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Peace in the Middle East

Posted By Sunny On 5th June, 2007 @ 11:03 am In Middle East | Comments Disabled

The Fabian Society think-tank is today publishing a paper titled: ‘How Peace Broke Out in the Middle East: A Short History of the Future’ by Professor Tony Klug. They say:

Pessimism dominates discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet the idea that the time is not ripe for peace implies that some more auspicious moment will arise – at some future unspecified date. In reality, continuing on the well-trodden path of irredeemable despair simply postpones peace indefinitely and promises interminable ferment. The contours of the only equitable settlement are well known. Whether the main actors seize the chance is primarily a question of political will.

You can download the paper and read more about it [1] from here. The Fabians are organising a lecture by Prof. Klug later in the month alongside a speech by a senior MP, probably Hillary Benn, to get some momentum going. I was invited to a soft launch for this yesterday and will write more on this a bit later.

Today is also the 40th anniversary of the 6 Day War. The Guardian’s Ian Black [2] has this report. Jim at [3] Shiraz Socialist calls its a pyrrhic victory. Please do not regurgitate the same old arguments in the comments.


Comments Disabled To "Peace in the Middle East"

#1 Comment By Refresh On 5th June, 2007 @ 12:07 pm

Something different - not only pyrrhic but unprovoked.

Have a read of this:

“Rethinking Israel’s David-and-Goliath past
Little-noticed details in declassified U.S. documents indicate that Israel’s Six-Day War may not have been a war of necessity.”

“….In these documents, Israel emerges as a vastly superior military power, its opponents far weaker than the menacing threat Israel portrayed, and war itself something that Nasser, for all his saber-rattling, tried to avoid until the moment his air force went up in smoke.”

[4] http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/06/04/six_day_war/

You might have to sit through an advert before you get to the main article.

#2 Comment By sid On 5th June, 2007 @ 12:10 pm

More recycling of The 6 Day Bore?
Eearth shattering.

#3 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 5th June, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

The problem is Palestine is full of Muslim people and Israel is full of Jewish people and palestine thinks the Jews stole from them and the Jews wish the Muslims would go away and the western superpowers support Israel and the muslim states back palestine and seeing as the west is at war with muslims this is their battlefield away from home so there will be no peace there until the west and muslim states stop pissing about in there

#4 Comment By tim On 5th June, 2007 @ 1:35 pm

Strangely the Palestinians are described by black “recently conquered” after the 67 war.
Yet the West bank and East Jerusalem were conquered by Jordan and occupied by them until 1967.

The existence of three generations of Palestinians in refugee camps may give us a little cause to doubt the generosity of Arab states towards their “bargaining chip” populations.

#5 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 5th June, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

Jordan has always been a bit fake for my liking, a state of constant confusion and insecurity. But luckily she found Peter Andre

#6 Comment By sonia On 5th June, 2007 @ 2:24 pm

i like kismet’s succint analysis in post no. 3 ! :-)
aye since everyone and their uncle has turned into a battleground for idealogicalconflicts everyone’s knickers are in a twist.

#7 Comment By Kismet Hardy On 5th June, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

Aw, why was Muzammad’s comments deleted? I thought that thing he said about Jordan was fair enough. It’s political cencorship gone mad

#8 Comment By sid On 5th June, 2007 @ 2:46 pm

The only way to kill the peace process would be for the progressive left to also over-do I/P coverage to the point of absurdity.

And nobody wants less coverage on the I/P issue.

#9 Comment By Sumayyah Evans On 5th June, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

Why do most people still adhere strongly to the idea of a two-state solution - will this not just be more divisive?

#10 Comment By Sunny On 5th June, 2007 @ 3:26 pm

And nobody wants less coverage on the I/P issue.

I do.

Aw, why was Muzammad’s comments deleted?

He’s a troll.

will this not just be more divisive?

Can we not go over old territory please? You’re welcome to read the paper Sumayyah and then post your comments on that? I like the two-state solution because I think its a good start to the building of trust. You cannot have two communities who hate each other living together.

#11 Comment By Anas On 5th June, 2007 @ 3:34 pm

The contours of the only equitable settlement are well known.

Ain’t that the truth!

#12 Comment By gracchi On 5th June, 2007 @ 4:17 pm

Interesting piece- I think personally its very optimistic but its easy to see how the momentum could be established if the Israelis made that initial step- its like throwing yourself into the deep end of a pool the problem is the political risk and it may be that only a very weak Israeli leader with nothing to lose might take it. We’ll see but he is right the logic of the deal has always been fairly obvious- one immediate problem that occurs to me is the way economically that any two states is such a small space would work- they would have to depend on each other but I’m sure that could be worked out. Thanks for bringing it up Sunny.

