Tag Archives: Gaza

Do Israeli airstrikes in Gaza indicate that the new boss is the same as the old boss?

Rain of terror: Israeli bombs land in Gaza.

Was it a forlorn hope, to believe that a new government in Israel might herald a new relationship with Palestine?

Well, let’s not be fooled by appearances.

Contrary to the BBC’s report, Israeli forces aren’t bombing Gaza again because Palestinian terrorists unilaterally launched incendiary balloons.

It seems those balloons went up because far-right extremists were permitted to march through Palestinian neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, shouting, “Death to Arabs!”

(The BBC does mention the march – close to the end of its story, and right after admitting that the Hamas-launched balloons caused fires in fields and appear not to have harmed anybody at all.)

The operative question, then, is whether the new Naftali Bennett government approved the demonstration. I have a doubt about that.

It takes a bit of time to get permission to hold a big demonstration – or at least, it does here in the UK. My understanding is that permission must be sought days – sometimes weeks – in advance.

Was this one approved by the Netanyahu government as a last act of spite against Palestine? I wonder…

Hamas had threatened action if the march went ahead, but the fact that it wasn’t a rocket attack and seems not to have harmed anybody suggests that it was more an expression of protest than a declaration of war.

But this downplaying of causes and effects can only go so far – and Israel’s decision to blow up even more of Gaza with airstrikes is surely going too far.

Did the new government think failing to respond with violence would be seen as a sign of weakness? This seems highly likely.

But now, looking to the future, we need to ask whether this incident will crystallise attitudes in the minds of Israelis and Palestinians.

Also: a little misdirection can cause a lot of harm. Is the mischaracterisation of the cause of the airstrike an attempt by the news media to stoke animosity that may otherwise have died down?

Source: Israel strikes in Gaza after arson attacks – BBC News

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Ceasefire in Israel/Palestine slaughter – but for how long and to whose advantage?

Israeli bombs have been pounding Gaza back into the Stone Age (again). The attacks were expected to continue right up to the moment the ceasefire begins – and This Writer expects them to resume as soon as Israel’s government can find an excuse – and any excuse will do.

Did you greet this announcement with joy?

If you did, why?

Let’s discuss the deal. Here‘s Sky News (although I think they got it from Reuters):

Israel and Hamas have agreed a ceasefire after 11 days of fighting that have left more than 200 dead – the vast majority of them Palestinians.

At least 230 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, according to Gaza health officials, while 12 in Israel have died.

The Israeli cabinet announcement said the Egypt-brokered ceasefire had been agreed unanimously and that the campaign had made “great achievements” – some of them “unprecedented”.

It also appeared to leave the door open for a resumption of fighting if the ceasefire is not honoured.

Hamas’s Osama Hamdan said the group had obtained guarantees from the mediators that the attacks on Gaza would stop.

It also claimed to have “obtained guarantees” over the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque – the issues largely blamed for starting the fighting.

Gaza has suffered heavy damage and TV pictures have captured the destruction of several high-rise towers which Israel said housed military targets.

The fierce aerial bombardment means Palestinians now have limited or no access to water, according to the UN and aid agencies.

Officials said electricity was down to around three to four hours per day, with 16,800 housing units damaged.

So Palestinian losses were 19 times those of Israel, whose “great achievements” also include denying Gaza access to water and limiting its electricity to less than four hours per day, rendering 16,800 homes unsafe, and destroying the region’s defence against Covid-19 (a fact that, curiously, wasn’t mentioned in the report).

And what are the guarantees about Sheikh Jarrah and the Al Aqsa Mosque really worth? It was the Israeli government’s refusal to stop turfing Palestinians out of their homes, and invasion of the third most holy place in Islam that started the conflict in the first place.

Note that fighting could resume if the ceasefire is not honoured. Considering the Israeli government’s failure to accede to reasonable Palestinian demands for an end to the forced removal of people from their homes, who do you think is most likely to betray its terms?

Here are a few more pertinent comments, from the social media:

Judging by its recent record, This Writer expects the Israel government to resume hostilities as soon as it is expedient to do so – coupled with an unverifiable claim that it was Palestinians who reneged on the ceasefire.

