Apparently in my last posting, my friend thinks I implied that "if we used more shock and awe tactics in Iraq and allow Israel to obliterate Palestine things are going to get better." Having re-read it, I don't really see anywhere that was implied.
However, I think there is a societal view that stretches across the world that if we used less shock and awe tactics in Iraq (ie left altogether) and allowed Palestine to obliterate Israel, then things might get better.
These are views espoused by countless British "intellectuals", journalists, academics, politicians, well-meaning Hampstead liberals, self-hating Jews, and misguided Arabs who blame their misfortune on anyone except their own hopelessly corrupt and evil leadership.
These apologists for the actions of Iraqi "insurgents" and Palestinian "militants" will believe that we brought today's attacks on ourselves for Blair's involvement in the "Crusader Coalition" and friendship with the "Zionist Entity", and we should cave in to their demands to avoid being attacked again. It worked in Madrid - they managed to swing an entire election and have policy changed to suit them.
And they managed to cause a schism in Europe and the UN between those who wish to appease them because they are scared, and those who wish to strike against them because they are courageous. Both sides of this divide are still their enemies - let us not be under any illusion.
So this is what I actually think we need to do to make things better. We should call these people terrorists, and I think we should eradicate them by whatever means necessary. Furthermore, I think we should make it clear that anyone who harbours them or supports them can also expect to be held accountable. I don't see why this is controversial. This is a matter of survival.
The best hope for a terror-free world is ultimately to do some of what Al Qaeda, Hizbollah and Hamas want. We should leave them alone. But we should do so by giving the peace-loving majority in the Middle East the chance to rule democratically in stable, independent countries. Until then, other countries have to defend themselves from instability and terror on their civilians by whatever means available, and they have to intervene at source to eliminate the threat, especially if the host countries of terrorists are unable or unwilling to do so themselves.
A quote from an article today by American progressive Patrick Doherty, which neatly draws on the stupidity of the terrorists in disrupting the G8 summit, which might have dealt with some of the very problems they purport to wish to resolve: "So now it is time for progressives to keep the focus on draining the swamp, not on counterproductive military adventures that will only reinforce Al Qaeda propaganda. Aggressive and innovative policies to address climate change and poverty are two of the most powerful ways accomplish this. So is a smart exit strategy from Iraq and a final settlement between Israelis and Palestinians."
The Israelis are voluntarily leaving the Gaza Strip despite it being a historically Jewish area (one of the oldest synagogues in the region was in Gaza City until it was obliterated; Kfar Darom was bought by Jews under the British Mandate, and was reclaimed in 1967), and have re-routed the Defensive Barrier to cause as little hardship to the Palestinians as possible even if this causes a security risk. They are doing this to give Abu Mazen the best possible chance to promote a peace agenda among his own people.
But instead, he is inviting Hamas to join his fledgling Palestinian government - instead of arresting them - is hardly conducive to this, and complaining that Israel's actions do not go far enough. He has yet to make any concessions of his own, or to act on his own obligations as stated in the Road Map.
He either thinks that Hamas can be de-radicalised, and can come to accept that a viable Palestine is contingent on acceptance of a secure Israel, or like Arafat he continues to hope for Israel's total demise and a Palestine from the Jordan River (or perhaps the Iraqi border) to the Mediterranean.
Despite his past support for terror, and MA thesis which supported the canard of the Zionist-Nazi Holocaust conspiracy, I think Abu Mazen may have become a decent man with decent intentions. He might just be one of those who aspire to the "Islam, religion of peace" catchphrase that politicians keep repeating whenever there is a fanatical Islamic attack on the West in the hope that it comes true (please read Irshad Manji's "The Trouble With Islam" instead of attacking me for saying that).
He should learn from the internecine fighting between various Palestinian terror factions that these people hate every group other than themselves. Similarly, British Muslims need to genuinely show that they abhor these attacks, instead of producing the same old platitudes we saw after New York, Madrid etc, and instead of diverting blame onto the Coalition's invasion of Iraq or Israel's "obliteration of Palestine" causing suffering and hardship that drives people to become human bombs.
The two Muslims from Derby who blew themselves up in a Tel Aviv bar last year didn't have Israeli tanks on their streets or Israeli checkpoints on the A61. They were sheltered in the midst of a moderate, peace-loving British Muslim community, even though their families knew or could have guessed what they were about to do (Sharon is accused of war crimes for failing to predict and prevent Sabra and Shatila - perhaps we could indict their families on similar charges).
Actually, any British Muslim who does not subscribe to the extremist credo should consider themselves a target. Al-Muhajiroun, Hizb-ut-Tahrir and co have long accused them of being non-believers because of the path they have chosen (how dare they live in peace with the infidel?!).
I wonder if it was a coincidence that one of the bombs was next to Brick Lane, home to many of London's Bengalis, another at Edgware Road, centre of the London Arab community, another on a bus from largely Muslim Hackney. Or did the terrorists want to show their contempt for their co-religionists, who have committed the ultimate apostasy of converting to democracy and capitalism?
So let the vast, hitherto silent majority of Muslims, who love peace and condemn violence against civilians, stand alongside us and condemn it with one voice, whether it occurs in London, New York or Jerusalem. And let us stand up for them against the extremists among their own people and the ignorant cretins who will no doubt tar them all with the same brush without giving them a chance to show their solidarity.
The streets of Tel Aviv are now the streets of London. We are all Israelis now*. The choice is to surrender or fight. Either you are with us or against us. There is no middle ground.
* By which I mean an ordinary Israeli citizen. Unless you walk a mile in their shoes, including thinking before getting on buses, having to recite the names of all your relatives to airport security, going through metal detectors just to get into the supermarket etc, sitting out those anxious moments after a bus blows up until all your relatives have safely called in, you cannot possibly understand their viewpoint on the Middle East conflict and the intrinsically related global Islamic terrorism that hit us today. I don't mean that you should all magically start supporting Sharon, right or wrong, but it's time the British public started to see through the shocking bias of our media and intelligentsia, and grasp the nettle of reality, instead of settling for moral equivalences that cheapen the lives of Israelis and ultimately do the Palestinian few favours either.