#13 Comment By Charles Barton On 5th June, 2007 @ 4:25 pm

I am certainly not a supporter of the settlement movement. The settlers are troublemakers in my book. But a good case can be made that under international law, the settlements are legal. The League of Nations Mandate required the governing authority of Palestine to facilitate Jewish settlements on the land. Since no Palestinian state was established in 1948, this requirement would have fallen on the administers of the none Israeli parts of Palestine. From 1967 onward that would be the government of Israel. Under International Law, the West Bank and Gaza do not belong to any sovereign state at present. Thus legally there is no Israeli occupation, since occupation implies that a territory legally belongs to a state other than the occupying power.

#14 Comment By Katy On 5th June, 2007 @ 6:06 pm

The problem is Palestine is full of Muslim people and Israel is full of Jewish people and palestine thinks the Jews stole from them and the Jews wish the Muslims would go away and the western superpowers support Israel and the muslim states back palestine and seeing as the west is at war with muslims this is their battlefield away from home so there will be no peace there until the west and muslim states stop pissing about in there

I love you, Kismet

#15 Comment By Charles Barton On 5th June, 2007 @ 6:35 pm

“and Israel is full of Jewish people”

Not quite, Israel does have a large Arab minority, they are called the Arabs of 48, because their parents did not run away in 1948. The Arabs of 48 accept Jews as neighbors. The Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza are racists who do not want Jews living among them.

#16 Comment By Refresh On 5th June, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

Aargh!!! Somebody hold me my hat and coat…

#17 Comment By Thunker On 5th June, 2007 @ 6:39 pm

According to this [5] Haaretz article, it almost wasn’t a Pyrrhic victory. But then the politicians managed to mess it up.

BBC has some interesting [6] personals accounts of 1967. By the sound of it, the Arab states very much expected to win (or at least propagandized this expectation into their populaces).

#18 Comment By Bartholomew On 5th June, 2007 @ 7:45 pm

Just [7] one of many such discussions out there:

THIS generation that will not pass till all be fulfilled began June 5, 1967. If the Rapture is Nisan 10 of this year (the same date when the Milennium was supposed to start with Jesus’ entrance into the Temple on Palm Sunday of 36 A.D.), then the entire 2520 scenario ends March 5, 2013, which is exactly 45.8 years from June 5, 1967.

…A Biblical life span is 70 years, according to Psalm 90:10. Using that figure and beginning with May of 1948 I came up with 2018 as the earliest likely year for the 2nd Coming. Beginning in 1967 takes us to 2037 as the latest possibility, so there appears to be a 19 year window of opportunity for all to be fulfilled.

#19 Comment By Thunker On 5th June, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

I suspect the biggest assumption in that paper is that the contentious refugee issue can be settled without an upfront right of return:

‘…The current initiative progressed because the
refugees … were offered a menu of practical options … Coupled with the broad acceptance of the Arab world that immigration to Israel was ultimately the sovereign decision of its government…’

Is that anything close to reality?

#20 Comment By Tahir On 5th June, 2007 @ 10:35 pm

Don’t like to discuss I/P issues much - but someone was suggesting it’s defeatist to give up the goal of seeking peace.

“The problem is Palestine is full of Muslim people and Israel is full of Jewish people and palestine thinks the Jews stole from them and the Jews wish the Muslims would go away and the western superpowers support Israel and the muslim states back palestine and seeing as the west is at war with muslims this is their battlefield away from home so there will be no peace there until the west and muslim states stop pissing about in there

I love you, Kismet…”

So we know what the west and the Muslim states must do - we’ve just generalised the west and the Muslim states into homogenous blobs that should think/act like unitary actors - even though we know they are different countries/cultures/political economies and that such hetereogeneity shape any foreign policy response.

That detail aside - what must Israel do? You forgot to mention this. It would be nice to get a neutral discussion of the I/P conflict - my sense is we just don’t take any distance from it.

Usually PP bloggers seem to know how to respond to issues relating to conflicts in the world - except this one. I know the world is busy putting blame on each on the I/P issue but I find it surprising even on PP to see that such passions still obscure debate on I/P issue.

Our generation should be able to put ideology aside whatever fundamentalists on all side would like us to do - though not suggesting PP bloggers are fundamentalists!

The Arabs in Gaza are racist because they want Jewish people living here?

Except for the most part of history before the 20th century Arabs and Jewish people did live together side by side - I can think of communities that didn’t live side by side with Jewish people but it certainly wasn’t the Muslims or the Jewish people who couldn’t do multi-culturalism.

Post WW11 seems to have created monsters from marking out nation-states and not sure if the history of 500 years of nation-building has been a peaceful one. It seems to fuel exclusion, ethnic cleaning and extremism.

#21 Comment By Leon On 5th June, 2007 @ 11:17 pm

It would be nice to get a neutral discussion of the I/P conflict

Define ‘neutral discussion’?

#22 Comment By Tahir On 5th June, 2007 @ 11:38 pm

One that includes the roles of all parties in the conflict and looks at ways forward.

