Palestine - the hinge of our humanity? The Middle East in Flames
3-08-06 Totnes Civic Hall

Why am I here and not making something good in my workshop?

1. Taught to be truthful, a lesson which obviously passed over most of the political class. Being truthful also means speaking out.

2. I cannot stand seeing underdogs kicked around

3. As an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon all my efforts, and those of the good people with me, were devoted to healing tissue and in relieving pain – not in blasting bodies apart.

4. The bombing of the Afghan people by B52s from 32,000ft in the Autumn of 2001 galvanised me; I have not rested since.

5. My central motivation is the love of the child. We have two happy grand-daughters, Isabel and Nel. I look into their beautiful eyes and see the two billion other children on our planet. They are all equally precious; not one should be harmed.


Why are you here?

1. I assume for similar or the same reasons as my own.

2. Also, you are very fearful for your families and for our world.

3. You know the sewer of black propaganda is spewing more powerfully than ever.

4. You know that what is being done in our name is wrong wherever the British boot is planted.


Palestine – the remnants of

The recent history of this formerly beautiful little land at the eastern border of the Mediterranean Sea is a microcosm of British imperialism. To know about it is difficult.

We talk of unravelling. This has been ravelled, on purpose – and so much one cannot see how to start the unravelling. Maps a good example.

Then you are inhibited by the fears that any criticism of Israel or its representatives will be met by charges of anti-semitism. Furthermore, you feel some of the guilt and the horror of the holocaust.

You all would prefer as I do to be universalists, and not tribalists. To be as Tom Paine – 'the world is my village'. To take no account of skin colour and to respect each world citizen. Instead, in the case of Israel, the language has been defined already. Israel calls itself, uniquely in this world, the Jewish state. That status is refined for instance by its immigration policy. Any one with a Jewish grandmother has a right of admission. A Palestinian wishing to return to the land of his birth has no such right.

The holocaust is central in our awareness and especially when irrational and powerful people are on the rampage, as now. About 6 million Jews were killed under the Nazis. But so also were Romanies, Communists, Serbs, Poles etc. All those who were considered impure or a threat. European guilt for the holocaust should forever remain within us. However remember that the Arab world was not involved. Remember also that the genocide of the North American Indian or of the Australian aborigine is almost forgotten by the same European perpetrators.

So we speak the truth without fear or favour, and for justice everywhere. Do not feel threatened.

The Zionist movement and British perfidy - treachery

As a result of the Eastern European persecution of the Jews, an Austrian, Theodore Herzl led the idea of a Jewish homeland. Christian Zionism, the idea that the Jewish people were the chosen people for the 'promised' land had been going in North America for two centuries. You might know there are at least 40 million adherents there now. It is said that a majority of Jews shunned this ideology.

There was lobbying of the British government during WW1 for this. On the 2nd of November 1917, the Balfour declaration was issued. It had been cabled to President Wilson in the US for his approval. I have been told recently that the World Zionist Federation had provided the wording for Balfour. The 126 words promised a homeland for the Jews but it included this one phrase

........... it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.

It was sent down to Lord Rothschild as president of that federation.

Britain was not given the mandate over Palestine until 1923. Even then it did not own it. It had given away someone elses land; a typically imperial act. Within 3 years Balfour, a Christian Zionist, was indicating privately in correspondence that he was not concerned with the future of the Palestinian people.

Steady immigration started in small numbers, spurred later by vicious discrimination under the Third Reich and other states.

The population of Palestine – not a nation, but a people and with a cosmopolitan texture – small part aboriginal Jew, quarter Christian, three-quarter Muslim saw the writing on the wall. They became aware that exclusiveness was part of the plan and borders expansive. Increasing unrest in the 30's. Jews and Palestinians hung – I recall examining the chief hangman as a patient in Bristol.

Plans plain – Ben Gurion in 1935, the father of Israel - 'extreme force may be required to remove the Palestinians.

Ord Wingate, of Chindit fame, a Zionist I understand, trained Jewish guerillas in commando warfare.

And then WW11. In the year after the European War ended, a tired Britain had to contend with a spreading Jewish 'insurgency'. Stern gang Lechi and Irgun.

