Abu Rahma being shot with a rubber bullet in the foot whilst being held by an Israeli soldier.  Or the shooting of Israeli peace activist Limor Goldstein in the head with a rubber bullet.  None of these acts along with crimes involving thousand of other deaths have resulted in widespread conviction of Israeli soldiers.

As Australians we need to call our friend to account. Boycotting Israel has its problems, but the greater problem looms for Israelis if 2011 turns out to be another false hope.  If there is no genuine Palestinian state in 2011 there will be a return to widespread violent resistance.  Which is the lesser extreme?

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