There is No News Today

There is no news today. Or rather the news today is full of stories about Yasir Arafat’s release from his Ramallah prison. This is variously being presented as a cause for jubilation among Palestinians, a personal victory for a ‘defiant’ Arafat, and a ‘success’ for US ‘diplomacy.’ 

Torture distorts hopes of future generations

Torture is abhorrent. Torture is illegal. Yet torture is inflicted on virtually every imprisoned Palestinian, including children. Despite the universal condemnation of torture, it is still used to extract confessions, to interrogate, to punish or to intimidate. The victims of torture are not just the people in the hands of the torturers. Friends, families and the wider community all suffer. 

'Before our own eyes'

The falsehood that Israel ever made significant withdrawals from the occupied territories or that the three and a half million Palestinians subject to its military rule ever enjoyed more freedom than any people corralled into tiny ghettos by an oppressor serves the same purpose as the thoroughly debunked myth that former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made ‘far-reaching compromises’ at Camp David. 

'The best lack all conviction...'

Lately, we watch the news with one eye shut, the other wincing in anticipation of anguish. Though we mumble to ourselves: “It can’t possibly get worse” as the newscaster reports another dozen Israelis or Palestinians are dead, we dare not say it out loud for fear of tempting fate with such presumption.