[Rescued from Drafts]
While I'm at it, here are some other unpublished letters pulled from the sent items file. Why do I bother? It's not as if letters changed anything. Who am I kidding? Vanity. Arrogance. irritability. And those are my good features.
My grandfather fought in the Light Horse at Gallipoli and his brother died there, which I hope gives me standing to say that the proposal to spend not far south of a million dollars on a Gallipoli VC is a criminal waste of money, an insane fetishisation of holy relics, and a clear breach of the second commandment.
Grandfather went on to lose an arm conquering Palestine for the British; if anyone has a loose million lying around it would be more sensible to use it to help the descendants of the Palestinians who were gazumped by that imperialist intervention.
As one of the people who’ve written to the Age recently questioning Israel’s right to exist, can I say that I resent being put forward as evidence of Australian anti-semitism? I said then that states don’t have an automatic right to exist, and cited the USSR, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia as examples of states that weren’t around any more. I can’t see that comparing Israelis to Russians, Yugoslavs or Czechs is evidence of a belief in racial exceptionalism. On the other hand, giving Israel a pass in Lebanon on the grounds that “the vast bulk of its citizens see [this] as a justifiable war” without applying the same principle to the Indonesians in Timor, say, or the Serbs in Kosovo, does seem to be rather tending in just that direction.
If Israel really wants a five-kilometre buffer zone with Hezbollah, it can have it tomorrow without fighting, diplomatic hassles, or bombing from the air, and in a way that contributes to peace rather than seeding new wars. It can pull its own settlers and its own forces five kilometres south. It’s not the Israeli penchant for spite fences that the world objects to – it’s their insistence on setting them up on their neighbour’s land.
OK, at 5am Lebanon time yesterday we set the speedos back to zero. By Age press time the Israelis in Lebanon had already shot two Hezbollah and threatened to blow up any moving vehicle. I mention this now in the hope of avoiding a long argument in the letters column next year over just who cast the first stone this time.
If Howard manages to push his History reforms through we will at least be confident that Australia’s youth will leave school knowing their significant dates – Coronation, 1953; Bradman, 1908-2001; Gallipoli, 1915: creation of the earth, 4004 BC.
The Palestinians should accept the right for Israel to exist in the same way that the Israelis accept Palestine’s right to exist. How hard could that be? That would give the Palestinians control over Israel’s borders, its roads, its water, all of Jerusalem, and any hilltop that looked inviting, constituting 40% of the best land. The Palestinians could occupy any Israeli city any time they felt like it, could invite anyone of Palestinian descent from anywhere in the world to return and settle, could round up and imprison the Israeli cabinet as convenient, could declare the Israeli army illegitimate, and could build high walls around Israeli settlements with closely policed crossing points. Offer them that and I think they’d listen.
And that's the Roskam one.
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