#23 Comment By Katy On 5th June, 2007 @ 11:58 pm

*follows Refresh out of the room*

#24 Comment By Sunny On 6th June, 2007 @ 1:24 am

I think its near impossible to have a passionless debate. When we first started PP we used to get regular flaming wars between British Indians and Pakistanis.

I find the I/P discussion particularly difficult because it gets people to passionate and unwilling to see the concerns of the other side. And frankly, we are in no position to add to this debate because there are plenty more people obsessing about it every day all over the web. I would prefer to add to other less passionate debates. My aim is to clear through intellectual confusion, not create a space for daily slagging matches.

Of course at the time there is no harm in flagging up such initiatives that will possibly bring peace.

#25 Comment By Sunny On 6th June, 2007 @ 1:26 am

Kevin Rose, who I think writes for the Washington Monthly blog, wrote a brilliant piece last year during the Israel / Lebanon conflict on why its so difficult for the progressive-left in the States and UK to approach this issue.

For some people there is a ready-made enemy and a ready-made position to take. I don’t have one… other than I want to see a two-state solution soon. Because events are not as black-and-white as others would like to pretend, there is no point continually writing about the issue.

#26 Comment By Charles Barton On 6th June, 2007 @ 1:33 am

“The Arabs in Gaza are racist because they want Jewish people living here?”

The Arabs of Gaza are bigoted judaophobes. Not only is it against Palestinian law for a Palestinian to sell property to any Jew - not just an Israeli - but any one who does automatically incurres a death sentence!

“Except for the most part of history before the 20th century Arabs and Jewish people did live together side by side - I can think of communities that didn’t live side by side with Jewish people but it certainly wasn’t the Muslims or the Jewish people who couldn’t do multi-culturalism.”

Where did you hear tha story? European travelers in Arab lands from the 18th century onward reported on the oppressive way the Arabs treated Jews. Arabs treated Jews the same way that whires treated blacks in the segregated American South. The Arabs committed an uncountable number of porgroms and acts of violence against Jews.

#27 Comment By Refresh On 6th June, 2007 @ 3:10 am

Right - finally started reading the document and have got to page 15.

Regardless of the dangers of thread derailments, I think this is potentially one of the most important debates we are likely to have.

Its not often I give credit to Sunny - but he definitely deserves it for bringing this one to our attention.

#28 Comment By Refresh On 6th June, 2007 @ 3:14 am

Charles, can I recommend the document to you too. Its definitely worth a read.

#29 Comment By Charles Barton On 6th June, 2007 @ 4:55 am

The Fabian Paper is a typical trip left wing British trip to La La land. The Palestinians are so disorganized politically, that progress is impossible. Abass lacks the band of armed personal retainers that passes for power among Palestinians. Evences in Gaza demonstrate that The presidential guard is not an effective military or police force. Hamas has fragmented internally. In Gaza Hamas lacks the power to control the clans and criminal bands. Islamic Jihad launches rockets aginst Israel. Abass is powerles to stop them, and Hamas has no interest in doing so, The rocket launching squad gets paid $20,000 a launch of Iranian money. Nearly 300 people in Gaza, men, women and children have been killed by their fellow Palestinians so far this year.

No one is in control. No one is in command. The Palestinians cannot make peace among themselves, let alone with the Israelis. Given the current tragic anarchy it is inconceivable that the Palestinians would be able to make peace, despite their desire for it. The Palestinians, themselves do not understand the extent that they themselves are the source of their problems. Until they take responsibility for their problems, peace is not possible.

Even if the Palestinians were able to speak with one moderate voice assumptions in the Fabian Paper are streight out of La La land. The account of the negotiantions at Camp David and Taba are simply absurd. the problem at Camp David was not the Israeli offwe. It was Arafat’s refusal to begotiate. when asked to draw on a map their desired boundries for a Palestinian State, tge Palestinians refused. Why, because it would mean giving up the Palestinian claim to all of Israel. Arafat refused to sign a memo of understanding that stated what the Taba negotiators had agreed on.

What is wrong here is that most of the British left has advocated the position of honest brokers. In America it is all too appearant that the British left is consumed with an irrational gate for Israle that verges on anti-Semitiosm. British left winf anti-Zionism is embrased by mainmstream American anti-Semites like David Duke. No left wing oppenion coming from the UK, and indeed from Europe has the slightest thing to offer to the peace process. The British and European left, so consumed with hate for Israel, lacks the slightest of insighr in to the problems. The British and indeed the European left are only intent on proving theirt moral superiority over Zionist Jews - that is 95% of the Jewiosh comunity - that they utterly lack credibility as honest moral broakers.

#30 Comment By Tahir On 6th June, 2007 @ 12:07 pm

Charles

I am not as enamoured by European travellors accounts as you are - these days I meet a zillion European travellors in the globe and er - not convinced they have the last word on bigots in the Middle East - and god knows that preconceptions they carried in the 18th century with even less contact with non-Europeans.

