Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Steve Investigates - Palestine...

The flags of Palestine & Israel

After successfully dissecting the murky world of Quantitative Easing, and the stinky dogs that are playing fast and loose with your pension, and your children’s prospect of getting access to free healthcare. I’ve decided to take a look at another of the world’s hot topics and this time I’m stepping, very bravely, into the even murkier world of Geo-politics and the Israel-Palestine question. I’m going to take a look into whether Palestine should, as they’ve asked the UN to do, be recognised as an independent state?

This question goes back a long, long way, the region of the world that is now Israel/Palestine has been at conflict for 100’s if not 1,000’s of years. It’s been occupied by many civilisations, inc’ being part of the British Empire until the end of the 2nd World War, and also is a very important site for three of the world’s major religions. Now, where religions live very close together there is usually quite a frosty atmosphere (despite the weather in the Middle East being one of sundrenched balminess). It would take too long to go into the historical detail of the region, a history that involves near constant conflict, Lawrence of Arabia, oil and lots of people being killed for reasons that don’t seem very reasonable to anyone that doesn’t live in the region.

The proposal before the UN asks the UN to back the Palestinians request to be seen as an independent state and for it’s people to have access to the legal rights that almost everyone else on the planet does. The Palestinians are asking for the right to self-determination, which was a very big reason why the world had two world wars, the people’s of Eastern Europe shrugged of the shackles of communism to become democracies, and was also used as the justification for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and more recently Libya.

The US government, backed by Israel and a strong pro-Israeli lobby, has stated that it will veto the proposal when the proposal comes before the UN Security Council. As the US is one of the five permanent members (the others are Russia, China, France and The United Kingdom) their veto will essentially quash the proposal before the full council (the non-permanent members inc’ Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, India, Nigeria, Lebanon, and South Africa, who are for the proposal and Colombia who are against it. Germany and Portugal, who like France and the UK will exercise the right to abstain due to collective EU voting nonsense. * China and Russia back the proposal *).

The changing shape of Israel/Palestine
But the whole thing boils down to two groups of people, The Israelis and The Palestinians, who have been in conflict for so long that any hope of salvaging rights for the ordinary people of Palestine and stopping the conflict is just about non-existent.

The Israelis don’t like rockets being fired at Israel by the militants in Hamas, who control The Gaza Strip, or the fact that Hamas is backed, funded and armed by the despotic regimes in Syria and Iran.

The Palestinians don’t like the fact that they live in the world’s biggest refugee camp which is blocked in by a massive wall that, in many areas, separate Palestinians from jobs, schools and hospitals and which they can’t cross without difficult to obtain visas. The Palestinians also don’t like the fact that Israel keeps building settlements in The West Bank and Gaza and find that houses that have been in the hands of Palestinians for generations are being taken and given to Israeli settlers.

So there’s a bit of an impasse, because neither side wants to give concessions to the other side and so the conflict continues to ruin the lives of ordinary people on both sides of the dispute and will do for a long time to come… which isn’t very cheery.

But it did start me thinking, it started me thinking that when the ginger one in The Breakfast Club got her hands on Ally Sheedy she absolutely ruined her. For about 90% of the movie everyone is having their turn to be a stroppy, alienated teenager and Sheedy sits at the back of almost every scene looking very pretty in a gothic kind of way.

As the film spins towards it’s conclusion, and the thorny problems of teenage angst and peer group approval rear up, Ally Sheedy has been transformed from a quirky, interesting looking girl into a mess who looks like she’s been crashed through a make-up testing lab on a scooter; given a dress that makes her look like she models for the people who design the little figures on the top of wedding cakes, a haircut by someone who lives in a mental institute and has had to use safety scissors, no mirrors and a inadequate dose of mood-balancing pharmaceuticals.

Sheedy goes from being the one that isn’t Molly Ringwald, and therefore quite nice looking, into a Ringwald acolyte as designed by someone who only used maths to make the transformation. It’s the world’s worst ever make over, it’s a disgrace and it should not have been allowed.

There, Palestine sorted.
Editor “Sorry, you lost me at Sheedy.”

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