Friday, July 28, 2006

LibDem News Publishes Pro Terrorist Letter

Following Ming Campbell's anti-Israeli comments on the Today Programme this morning (see Stephen Pollard) this week's Liberal Democrat News has published a letter which refers to Hamas fighters with the words "What courage, what determination!" and says that "Israelis are terrorists". While this is the view of only one member, the party has given it credence by publishing it in its weekly publication. The author, Paul Corney, is a senior LibDem in Norfolk. In fact I think I'm right in saying that he was Norman Lamb's agent at one time (but I stand to be corrected). I was at university with Mr Corney's son. This is the text of the letter...

Every comment I have read or heard refers to the "kidnapping" by Hamas of an Israeli soldier. No way was he kidnapped. He was captured by a small group of lightly armed irregular soldiers who tunnelled 300 yards under the frontier of the most security-conscious country in the world to penetrate a military base equipped with all sorts of heavy weaponry. Once there, they damaged a tank and another armoured vehicle, killed two of the tank crew and took prisoner a third, escaping with him through their home-made tunnel. What courage, what determination! I wonder what Hollywood would make of that! How many medals would we award, if the men had been ours? The shameful Israeli response has been to unleash all the resources of American military technology on the helpless citizens of the Gaza strip, quite deliberately destroying the infrastructure of that unhappy territory, and making the lives of its people virtually unliveable, and not for the first time. Now they follow up by doing exactly the same to Lebanon, targeting Hizbollah, Christians and civilians without any discrimination. The president of Lebanon has referred to the Israelis as terrorists. He is right.

Paul Corney

Deluded. Are there any LibDems who are pro-Israeli? If so, they're staying very quiet.

UPDATE: Mark P in the Comments section tells me there was a pro-Israel letter on the same letters page. Happy to make that clear - sadly I don't actually see LibDem News each week as I gather only LibDem members can subscribe. I have its contents reported to me, obviously with varying degrees of accuracy!

UPDATE: I have now successfully subscribed to LibDem News without having to give a membership number. I am sure everyone will bve delighted that I can now give first hand reports without having to rely on others to tell me what's in it. I do hope my £30 subscription fee will go some way towards paying back the £2.4 million!


towcestarian said...

He does have a point. Militarily the raid was rather bold and if they had been "ours" we would have been rightly lauding them as heros.

But his argument goes rather wonky by saying the Israel than had no right to retaliate - which they quite clearly did have - and did in spades.

Very heroic maybe, but very, very stupid.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, why is it that when Hamas (who are the democratically elected government of Pallestine) take Israeli soldiers it's "kidnapping", but when the Israelis take Pallestinian MPs it's "detention"?

Anonymous said...

Are there any LibDems who are pro-Israeli?

Maybe, maybe not, but I dislike that fact that we're supposed to take sides on this issue. The only thing I'm sure of is that they're both a bunch of idiots and need to sit down and discuss this issue properly. You might think this naive of me, but the way I see it is there are two sides quite prepared to fight to the death on this. So really, what other choice do they have?

Anonymous said...

I understood the Palestinian "Government" claimed the actions of Hamas miltary wing had nothing to do with them - so its kidnapping not detention.

Anonymous said...

I never had any time for the Lib-Dems, but now I loathe them.

If the Israelis have to blow southern Lebanon apart to exterminate this infestation of terrorists,so be it. They are doing the West's work for us. Blair has absolutely no business getting involved and pushing himself forward - dear God, what a ham! - as a negotiator as there is absolutely nothing to negotiate.

As to the plaintive cry, "Oh, but they're killing innocent women and children!", no they're not. It is Hezbullah who is killing them by shielding themselves in neighbourhoods and normal homes and placing them in jeopardy.

Well, the Lib-Dems are in freefall, so fine.

Anonymous said...

Verity, when you say "As to the plaintive cry, "Oh, but they're killing innocent women and children! ...",

you sound like a psychopath.

The Israelis are in freefall.

Anonymous said...

Are there any LibDems who are pro-Israeli?

Come, come Iain, surely you can do better than that. Do you really expect us to believe your eyes didn't stray a few centimetres to the right of the letter you quote to the letter from Gavin Stollar that argues Israel's caes?

It's on the very same page in the very same edition of the newspaper. Strange that you're entry is written as if that letter doesn't exist then...

Iain Dale said...

Mark P, I didn't see the letters page myself - it was emailed to me. I shall now amend the original Post.

Anonymous said...

Al Huntington - Could you give a a chorus of Kumbaya? Aw, come on! People should just "sit down and discuss this issue properly" as ordered by the Al Huntingtons of this world. "Another mint tea, Ahmed?"

Israel is a titchy country surrounded by terrorists who want to destroy them. This issue of "Palestine" is a load of old bollocks.

These Palestinians have been living in refugee camps for 60 years. Hello? Pourquoi?