The point I was making that the worst atrocities against Jewish people was not committed by Muslims.

I am not intersted in I/P debate that divides and rules people that aren’t traditionally powerful ( alhtough Irseal these days is strong but I see Jewish people seperate from the state of Israel) but i think any conflict that pits one minority against another has another root cause - and it always pays to look at Europe/US. Decolonisation planned as a mess in the Middle East.

#31 Comment By sid On 6th June, 2007 @ 12:15 pm

No left wing oppenion coming from the UK, and indeed from Europe has the slightest thing to offer to the peace process.

I think you’ll find that no one has anything useful left to offer. Mainly because no one side has a monopoly on the deep-seated paranoia, bigotry, obsessive hatred and pathological racism of the other. The tragedy of the I/P issue is that it is entrenched, intractable, depressingly boring and irresolveable.

The good news for news editors is it will continue to swallow media space on the MSM and, by extension, the blogosphere. Only “pundits”, “experts” and “commentators will grow morbidly fat off the land. Some already are.

#32 Comment By sonia On 6th June, 2007 @ 12:21 pm

brilliant comment sid

#33 Comment By sonia On 6th June, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

the only thing that might of course work is if everyone fucked off and left them to it. this means the I/P Muslim obsession crew and the Americans.

they might have to sort out their tiff. the rest of can all settle our tiff ( left right muslim infidel etc) on the net. ;-)

#34 Comment By Refresh On 6th June, 2007 @ 1:10 pm

I think the question posed here is whether the scenario painted by Prof. Klug reasonable. Does it address the key issues? And is it something you would support.

#35 Comment By sid On 6th June, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

The partisans on both sides are going to ensure that Prof Klug’s new Fabian Soc paper is going to get shouted down in bilious shitstorm of angst and loathing. Does anyone really expect anything else?

#36 Comment By Charles Barton On 6th June, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

Sid, i am a disillusioned peace advocate. I was utterly disillusioned by Arafat’s failure to negotiate at Camp David. It is terrible, and certainly not in Israels best interest that Palestinian society is disintigrating. Law and oweder has completely broken down in Gaza, and the local economy has been completely ruined. The only reason why the same thing has not happened on the West Bank is the pressence of Israeli Army checkpoints. Checkpoints prevent armed groups from moving freely and thus limit the possibility of a Palestinian civil war there.

Tahir, we have more than travelers reports. There is plenty of evidence from both Jewish and Arab sources of of the miserable conditions and persecution of Jews in North Africa and the Middle East. Don’t forget that the Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al Hussaini, who was the leader of the Palestinians between 1921 and 1948, was a Nazi collaborator, who played an active role in the Holocaust, and who planned to bring the Holocaust to the Jews of Palestine both during world war II and in 1948.

It is not parinoia to think that the British left sees itself as an enemy of Israel. I simply point to the boycott of Israel by British Journalists, and University teachers. I read the left wing British press, I read comments in CIF. The British left is tainted by a pathological animosity to Israel, that shins through in Kluggy’s trip to fantasy land. People who are as infected by biggotry as British and European leftist are, have nothing positive to contribute to the peace process.

In 2000 Israel offered the Palestinians nationhood, and an opportunity to live side by side in peace. Even if you believe the absurdly dishonest Palestinian account of the Israseli peace offer, you will have to admit that the Palestinians would have been far, far better of accepting the Israeli offer than they are now, and they will be for the forseable future.

Yasser AArafat turned down the Israeli peace offer, and launched his nation on a course of self distructive violence. The European and Bitish left have consistantly sided with the Palestinians in their self distructive behavior, have excused Palestinian violence and their overt anti-Semitism, and have consistantly demonized Israelis ant the vast majority of Jews who are zionists. Excuse us Jews for not respecting the morally infirmed ruin of the once honorable European left.

#37 Comment By sid On 6th June, 2007 @ 2:23 pm

Sid, i am a disillusioned peace advocate.

says it all, doesn’t it.

#38 Comment By Charles Barton On 6th June, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

“I think the question posed here is whether the scenario painted by Prof. Klug reasonable. Does it address the key issues? And is it something you would support.”

1. Not reasonable because Major factions of the Palestinians, including Hamas, have as their goal the distruction of Israel. Like Hitler and the Fanatic Nazis, the prefer the distruction of their nation and its people, to compromise.

2. Parts of the proposal do not show respect for Israel, and its interests. It is no longer reasonable to believe that Israel will give up East Jerusalem, as it was prepaired to do. The Arabs of East jerusalem, themselves, prefer to live under Israeli rule. They regard the Palestinian Authority as corrupt and violent. Given that there is no local Arab support for turning East Jerusalem over to the Palestinians, it is most unlikely that it will happen.

