The policy of Ariel Sharon’s government has managed to isolate Israel in the international community to an unprecedented level in recent history. Christians are starting to side with the Palestinians for the first time.
The shockingly repressive attitude of the Israeli security forces was visible in Ramallah, where aid agency employees trying to take supplies into the beleaguered city were attacked with tear gas and baton charges, several international and Palestinian civilians being hospitalised, as the cameramen had their equipment covered, stolen or smashed.
In Lebanon, a mass demonstration in support of the Palestinians was broken up by the riot police, a scene which was repeated all over the Middle east as patience starts to disappear and tempers begin to fray. A violent demonstration took place in Yemen in front of the Israeli Embassy, while in Baghdad, personnel at the United Nations building witnessed a furious crowd outside.
In Lisbon, a vigil has been set up outside the Israeli Embassy, the few dozens of protesters on Tuesday swelling to several hundred on Wednesday, with the promise of an organised concentration called by the Portuguese Communist Party for next week raising the stakes.
The European Union has called for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied territories, as the Pope calls for the faithful around the world “to pray for the integrity of Bethlehem, where Jesus Christ was born”. Inside the city, hundreds of people are under siege by Israeli troops in Christian churches, in which there are said to be numerous dead and wounded, civilians shot by the Israeli troops. Reports that there are armed Palestinian gunmen inside the churches have been disclaimed by eye-witnesses, who told Pravda.Ru contacts that the weapons had long since been handed over.
Religious leaders were prevented from entering Bethlehem early on Wednesday morning by the Israelis, a measure which provoked, for the first time, a mass demonstration by Christian monks and nuns. In Ramallah and Jerusalem, a group of 2,000 pacifists were attacked with batons and tear gas by a violent contingent of Israeli riot police.
There are reports that Egypt and Jordan have severed diplomatic ties, but as this report goes to press, it is impossible to confirm these with the proper sources.
When seeing the blind arrogance which drives the Israel of Sharon to ever more barbaric and repressive fascist policies of repression, the thought comes to mind of a famous last stand, a stand of desperation, of failure to come up with a solution to the country’s challenges today, of an exhausted regime devoid of ideas as to how to stem the tide of hatred and repudiation echoing around the world.
The State of Israel is isolated, out-dated and out of friends. Time to change, or die.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru