Tuesday, August 15, 2006

More notes

If anybody is wondering about my last post, it was a submission for the Euston Manifesto Debate on  Middle East (it has not appeared there yet). Obviously, I repeat some things from previous posts over the last few weeks. Here are some more details (things that ended up on the cutting room floor, you might say).

In their reporting last week (Monday/Tuesday, 7-8 Aug), the BBC said a couple of times that 'Hezbollah drove Israel out of Lebanon in 2000.' (This may have been the same journalist on both occasions). As we shall see below, this is reflected in at least part of Israeli opinion. But I still think it would have been better to say, 'Hezbollah claim that they drove Israel out...'

On the Haaretz editorial , 'The government is losing its reason', 30 June 2006, to quote this more fully:
In the end, Israel was forced both to negotiate with Hezbollah and to withdraw from Lebanon. [...] Israel also kidnapped people from Lebanon to serve as bargaining chips in dealings with the kidnappers of Israeli soldiers. Now, it is trying out this tactic on Hamas politicians. As the prime minister said in a closed meeting: "They want prisoners released? We'll release these detainees in exchange for [Gilad] Shalit." By "these detainees," he was referring to elected Hamas officials. [...] arresting people to use as bargaining chips is the act of a gang, not of a state.  
It should be emphasized that this relates to the Gaza incident and that the references to Israel  kidnapping people from Lebanon clearly relate to events before the 2004 exchange.

Le Monde diplomatique:  the passage I quoted begins in the French version, 'Contrary to what several French newspapers, including Libération, have written,...' (Contrairement à ce qu’ont écrit plusieurs journaux français, dont Libération). It continues as the English version:
The Israeli government has negotiated prisoner exchanges several times: in 1985 Israel freed 1,150 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for three of its soldiers captured by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).
On my point that 'too many people unthinkingly accept that linkage - or just want to see Israel punished for its actions in Gaza', you may care to use the BBC's 'Listen Again' service for Talking Politics, 12 August 2006, and hear the views of Robert Fox, Defence Correspondent for the London Evening Standard

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