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 Friday, June 20, 2003

  Present-day Gaza Compared to 1940s Warsaw Jewish Ghetto By British MPs

"As a Jewish person, I hoped I would never live to see the day I was ashamed of the actions of the Jewish state."
- Oona King, British MP for Bethnal Green and Bow
Ms King and Liberal Democrat MP Dr Tonge made a fact-finding trip to the Palestinian Terrority organised by Christian Aid this month (June).They were there just after Israel attempted an assassination of Hamas Leader, Rantizzi, which resulted in the death of a woman and a small child.

Upon her return to London, Ms King wrote an article in The Guardian describing what she saw during the trip.

Ms King and Liberal Democrat MP Dr Tonge held a Westminster press conference and said the visit had "open her eyes" on the treatment of Palestinians by the occupying Israelis.

Labour MP Ms King, who is Jewish, and a member of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, said Gaza was "the same in nature but not extent " as the Warsaw ghetto in Poland. Warsaw was where the Jewish community had an uprising in the 1940s against the Nazi Germans.

Read HERE the full article in The Guardian UK on the press conference, "MPs compare Gaza to Warsaw ghetto ".Excerpts from the article:
Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip was today compared to the Nazis' creation of the Warsaw ghetto by MPs who recently returned from the region.

Ms King's statements:
    "No government should be behaving like that - least of all a Jewish government .

    I was more surprised perhaps by the everyday terror that Palestinians live, the detail and nature of which I had not understood.

    What makes it similar (to the Warsaw ghetto) is what happened to the Jewish people in that time which was the seizing of land, being forced from property, torture and bureaucracy - control used in a demeaning way over the smallest task.

    On top of that, building a wall around them - and that is precisely what the Israeli government is doing. In doing so it is building a political ghetto. I don't think it can escape that conclusion. (Although) Palestinians are not being rounded up and put in gas chambers.

    As a Jewish person, I hoped I would never live to see the day I was ashamed of the actions of the Jewish state."

    We must support the moderate voices as opposed to strengthening extremists."
Ms King also said the situation had worsened considerably since her last visit in 1998.

Ms Tonge commented:
    "You are almost getting a situation like the Warsaw ghetto - people can't get in or out.

    They can't work, they can't sell anything. There is this gradual squeeze.

    I feel it was an apartheid system and it is certainly getting worse - the area where the Palestinians live is getting smaller.

    Israel says everything it does is for security but they are not addressing the cause of terrorism, only terrorism itself."

Ms Tonge wants to see economic sanctions against Israel unless the situation improves and says EU or UN troops should be sent in to keep the peace.

Later, a spokeswoman for the Israeli Embassy said:
    "It is a terrible shame that a British MP could make this comparison. We were shocked by the ignorance of comparing Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto. Such views only encourage extremists elements to become involved in terror against Israel as we recently faced in the suicide bomb in Tel Aviv."
What else can the Israeli Embassy say? The comments would have been branded anti-semitic if it had come from someone who is non-Jewish.

The unfortunate part of the tale is that what Ms King and Ms Tonge found are well-known facts in the Arab and Muslim world, and generally known by western peace activists working in the Palestinian Territory, some of whom had been shot dead by Israeli soldiers.

Somehow, Washington and the US mainstream media seem to be deaf and blind to what the two British MPs, one of whom is Jewish herself, had found for themselves.

Against what had been said by Ms King, we have US President George Bush praising Ariel Sharon as a man of peace, something akin to Churchill saying Hitler was a man of peace.

The views of the two British MPs is a clear indictment of the utter failure of America's one-sided policies to achieve Middle East peace. As A. Cockburn said, the "road map" is a hoax, or to use Noam Chomsky's word, "mythical".

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