Over one-third of Saudi Arabia's workforce is foreign. They import (Christian) maids from the Philippines, plus Indonesia (a Muslim country) and Sri Lanka (Christian and Hindu, some Muslims). Same with Kuwait. Same with the Emirates. The same with construction workers, petrol station attendants, gardeners, etc.

They could have absorbed the entire Palestinian population, which speaks their language, knows how to behave in an Islamic household and adheres to their religion sixty years ago. But didn't and don't. Why?

Because for 60 years they have been keeping their own people in misery to score points against Israel and create a rod for the back of the West.

This is a load of bull. Those four/five generations of Palestinians still living in refugee camps could have been absorbed into the general Arab population in the region three generations ago.

Anonymous said...

Hezbollah wasn't storing weapons at Beirut airport, they weren't camping at the UN observer post, and they weren't in the aid convoy that was shelled today.

The Isrealis are killing innocents on purpose. How anyone can think that telling civilians to evacuate is a 'humanitarian gesture' when the roads and bridges have been mostly destroyed, and when anything seen on the remains of the roads is liable to be shot at is beyond me.

The level of pro-Israel sophistry in this conflict is astonishing - the idea that either Hezbollah or Hamas 'started it' when the Israelis still illegally occupy the West Bank, still shoot rockets at civilians in Gaza, and kidnap members of the democratic Pallestinian government is a joke.

Anonymous said...

Verity - and if someone were to capture this country you'd be happy being dispersed amongst English speaking people around the world? Or would you want your home back?

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...

Dale, you are such a tawdry little man. It isn't simply that you deliberately distort the truth in this way by offering such a biased account without doing the minimal of factchecking, it's the fact that you choose to attempt to score cheap political points on an issue as grave as the current Middle East situation. And THEN try to claim the moral high ground.

Anonymous said...

ted - Yes, the government did indeed disclaim responsibility for the Hamas action. Had they taken responsibility and claimed it as a legitimate military action against a legitimate military target Israel would have killed them all. What would you say in their situation?

Iain Dale said...

James, oh get a life, will you. The only error, if you can call it that, was not knowing of the other letter. Within 2 minutes of Mark P telling me about it I corrected it on the main post. But it doesn't alter the fact that the LibDems are taking a line which seems to ignore any understanding of the Israeli position - see Ming's statements on the issue.

Anonymous said...

But surely one could argue that Ming's and the Lib Dem's position on the current Middle East crisis is in line with the British public according to the recent polls in the Telegraph and Guardian?

Thou of course the counter argument is that polls and focus groups are fickle things at the best of times.

By the way is Ming Campbell's position that different to the Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague's position?

Anonymous said...

Iain asked 'Are there any LibDems who are pro-Israeli?'

Well I'm not pro or anti either side. I don't see this is an issue we should take sides on, sell arms in, or encourage.

Innocent people on both 'sides' are being killed and that's unacceptable regardless of who is doing the killing.

At some point both sides are going to have to compromise if they want the killing to stop.

Anonymous said...

Verity wrote:

'As to the plaintive cry, "Oh, but they're killing innocent women and children!", no they're not. It is Hezbullah who is killing them by shielding themselves in neighbourhoods and normal homes and placing them in jeopardy.'

Exactly, just like Dave, the ManChild says, it's the victims wot done it.

Hug a mugger say I.

Anonymous said...

regardless of your views on the subject, surely it's bloody obvious that kidnapping those soldiers took a hell of a lot of courage and determination; whatever the wrongness or rightness of the action?

Anonymous said...

oop norf posts:
"Verity - and if someone were to capture this country you'd be happy being dispersed amongst English speaking people around the world? Or would you want your home back?"

This is such a rich mine I almost don't want to go there.

A hostile force did capture my country: ZaNuLabour. I didn't disperse myself in the Anglosphere, but in a non-English-speaking country. But I vacated the premises. So, yes; pragmatically speaking, I knew I had to go somewhere, and I went.

Next, Oop Norf, let me ask you: Have you ever seen these Palestinian "refugee camps"? They are revolting. Disgusting that people would agree to live thus. But they make good TV propaganda. (All the hovels have TV aerials, but who can blame them?)

They're not standing on their pride; trust me. They'd go if they could. They're not being taken in, even as able and willing workers, in the vast, vast Middle East. Christian Filippinas and Hindu Sri Lankans are given work passes. So are Muslim Indonesians. But not Palestinians.

As yourself one question: Why?

Jordan, which is a country for which I have great admiration and affection, has done their best by these people, but Jordan also doesn't have any oil, so isn't rich. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Emirates have oil.

Ask yourself, why would the unimaginably rich Saudis, with their vast empty country, and the Kuwaitis and the Emirates - all of whom are importing foreign workers - not take in at least some of the Palestinians?

Why? Because they are keeping the Palestinians as an open sore. They make me sick.

Benedict White said...

