Brian Monteith: Confusion reigns in Gaza

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There’s a great song by The Temptations from 1970 that most people have probably forgotten called Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today) that is well worth downloading and giving a listen – or playing on vinyl if like me you still have the 7in.

There was a time in the 1970s that protest songs – about war, the environment, big government and even high taxes were the norm. The best was undoubtedly Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On but others like Cat Stevens wrote beautifully asking, Where Do the Children Play? I am moved to think of Ball of Confusion after so much of what’s happening in world events this week. Let’s recap:

A small minority religion called the Yazidis in northern Iraq is about to be wiped out, obliterated from existence by the Jihad Islamists called Isis that are killing Christians, Muslims that are not of the same sect and, in fact, anyone else that does not agree with them. Children are not spared for that will only continue the religions they hate. No Jews are reported as being killed as they all left to stay in Israel many years ago.

In Libya, the war between militias has become so fierce that the British embassy has been closed and some 100 souls from Britain and other countries were helped to leave Tripoli by HMS Enterprise.

In Gaza, hundreds of innocent civilians are dying, including many children, as the war – let’s not beat around the bush – between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel continues. The tolerant populations of the West are tormented by the deaths of so many children but their political leaders know from their own intelligence and the regular statements of Hamas that Israel is fighting belligerent cowards who threaten murder while hiding behind women and children as protection – and then use their deaths as propaganda to vilify the allegedly heartless Israelis.

There have been claims that the BBC has meanwhile stood down its Middle East correspondent, Jeremy Bowen, because the Israelis complained that he was defending Hamas by saying he did not see any use of human shields. The BBC responded by saying that he was in fact on holiday and would be returning to file more stories in due course. Those who sympathise with Palestinian violence continue with the conspiracy story against Israel and the BBC.

Back in the UK, Baroness Warsi resigns from her ministerial position at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (leaving the Cabinet too) because her government’s policy towards Gaza is “morally indefensible”.

The British government has promised £3 million of humanitarian aid for Gaza on top of the existing £7m and the Scottish Government has announced it will spend £500,000.

Death from the fighting continues in Syria, but it is now rarely reported.

Oh, and with the Commonwealth Games over Glasgow council returns to normality and flies the Palestinian flag in “solidarity” with the people of Gaza.

That’s just a snapshot of what’s been going on in this week’s Ball of Confusion. Of course, the world is even more confusing than that for we only ever hear half of it – the propaganda half – if you rely on state news services.

Scan the social media as I do and you will find reports from highly credible foreign correspondents about how they have witnessed missiles being fired at Israel from hospitals, schools and churches. One report showed how Israeli soldiers had been killed by bombs planted inside the walls of a United Nations building – that also had tunnels going to Israel underneath it. The UN staff could not explain either revelation.

Baroness Warsi is morally indignant about Israel but has nothing to say about her parents’ homeland of Pakistan that has received an increase in UK foreign aid of some £200m but is busy shelling the people of North Waziristan to try and kill Taliban insurgents. Apparently, Pakistan’s shelling is morally acceptable while Israel’s is not. Confused?

Meanwhile, the dead pile up in Syria – now over 140,000 – with more than 7000 of them children.

The confusion so many are experiencing in coming to terms with all of this is because we in the West suffer from moral relativism, we equate bigoted and despotic rulers who hate Jews and others who do not agree with their religious and world view – like Hamas – with a pluralistic democracy that elects its leaders without bloodshed and tolerates not just opposition but all other religions, including Islamic faith where they enjoy voting and other civic rights. The children of all nations are undoubtedly the innocents in all of this but the idea that the combatants are equal in moral outlook or behaviour is a dangerous cancer that will kill Western civilisation.

Why is it that Israel can live relatively safely with its neighbours, the Palestinian West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt but face constant attack from Gaza – a land that was formerly part of Egypt but which it gave to the Palestinians?

There is no easy solution to the Middle East question but the moral relativism that sees a Palestinian flag fly above Glasgow while ignoring any solidarity with Christians, Shias, Yazidis – and Jews – helps to prolong the agony and all the deaths.