Monday, 4 August 2014

Call to Alex Salmond to show same resolution and confidence over Gaza as over Megrahi release

[What follow are excerpts from an article by Derek Bateman headed Take a stand published today on his Derek Bateman Broadcaster website:]

Israel is still responding to acts of terror – that’s what firing rockets into their territory amounts to – but the reaction this time has awakened a hurricane of popular fury that goes beyond the committed Left and western critics. (...)

But public opinion even among the normally staunch US Jewish community is saying enough is enough as we witness the scale of devastation and the images of death and horrific injuries. The realisation that the all-powerful and heavily-armed Israeli Defence Force is prepared to smash anything near a potential target in defiance of world opinion is hardening opposition in Hamas’ favour. Yesterday’s strike on a UN school occurred because they were aiming at militants on a passing motorbike. That sounds cavalier and certainly uncaring of potential innocent death. It isn’t just that this prolonged attack is enough, it is that the situation which permits it is also now too much to bear. Instead of just the Americans, who help arm the Israelis, who hold the ring, it is the world community which needs to find a new resolution, a determination to force a change in attitude that decrees a settlement must now be formulated. (...)

But here’s the thing…for all that we protest and complain our voices need the loudspeaker of the government. Tomorrow Alex Salmond has an opportunity to put Scotland on the map in the Gaza disaster by making a statement during the televised debate condemning Israeli aggression. He can take a lead, following the offer of treating the injured, that would be bold and echo the feelings of the Scots by speaking out on behalf of the Scottish government and demanding not just an end to the bombardment and immediate reparations but urging a UN peace conference. And offering to host it. (...)

Isn’t independence about taking our place in the world and playing a full role? What better sign could we give than to put into official words the message that is resounding around the world…
The SNP showed itself resolute and confident when it freed Megrahi – in the teeth of world and Washington opinion. This would be much less controversial and be hailed abroad if not at home where Salmond’s opponents would display the customary  national self-loathing by jeering him for saying what they themselves believe and what their own party leadership is saying. That can be laughed off.
It isn’t an easy decision. No administration seeking approval for cutting against the grain to win its independence wants to alienate neighbours and international power bases unnecessarily but has there ever been a moment of such disgust coinciding with a mass audience when the voice of the Scottish people can be heard so clearly? There are times, and this one, when it is plain humanity, not politics that is to the fore. Whichever side you are on, whatever doubts about Hamas and its policies you hold, you can put up a hand and say Enough.

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