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Israeli government continues persecution of Palestinians with ground assault in Gaza

Israel rains destruction on Gaza: at the time of writing, Palestinian casualties include 103 deaths, of which 27 were children and 11 women, while 580 have been wounded as a result of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza strip. Seven Israelis have also died as a result of the violence initiated by their own government.

Sky News nailed the current behaviour of Israel towards the people of Palestine in this clip:

And the commentary could have gone further.

This escalating persecution began when Israeli forces started invading the homes of people in the Sheikh Jarrah area of Jerusalem, intending to force people out of homes they have had for many hundreds of years.

It intensified with the invasion of the Al Aqsa Mosque – Islam’s third most holy site – by troops who shot worshippers with rubber bullets and let off stun grenades.

These atrocities provoked Palestinians to take to the streets in (admittedly) violent protests. What were they supposed to do? Lie down and wait for the Israelis to evict them or shoot them?

And now the Israeli government is playing its usual game – playing the victim in order to justify further atrocities. It has invaded Gaza again.

Here’s a quick reminder of what happened the last time an Israeli government sent ground forces into Gaza:

There were also Israeli casualties but they were minimal in comparison: 67 soldiers and six civilians killed; 469 soldiers and 87 civilians wounded.

Now Israel is back in Gaza again.

Expect many, many Palestinian deaths, caused by Israeli “victims”. Who do you think are the real victims?

The perversion of language by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an abomination. Look at this:

Israel’s political leaders said on Thursday that violent street clashes between Jews and Arabs inside the country pose a bigger threat.

Netanyahu visited the town of Lod, where there has been rioting, burning of cars, destruction of property and violent attacks on individuals.

“We have no bigger threat now than these pogroms, and we have no choice but to restore law and order via determined use of force,” he said.

He was accusing Palestinians of launching pogroms – organised massacres – against Jews. This is gaslighting on an epic scale. It should be clear to anybody that he is the aggressor.

He went further:

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, tweeted: “The last word was not said and this operation will continue as long as necessary.”

“The last word” seems unpleasantly close to “the final solution”. Doesn’t it?

Source: Israel ground troops begin attack on Gaza Strip, military says | Gaza | The Guardian

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Labour members: why revolt over Starmer’s ‘blind eye’ for refugee rights? Does he have a SEEING eye, in that case?

Still apt: Keir Starmer reckons he was named after original Labour leader Hardie – but can anyone doubt that his illustrious forerunner might have said these words, if confronted with evidence of Starmer’s abysmal performance? [I’m astonished to discover, after using the image on another article, that I need to clarify that he didn’t.]

Don’t get me wrong; it’s great that Labour Party members are challenging Keir Starmer over something.

And his failure to voice a coherent party policy on the people coming across the channel in dinghies – because they aren’t legally allowed to demand asylum in the UK without physically being here – is indeed shameful.

It seems the sticking-point for party members is that Starmer has criticised the government for incompetence in failing to carry out its own policy to deflect refugees away from the UK, because it is not Labour’s job to support the Tories in their cruelties.

And the protesters are right to point out that international law is clear: the migrants’ right to come to the UK for asylum is protected.

But there are so many other issues on which Starmer has disgraced himself – and brought Labour into disrepute.

Where is the party’s condemnation of Israeli’s bombing attack on Gaza, that has been ongoing for, I believe, 11 days by now?

Related to that, where is his apology to all the party members Labour has been persecuting with false allegations of anti-Semitism? This is linked to the party’s attitude to Israel because Labour under Starmer seems to think that opposition to that nation’s policies is the same as hatred of Jews – a clear fallacy.

Still on an ethnic theme, isn’t the Labour leader due a kicking over his frankly racist attitude to the Black Lives Matter campaign?

Or, going back to support for the Tories, why is he getting a free pass over his demand that schools must open again in September – in line with Boris Johnson’s own comments – when it is still not clear whether this is putting our children, and ourselves, in danger?

In fact it seems all-too-easy to challenge Keir Starmer over failings in his leadership.

Has he done anything that party members can wholeheartedly support?

Source: Channel crossings: Keir Starmer faces Labour revolt over stance on refugees | The Independent

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Why is Israel’s latest bombing campaign against Gaza going unreported?

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Heavy damage: this is what Israel is doing to Gaza – and none of your elected representatives has anything to say about it.

I think we know the answer to the question in the headline but let’s establish the facts.