3. The Palestinians are not going to suddenly acquire the ability to organize and self direct a civil socirty. I say this acknowledging that the Palestinians are in many ways a gifted and attractive people. Given a measure of freedom they do quite well, but their solution to communal conflict is to turn to violence. They cannot conceive conflict resolution through judicial or legislative proceedures. Until the Palestinians accept that violence is not a productive means to resolve conflict, they are not going to achieve peace with Israel.

#39 Comment By Tahir On 6th June, 2007 @ 3:28 pm

C

There were colloborators from all directions, some more than others.

The point is that the onus of responsibility for the holocust lies elsewhere. Not in the Middle East.

#40 Comment By Charles Barton On 6th June, 2007 @ 5:04 pm

Tahir, you do not know the history of the Holocaust. How could you possibly know where responsibility lies?

#41 Comment By Refresh On 6th June, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

Charles, where does it lie?

Some of us have spent a lifetime thinking we knew.

#42 Comment By Tahir On 6th June, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

OK.

I don’t know the history of Britain terrible well either but imagine I know where Britain is.

Did the Holocuast take place in Germany?

#43 Comment By Anas On 6th June, 2007 @ 5:58 pm

Check out this [8] map. It gives you some idea of Israel’s contribution to the peace process.

#44 Comment By http://modernityblog.blogspot.com/ On 7th June, 2007 @ 1:46 am

Tahir wrote:

Did the Holocuast take place in Germany?

no, whilst the Holocaust was organised by many Germans and Austrians (and collaborators from other nations), it took place across Europe, eg. greek Jews were pack into cattle wagons on trains in Greece then transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, killed and their remains burnt in specially constructed gas ovens.

This is a map of the extermination camp: [9] http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/extcamps.html

and see [10] http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/media_nm.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005143&MediaId=3372

by the end of WW2, 2 out of 3 European Jews had been killed, eg. of the ~3.5 million Jews that lived in Poland nearly 3 million of them were deliberately killed

not only did the Nazis and their allies, as genocidal-biological racists, try to exterminate the Jews, the Nazis also made the point of killing the Roma, see [11] http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005219

#45 Comment By Tahir On 7th June, 2007 @ 2:26 pm

Ah, Europe.

Not the Middle East then.

#46 Comment By Tahir On 7th June, 2007 @ 2:27 pm

44:

Thanks for the explanation.

#47 Comment By http://modernityblog.blogspot.com/ On 7th June, 2007 @ 9:30 pm

Tahir

no, it was not primarily in the Middle East, but you need to view British policy and the actions of the Mufti during this period in that context

from the 1930s onwards, Jews in Germany were attacked persecuted, pauperised and expel

this led to 100,000s of Jews leaving Germany and related countries, however, they had nowhere to go

no countries would admit any significant number of Jewish refugees even though it was apparent that they had suffered the most terrible crimes at the hands of the Nazis (see the evian conference, [12] http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/evian.htm)

countries were only prepared to take a few hundred highly skilled individuals, the only place of refuge for Jews was Palestine and yet the Mufti and the ruling elites have tried to block any Jewish immigration, knowing full well that if people did not emigrate to Palestine in some cases it was a death sentence

just before the war, the British were pressurised into the MacDonald White Paper, and this puts severe restrictions on immigration to Palestine and banned land sales to Jews

after the start of World War 2, the Mufti of Jerusalem was in Berlin organising support for the Nazis, wherever he could, from his earliest correspondence with the Nazis he had admired their anti-Jewish policies, whilst in Berlin he obstructed the evacuation of Jewish children, knowing full well that they would meet their deaths

the Mufti associated with Adolf Eichmann (one of the leading forces behind the “Final Solution”, the Nazis for ever used euphemisms instead of saying that they were going to exterminate all of the Jews in Europe, they used such words as “final solution” or evacuate to the east, etc),

The Mufti also set about creating to SS battalions, to assist the Nazis, etc

the situation in North Africa and the Middle East was precarious in the first part of WW2, it was touch and go if Rommel will conquer Palestine, in that event the Nazis had planned to liquidate all of the Jews of Palestine

see [13] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1423589.stm

[14] http://www.washtimes.com/world/20060412-093359-1169r.htm

so in this context, you can see why it is such an issue?

#48 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 9:36 pm

And while modernity is busy transferring the the guilt of the Holocaust onto Muslims, here’s a man-made genocide that the British were complicit in that “modernity” and his friends at Harry’s Place would rather not mention:

Bengal famine of 1943

The United Kingdom had suffered a disastrous defeat at Singapore in 1942 against the Japanese military, which then proceeded to conquer Burma from the British in the same year. Burma was the world’s largest exporter of rice in the inter-war period, the British having encouraged production by Burmese smallholders, which resulted a virtual monoculture in the Irrawady delta and Arakan [1]. By 1940 15% of India’s rice overall came from Burma, whilst in Bengal the proportion was slightly higher given the province’s proximity to Burma [2].