Iain, an Israeli Prime minister passed by my front door on his way to assasinate Abu Jousph when I was 4, I have made it my business to understand this issue from the inside out. You realy are to simplistic for words on this issue.

Verity, youre are a fuckwit and I claim my five pounds.

The only way out of a Palestinian refugee camp is via an education which has made Palestinians the educated elite of the Arab world. However the natives do not want them to have permanent stause for the very same reaseon no country wants to permanemtly import foriegners en masse. However these foriegners just want to go home.

Oh what a shame. a bunch of immigrants who dont want to be immigrants but want to go home.

Get a life verity, the situation is far more complicated.

Benedict White said...

It looks like Rice's proposal is a clear win for the Lebanon. Not the country of my birth but the country I grew up in. Hooray for the frankley very brave stoic and steadfast Lebonease.

And well done Israel. The have single handildly reconsiled Christian and Muslim, Shia and Sunni.

Unfortunatly they are not the popular ones of the moment despite being welcomed by the Shia of Lebanon in 1982 with rice and rose petals.

Well, as long as the Lebanon wins, I realy don't care.

BTW Veirty you realy do need to learn so much more about Middle eastern politics, intra Jewish politics and the like. I will give you one example. There is oft discussed amoungst the seriously dangerous swiveld eyed KKK mob talk of a Jewish conspiracy!.

Well, a conspiricay to do what? All I can see is a conspiracy to disagree.

You are in danger of falling in to another set of conspriacy theories.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear Verity, you are a silly-billy. The Palestinians live in poverty and squalor because they want to? Hmmm. You really are too ridiculous for words.

It shows what a disregard you have for human suffering when you make the trite comparison between living under a harsh military occupation and having to live under a democratically elected government which is not to your seemingly wing-nutty tastes.

Anonymous said...

The raid was an attack on Israeli Border Guards...........both on the Gaza Border and the Lebanese Border.

The tank commander should have opened fire rather than asking for orders from above - that delay cost them. They should use more initiative and not wait for orders. The tank commander should have destroyed the insurgents and not permitted them to penetrate the border.

Anonymous said...

they weren't camping at the UN observer post

The Canadian Major in that post held a contrary opinion to yours. He emailed his concerns at Hezbollah firing from the clearly spout the Hezbollah line. Are you a press officer ?

Anonymous said...

All great comments and well done to Iain for demonstrating why blogs matter- bringing to wider attention the loathsome posturing of the truly bizarre world view held by Liberals - but I don't think i've read anywhere yet anyone exploring why the "liberal" party is so keen to support the Israeli- and western-hating Islamic terrorists.

The phrase which formed in my mind under Kennedy's "leadership" and is being deepened under the Mong is Nazi-Soviet pact. The liberal party - committed amongst other things to equality for homosexual men - has made a conscious decision to align itself with a body of opinion which is virulently opposed to the existence of gay men, simply in order to maximise its vote in urban communities with large Muslim populations. It's the highest-level manifestation of what it is about individual libdem campaigns that the rest of us despise - they lack any internal consistency and are thus freed to be opportunistic, not even issue-by-issue, so that their "philosophy" doesn't cohere and therefore doesn't exist - but even voter-by-voter.

ian said...

one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

Sabretache said...

Verity 1.04 am (does she ever sleep?):
"Ask yourself, why would the unimaginably rich Saudis, with their vast empty country, and the Kuwaitis and the Emirates - all of whom are importing foreign workers - not take in at least some of the Palestinians?

Why? Because they are keeping the Palestinians as an open sore. They make me sick."

They make me sick too - BUT, they are all allies of the West. It is the West that keeps their rulers in power - for our own strategic purposes - and to hell with their human rights/treatment of women/medieval justice systems etc records.

You touched on Oil - and there indeed is the root of the entire Middle-East Imbroglio. The rest is froth. Have a look at the route of the newly commissioned BTC oil pipeline from the Caspian to Ceyhan on the Eastern Mediterranean if you want a serious insight into what's going on in Lebanon right now. Then ask yourself what exactly is the Wests strategic interest and purpose in being in the Middle East at all - with Israel as a reliable and integral part of that Alliance.

Oh, and if you or anyone else seriously believes that Hizbollah can be uprooted from Lebanon by ANY means, just take a look at href="">this picture of one of their Beirut rallies last year

Iain Dale said...

Benedict, your constant "refrain" of "I know moe about the Middle East than you" is getting rather tiresome - because you demonstrate by what you write that it is clealy not the case.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I despair of the muppet parade that poses as politicians in the UK.

Perhaps an IQ test for politicians should be mandatory, and anyone below 130 should do something less complex and demanding...

Requiring a relevant degree might also be an idea -- people who have learnt to think along the lines of scientific methods tend to be better equipped to deal with complicated stuff in general.

Seriously -- a woolbrain crew like the LibDems could not run Britain PLC, it is ridiculous that they are even in the race here -- it is as ludicrous as the thought that the local knitting club wants to qualify to international rugby. The trouble is, in politics this is very possible...