At the time the Morning Star article was published, Israel had been bombing Gaza for eight days, non-stop, in response to – Israeli authorities claimed – two missiles.

Civilian property – mark that: civilian property – has suffered heavy damage, according to the report.

In addition, Israel has forced Palestinian fishing boats out of the sea and cut off the only commercial route into the enclave, stopping crucial supplies of fuel, meaning the energy supply will have to be cut to around three or four hours per day.

This Writer is reminded of an attempt by a noted celebrity who is strongly in favour of Israel’s aggressively-Zionist policies of extermination against the Palestinian people, to paint Israel as the victim.

A commenter to This Site tells us she said, referring to the recent explosion in Beirut:

“As soon as Lebanon happened, I can imagine the types that were ready to say, ‘Israel’s on the border, did they, would they, could they?’ I’m very grateful that Hezbollah said they did it.”

Journalist : “Wait, what? It was an accident resulting from political fecklessness, Hezbollah isn’t even the largest party in the Lebanese parliament, and definitely nobody said they did it. She makes a noise as though we’ll just agree to differ……”

You see how it goes?

As mentioned before on This Site, violence by either side in a conflict is abhorrent. But it behooves the better-equipped antagonist to respond to outbursts from a weaker foe in moderation – and that simply isn’t happening.

Every day – if we know where to look – we can find accounts of atrocities carried out by the euphemistically-named Israel Defence Force.

But we don’t see these reports on our national news because anyone reporting them would instantly be labelled an anti-Semite by people like the celebrity mentioned above.

It’s time that changed.

Much of Twitter seems to agree with me – those on the right side of history, anyway:

This thread shows what Palestine is being put through and why it is wrong:

And this response to the same tweet asks a question I think we’d all like to see answered:

It’s true. Who’s the foreign secretary now? Dominic Raab? Still? Oh well – where’s his condemnation of the Israeli government?

What about Keir Starmer? Does he really have nothing to say? Perhaps he’s too busy accusing Labour members of anti-Semitism for sharing a Vox Political post, or victimising people in some other way to get involved in the realities.

There’s only one way to get change, and that is to demand it – in a way that threatens the muttonheads in power.

Will you speak up for Gaza? Or are you afraid the nasty big boys (and girls) will call you a name?

Source: Electricity cut to three hours a day in Gaza as Israeli bombing continues for 8th day | Morning Star

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While Labour right-wingers try to fake claims of anti-Semitism, Israel is bombing Gaza again

Gaza: While British politicians prattle nonsense claims about anti-Semitism, the Israeli government that hides behind such claims has been giving this demonstration of its own hatred for Palestinian Arabs.

Reality check, dear readers:

Just three days after treacherous Labour right-wingers tried to split the party by harping on about anti-Semitism – a problem the party’s leadership has been overzealous in attacking, if anything…

… and one day after a vociferous supporter of those fake claims – Wes Streeting – himself faked an accusation of anti-Semitism against an elderly woman, prompting multiple complaints that were rebuffed for no good reason by a compliance team that has suspended ordinary members for enjoying the music of the Foo Fighters…

… the Israeli government – in whose defence many false claims of anti-Semitism appear to have been made (there was an attempt to make my reports about former Israeli embassy staffer Shai Masot’s conspiracy to undermine the UK government resemble the anti-Semitic “international Jewish conspiracy” theory, for example) …

… started bomjbing Gaza. No apparent reason.

Undoubtedly we’ll have some mealy-mouthed excuse laying the blame on a people that can mostly muster only a few thrown stones in response to bullets and bombs.

I wonder if that excuse will cover this:

Or this:

Or this:

And please remember this:

Whatever is going on in Israel and Palestine, it has nothing to do with the Jewish people and everything to do with the land-grabbing ambitions of an avaricious secular government.

And politicians here in the UK – many of them self-proclaimed “friends of Israel” – are trying to distract you from it.


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Here’s why people are afraid to denounce the genocidal brutality of the Israeli regime

Benjamin Netanyahu: He seems to think murdering Arabs is great fun.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

And some, it seems, examine the worst horrors with notepad in hand, keen to work out how they can achieve the same and get away with it.

So we come to the atrocities of the nation of Israel.

If the people of Gaza, imprisoned behind the apartheid wall imposed by Israel, may be likened to the inmates of a concentration camp – and I think they can…

And if their only defence against the Israel Defence Force thugs who murdered them on Monday was slings and stones – and I think it was…

Then it seems clear that Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a little Holocaust, all of his own, against the Palestinian people.