It seems unlikely, however, that these imports can have amounted to more than 20% of Bengal’s consumption, and this alone is insufficient to account for the famine, although it ensured that there were fewer reserves to fall back on. British authorities feared a subsequent Japanese invasion of British India proper by way of Bengal (see British Raj), and emergency measures were introduced to stockpile food for British soldiers and prevent access to supplies by the Japanese in case of an invasion.

A ’scorched earth’ policy was implemented in the Chittagong region, nearest the Burmese border, whilst large amounts of rice were exported to the Middle East to feed British troops, and to Ceylon, which had been heavily dependent on Burmese rice before the war, and which was the headquarters of South East Asia Command.[citation needed]

On the 16th October 1942 the whole east coast of Bengal and Orissa was hit by a cyclone. A huge area of rice cultivation up to forty miles inland was flooded, causing the autumn crop in these areas to fail. This meant that the peasantry had to eat their surplus, and the seed that should have been planted in the winter of 1942-3 had been consumed by the time the hot weather began in May 1943. [3].

This was exacerbated by exports of food and appropriation of arable land. However, Amartya Sen has shown conclusively that there was no overall shortage of rice in Bengal in 1943: availability was actually slightly higher than in 1941, when there was no famine [4].

It was partly this which conditioned the sluggish official response to the disaster, as there had been no serious crop failures and hence the famine was unexpected. Its root causes, Sen argues, lay in rumours of shortage which caused hoarding, and rapid price inflation caused by war-time demands which made rice stocks an excellent investment (prices had already doubled over the previous year).

Whilst landowning peasants who actually grew rice, together with those employed in defence-related industries in urban areas and at the docks saw their wages rise, this led to a disastrous shift in the exchange entitlements of groups such as landless labourers, fishermen, barbers, paddy huskers and other groups who found the real value of their wages had been slashed by two-thirds since 1940. Quite simply, although Bengal had enough rice and other grains to feed itself, millions of people were suddenly too poor to buy it

#49 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 9:37 pm

Number of deaths : 5 million

#50 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

And while we’re truly on the subject, here’s another famine engineered by the British in Bengal:

Bengal famine of 1770

About 10 million people, approximately one third of the population of the affected area, are thought to have died in the famine. The regions in which the famine occurred included especially the modern Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal, but the famine also extended into Orissa and Jharkhand, as well as modern Bangladesh. Among the worst affected areas were Birbhum and Murshidabad, in Bengal, and Tirhut, Champaran and Bettiah, in Bihar.

A partial shortfall in crops, considered nothing out of the ordinary, occurred in 1768 and was followed in late 1769 by more severe conditions. By September 1769 there was a severe drought, and alarming reports were coming in of rural distress. These were, however, ignored by Company officers.

By early 1770 there was starvation, and, by mid 1770, deaths from starvation were occurring on a large scale. There were also reports of the living feeding on the bodies of the dead in the middle of that year. Smallpox and other diseases further took their toll of the population. Later in 1770, good rainfall resulted in a good harvest and the famine abated. However, other shortfalls occurred in the following years, raising the total death toll.

As a result of the famine large areas were depopulated and returned to jungle for decades to come, as the survivors migrated in mass in a search for food. Many cultivated lands were abandoned: much of Birbhum, for instance, returned to jungle and was virtually impassable for decades afterwards. From 1772, bands of bandits and thugs became an established feature of Bengal, and these were only controlled by punitive actions in the 1780s.

#51 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 9:47 pm

Number of deaths:

About 10 million people, approximately one third of the population of the affected area, are thought to have died in the famine. The regions in which the famine occurred included especially the modern Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal, but the famine also extended into Orissa and Jharkhand, as well as modern Bangladesh. Among the worst affected areas were Birbhum and Murshidabad, in Bengal, and Tirhut, Champaran and Bettiah, in Bihar.

#52 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 10:02 pm

And this famine, engineered by the US, also in Bangladesh, was completely to do with realpolitik. Don’t expect “modernity” and the revisionists at HP to even know about this one, let alone mention it:

Bengal Famine 1974

The causes are generally thought to be a combination of natural disasters (cyclones, droughts and floods) in the early 1970’s, combined with various local and internationally influenced socio-political factors which followed the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

Among the socio-political factors, Devinder Sharma of the Global Hunger Alliance claims that:

At the height of the 1974 famine in the newly born Bangladesh, the US had withheld 2.2 million tonnes of food aid to ‘ensure that it abandoned plans to try Pakistani war criminals’.

Number of deaths:

Possibly over a million people died in the Bangladesh famine of 1974, from July 1974 to January 1975, although the Bangladesh government claimed only 26,000 people died.

