Friday, May 17, 2013

Naqba — Commemorating a Self-Inflicted Tragedy

Today, Palestinians and their supporters, as they have done increasingly over the years, mark what they call the naqba (Arabic for catastrophe). It was on this day 65 years ago that Israel came into existence upon the expiry of British rule under a League of Nations mandate.

That juxtaposition of Israel and naqba in not accidental. We are meant to understand that Israel’s creation caused the displacement of hundreds of thousand of Palestinian Arabs.

But the truth is different. A British document from early 1948, declassified only weeks ago, tells the story: “the Arabs have suffered a series of overwhelming defeats…. Jewish victories … have reduced Arab morale to zero and, following the cowardly example of their inept leaders, they are fleeing from the mixed areas in their thousands.”

In other words, Jew and Arabs, including irregular foreign militias from neighboring states, were already fighting and Arabs fleeing even before Israel had sovereign existence.

Thus, on May 15, what is now called the naqba consisted, not of an Israeli act of forcible displacement of Arabs, but of neighboring Arab armies and internal Palestinian militias responding to Israel’s declaration of independence and Britain’s departure with full-scale hostilities. Tel Aviv was bombed from the air and the head of Israel’s provisional government, David Ben Gurion, delivered his first radio address to the nation from an air-raid shelter.

Israel successfully resisted invasion and dismemberment — the universally affirmed objective of the Arab belligerents — and Palestinians came off worst of all from the whole venture. At war’s end, over 600,000 Palestinians were living as refugees under neighboring Arab regimes.

So the term naqba is misleading. Indeed, it smacks of falsehood, inasmuch as it implies a tragedy inflicted by others. The tragedy, of course, was self-inflicted.

As Israel’s UN ambassador Abba Eban was to put it, “Once you determine the responsibility for that war, you have determined the responsibility for the refugee problem. Nothing in the history of our generation is clearer or less controversial than the initiative of Arab governments for the conflict out of which the refugee tragedy emerged.”

However, the Palestinians do not mourn today the ill-conceived choice of going to war to abort Israel. They mourn only that they failed.

This is contrary to normal historical experience of disastrous defeat. The Germans today mourn their losses in the Second World War — but not by lauding their invasion of Poland and justifying their attempt to subjugate Europe. They do not glorify Nazi aggression.

The Japanese today mourn their losses in the Second World War — but not by lauding their assault on Pearl Harbor and their attempt to subjugate southeast Asia. They do not glorify Japanese imperialism.

The very existence of naqba commemorations is therefore instructive in a way few realize. It informs us that Palestinians have not admitted or assimilated the fact — as Germans and Japanese have done — that they became victims as a direct result of their efforts to be perpetrators. It informs us that Palestinians would still like to succeed today at what they miserably failed to achieve then. And it informs us that they take no responsibility for their own predicament, which is uniquely maintained to this day at their own insistence.

If readers doubt my word, consider this vignette from January 2001. That month, Palestinian rioters in the West Bank burned in effigy John Manley, then Foreign Minister in Jean Chrétien’s Canadian Government. His sin? — Mr. Manley had offered to welcome Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Canada after a peace settlement. The Palestinian response? Legislator Hussum Khader of Fatah, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’ party — not Hamas or another of the Islamist groups — threatened Canada, saying, “If Canada is serious about resettlement, you could expect military attacks in Ottawa or Montreal.” A similar offer by then-Australian Immigration Minister, Philip Ruddock, also received a threatening Palestinian rejoinder.

Scarcely a typical response by a government official to an offer of refugee relief, Mr. Khader’s was illuminating. Setting up a Palestinian state and resettling the refugees and their descendants inside it or abroad would remove any internationally accepted ground for conflict. That is why helping to solve the Palestinian refugee problem is regarded as a hostile act — by Palestinians.

Naqba commemorations disclose that the conflict is about Israel’s existence — not about territory, borders, holy places, refugees, or any other bill of particulars.

Only when Palestinians accept that Israel is here to stay will the possibility of the conflict’s end come into view. In the meantime, responsible governments can discourage and repudiate naqba commemorations as a small but important step towards bringing that day closer.