I know – accusing Israel of behaviour similar to that of Nazi Germany is an anti-Semitic trope. We’re all told we must not do it.

But that implies responsibility on the part of that country – not to emulate the Nazis in any way. It is a responsibility that the current Israeli government has scorned.

Netanyahu and his cronies are attacking Palestinian people purely because of who they are, and the fact that they live on land and occupy property he wants to steal.

A statement is not anti-Semitic if it is factually correct. And it is factually correct that Benjamin Netanyahu and the government of Israel are carrying out the racist, Islamophobic extermination of the Palestinian people.

The massacre of nearly 60 unarmed Palestinians – with more than 2,000 injured – is just the latest item on that agenda.

That it should happen on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel as a nation only amplifies the crime. What happened – did Mr Netanyahu wake up and say to himself, “This is a great day – I think I’ll celebrate by murdering some Arabs”? That is, after all, what he did.

And what response does he receive from the international community and the media? Silence – or unrestrained approval.

It seems the threat of being labelled “anti-Semite” hangs heavily on some. To my colleagues in the mainstream media who don’t have the guts to stand up against brutality, I say: Shame on you. You disgrace us all.

Of course, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel is also the 70th anniversary of the day Palestinians were turfed off land that had previously been theirs. They call it the Nakba, which means “catastrophe”:

Self-governing Palestinian territories like Gaza are entirely reliant on Israel for their water, electricity, telecommunications and other utilities – and the Israeli government has been starving Gaza of all of them. The Israeli government has turned Gaza into a ghetto.

We are told that around 40,000 Gazans have gathered at the fence that separates the territory from Israel. Israeli officials are pushing propaganda that states these people may rush on the fence in protest at their enclosure and effective imprisonment, and Israeli news channels are dutifully reporting that Hamas is using these people – rather than using the more likely explanation that these people are airing legitimate grievances.

In any case, if the Israeli government wants to talk about self-defence, we can always remind its representatives of the moment two months ago when video footage emerged of an Israeli Defence Force sniper shooting a Palestinian civilian deadfor fun.

If you want to know more about the attitude of the Israeli government, consider this hideous hag:

If you’re thinking, “Hang on, Mike, she’s really pretty!” think again. This is Ayelet Shaked, a member of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament). You may find it bitterly ironic that she is currently Israel’s serving Minister of Justice, considering the fact that she broadcasts vile racism on her Facebook page.

For example, in 2014 she wrote: “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.

“They have to die and their houses should be demolished so that they cannot bear any more terrorists.”

Do you think she’s pretty now?

Notice the dehumanisation of Palestinians as “snakes”. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has a poster on its website detailing the 10 stages of genocide, one of which is “dehumanisation”. “The Nazis referred to Jews as ‘vermin’,” it states. Those who would accuse others of anti-Semitism would be quick to leap on anybody who made such comparisons today. But they remain happy for Israeli politicians to refer to Palestinians as “snakes”.

At the ceremony to mark the US embassy’s move to Jerusalem, this woman accused Hamas, the Islamist party which rules the Strip, of “sacrificing its people as part of a PR effort”. What, is she trying to pretend Hamas killed an injured all those people? Israeli fingers were on the triggers. It seems clear that it is the Israeli government making the PR effort.

And failing, if there’s any justice in the world. Notice that Ms Shaked’s words fulfil another of the 10 stages of genocide: Denial.

Here’s the reality:

But, thanks to creeps like Ms Shaked, people feel justified in coming out with rubbish like Joe Stal’s comment below:

https://twitter.com/stal_joe/status/996382643917852673

He got what he deserved:

What about Israeli government spokeswoman Michal Maayan, who advocated genocide because, “We can’t put all of these people in jail”?

Thank goodness Jeremy Corbyn is man enough to call an atrocity out for what it is:

But then, like myself, Mr Corbyn has already been accused by those who tar their enemies with the brush of anti-Semitism. What does he have to lose?

Notice that Theresa May – whose Conservative government sells arms to countries like Israel, in order to help them commit such vile crimes – remains silent. It seems it is up to Mr Corbyn to lead the call for international law and justice.

