Matt McCarten: West stands by while a whole population is illegally jailed

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After this week, does anyone doubt that Israel is a terrorist state? Our televisions couldn't hide the truth last week that 1 1/2 million civilians are imprisoned behind walls Israel has built around them. The entire Gaza population is cut off from the world, with no one permitted to leave or enter their compound. All goods, including oil, have been cut. The entire population is starving and without electricity.

This imprisonment follows a decision by Israel to collectively punish Palestinian civilians. The reason is that members of the Gaza resistance - mainly Hamas militants - have been causing a nuisance by lobbing home-made missiles over the prison wall into Israel. Damage is minimal but the Israeli Government and its military are embarrassed by these acts of public defiance.

What Israel doesn't admit is that its military constantly carries out air raids and "surgical strikes" that kill and maim hundreds of Palestinian civilians, with the blessing of the US administration. The world takes the word of the Israeli Government when it claims it is targeting militants. When innocent victims, including children, are killed and maimed that is accepted as collateral damage.

Television shots last week showing tens of thousands of Palestinians civilians streaming into Egypt through holes blown through the wall that encircles Gaza shows Israel's huge crime against the Palestinian people.

One of the chilling crimes committed by the Nazis when occupying Poland was walling off a large part of the city of Warsaw, forcing all Jews into it.

Inside these walls there was a Jewish resistance that ran attacks against its jailers. The Nazi occupiers took retaliation by carrying out collective punishment against the civilian population, which included shelling, assassinating their leaders and cutting off supplies.

What's the next move for Israeli leaders? They could have to follow the example of the Nazis who in the end massacred everyone inside the compound.

Last year former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was appointed by President Bush to bring peace to the Palestinians. There has been a defining silence from Blair and Bush on Israel's atrocities.

Every time damage is inflicted by Palestinian bombs tossed over the wall, there are stern pronouncements from the rest of the world that the elected Hamas leaders must stop their population carrying out this mischief. However, these same people are silent when the Israeli military bombs and maims Palestinians in retaliation. Then we wonder why the Palestinians hate us for our hypocrisy.

The only thing we have heard about Blair since his appointment as peace envoy is that he has converted to Catholicism. I wonder if he considers the irony of him joining the Church that led crusader invasions of Palestine, which caused a lot of the antagonism between Muslims and Christians.

His last diplomatic act in the area was supporting Israel's invasion of Lebanon after a soldier was kidnapped. The Hizbollah still has its hostage and peace is even more elusive than it was then. What the captors want is to swap their handful of Israeli prisoners for people who have been illegally kidnapped and wallow in Israeli prisons. Israel holds more than 6000 people who have been kidnapped or detained without being charged, let alone convicted, of any crime. Some of them are publicly elected officials and representatives.

Israel often sends in assassins to murder its opponents - the world is silent when these executions and murders are carried out. When was the last time Hamas murdered an Israeli politician? Never.

In the final days of Bush's presidency he is desperate to do something right. During his recent visit to the Middle East he said he was there to help win a peaceful outcome for Israel and Palestine. It's a lie of course. His rhetoric was all about rarking up the leaders of the Western client states to try to get their support for bombing Iran into oblivion.

He released a tape of the Iranian Navy threatening US warships on the eve of his visit, but within days it was proved to be a hoax. That didn't stop Bush claiming Iran was now the real evil that had to be destroyed. It's not lost on anyone that the only threat to Israel for hegemony in the region is Iran.

While all these games go on a whole people are walled in by a military state. Unless the world tells the truth about the terror against the Palestinian people, peace in the Middle East will never happen.

The truth is Israel is a terrorist state and is able to wage crimes on an innocent people because it is funded and abetted by the world's only superpower. Watching the television images of the Palestinians breaking through to freedom surely must make everyone in the world realise we are being sold a great lie about Israel wanting to negotiate peace.

The last place to have a wall that imprisoned a people was Berlin. The then US President Ronald Reagan created a defining moment in world history when he called for the wall to come down.

What we have now is a US president helping fund the Gaza wall. It's an atrocity.

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