Sunday, January 11, 2009

the view from the holding pen....,

Guardian | These last two weeks have left me deeply troubled. The images of innocent, wounded Palestinians being carried on stretchers to hospitals as they recited the Muslim testimony of faith called out to me. On my deathbed, I will recite the same Islamic declaration of faith. Like a billion Muslims across the world, I identified with the Palestinians.

I desperately tried to understand Israel's position, but couldn't. A ragtag Hamas army and its rockets did not warrant the wrath of F16 jets and Apache helicopters followed by an invasion, with mass killings in their wake. Like most Brits, I looked on aghast. I recalled Britain's involvement in creating Israel in 1948. We had a duty to help Arabs, to make right our historical wrongs. But how?

The constant lies from Israeli government and military spokespeople infuriated me, as did Hamas' warmongering and desire for perennial conflict. Just as Hamas smuggled in rockets over the last six months, Israel meticulously planned this murderous onslaught. While both extremes plan to kill and maim, mostly innocent Arabs and some Israelis lose their lives. How can this happen before our eyes? I got text messages from Muslims across Britain expressing anger, shock and, most important, a deep desire to act. We all wanted to do something, but what? We could not simply sit by and watch as the Israelis killed mercilessly and cleared the decks during the last days of the Bush presidency.