Appallingly, the Jewish Chronicle is reporting that Tory ex-Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb, “chair of the Conservative Friends of Israel group, outlined its support for Israel’s right to defend itself from attempts to breach the Gaza border while accusing Hamas of “manipulating the citizens of Gaza”.

The United States – the country that likes to portray itself as the world’s police service – has blocked a United Nations motion for an investigation into the massacre. Don’t you think that a little suspicious?

On Tuesday (May 15), MPs gathered outside Parliament to protest against the slaughter:

When you consider the total number of MPs in Parliament – and what about the Lords? – it’s a pathetically small number. Presumably the others left their spines at home. One of them was Labour’s Grahame Morris:

Unfortunately these efforts have been totally undermined by the – at best – misguided efforts of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), an organisation set up to support the government of that country, no matter what it does.

In the immediate aftermath of Monday’s massacre, LFI released a statement on Twitter that attempted to put the blame for Palestinians being shot by Israelis entirely on Hamas:

The tweet, blaming the Gazans for their own deaths, has been roundly condemned and has since been deleted – without comment. But the damage to LFI has been done and the Labour Party is being urged to reject the organisation. This may present a problem for MPs and other Labour representatives who are members:

The LFI’s director tweeted similar propaganda – and took it down with similar haste:

I would like to know the opinion of ordinary Israeli citizens about the massacre – and that of Jews around the world.

Are they not as horrified as the rest of us by this outrage committed by the Israeli government?

That is what many of us want to see:

Here’s one Jew who thoroughly disapproves:

And he has found evidence that Israelis are indeed appalled by the actions of their government:

Here’s another:

https://twitter.com/maxberger/status/996056635708723200

As for the rest of us – well, see for yourself:

https://twitter.com/xugla/status/996171241491968000

I could go on and on but I think the point is made.

I await another wave of fake-outraged claims of anti-Semitism against me. Members of the Campaign Against Antisemitism are probably salivating as they type their latest screed.

But, as I said at the start, it isn’t anti-Semitic to point out a blindingly obvious fact.

In fact, let’s see a few more people highlighting the Netanyahu government’s racism, Islamophobia and genocide – starting with the UK government, the ‘Friends of Israel’ movements, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and everybody else who claims to speak for Judaism around the world.

And while we’re about it – what’s holding the tongues of all the reporters at the BBC?


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Lipman gave the game away at protest against anti-Semitism

Maureen Lipman: You’d think a performer of her standing would know the danger in ill-advised words.

Actress Maureen Lipman gave the fake crusade against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party a shot in the foot on Sunday when she accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour members of opposing – not Jews, but Israel.

Opposition to the actions of the Israeli state is not anti-Semitism and never has been considered to be – at least, not by reasonable people. How could it be, when we see so many examples of Israelis behaving like this? The Campaign Against Antisemitism, which organised the demonstration on Sunday where Ms Lipman made her ill-advised comment, has a somewhat problematic position on the matter – as, of course, must the various Parliamentary ‘Friends of Israel’ organisations which are constituted to support the nation, not the Jewish religious/ethnic group.

Here’s Ms Lipman, talking herself into accusing Mr Corbyn of hating Israel and supporting Arabs:

One of the proposals for future ways in which Labour should tackle anti-Semitism is, of course, education – to ensure that members know what currently constitutes this attitude. But some of us are there already. Not only do we know what it is – we know what it isn’t, and we know what it means when people talk about it in a certain way:

Ms Lipman, of course, courted ridicule at the demonstration when she said Mr Corbyn was the reason she left the Labour Party. She had said the same thing about Ed Miliband in 2014, a fact that was – conveniently? – forgotten by certain newspapers (note the name of the paper mentioned below)…

… but not by members of the public…

…who, of course, found a unique way to remind the mainstream media’s representatives – who should have been reporting this to the public anyway:

This issue has always been about misrepresentation, though – misrepresentation of Jeremy Corbyn and notable Labour members (including myself) as aggressors; misrepresentation of Jews as victims (a position against which many right-thinking Jews have taken offence).

Result: British Jews are divided and the British public is disinterested. Who profits from that?


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Don’t believe the critics – Labour’s plans are good for Britain

What do you think of the Labour Party conference this year? It’s a loaded question and one that is bound to elicit loaded answers.