Hughes Views said...

Oh dear Iain, I thought I was a sad case for example rushing to read our local Lib Dem Focus as it plops onto the doormat (I like a smile). But even I could never write "sadly I don't actually see LibDem News each week". I see now that I'm a mere amateur by comparison with you in the political-geekery stakes!

Btw anyone who believes that they can add any insight into the extraordinarily convoluted and seemingly-intractable ongoing middle-eastern human tragedy in a blog piece or, worse, a blog comment, clearly has no real grasp of complexity imho.....

neil craig said...

I once got somewhat annoyed when the same rag published a letter saying how dreadful it was that any of our Croatian Nazi allies should face (even the entirley token) charges the ICTY have made against a few of them for the ethnic cleansing of 700,000 Serbs & Yugoslavs & the genocide of 250,000. (he didn't phrase it quite like that).

The author turned out to be a paid flack of the Croatian Nazi regime. The LD news declined to print a letter putting the opposite view.

It appears from Ming's statement that bombing is a war crime because it is "collective punishment" building on Nicol Stephen's that attacking Gaza's electricity supply was a "war crime". Of course the LDs very enthusiasticly supported exactly those war crimes - the differences being that bombing Yugoslavia was not self defence but then it wasn't being done by Jews.

Glass House said...

I agree with towcestarian's comment right at the top. I can certainly see how the raiders’ actions show determination and courage. It's not the use of particular words that bothers me, it's the article’s tone of terrorist apologist crap.

That said, I do think it's cheap to score political point from ONE Lib Dem's letter (however much we might suspect that it's a widely held view among Lib Dems). I think that a whole encyclopaedia could be written covering abhorrent views espoused by Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem members.

Anonymous said...

Terrorism, defence and liberation are subjective terms for common acts of violence.

It demonstrates that "terorism" is merely a matter of opinion. Violence will never prevent violence until all the participants and potential participants have been killed.

I cringe in horror at the differences between the global community in 2006 compared to 2000 when Bush was elected

Inamicus said...

Have got my copy of LDN through the door this morning.

Iain and others might like to note that the Letters Page starts by noting the volume of letters received on the subject, and has included excerpts from 5 letters to reflect the balance of views received - including letters sympathetic to the Israelis, Palestinians, and neither.

Those trying to portray part of any of the letters published as LD policy would do better to read the editorial column on the same page ("It is high time Blair listened to other leadses than Bush" which regrets the suffering on both sides, regrets both the Hezbollah provocation and the disproportionate response, supports Kofi Annan's call for a ceasefire, and expresses deep disappointment with the UK Govt's towing of the White House line.

As someone else has pointed out, this is not a million miles away from the Tory position expressed by Hague.

NB Lib Dem News used to be available from the Conservative party website's bookshop, so not sure what Iain is suggesting about it being available to members only.

Chris Palmer said...

Iain, just mention the fact that many of their MPs have signed an Early Day Motion to give British Taxpayer's money to HAMAS terrorists as can be seen here:

Ross said...

The Gaza abduction is more ambiguous than the Lebanon ones, because Israel and Hamas were in conflict at the time. The Hezbollah kidnapping was an unprovoked attack and they are entirley responsible for any consequences which Lebanon suffers as a result.

Jeff said...

When all is said and done, in hte unlikely event that the lib-dems actualy get into power we will not have to worry about any more terrorist attacks on this country.

They are so spineless and eager to please that they would probably invite the terrorists into this country so as not to make them feel left out.

When a point of view is required from a lib-dem leader or back bencher, they shoukd be given plenty of notice in order to get their heads from up their own arses.

neil craig said...

Israel & Hamas were not in conflict. Hamas was in conflict with Israel which is not quite the same thing.

Israel has no desire to attack Gaza indeed they had handed the dump over to the Palestinians lock stock & barrel.

Israel's enemies & us are relying on the Israelis being extremely decent people & not making the sort of all out war on them that we made on Serbs in Krajina or Kosovo (after they had signed a peace agreement with us in Kosovo).

Anonymous said...

Israel had only handed back the Gaza Strip 'lock, stock and barrel' if you don't count control of its borders, its airspace/airport and water supply.

Besides which, even if Israel had really given up control of the Gaza Strip there's still the West Bank to stand as considerable provocation.

If notional foreign power occupied this country and then retreated, giving us back Cornwall, I doubt we'd be happy with that either.

Liberal Neil said...

Thank you Chris palmer for bringing that EDM to our attention.

You appear to have misread it though - it is actually about continuing the funding for the democratically elected palestinian Authority so that it can maintain basic public services.

Glad to see such a sensible motion has all party support.

Back on Iain's original point - are you really suggesting there is something wrong with Lib Dem News publishing letters from all sides of this debate? I thought you were in favour of freedom of expression and opposed such a 'nany-statist' approach.

