Friday, November 10, 2006

The MPs and Me

Members and staff of the International Development Committee in the British House of Commons were at my home Thursday morning. They were on a week-long fact-finding mission and, as far as I know, my appearance was the sole opportunity they had of gaining impressions of the Jewish revenant side of the story.

Their concern is "Development Assistance and the Occupied Palestinian Territories". You can read here the oral presentations made in London at the end of last month to get an idea of the subject matter.

Among those out here in Shiloh were Malcolm Bruce, John Barrett, John Battle, Richard Burden (their Palestine expert), James Duddridge, Ann McKechin and Joan Ruddock. I don't think I saw Marsha Singh.

David Frankfurter had a nice piece about the issue of humanitarian aid in relation to the committee's activities as well as Gerald Steinberg who had this to say:-

To write a credible report that goes beyond the decades-old slogans of Palestinian victimization, the members need to talk to Israeli victims of terror and see the evidence of how Palestinians have violated or ignored every commitment to act to prevent terror, including in the November 15, 2005 arrangement brokered by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

They should see for themselves that one year after Israel's exit from Gaza, with all of the money invested in "development," the major industry is massive tunneling to smuggle in weapons, explosives and terrorists. After being shown how empty containers that carried aid into Gaza are taken back through the crossings with explosives and terrorists, they may understand the logic of Israel's security measures. And to recognize the necessity of keeping Palestinian fishermen from working, the committee should be shown how arms smuggling ships such as the Karine A and Santorini operate.

Although ostensibly dealing with economics and development, their focus is highly political. Israel is generally presented in simplistic terms as responsible for Palestinian suffering, via the "occupation," the "separation wall/barrier," closures and collective punishment. Their reports are patronizing, erasing or minimizing Palestinian terrorism and corruption, while portraying Israeli security policies as draconian and unjustified. The failure of the huge amounts of aid that have been poured into various Palestinian development schemes to show any successes is explained as being largely Israel's fault.

We spent about 45 minutes outside my house in the nice, warm morning sun and them went inside for a brief introduction to my wife. Little was addressed specifically about humanitarian aid and most of the conversation was about the Jewish communities and more to the point, suggestions of resolution of the conflict and hostilities.

When they mentioned the two-state solution, I pointed out that that was the three- state solution: out of one Mandated territory three states will arise: Israel, Palestine and Jordan. I insisted that one must realize that the Jewish national home area is larger than Israel, that the murderous behavior of the Arabs was dealt with by compromises for 80 years that got us nowhere and that in one form or another, Jordan need be involved in peace, if only to provide political representation for the Arabs who do not want to be Israeli citizens.

I don't know if I can say that a good time was had by all but I did get a left back in to Jerusalem.


David said...

" The Funding for Peace Coalition November newsletter deals with the International Development Committee investigation. Worth reading.

YMedad said...

"Quite", as the Brits would say. Of course many other people dealt directly with the funding issue per se - I was the balance to the Pal. side of the story. And they made it quite clear that they were aware that the main block to the establishment of the future Pal. state are the Jewish revenant communities and in fact, Quenten Davies said as much but also added that it was important for him that the others see that "settlements" are not some temporary structures but living and developing modern communities.