Bombing of King David hotel – killing 92. BBC programme on 'terrorism'. Old lady - a young Zionist then, raised her fist and shouted 'we were fighting a war''. Thought my parents generation had fought for her freedom and for justice everywhere.

Zionist bombing campaign in Europe and especially Britain. Top targets Ernest Bevin (a very good Foreign Secretary who was against the Zionist project) and General Barker who was O/C Palestine. All this on an excellent BBC programme by Mike Thomson recently.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/document/document_20060724.shtml

Bibi Netanyahu – Likud. Has just called for all out war on Lebanon. Before that attended unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the bombing of the King David Hotel which led to the British relinquishing its mandate, listen:-

“It’s very important to make the distinction between terror groups and freedom fighters, and between terror action and legitimate military action,” he said. “Imagine that Hamas or Hezbollah would call the military headquarters in Tel Aviv and say, ‘We have placed a bomb and we are asking you to evacuate the area’.”

A month ago he told an audience that Israel had enough firepower to 'wipe out' the 1.4 million people of Gaza, but no doubt the Gazans were pleased he was not going to do that.

MAPS


Then the agony started for the Palestinian people. They did exist although Golda Meir was quoted as saying 'there is no such thing as a Palestinian'.

The Israeli State established in '48. >Arab-Israeli war. Great disparity in weapons and organisation.

Terror, frightening a civilian population to subdue it, was a central tactic. The massacre of Deir Yassin by Jerusalem was central among others for its barbarism. About 150 men, women and children were killed. This spread panic so that about 400,000 Palestinians fled to the south, north in Lebanon, and east into the West Bank. This is called el nakba – the catastrophe. Ethnic cleansing is an unpleasant euphemism. What happened is within the definition of genocide.

The process has continued. Britain has continued to aid the Israeli State in every way and it has done nothing, zero, zilch, to bring justice to the Palestinian people from that scrap of half A4 paper in 1917 to the present.

A few deeds among many to bring this home this alliance. Heavy water from Norway to Israel in the 60's along with other ingredients for the manufacture of atomic weapons. Said to have been signed off by a senior civil servant without PM Harold Wilson's knowledge?? Benn. I am told Wilson was a Zionist sympathiser, was a frequent visitor to Israel, and did his best to stop the passage of the crucial UN Resolution 242. A forest/wood is named after him in Israel. That state has over 200 nuclear weapons, a state of 5 million people.

Britain supplies Israel, against our national and international law, with weapons.

Head up cockpit display units for the F16s and bomb release equipment. Armoured personnel vehicles as well. But these are used for the repression, wounding and killing of the occupied people. And you have seen Britain complicit in the arming of Israel this last week, with the 747s at Prestwick.

Israel was a lead singer in the chorus for the war to break Iraq into pieces. The evil neo-conservatives who had been central in this crime of all war crimes spend a good deal of time and fuel shuttling from the 'land of the free' to Tel Aviv and to London. They filled our screens courtesy of the BBC for many nights in the propaganda campaign for war on Iraq. In November 2002, 5000 US special troops were trained in Israel in 'urban techniques', ready for Fallujah, Haditha etc. British, German and other troops have trained there since. There are two such training centres there.

One of the torture techniques used in Iraq, where Israeli personnel have also served, is called the 'Palestinian position'. You know why and you will feel the same revulsion as me. Know that over 600,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned since '48 and that the total population then was below 1 million. Torture was widely applied. Not one Israeli officer has ever been brought before a court for that.

The catalogue of terrible grief and loss is endless. It has grown largely with the silence of the outside world. The Palestinian has lost ground, literally and metaphorically, month by month. That is due to indifference, a lying media, and those factors I enunciated originally.



I chartered a cargo vessel, bought 50 tons of good food, and went with 3 other Britons from Torquay in February 2003. This was to bring attention to the grotesque injustices suffered by the Palestinian people. Secondly it was to stand for reason and against a destructive and probably cataclysmic war. On the 16th of February we were seeing the horrors for ourselves. Two of our party wept often. On camera I described the scenes in Rafah as being like Warsaw in 44. That will resonate with the many Jews of warm hearts.

Those scenes are repeated now in Beirut and Qana by the same agency.