#53 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 10:27 pm

At the risk of yelps of “anti-Americanism” from our Decent-Left friends at HP, here’s more detail of the US witholding food grain targetted for Bangladesh in the year following the famine of 1974. For political reasons only. Again, recorded by Devinder Sharma:

And a year later, when Bangladesh was faced with severe monsoons and imminent floods, the then US Ambassador to Bangladesh made it abundantly clear that the US probably could not commit food aid because of Bangladesh’s policy of exporting jute to Cuba. And by the time Bangladesh succumbed to the American pressure, and stopped jute exports to Cuba, the food aid in transit was ‘too late for famine victims’.

Food was then a political weapon. Food aid has now in addition become a commercial enterprise. Famine or no famine, the Shylocks of the grain trade must have their ‘pound of flesh’.

#54 Comment By http://modernityblog.blogspot.com/ On 7th June, 2007 @ 10:30 pm

sid wrote:

Don’t expect “modernity” and the revisionists at HP to even know about this one, let alone mention it:

I had intended to have a polite informative discussion on this topic but clearly you have some hang-ups, so let’s look at your points:

And while modernity is busy transferring the the guilt of the Holocaust onto Muslims,

nowhere, has that been my intention, I do not believe that the Muslims are responsible for the Holocaust during WW2, the Nazis are

is that clear enough for you??

I pointed out the Mufti’s complicity, as an individual, that is entirely different from blaming all Muslims in the world, and if you were a bit brighter you would see that difference

there is much discussion on genocide, I don’t feel that you are prepared to discuss such matters in good faith, so I will leave it to this:

there is a difference between rounding people up across Europe, packing them in to cattle wagons transporting them across Europe, especially built extermination camps, then gassing them with a special poison and using specialist instructed oven to burn their bodies

the German State during World War II was motivated to commit industrialised mass murder of millions and deliberately so

their sole crime? was to be Jewish (or a Roma)

the evolution of the Holocaust was such that the Nazis experimented with mass shootings, 10s of 1,000 gathered together shot then thrown into pits, or so they used carbon monoxide vans, but they found they were too slow for their purposes, the Nazis wanted to exterminate all the Jews within Europe, had numerous planning meetings to discuss the gritty details (see [15] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wannsee_Conference )

also the Nazis gave special instruction during operation Barbarossa (the conquest of the Soviet union), that commissars (officials in Soviet Communist Party) and Jews were to be rounded up and liquidated, irrespective of their age and gender.

the German army was supplemented by special group of grim as murderers, called the Einsatzgruppen, who sole task was to carry out this mass murder

see [16] http://www.holocaust-history.org/intro-einsatz/

sid, so when you’re prepared to cut out snide and childish remarks, I will be happy to discuss these issues with you, let me know

#55 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 10:47 pm

I had intended to have a polite informative discussion on this topic but clearly you have some hang-ups, so let’s look at your points:

Not anywhere near as bad as the hang-ups of some you keep company with, I’m pretty sure. ;-)

Call it a childish game, but I simply wanted to highlight how much bigger my pile of corpses is than yours. I also wanted to show that although there have been oceans of ink spilt on the crimes of the Holocaust, there is still a state of perpetual war and mutual hatred in the Middle East - with no resolution in sight. What your revision doesn’t show is how ready Israelis and Palestinians are to rip the flesh off each other’s children rather than come to a civilised peaceful stand off.

This might be because these histories and their re-revisions simply create new villains and new hooks to hang yet more animosity on.

Meanwhile, no one really knows anything about the victims of the famines in Bengal, and please don’t tell me you’re interested. In any case, Bengalis are still appeasingly and servilely dishing out the chicken biriyani in any number of restaurants up and down the land, probably ignorant of their own histories.

#56 Comment By Tahir On 7th June, 2007 @ 10:53 pm

Modernity

“I pointed out the Mufti’s complicity, as an individual, that is entirely different from blaming all Muslims in the world, and if you were a bit brighter you would see that difference”

I think I was thinking I was bright by not looking at individuals and looking at collective responsibility for the Holocust - whcih on the whole falls squarely on Europe’s doors. You do go to lenghts to blame quite a lot on one individual - the Mufti

It was a blot in human history , and if I had the time I would also detail out the causes of the WW2 and the creation of Israel and British decolonisation - all of which are not so fresh in my memory having studied my history degree almost 10 yrs ago now.

Palestinians not liking Isrealis is a contemporary problem. Europe having difficulties with Jewish people is older than Shakespheare. Europe’s complicity in the genocide is unforgivable - and if I were Israel I would play the Europeans and the US off against each other just to punish them for not acting sooner to stop 1 millin deaths.

Muslims are more complicit in this holocaust? I am glad you don’t argue this - but there’s something in your arguments which suggest this might be your underlying motive and is why Sid reacted in this way. I suspected you were implying this but thought I’d give you the benefit of doubt.

It is mostly Christians that persecuated Jewish people and this has been the history of Jewish people and their search for a home.

#57 Comment By ZinZin On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:00 pm

Alright Sid enough of lets count the corpses or to be blunt your cheap digs at Harry’s place. We are all aware that you don’t like HP, so leave it.

