Sunday 15 October 2023

Gaza has become Scotland's problem


The conflict between Hamas and Israel ought to have nothing whatsoever to do with Scotland, but we are being dragged in because our First Minister is Humza Yousaf and his wife’s parents are trapped in Gaza.

It is necessary for all of us to have compassion for everyone who is trapped in Gaza. This is the case in any war. It was a mistake in my view to bomb cities in the Second World War. I understand why it was felt necessary at the time. In the early years of the war there wasn’t much else Britain could do to fight back. But it achieved little except the loss of civilian life, and I don’t believe it shortened the war even by one day.

For the same reason we must hope that Israel kills or injures as few Palestinians in Gaza as possible. But that does not mean that Israel does not have the right to take all necessary measures to defeat a foreign state that has just attacked it.

While the modern morality of war means that no one thinks that Operation Gomorrah which created the firestorm killing 37,000 in Hamburg in 1943 is acceptable, if an enemy state attacks you there is an absolute moral right not only to defend yourself but also to fight back to the extent that you defeat that enemy and prevent it being able to attack again. You must try to kill or injure as few civilians as possible, but you can still defeat your enemy.

Humza Yousaf is rightly concerned about his family members who are trapped in Gaza, but what he has not told anyone is that they should not have been there in the first place. The Foreign Office provides travel advice to British citizens and there was prior to the Hamas attack on Israeli citizens a travel warning against all travel to Gaza.

I can understand why Humza Yousaf’s in laws chose to ignore this advice. They wanted to visit members of their family. Nevertheless, it was foolish to go somewhere where the Foreign Office could not help and where it would be impossible to obtain travel insurance.

Humza Yousaf wrote to the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister, but he ought not to expect any more help for his in-laws just because he is First Minister than if he were a private citizen. The British Government will no doubt do that it can, but it will have no diplomats in Gaza and it’s not clear what else it can do.

This brings us to something unpleasant. I thought Humza Yousaf behaved rather well when he went to a synagogue to comfort the relatives of a Scottish person who was killed in the Hamas attack. But I begin to question what he really feels. The reason for this is that another SNP politician close to Humza Yousaf appears to have a more radical view.

In a speech from a few years ago we can hear Nadia El-Nakla a Dundee City Councillor and wife of Humza Yousaf make some statements that are dubious and unacceptable.

She begins by referring to Ban Ki-moon calling Syria a terrorist regime and clearly thinks that Israel ought also to be called a terrorist regime. She claims that Israel kills children as if it does so deliberately. She then refers to David Ben Gurion the First Prime Minister of Israel as a terrorist.

El-Nakla quotes Ben Gurion as saying, “The old will die and the young will forget”, but there is no record of him saying any such thing. It’s like quoting from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

El-Nakla uses this spurious quote to justify why she is arguing. She says Palestine will only be free if we remember and we fight.

People on both sides of this argument ought to have as much free speech as possible, but this I think is pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable.

If you think that David Ben Gurion was a terrorist, you are saying the equivalent of George Washington being a terrorist. But a terrorist cannot found a legitimate state. This then is to deny Israel’s right to exist.

But not only does El-Nakla think that Israel was founded by a terrorist, she thinks that it is still ruled by terrorists.

She thinks that we should not forget, and we should fight. But what is she fighting for. It’s not entirely clear. It could be that she is fighting for a two-state solution where the Palestinians rule Gaza and the West Bank. But they do that now. So it appears she must be going beyond that. She thinks Ben Gurion wanted the Palestinians who were displaced from their homes in the war of 1948 to never return. Well, she obviously wants to fight to allow them to return.

She says Palestine will be free, she doesn’t add from the “river to sea” but it is implied by her desire that they will return. That is the point of remembering.

But what then would happen to the state of Israel and the Israelis living there. Well, we discovered that last week.

It’s only because of the Hamas attack that Palestine supporters are speaking at all. If there had been no attack by Hamas they wouldn’t be demonstrating. No one would be demonstrating.

El-Nakla just like Humza Yousaf will deny that they support Hamas and we must take them at their word unless we can show otherwise. They will say that Hamas has nothing to do with their family in Gaza.  But Hamas was elected in 2006 which is why it took over the Gaza Strip in 2007. We can’t tell who in Gaza supports Hamas and who doesn’t. Perhaps El-Nakla’s family voted for someone else entirely. But clearly some people in Gaza support Hamas. We saw them cheering last week.

If I were a descendant of Palestinians, I too would most likely be angry about what happened in 1948. But I might equally be angry if my family were expelled from East Prussia. The twentieth century was full of tragedy. But however, Israel came about and there are arguments on both sides, it exists. It is full of Jewish people and in my view, people talking about freeing Palestine implicitly from the Jewish people living there are coming very close to advocating mass murder. There is no other way to free Palestine except by defeating Israel militarily, which would involve the wholesale replacement of the Israeli population if not its extermination.

Daniel Hannan wrote today

Then, the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees,” says the 1988 Hamas Covenant, “and the rocks and trees will cry out: ‘O Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’”

But this doesn’t come from Hamas it comes from the Sunnah

The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.

This I think is the essence of the problem. While Germans accepted the loss of their land in 1945 and the displacement of their people, Palestinians didn’t. They continue to refight the war of 1948, which was a war to exterminate the Jews. They don’t want to coexist with Israel, they want to destroy it. They can’t quite bear that Jews live in land that used to be part of the Dar al-Islam and will hunt them as they hunted them last week in the Negev and will expect even the trees and the stones to help them murder the Jews.

None of this of course should have anything to do with Scotland. The history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should have no more interest to us than the dispute between China and India over uninhabited valleys in the Himalayas. But somehow Humza Yousaf’s family holiday has become our problem as is his wife’s desire to return to somewhere where she wasn’t born and isn’t a citizen.

If you liked this article, then cross my PayPal with silver and soon there will be a new one. See below.