I founded the charity , the Dove and the Dolphin, after the name I gave to our voyage. I have been back 4 times. We have focused on the practical.

In April this year I went by myself into Gaza on behalf of the charity. It was under siege, indeed a medieval siege. Virtually no food was being allowed in, nor medical supplies. The 50 million dollars that came each month from import taxes via the Israelis had stopped in March. A similar amount that comes from the EU had also been stopped. And why? Because the Hamas party had won power with 43% of the votes cast in a scrupulously held election and that party would not recognise Israel. It had done so de facto because it had sought to negotiate. Israel has never recognised even the hope of a Palestinian state.

All the public employees went unpaid and each one supports a larger family of about 10. A good number of children were malnourished already. By the time I visited about 7000 shells had been fired from land and sea. Illegal aerial assassinations by missile from helicopters continued as they do now.

This brutal siege was laid by 29 nations. They wanted to overturn the 'terrorist' entity. The 29, the 25 EU nations, Canada, Japan, the US and of course, Israel. I saw 29 well fed, muscular boys in their playground, kicking a hungry thin lad in the corner to death.

The conditions in Gaza are worse than ever. In there effort to destroy Hamas by causing the people to suffer, they have destroyed many homes and bombed or rocketed ministry buildings. Corporal Gilad Shalit. Letter just received from Pinter, Chomsky.

And now Lebanon is being crushed. The likely starting point was the infiltration of Israeli soldiers/agents into the village of Aita al Chaab on the 12th of July – probably in disguise. Four dead, two captured and some rockets fired. Then bombardment by Israel. Hisballah rockets started the next day. Reports from Israel that an attack was being planned – divisional manouevres a month before. Similar reports from Gaza.


 

WHAT TO DO NOW

The hour is late, very late for the Lebanese and the Palestinians


First, silence is complicity. The German people are still reviled for their silence. But exactly the same techniques were used on them, as are now being used on us. The burning of the Reichstadt in 1933 which put fear in their hearts and ushered in ever more draconian laws was the 9/11 and 7/7 of this ''New Century of America''. We are now at 1939. Do not be silent. Your children will not say thank you for saying, repeatedly, 'I feel powerless'.

Inform yourselves. The internet, whilst it remains largely free, is a bastion of freedom. Public meetings like this will regain their old importance. Measure the untruths in the media, especially in the State Broadcasting Service. Deluge it with complaints about its almost perpetual bias including the tide of anti-Islamic and other racist dross designed to distract you and to polarise you.

'Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people' – Adams 1775

Then stand up and speak out when you feel you must. In every possible place - to neighbours, family, public places, newspaper columns, the media. Put notices or boards on your car if you have one, and if you haven't put them where they are seen like motorway bridges. There is a potential fine of £2000 but the law is not applied to commercial bill stickers. What is the greater crime – a bill or a burnt child?

Demonstrate with others. It gives you some strength by seeing other citizens who feel the same and it might even get reported on TV. Especially if someone throws a brick, as Benn once observed. Join the massive march at noon on Saturday – Hyde Park corner. You are asked to bring childrens' shoes to leave at the home of the Rt Hon Anthony Blair. He will not be there. We are told that, true to his psychopathic personality, he will be absorbing the heat of the Bahamas whilst Lebanese children feel the greater heat of high explosive in Beirut.

Direct action. The crimes being committed by Bush, Blair, Olmert and others are so great that this is fully justified in morality and law ie 'the prevention of a greater crime'. Those people (like Linda Percis) who disabled a B52 at Fairford were right to do that. I am not sure, as a very law abiding fellow, that I would have the guts to do it. I am inhibited in knowing that if I got a criminal record, I would not be able to travel to the remnants of Palestine any more.

Political. The grotesque injustice we see, the weeping we hear, mean that our political system must never be the same again. Shut your ears to 'liberals' who think that negotiation/correspondence with an MP who voted for the massive assault on Iraq will bear fruit. They delude themselves and others: they are the handmaidens of the totalitarian. You know that what I say applies to a large majority of MPs. Their relationship, party to party is symbiotic, in fact incestuous. The incumbent here in Totnes is a case in point. At the talk by Martin Bell in May, Mr Steen was challenged about his support for the Iraq war. I hope I am correct in saying that Mr Steen said the Tories voted for the war because Labour voted with them on the Falklands. 'You scratch my back and I will let you do a Churchill on Iraq.' What Mr Steen did not say was that Duncan-Smith, Ancram and Jenkin had crossed the pond at least twice to get their marching orders for Iraq from their Republican?neo-con pals in 2002.