British social workers already have overweening power -- but want more

A year ago, I wrote of a worrying case where Social Workers went to the High Court for permission to enter the home of a person of sound mind because ‘it was thought’ that possibly they were making decisions as a result of ‘undue influence’ by their son who lived with them. No one actually knew whether they were or not, but on the basis that they might be – such permission was granted. Fair enough, a judge had listened to the arguments from ‘a’ social worker – we are not allowed to know who – and a document was drawn up delineating what subjects the son was allowed to speak of to his parents in their own home…in particular, he should not discuss with his parents any arrangements for securing the family home. What happened to the home in which he and his parents lived was to be entirely a matter for the local authority to decide if and when they thought it should be sold…..presumably if and when the parents became vulnerable through mental incapacity.

Social Workers were outraged – why should they have to grovel before a judge and explain themselves before they could enter a home and decide the basis on which family relations should be conducted? The fact that they wanted to do so should be perfectly sufficient! They lobbied hard to be given an automatic right of entry to any household they wished, regardless of whether the occupants were vulnerable for any reason…in order to dole out health advice or dictate how individuals conducted their family affairs.

The Government agreed to consult on the matter. Raccoon readers were kind enough to make a magnificent response to the survey! The results of that consultation were published a few days ago. The Government were not minded to give that power to Social Workers:

We believe it is highly significant that members of the public were far more strongly against the proposal compared to health and social care professionals [...] it is clear that some people perceive themselves at greater risk of unwarranted intervention by social workers than of abuse in their home.

The Social Workers have thrown a hissy fit! We, the public, don’t understand! Nanny knows best! We have to be encouraged to eat our ‘five a day’, and Social Workers are the people to do it… no sooner was the Government’s conclusion to the survey announced than the Social Workers flounced into print:

A survey of social workers carried out by the College during the consultation had found overwhelming support for the power, with practitioners citing cases where they would have used it had it been available. Walker said:

“It seems that the weighting [the government has] given to individuals’ responses doesn’t reflect the evidence or the professional view.”

They are mobilising ‘the professional view’ to lobby the Government before the second reading on the 21st May of the Bill that would give them this power. This is becoming a battle of wills. Nobody is objecting to them going to court if they really believe that there is a specific problem in a specific household – but that is a world away from all Social Workers having the power to enter any house at any time and dictate how the occupants live!

Remember that Social Workers do not have to be publicly named, nor do the local authority have to be publicly named – There have been 358 applications from Bristol City Council, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath & North East Somerset councils in the last 3 years alone demanding the right to take control of households, their finances and the welfare of the occupants. Just in one relatively small area!

Newcastle MP Paul Farrelly has written to the Lord Chancellor demanding to know why Stoke on Trent City Council has requested that some families be imprisoned for challenging orders governing the welfare of their loved ones. (No public record exists of Judge Cardinal’s ruling on Miss Maddocks and secrecy rules forbade anyone to name Stoke on Trent City Council who had requested that Miss Maddocks be imprisoned. The social worker who gave evidence against her could not be named either.)

Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore said:

"It cannot be right that local authorities and council bureaucrats should run roughshod over the lives of individuals and their families. At the centre of elderly care must be the concept that families and loved ones must have a right to care and look after the best interests of patients, whatever their condition’.”

I have spoken to John Hemmings MP on this matter, and he told me this morning, quoting yet another case:

‘Although the senior judiciary have now moved to stop secret imprisonments for contempt of court, it remains that we have a number of other secret prisoners where there is no public accountability as to why people have their liberty denied. I have passed the Rachel Pullen case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (RP v The United Kingdom). The key to this case is that as with many others in fact she does have capacity. It is simply that the courts have ignored all the evidence that she has capacity and only taken into account the single expert that says she doesn’t. I have provided examples of a number of cases where the capacity assessment is plainly wrong.

In England we allow a single social worker to imprison someone by claiming that they don’t have capacity – and the Courts will accept this. That is basically wrong.’

They are misusing the power they have at present, a power that they argued was essential to protect the vulnerable, the young, the elderly, the mentally incapacitated. Now they seek to extend that power to all of us, at any time, under any circumstances, just because they think they should – and they don’t want a nosy judge overseeing how they use that power.

