Is Palestinian blood 'cheap'?

10 Aug 2015


The accusation from George Galloway that blood is cheap in Palestine was as sordid as ever, and the fact that the media will ignore the terrible terror which ended Baby Ali's life in a fireball of hate and racism. Of course, such accusations are nothing new, and many of those from Galloway's corner expect universal coverage of everything in Palestine for it to be deemed 'good reporting'.


One would hope the firebombing and murder of an innocent child is out of the ordinary, and it has rightly sparked outrage in Israel. It has also led to major news stories being covered on the BBC, the Daily Mail, and other news outlets. Galloway's comments however do not seem to speak to the reality of the issue at hand.


It seems somewhat hypocrytical of Galloway to complain about the media being blase with Arab lives, after-all this is Galloway's specialty. That is what makes his apparent popularity within minority communities so worrying; he is happy to trade away people's lives abroad in order to garnish enough support for a seat in Parliament, or just to get up on his soapbox and pronounce another thug or criminal as a statesman, or to pronounce someone's indefatigability. He's done it with Saddam Hussein, Bashar-Al Assad, and Hezbollah. That's the same Hezbollah who's Lebanese government practice what is, essentially, a segregated system


In the case of Bashar Al-Assad, Galloway essentially denied the fact that the Syrian government arrested and tortured people without trial, and abused human rights like many other authoritarian states. This abuse is more widely recognised as the civil war that erupted four years ago after civil demonstrations which demanded a more democratic and accountable government. The sad truth is that Galloway should look in the mirror before arguing that some view other people's blood as 'cheap'.


I don't believe any blood is 'cheap', and that any single human life is as valuable as another. When one is talking about the Palestinian problem, we have to accept there are no easy solutions. A recent Amnesty report highlighting the conduct of Hamas during the 2014 conflict makes for grim reading. The list of charges against the group ranges from war crimes to summary executions of the native populace. The question of whether or not there can there be an independent Palestine without Hamas is a good one, however even Fatah's human rights record hardly inspire confidence.


There have been ideas about Israel being extended and Palestinians given full rights, and even reparations. This idea has not been warmly received outside academic circles, it could be that too much blood has been spilt for any kind of amicable arrangement to come about. Both sides have rejected overtures and offerings of peace in the past, and both have committed war crimes against one another. If you're firing rockets indiscriminately, and using suicide attacks aimed at civilian targets then the intent is all too clear.


There is much competition for media air time as well when it comes to disasters. The Syrian conflict, the Yemeni conflict, the Sudan conflict, are just three wars which all deserve extensive coverage because of the human cost,and the political dimensions to each of these specific wars. Does this mean we think blood is cheap in Africa, or the Middle East? Or is it the case that not everyone can cover everything everywhere? I tend to think it's far more likely the latter. It's the world in which we live where even disasters aren't covered appropriately on the news. If Galloway wants to set up a new channel himself to cover all of this then no-one is stopping him, except I think it is time he steps off the soapbox and stops embarrassing himself any further.

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