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Thursday 15 September 2011

It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Mel

Melanie Phillips is worried. Worse, she’s worried about war. She’s worried that there is about to be a declaration of war. Real, shooting war. And that the declaration of this real, shooting war will be made at the UN General Assembly (GA). Mel has become convinced that the GA is about to declare war on Israel. But, just to be on the safe side, she’s let Daily Mail readers in on the secret.

For Mel, the prospect of an independent Palestinian state being recognised is an “incendiary gesture”, and “the pretext to ignite the Arab world into a fresh campaign of violence against Israel”. And who is going to give the green light to this recognition? Apparently Young Dave is, and he’s compounded his misdeed by giving an interview to Al-Jazeera English.

The premise that giving an interview to Frostie is some kind of wicked act of betrayal is not an easy one to stand up. It’s not as if AJE are in the business of slanted and agenda driven journalism in the same way as Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). Moreover, the idea that Israel’s neighbours are limbering up for a scrap is ludicrous. After all, they all know their history – here’s a quick recap.

1948 War Of Independence: this kicked off more or less at the moment the state of Israel came into being. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) prevailed and a substantial amount of territory across the Negev was captured, giving access to the Red Sea at Eilat. Progress was so rapid that, on arriving at the sea, the IDF had no flag to raise: the soldiers improvised with a white sheet and some blue ink.

1956 Suez Crisis: the IDF made such rapid progress that it had to wait for the British and French to catch up. It was only when the USA leaned on the UK that Israeli forces were withdrawn.

1967 Six Day War: the Israelis started this one: whether it was an act of aggression or a pre-emptive defensive strike is still in dispute. The IDF captured the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the whole of the Sinai peninsula.

1973 Yom Kippur War: the IDF, with a bloke called Ariel Sharon leading the way, actually crossed the Suez Canal. Israeli forces also punched deep into Syria. Only after this event did Egypt make peace with Israel, and regain control over the Sinai.

In fact, as Robert Graves once put it, “the Egyptian Army had its last military success at Kadesh against the Hittites in 1299 BC”. With the Syrian army otherwise engaged right now, and the Jordanians not likely to disturb the peace, one has to wonder what Melanie Phillips is so worried about. With Mel, it is indeed a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

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