The propaganda machines of the other parties have been working overtime to discredit Her Majesty’s Opposition, with Scottish people who wanted independence (the minority, let’s remember) claiming Labour lied to them, UKIP supporters adamant that the party is full of child abusers (based on a BNP propaganda website, which should tell anyone with a brain all they need to know), and of course the Tories doing what they usually do – blaming all the country’s problems on the last Labour government while stealing the family silver.

You never hear ‘No’ voters saying Labour lied, do you? You never see UKIP supporters complaining about racism in their own party. You never see Tories calling for genuine reform that helps the 99 per cent, rather than the tiny minority that they represent.

So let’s look at what Labour is proposing. Let’s make a list – because, you know what? Mrs Mike was watching coverage of the conference yesterday, and even she tried to tell Yr Obdt Srvt that Labour wouldn’t keep its promises. If we have a list, we’ll be able to check the promises against what they do, after a Labour win next May.

So let’s see what Ed Miliband promised. He outlined six “national goals”, and he called for 10 years in which to hit them. You may very well ask: Has he been reading Vox Political? Recent comments questioning Labour’s intentions have been answered with the simple observation that it takes time to change the direction in which a country is travelling (or in the UK’s case, lurching), and Miliband’s words echo that sentiment. He can’t do everything in one day. It does take time. Let’s look at those goals.

They were:

Halve the number of people in low pay by 2025, raising the minimum wage by £60 a week or more than £3,000 a year.

Ensure that the wages of working people grow with the economy (something that is glaringly missing from the Conservatives’ ‘economic recovery’, meaning that – for the vast majority of us – it isn’t a recovery at all). Miliband said: “What’s amazing… is that statement, that goal is even controversial. It used to be taken for granted in our country that’s what would happen.” He’s right – look at today’s article from Flip Chart Fairy Tales that Vox Political re-published.

Create one million jobs in the green economy – neglected by the Conservatives – by 2025, committing to take all the carbon out of electricity by 2030; start a Green Investment Bank; devolve powers to communities to insulate five million homes by 2025, saving energy and heating costs

By 2025, ensure that as many young people will be leaving school or college to go on to an apprenticeship as currently go to university. It really is as though he’s been reading Vox Political. A long-standing gripe of this blog is that governments have concentrated on academic achievement while neglecting the education of people who have more practical aptitudes. This is a very welcome change.

By 2025, be building as many homes as we need, doubling the number of first-time buyers in the UK. Vox Political would prefer to see far more social housing; perhaps this will come as well but it wasn’t part of Miliband’s promise. Nevertheless, the pledge to build 500,000 new homes should make housing more affordable again for people who aren’t spectacularly wealthy or don’t have wealthy family members.

Finally, to create a world-class 21st century health and care service, funded by a clampdown on tax avoidance including tax loopholes by hedge funds that will raise more than £1 billion, proceeds from a mansion tax on homes above £2 million, and money from tobacco companies. Total: £2.5 billion (per annum, it seems). Some have said this is not enough when the NHS is facing a £20 billion shortfall but we must remember that this deficit only appeared recently and could be the result of Tory scaremongering, or the private companies introduced by the Tories leeching money out of the system to fatten their shareholders. More details were due from Andy Burnham today (Wednesday).

Oh yes, you see Andrew Lansley’s hated – Yr Obdt Srvt really cannot find the words to show how vile this diseased piece of legislation really is – Health and Social Care Act will be repealed by a Labour government. If you don’t care about any of the other measures, you should vote Labour for that reason alone.

So those are his six goals. But what’s this?

“It is time we complete the unfinished business of reform of the House of Lords so we truly have a Senate of the nations and regions.” Considering the way Cameron has been packing it with Tory donors, rather than people of any expertise (as it is intended to contain) this can only be a good thing.

“And it is time to devolve power in England.” What a blow against the Tories who have been claiming Labour want to delay or destroy such a process! Miliband is talking about “devolving power to local government, bringing power closer to people right across England”. That seems to be an indication that he wouldn’t create a new, expensive English Parliament but would give power back to the current councils – power that has been leeched away from them by centralising Conservatives and the previous, neoliberal, incarnation of Labour.

There’s more. He wants constitutional reform. But unlike David Cameron, who wants to impose changes from above, so that they only benefit people who are already rich and powerful, Miliband wants to make it a matter of public discussion. Those who can’t be bothered to take part will only have themselves to blame if they don’t get what they want.