Anonymous said...

Verity wrote: "As to the plaintive cry, "Oh, but they're killing innocent women and children!", no they're not. It is Hezbullah who is killing them by shielding themselves in neighbourhoods and normal homes and placing them in jeopardy."

So that makes it alright to kill children? You defend the slaughter of innocent children, and claim the children are not innocent. Do you have children? Don't bother answering. I can tell you don't. Ever thought about sleeping in the freezer to warm your heart up?


Anonymous said...

Correction nearly correct but not quite :-)

Anyone can subscribe to Liberal Democrat News at

(And I thought when you used to run the bookshop in Westminster I'd seen it for sale on your shelves?)

Anonymous said...

The real funny thing about Verity's filthy postings is that it was the various governments in Europe worring about the kind of non-thinking racist minds in our countries in the 1940s who decided to back the minority Jewish terrorists who wanted to take over Palestine by forced settlement in order to rid us (as they saw it) of a post-war problem. I hear that there are 5 million British-born people living abroad nowadays. Wouldn't it do our indiginous culture so much good if instead of Palestinians being 'absorbed' by Saudis as she suggests, Verity were herself to go out (for good) to that neo-fascist US puppet state where she could do so well, perhaps as a downstairs maid?

towcestarian said...

Neil 12:52 said.

"Terrorism, defence and liberation are subjective terms for common acts of violence."

Complete twaddlle, mate.

I'm sure you wouldn't have said that rape and making love are subjective terms for common acts of sex... or would you?

Anonymous said...

Verity's question regarding why Saudi Arabia, which actually does have quite a few palestinains working there as 'guest workers', does not take more.

The straght answer is that the Saudi rulers are terrified about any serious influx of largely articulate, educated and cultured people who might put all sorts of ideas into the heads of their own 'inferior classes' and end up dumping them (the rulers) in the Gulf together with their American and European hangers-on with whom a number of them (not all, to be fair) regularly cavort in the seedier parts of European capital cities in a somewhat unislamic fashion.

Anonymous said...

chrisco - Could you tell us what your first language is, as maybe someone in the commentariat of this parish speaks it and could translate for you.

You write: "The Palestinians live in poverty and squalor because they want to? Hmmm. You really are too ridiculous for words."

My entire post was a plea for the unimaginably rich Arab countries to help their brother and sister Arabs out of the squalor of the refugee camps by taking them in and giving them work passes and permission to stay.

I don't mind your having the opinion that I am "ridiculous" as long as your opinion was formed from what I wrote, and not what you misunderstood from skimming it.

You are tragically ill-informed about the situation of the Palestinians.

Israel is right in what she is doing, and the notion of negotiating a "cease fire" between a bunch of murderous, aggressive thugs and a legitimately elected government is obscene. But then, with Blair, old habits die hard.

Where are Clinton and Jimmuh in all this? Lurking in the wings, to be sure.

Chrisco - inform yourself about the Palestinians.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, also mysteriously signing himself 'Tom', as does The Injured Cyclist:

1. I retract my apology on another thread back.

2. "So that makes it alright to kill children? You defend the slaughter of innocent children, and claim the children are not innocent."

Where on earth did I claim that the children are not innocent? I said it is the Hezbullah who are killing women and children by situating their rockets, ammunition and men within ordinary Lebanese neighbourhoods. The Israelis have to bomb where the weapons are. It's terrible, but the future of Israel is at stake. The Lebanese should have swept this garbage out of their country, but they were too cowardly to do so. The least they could do now is evacuate those neighbourhoods, but no. Not a chance.

Paul Evans said...

I’m utterly sick of hearing this “all Lib Dems are pro-Hezbollah” wank from Tories. It’s total and unmitigated bollocks and its certainly no more true of us than it of you. Cheap, smearing trash. Plenty of Lib Dems (myself included) are of Jewish descent, and defend to the ends of the earth Israel’s right to protect us.

Since a Tory Councillor in Barnet recently opined that “Jews run everything in Britain and practically run America” I’ll take it that all Conservatives are anti-semites.

Iain Dale said...

I am sure everyone will rejoice that I have no managed to subscribe to LibDem News courtesy of the link posted above.

Anonymous said...

Aonymous 4:32 pm - Yes. The Palestinians are very independent thinkers and I can see that this independence of spirit might upset the Wahabbis.

Anonymous said...

The least they could do now is evacuate those neighbourhoods, but no. Not a chance.

Ah yes Verity; this evacuation will take place along the (bombed) roads, across the (destroyed) bridges, via the (disabled) airport and the (blockaded) sea ports. All safely under the watchful eye of the Israeli air force, who will keep the civilians safe by carefully bombing any approaching terrorists.

Now I understand.

towcestarian said...

...and anonymous Tom 4:17

More complete twaddle.