Peace in the Middle East? Maybe when they stop fighting over the past.

#58 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:02 pm

ZinZin, it’s a shame that my cheap digs at Harry’s Place obscured, for you, the overarching point I was making.

#59 Comment By Tahir On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:03 pm

Can someone englighten me? Maybe I am not as bright as I thought I was … Harry’s Place?

#60 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:13 pm

Peace in the Middle East? Maybe when they stop fighting over the past.

Actually, Zin, you did get my point! Nice one! :-)

#61 Comment By http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/ On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:13 pm

Tahir,

Please if you want to know my views ask me a direct question, don’t assume anything for my replies or because I post occasionally on HP that I fit any particular pigeonhole (any more than anyone else does, I sure no one here like to be stereotyped, do they? I certainly don’t)

if you have a question on my views asked me, I won’t duck the issue, if the question is asked in good faith

I answered your point in 44 as a courtesy, that was all, there is a vast complex literature on the Holocaust, which I’m sure you appreciate I could not summarise it in the space of two paragraphs, however I hope this is helpful to you.

It is mostly Christians that persecuated Jewish people and this has been the history of Jewish people and their search for a home.

excellent point, it was and the Catholic Church was most complicit, although for the sake of historical completeness antisemitism predates Christianity

PS: thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt, I shall do the same :)

#62 Comment By ZinZin On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:17 pm

Sid I do get the overarching point that some victims are worthy, some are not. A chomskyite argument which does not travel well with HP.

Tahir Modernity is a harry’s place regular.

Sid has had some run-ins with certain commenters at HP and the comments box at HP is not a pleasent place to put it mildly. He has stated his contempt for HP (honourable exception David T) previously but I am irritated when he starts slating HP on any thread here. I can’t understand why he wastes any energy at all on HP and its Decent left credentials.

#63 Comment By ZinZin On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:19 pm

Sid
You forgot the Armenians.

#64 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:21 pm

aww, you’re a real gent Zin.

Yes I hate HP. Other than the one huge redeemable personage in the shape of David T, what’s to like?

#65 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:24 pm

You forgot the Armenians.

mentioned by Muzumdar in #50.

#66 Comment By ZinZin On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:29 pm

Muzumdar
sometimes I wonder if i was ever an islamophobe.

#67 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:30 pm

some phobes’s mothers are bigger than other phobes’ mothers.

#68 Comment By http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/ On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:55 pm

sid wrote:

Don’t expect “modernity” and the revisionists at HP

perhaps, as we were on the topic of Germany and the Holocaust, you might explain to everyone what “revisionism” or revisionists are in terms of the Holocaust and Germany??

#69 Comment By sid On 7th June, 2007 @ 11:57 pm

We’re not on the topic of Germany and the Holocaust. We’re on the topic of Peace in the MiddleEast, you monomaniac.

#70 Comment By http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/ On 8th June, 2007 @ 12:05 am

sid,

so you don’t know what “revisionism” or revisionists are in terms of the Holocaust and Germany?

amazing

well, I’ll tell you, it means that someone is probably a Neo-nazi or close associate of theirs, white power freak, skinhead loon, KKKer, etc

see [17] http://www.nizkor.org/features/revision-or-denial/

#71 Comment By Sunny On 8th June, 2007 @ 12:14 am

Jeez, what a mess this thread has turned into. I really should have given it some initial direction.

#72 Pingback By Pickled Politics » Israel, Hamas, boycotts and peace On 18th June, 2007 @ 11:49 am

[…] Bank now, it looks easier to draw blood from stone than see peace in the ME. Earlier this month I mentioned the publication of Professor Tony Klug’s paper which has prompted this […]


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URL to article: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1179

URLs in this post:
[1] from here: http://fabians.org.uk/publications/freethinking/klug-middleeast-07/
[2] has this report: http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2095621,00.html
[3] Shiraz Socialist: http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2007/06/03/six-days-that-shook-the-middle-east/
[4] http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/06/04/six_day_war/: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/06/04/six_day_war/
[5] Haaretz article: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/867056.html
[6] personals accounts: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/6705491.stm
[7] one of many: http://www.gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/how-close-are-we-to-the-end
[8] map: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=1066
[9] http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/extcamps.html: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/extcamps.html
[10] http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/media_nm.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005143&MediaId=3372: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/media_nm.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005143&MediaId=3372
[11] http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005219: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005219
[12] http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/evian.htm: http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/evian.htm
[13] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1423589.stm: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1423589.stm
[14] http://www.washtimes.com/world/20060412-093359-1169r.htm: http://www.washtimes.com/world/20060412-093359-1169r.htm
[15] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wannsee_Conference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wannsee_Conference
[16] http://www.holocaust-history.org/intro-einsatz/: http://www.holocaust-history.org/intro-einsatz/
[17] http://www.nizkor.org/features/revision-or-denial/: http://www.nizkor.org/features/revision-or-denial/