There were promises on foreign policy – to stand up for the UK in Europe, in contrast to Cameron’s strategy which Miliband blasted: “When David Cameron comes calling, people don’t think he’s calling about the problems of Britain or the problems of Europe. They think he’s calling about the problems of the Conservative Party. And here’s the funny thing… If you’re elected the Chancellor of Germany or the Prime Minister of Italy or the President of France, you don’t really think you were elected to solve the problems of the Conservative Party.”

More solid was the promise to recognise the state of Palestine and actively seek a solution to the problems of that part of the world we might call – in an attempt to be fair – the Holy Land: “I will fight with every fibre of my being to get the two state solution, two states for two people, Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side.” Many detractors have wrongly claimed that Miliband is a Zionist, determined to support the Israeli government’s use of vastly superior firepower to eliminate Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank; they had better think again – and look very hard at David Cameron, whose government has done as little as possible to protest at what has been happening.

And Miliband also said he wanted Labour to fight discrimination against same-sex relationships around the world. That may not seem as important to some people, but in some places it is just as easy to be killed by homophobia as it is to be killed because of your religion. Personally, Yr Obdt Srvt finds same-sex relationships unattractive – but it takes all sorts to make a world.

That makes six more goals! Double the value.

These are all good aims. All of them, if seen through, will be good for the UK.

So there’s your checklist, with 12 – not six – goals on it. If you support Labour next year, you’ll be able to check Miliband’s progress against them and you’ll have a chance – halfway through his 10-year plan – to stop him if he’s not making it happen.

Alternatively, you can say to yourself – as Mrs Mike did last night: “He doesn’t mean it. They’re all the same. It’s not worth voting,” or any of the other things the Tory campaign chief Lynton Crosby would like you to believe, and you can sit on your thumbs at home. That would be a vote for the Conservatives to carry on raping your country and ripping you off.

If Labour win in spite of people like that, then they will still benefit from the changes Miliband wants to introduce, along with the rest of us. If the Conservatives win because of those people, then we will all lose – apart from a miserably small band of super-rich, super-selfish, super-arrogant and entitled exploiters who tell Cameron what to do.

Framed that way, it isn’t really a choice at all, is it?

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Scriptonite in Gaza: “They Shot My Baby Dead In My Arms”

140818scriptonitegaza

The Scriptonite blog has been out in the field, making a documentary about the latest conflict between Israel and Gaza, and blogging about the experience. Be warned – what follows may not be for the faint-hearted. It is posted here without editorial comment as a reminder that Israel/Gaza has not gone away.

“Today we are up early to film in Khuza’a, a town in Khan Younis, Gaza.  Around 12,000 people live in this previously vibrant place, with its beautiful buildings in an array of colours.  It sits in southern Gaza Strip, near to the Israeli border.

“Now, it is mostly destroyed.

“Crumbling buildings, their innards spilling into the streets, stretch as far as the eye can see. The heat is almost unbearable, the road dissolved to sand, and people are everywhere.  They are talking, clearing the street of rubble, sheltering under makeshift tents – their new homes, amid the rubble of their obliterated houses and apartments.

“What happened here, between July 23rd and 25th, almost defies belief. Israeli forces wreaked a havoc the likes of which most of us could never imagine.  Human Rights Watch have stated that repeated war crimes were committed by Israel on its brutal attack of Khuza’a. Their report reads:

Israeli forces in the southern Gaza town of Khuza’a fired on and killed civilians in apparent violation of the laws of war in several incidents.

These included repeated shelling that struck apparent civilian structures, lack of access to necessary medical care, and the threat of attack from Israeli forces as they tried to leave the area.

Israeli forces opened fire on civilians trying to flee Khuza’a, but no Palestinian fighters were present at the time and no firefights were taking place.”

“F-16s appeared in the skies at around 4am on the 23rd of July, 2014.  First they dropped gas on the town, sending residents fleeing in panic, or choking, stricken in their beds.  Those who could not leave their homes were blown to oblivion within them, or shot where they lay.  Those who fled were fired on by Israeli troops.

“One woman attempted to flee, carrying her baby son.  She reports that an Israeli sniper shot him dead in her arms, and told her to leave him on the ground before they would let her leave.”

To read on, please visit the Scriptonite site here.

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