Verity in a cold-hearted way was saying something completely sensible. The Hezzies are using the civilian population as cover for their military activities. In terms of the Geneva Convention, this is a war crime, and Israel are quite within their rights to attack legitimate military targets within civillian communities even if it means that non-combattants are killed. In these circumstances, the deaths of the "innocents" is entirely the responsibility of the side being attacked, not the attackers.

Can I suggest you spend more time reading the actual GC and less time on the Lib Dem Little Red Book of Obvious Israeli War Crimes.

For the less rabidly biased among you, the following article is an interesting analysis of accusations of Israeli War Crimes.

Given the source, it can't be said to be entirely unbiased, but is still a worthwhile read - in particular the bits about "proportionality".

Paul Walter said...

"Are there any LibDems that are pro-Israel?"

Strangely enough, yes. The "Friends of Isreal" fringe meeting is always very well attended at the LibDem conference. The imbibement of Israeli wines usually ends up with attendees stumbling blinkingly into the afternoon light at about 4pm.

The same page in the LibDem news includes two pro-Isreali letters and 2 relatively balanced letters.

Anonymous said...

The idea put forward by Verity that Saudi could (should?) have absorbed the Palestinian population may have had some validity twenty or thirty years ago. However, it is not an option today. A huge concern pointed out to me when I was there is that the Saudi population profile has one of the highest growth rates in the world. The population is set to double every generation. The infrastructure in Riyadh, Jeddah - indeed all the other major population centres - are bursting at the seams. They require huge capital spends on their roads, sewage, water, housing and power infrastructure. And there are insufficient jobs for the masses coming up through the schools. The worry for the current regime is that they may prove to be a catalyst for unrest - and perhaps violent regime change. Al Qaeda hopes so…

The figures below (estimates admittedly, but the best I can finds for now) show that in the last four years the population of non-nationals has risen by 200,000 (part of which may be children of exisiting non-nationals rather than new adult workers). In the same four year period, there are 3.3 million new Saudi nationals.

Saudi Arabia - Population 2002

note: includes 5,360,526 non-nationals (July 2002 est.)

Saudi Arabia - Population 2006
note: includes 5,576,076 non-nationals (July 2006 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years: 38.2% (male 5,261,530/female 5,059,041)
15-64 years: 59.4% (male 9,159,519/female 6,895,616)
65 years and over: 2.4% (male 342,020/female 302,005) (2006 est.)

Saudi has arguably already done its bit in taking in Palestinians:

Palestinian Population Worldwide

West Bank & Gaza Strip 3,298,951
Israel 1,012,741
Jordan 2,472,501
Lebanon 456,824
Syria 494,501
Egypt 51,805
Saudi Arabia 291,778
Kuwait & other Gulf 149,786
Libya and Iraq 78,884
Other Arab countries 5,887
The Americas 216,196
Other Countries 275,303

Total 8,807,518

Anonymous said...

To Towcestarian and Verity.

Verity you said: "As to the plaintive cry, "Oh, but they're killing innocent women and children!", no they're not."

Does that answer your question: "Where on earth did I claim that the children are not innocent?"

Unfortunately both of your arguments, cold-hearted as it is, holds no water.

Are we supposed to believe that hospitals, UN workers, ambulance convoys, houses with families inside, cars filled with fleeing Lebanese and office blocks are all legitimate targets, just in case Hezbollah are there and that the child fatalities, now in the hundreds are to be defended?

If we are to call these military targets, then everywhere and everyone by that definition is fair game to be bombed.

Call me old fashioned, but when you kill hundreds of children INDESCRIMINATELY, you become no better than the terrorists you claim you are attacking and all you do is increase the hatred and the resolve of those that want to destroy you.

Through absense to condemn those doing the killing on both sides, you argue FOR the terror that you claim you are against.

The difference is that because the terror I am specifically talking about is being inflicted on the innocent people of Lebanon and not Israel or UK or USA, that appears to make it alright.

You have both totally condradicted yourselves by defending the indefendable.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Marquee Mark,but when they needed help, why didn't they take their own in first? Why are they still importing Filippinas, Indonesians, Sri Lankans as maids when they have fellow Arabs who speak their language and know their ways right there on their doorstep?

I appreciate your figures, but, with respect, I feel that they don't want the Palestinians because a) it suits their political purpose to have "victims of Israel and the West" existing in Palestine. This is cynical and repulsive, but so is war. The Wahabbis are set on winning this religious war to win the world for allah.

Having the Palestinians as a thorn in the side of Israel and the West for four generations has served them well.

About poor, civilised Jordan ... well, their fellow Arabs don't care. Nor does Kuwait. Nor do the Emirates. Rich, rich, rich ... but don't give homes and jobs to the Palestinians. Import Muslim Indonesians who don't speak Arabic; and import Filippinas and Filippinos who also don't speak your language and are Christian,

It only makes sense if you see that the Palestinians are to be presented as victims of Israeli oppression. A Madame Tussaud's of oppressed people, stuck in waxed poses with a contrived background.