They don’t like the fact that the Government listened to the public in that consultation – they want our voices to be overruled. What do we know, ignoramuses that we are?

Lord Reid once said:

“English law goes to great lengths to protect a person of full age and capacity from interference with his personal liberty. We have too often seen freedom disappear in other countries not only by coups d’état but by gradual erosion: and often it is the first step that counts. So it would be unwise to make even minor concessions.”

Please help to reinforce the will of those in parliament who are listening, and will try to protect our freedom. Lord Howe will be introducing the ‘Care Bill’ into the House of Lords for its second reading on May 21st 2013. Make sure he doesn’t think the public’s response to the consultation was a ‘fluke’ – and drown out the voices of the professionals!

Its in your ‘best interests’. You can e-mail Lord Howe via this link. Tell him that you do want your voice to be heard!


British police chief constable and council chief executive refuse to stand down despite catalogue of errors in Oxford sex ring scandal

The angry mother of a victim of the Oxford sex grooming gang last night demanded: ‘Someone needs to take the blame.’

Catastrophic failings by police and social services enabled the sadistic group to drug, rape and traffic girls as young as 11 for eight years. Victims repeatedly told police they had been abused and sexually tortured and care-home staff just watched as the men collected the under-age girls at night.

But despite the catalogue of appalling blunders and missed opportunities – and David Cameron warning police and council chiefs they faced ‘very searching questions’ – nobody is  prepared to take the blame.

Both Thames  Valley Police Chief Constable Sara Thornton and Joanna Simons, head of Oxfordshire County Council, say they will not resign.

Their defiance, a day after the seven vicious and ‘medieval’ predators were convicted at the Old Bailey, came as:

* It emerged that only one care worker has been sacked in the aftermath of the scandal.

* An MP urged courts to impose ‘the most severe penalties’ on the gang so the victims receive ‘the justice they were denied by the local authorities’.

* One of the UK’s largest police forces said tackling child sexual exploitation is now a bigger priority than gun crime.

Most of the eight-year campaign of abuse by the gang took place after Miss Thornton was appointed head of the Thames Valley force in 2007.

She yesterday apologised for not acting sooner, but when asked if she had considered resigning from her £160,000-a-year post, she said: ‘The focus has got to be moving forward. I think the focus for me is on driving improvements in the future.’

Five of the six girls were abused while in the care of Oxfordshire County Council’s social services department.  But Miss Simons also said she was not quitting her £182,000-a-year job as chief executive.

She said: ‘My gut feeling is that I am not going to resign because my determination is that we need to do all that we can to take action to stamp this out.

‘[We are] incredibly sorry that we weren’t able to stop this abuse any sooner ..... what we understand now is much more about the grooming process.  'We didn’t understand that going back seven or eight years ago.

‘All I can do is apologise if we didn’t listen enough, if we didn’t do enough.’

The mother of one of the victims, only 14 when the gang began plying her with drink and drugs before exploiting her for sex, said: ‘Oxford Social Services has failed our children and someone has to pay for it.

‘They were supposed to be looking after my child, yet the social workers went home at night knowing that she was being abused and did nothing.

‘The police are talking about there being more victims, something like 50 more girls, who they want to come forward.  But how can they expect them to have the courage to come forward when these six girls have been failed so badly.’

Speaking in New York, the Prime Minister refused to defend the Chief Constable and county council chief, saying the authorities would have to ‘respond for themselves in terms of what happened’.

Mr Cameron, an Oxfordshire MP, said: ‘It really is just appalling, absolutely appalling – it’s shocking what took place. Everyone’s going to have to ask some very searching questions about how this was allowed to continue for so long.’

As with similar outrages in Rochdale and Rotherham, police officers, social workers and staff in residential homes knew or suspected that children were being used and sold for sex by large numbers of men.

But a catalogue of opportunities to stop the abuse were missed from as early as May 2005.

Two of the three care homes where victims of the Oxford gang lived have been closed down.