No. You correspond with and meet MPs who are conscientious. The others you do your damnedest to oust at the earliest opportunity. They have been complicit in crimes of the greatest magnitude. In a just world they would be in those gaols they are so eager to build. And we have public meetings where we can assess women and men of known integrity who have put themselves forward as individuals. Yes, we will be very wary about 'party politics' which have served this country and this world so poorly.

Mr Blair, Bush, Berlusconi and many others besides demonstrate undoubted psychopathic characteristics. They have an abnormal response to the suffering or loss in others. This insensitivity to pain is also expressed as a blindness to irony and to complete hypocrisy – more than brass neck.

Last night we saw our Prime Minister, ragged but dictatorial, finding time out from his News Corp friends, to mouth a few sound bites for the Polyfilla News at 6pm – or was it 10. He spoke of 'an arc of extremism' as the bombs were falling on Lebanon and the people were dying in Gaza and the 'West Bank', and by the score in Iraq – the latter of his making. Extremism!!

No Mr Blair. There is no 'arc of extremism' which of course took in Syria and Iran on a piece by Whewell on Newsnight – part of the drip, drip for bombing those people.

But there is an arc, an axis of extreme evil. At one pole there is Tel Aviv, at the other is Washington, and sitting in the middle is London. Power oscillates back and forth along this axis as busily as all those jets. This axis has no interest in justice or in true democracy. It cannot warm to the smile of a child or comfort a tear.

Most important of all - Go to the Remnants of Palestine

Go stand with your brothers and sisters there. Embrace them. See their resilience and be warmed by the smiles, 58 years after their agony started. Challenge the Israeli State by being there. Learn a great deal more and absorb the undiluted evil of an 'occupation'. Being there gives them heart; they value it greatly.

If there is no truth, there will be no justice.

If there is no justice there will be no peace in Palestine.

If there is no peace in Palestine, there will be no peace in the Middle East.

If there is no peace in the Middle East, there will be no peace in our world'

Thank you for listening. I will now show two 5 minute videos and then we can discuss these vital things.

For truth, justice, reason and peace David

David Halpin FRCS

(First video – interview of Mahmoud Baroud on the rubble of his house in Rafah. His six children, his wife and himself had 30 minutes to leave in April 2004 before it was bulldozed. A university lecturer in English, now in GB for post-graduate PhD studies.

Second – Dr Malcolm Kendall-Smith (ex FlLt RAF). A message to the Military Families against the War from his place on parole – with 'tag'. His crime was to refuse being part of a war crime in Iraq, and for having both courage and conscience. Two others doctors and myself are proud to have given him and his lawyers some support.)

David Halpin has recently returned from his fifth visit to the remnants of Palestine. He found the suffering of the people to be greater than ever. All the features of a medieval siege were in place and international law absent. On return to this 'western democracy', he heard the deafening silence of a prostituted press. Prostituted that is to a government which is unprincipled in its actions and alliances, and incestuous in its dealings.

He will describe the current state. How world humanity deals with Palestine, will help decide whether homo non-sapiens survives on this beautiful planet. (45 minutes)

Biography:

David Halpin FRCS is an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon. He has always done his best to speak up for the truth as he sees it. Two of his battles were against the 'internal market' in the NHS, and for the survival of the excellent Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital in Exeter. Both were lost, but those losses pale against the vicious dismemberment of the NHS that is in train now.

The bombing of the Afghan people by B52s from 32,000ft in the Autumn of 2001 galvanised him. Since then he has spent most waking hours standing and working for Palestine and against imperial non-defensive war.

He is motivated by love of the child. He sees in the beautiful eyes of his two grand-daughters, the two billion other children in the world. They are all equally precious and not one should be harmed.

David has always loved the natural world. He gets some relief from feeling the pure evil of much political action, by tending the 35 acres of woodland he established in the village where Susan and he used to live.

Do your best to heal and not to harm.