The Saudis, whatever their population problem, Kuwaitis, the Emirates are refusing to take in their fellow Arab Middle Easterners in favour of Sri Lankans and Filippinas and Filippinos ... why?

Because they want that open running sore. They should be tried for crimes against humanity. Oh, wait a minute; that's only for the West.

Anonymous said...

Verity (presumably standing for Truth - in rather the same way that Pravda stands for Truth?)

Why are they still importing Filippinas, Indonesians, Sri Lankans as maids when they have fellow Arabs who speak their language and know their ways right there on their doorstep?

Leaving aside that the number of foreign workers has fallen from one per 3.38 Saudis in 2002 to one per 3.84 Saudis in 2006, why are they still importing workers? It is called the Market. Useful as an Arabic speaking Palestinian maid might be, you can still buy domestic servants cheaper from Asia. They have a stronger work ethic - and the Christian ones don’t need to break off their chores five times a day to pray - and work through Ramadan too. But perhaps you are suggesting that the Palestinians should work for nothing as “guest arbeiters” - as an act of gratitude to their “fellow Arabs”?

I feel that they don't want the Palestinians because a) it suits their political purpose to have "victims of Israel and the West" existing in Palestine.

“Feel” is not good enough.

The Saudis, whatever their population problem, Kuwaitis, the Emirates are refusing to take in their fellow Arab Middle Easterners

Where is your evidence that “fellow Arabs” have physically prevented Palestinians from going to their countries? My understanding – from extensive travel in the Middle East (I was there only two weeks ago) - is that many Palestinians impose these squalid conditions upon themselves as the only pressure they believe they can apply to pursue their case to the world that they have been “evicted” from their lands. And as you say “Having the Palestinians as a thorn in the side of Israel and the West for four generations has served them well

They should be tried for crimes against humanity. Oh, wait a minute; that's only for the West

In the time-honoured tradition of lobbing in a grenade with a final comment that is intended to deflect from the weaknesses of the earlier argument (you are very good at this – who trained you?) how about this – if crimes against humanity really were only for the West, then why aren’t Bush and Blair in The Hague answering to charges that they willingly and knowingly undertook an illegal war in Iraq? Truth is, charges of crimes against humanity only get brought against those who have lost power and can no longer either be a useful future ally/supplier of raw materials and/or purchaser of our goods (for which, usually read weapons).

Anonymous said...


There are plenty of pro-israel Lib Dems, in the sense that we see why the Israel is doing what it is, but that doesn't obligate us to think it's the best idea, does it?

At the risk of cheapening what is a very serious debate (which I applaud you for raising) the fact that you give so much time to attacking the Lib Dems is great news for us, 5 years ago the two main parties would never even both giving us a mention.

towcestarian said...

Anonymous Tom 12:32

You are still reading high on the codswallop-o-meter.

Targetting of legitimate military targets is decided on a case-by-case basis, knowing what the military objective was and what can be done to minimise non-combattant casualties. Can I suggest that neither you nor I have access to any of that information and all we are working on are 3rd hand reports from people with vested interests. Have you never heard of propaganda?

For instance, that "ambulance" that was supposed to have been blown up by an Israeli missile. From the few pictures I saw, it had a couple of broken windows and a few medium-calibre bullet holes. Curiously, it had the Red Cross sign on it rather than the Red Crescent. It might well have been a real amulance that had been attacked by Israelis, then again...

Without 1st hand information information, the claim of deliberate targetting of civillians/ambulances etc is just idle speculation. I'm sure you would be the first to condemn trial by media under any other circumstances, but when it is the Israeli/American military, your type are quite happy to resort to bog-standard Daily Mail hysteria.

neil craig said...

Mark you are not arguing that it would be impossible for the Saudis to take in Palestinians instead of the free market in Filipinnos merely that it would be inconvenient. Not nearly as inconvenient as the million arabs living in Israel in your figures which hasn't stopped Israel giving them rights not avaiable in arab countries. At 1 guest worker for 4 Saudis the saudi's guests must be roughly twice the available Palestinian population which puts their inconvenience in perspective & suggest she is quite right in thinking tha Palestinians are kept deliberately as refugees as a political pawn.

Rather like Hezbollah using arab children as human shields while firing missiles at Israeli children. When we reward such behaviour, or the deliberate killing of their own people to fake Serb atrocities in Bosnia, we are rewarding such behaviour & like all blackmail, assuring it will be repeated.

Anonymous said...

Two Points

(1) On blame in the present situation:

Hizbullah is not a government, therefore if it takes Israeli soldiers into captvity, that is, by definition, kidnapping.

More to the point, when Hizbullah launches 100+ rockets stuffed full of ball bearings with the clear and deliberate intention of killing Israeli wmen and children, that is quire simply mass murder, period.