But only one person has been sacked – a manager at Dell Quay, a privately run care home in Henley-on-Thames where the council placed girls, was dismissed after refusing to pay a victim’s taxi fare when she returned after running away.  The 14-year-old was driven back to Oxford where she was raped.

Steve Heywood, assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said yesterday: ‘Our No 1 priority at the moment is child sexual exploitation. It is now ahead of gun crime. Expect a lot more convictions.’

Prosecutors have pledged to 're-review' three historic cases involving victims of the Oxford sex ring after admitting more could have been done to investigate their claims.  The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would look again at the decision to take no further action over the allegations of abuse involving the girls from 2005 to 2006.

In one case, the CPS said information was requested from Thames Valley Police but the force did not respond.

Baljit Ubhey, chief crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern, said the CPS would now be more 'proactive' when dealing with sex abuse allegations.  She said: 'We want to encourage people who have experienced something similar to have the courage to come forward.

'What we shouldn't do is as soon as we see a weakness - the girls had taken drugs or alcohol or they lied about something in the past - that means, "this case is hopeless and we can't go ahead with it".  'Rather than be fatalistic and negative, it's about being really positive and saying, "how can we really get to the truth here?"'

Ms Ubhey admitted the CPS should have pursued Thames Valley Police when information was first requested about one of the claims.

The further allegations do not involve any of the defendants involved in the Old Bailey trial, she added.

'I think we could have been more proactive,' Ms Ubhey said.  'Of four cases we looked at, in three of those it's arguable we might have been able to do more.

'What I can't say is that we will change our decision. What I can say is perhaps we could have taken a more proactive approach in making further enquiries.'

Ms Ubhey confirmed a serious case review would be conducted following the conclusion of the trial.


Authoritarian Britain:  They can't be bothered about Muslim sex criminals raping young white girls but having a model railway in your home calls for action!

A model railway fan has been ordered to dismantle his £10,000 train set in his loft by his housing association on health and safety grounds.

Father-of-three Robert Burdock, 61, has 63 locomotives which whizz along 70ft of track around the perimeter of his attic.

His train set includes hand-crafted stations, depots, streets and tiny figures - which are all enjoyed by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

But a social housing firm now says Robert has made 'alterations' to the two-bed 1950s property in Buckfastleigh, Devon, without permission - breaching strict planning regulations.

Robert, who has lived in the home for fourteen years, says a housing official arrived to inspect a leaky chimney and told him the train set had to go.

Retired builder Robert said: 'I've been building train sets since I was 11. It's been a lifelong passion of mine and I take a real pride in creating things.

'When I moved into this house I decided I needed a project to keep me going as a hobby and I decided to build a railway in the loft.

'Some people like to spend their money down the pub or play a few games of snooker, but for me I build railways.  'I've made much of the scenery myself and spent anything from £8,000 to 10,000 on it.

'There's absolutely no way I'm taking it down now - if they want to evict someone over a train set that's up to them.'

Robert's woes began when he rang Teign Housing to report a leaking chimney at the £140,000 ex-council property where he lives with his disabled wife Linda, 64.

He says the only work he's ever done to make room for the train set was to put down flooring and replace a single, faulty electrical socket.

Robert, who retired due to ill health, said: 'They have said that unless I dismantle the railway, they will send in their workman to pull it apart so they can put right the changes I've made.

'All I've done is put down flooring that meets all the required regulations and I've even coated the little buildings I make in fire-retardant.

'Everything is based on trestle tables. I've not damaged a thing. This house was a tip when I moved in. I've spent thousands down the years doing it up.  'I even fitted my own central heating - you won't hear them complaining about that.

'People might think model railways are childish - but I don't think I'm being the childish one here.'

Teign Housing insists Robert's track has to go so inspectors can make sure the loft area is safe. The firm manages over 3,600 homes across south Devon.

Paul Davies, head of asset management, said: 'It is part of our tenancy agreement that tenants must seek permission to make any alterations to our properties so that we can make sure it is safe and meets the required building regulations.

'We have written to Mr Burdock to explain that all items in the loft space must be removed so that we can gain access and reinstate the timber members to ensure the property is safe.

'Once this work has been done, we will look at ways for Mr Burdock's train set to be accommodated safely.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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