When Israel, in order to try to prevent thse literally murderous rockets killing its people, attacks a launch site and it happens that Hizbullah has intentionally placed the site among innocent Lebanese women and children, the Israelis may kill some unintentionally, but it is Hizbullah that is guilty of murder again by chosing the sort of location they do when they know the Israelis will have no choice but to protect their own people by attacking that site.

Therefore Hizbullah is the guilty party when it comes to civiliam deaths on both sides of the border.

(2) In the Arab-Israeli agreement brokered by Clinton in the '90s, it was said that Israel basically offered Arafat 99% of everything he had asked for, but still he turned the deal down because only 100% would do.

Reading Fromkin's 'A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East' (ISBN: 1842120433) one learns a lot of interesting things.

Not least is Churchill's reaction after the failure to reach an agreement between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jewish settlers in Palestine at the 1921 Middle East Conference in Cairo:

"In Churchill's eyes, the members of the Arab delegation were not doing what politicians are supposed to to do: they were not aiming to reach an agreement -- any agreement. Apparently unwilling to offer even 1% in order to get 99%, they offered no incentive to the other side to make concessions."

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I'm afraid this offers no solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict, but it does perhaps provide an explanation: the Palestinians don't do compromise; they don't know when to quit when they are ahead; they don't understand about cutting one's losses.

And of course the longer things goes on like this, the more unwilling still they will be to compromise.

A grim outlook.

Anonymous said...

Towcestarian, you continue to defend mass slaughter of the innocent.

No doubt you think the 50+ slaughtered today were also fair game or are you going to bring in your new argument that we shouldn't believe what we see in the media. Then where are you getting your information?


You and Verity have made your position quite clear. You are condemned by your own words and you know it.

At least the majority of the people of Britain and the rest of the world, world governments and even Jack Straw appear to condemn it, even if a few extremist sympathisers of child massacres won't.

towcestarian said...

Anonymous Tom 7:43

You just don't get it, do you?

This is not about "slaughter of the innocents", it is about the rules of warfare and the Geneva Convention. "Innocents" and children dying in warfare is not necessarily "against the rules", and when it happens it is not necessarily the people killing them who are responsible.

The 50+ children who apparently died today were not "fair game" as you put it, which implies deliberate targetting. However, if they have been killed inadvertently in a proportionate attack on a legitimate military target, then this is not against the Geneva Convention. If they have been deliberately put in a building being used by the Hezzies for military purposes then their deaths ARE a war crime, but not an Israeli one. If the attack was disproportionate or the Israelis knew the place had no military significance they the guilt is with them. And if the bulding had no military significance but the Israelis had good reason to think it had, then according to the GC, no-one is to blame - its just war.

If you find these concepts difficuct/unpleasant, can I suggest you stick to the day job and don't think about a creer as a war crimes lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Being right about everything wont bring you to much love or many friends, take my word for it, but you have my respect anyway.

Anonymous said...

Towcestarian, you are caught up in a circle of your own making that you cannot square.

You know you cannot defend these massacres, so you have to rely on personal insults and ridiculous legal arguments and even imply that the slaughters are a fiction created by the media.

You presumably have never read the Geneva Conventions that talks about care to protect the civillian population, of providing protection to hospitals and ambulances.

As for what you call "bog-standard Daily Mail hysteria," perhaps you have not seen the images of hysteria on the news. Hysterical mothers who have lost their children in a pile of rubble, children who have lost their parents. This is not a Daily Mail hysteria. It isn't a fiction. These are real people, who you seem to imply should pay with their lives by the dozens and we should all just accept it and stop being hysterical.

You can hide behind as many excuses and red-herrings as you like, but in the end you are the one with the problem.

You are the one that has decided to defend what you know is not defendable, presumably because rather than siding with the innocent, you are immovable in taking the side of those that are killing the innocent.


Anonymous said...

There is a HUGE pro-Israeli lobby in the Lib Dems.

They were the writers of most of the hate mail that Jenny Tonge recieved after her comments

Anonymous said...

Tom is beyond help, peeps.

Sabretache - Just because it is 1:04 a.m. where you are doesn't mean it's 1:04 all over the great big world.

Sir-C4' said...

Why I am not not surprised? Most of the Liberal Democrats I know are anti-Semites.

Anonymous said...

Iain, you arw wrong and need to correct yourself. Paul Corney was never Norman Lamb's agent. Paul's wife Pam was Norman's agent, not Paul. I hope you will correct your error as we wouldn't want you libelling Norman Lamb again.

Anonymous said...

There is a "Friends of Israel" group within the Lib Dems but as yet no "Friends of Palestine". Given your comment from "C4" I have to say I am sick to death of the simplicitic notion that challenging Israeli aggression/inhumanity equates to anti-semitism what utter nonsense, that is the equivalent of branding anyone racist in this country who challenges forced marriages on the grounds that they are an affront human rights. Grow up C4 - you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.