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25 April 1980. Thought for the Week: "When history is written with a four inch brush most of the experience of the species is left out. The preparation of majestic accounts which are concerned with squaring the past with the 'eternal verities' and galactic scaled 'movements' as well as various categories of ethereal abstractions, finds no use for several classes of jagged facts which would interrupt the serene flow of such tales, and give some inkling as to how complicated affairs can get, as well as indicating how perverse, obstreperous ornery and marvelously diverse the human species can be."
Dr. James J. Martin, in his Introduction to The Saga of Hog Island (and Other Essays in Inconvenient History) - 1977
OIL AND THE PALESTINIANS
The belated awakening in the West to its vulnerability
regarding oil shortages as a result of the power struggle in the Persian
Gulf area, has at last forced the leaders of Western nations to examine
the reasons for bitter Arab hostility. Since the end of the war, Arab
claims have been swept under the carpet. The hottest question of all
- that of the Palestinian refugees - has either been ignored or ridiculed.
TIME, (April 14, 1980) carried as its feature a nine-page article on the Palestinians. It is safe to say that the TIME of a few years ago would never have contemplated such a feature. It was totally committed to Israel's cause, long past the point of objectivity. In fact, any suggestion that the Palestinians had a case at all was usually written off as "anti-semitism". The rewards and punishments skillfully applied by a worldwide Zionist machine have been amazingly adept at sustaining falsehood. But events themselves have a way of forcing truth into the open. Thus, a multitude of questions concerning the creation of the State of Israel, the role-played on Israel's behalf in the United Nations by the Soviet Union, the very question of a "chosen people" philosophy, how the Palestinian problem was created, are all under discussion in many communities and many countries today.
Few would condone the use of terrorism by the Palestine Liberation Organisation. It is just as evil today under Yasser Arafat as it was under the Zionist Stern Gang led by Menachim Begin, Israel's current Premier. But TIME concedes that the Palestinian people have a grievance, which can be ignored no longer. Today, 32 years after the Israeli State was set up, 650,000 refugees still live in squalid conditions in the camps into which they fled after being forced from their homes and farms by the influx of Jews returning to "the promised land".
TIME says: " Of the world's 4 million Palestinians, only about 47,000 are members of either the P.L.O's Palestine Liberation Army (12,000), or its six semi independent commando groups (30,000 - 35,000). At present, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which assists in the running of the refugee camps, there are 1.8 million registered Palestinian refugees, but only about 650,000 of them live in 61 camps scattered throughout Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. The great majority of the world's Palestinians still live in the Middle East mainly in Jordan (about 1 million), the West bank and Gaza (1.2 million), Israel (650,000), and Lebanon (450,000), but there are sizeable communities in the gulf states, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In Kuwait the Palestinians constitute about 20 percent of the population, in Jordan an estimated 65%... Three years ago, according to one survey there were 40,000 Palestinians enrolled in universities throughout the world, a remarkably high rate for an impoverished people."
TIME goes on: "...Partly to justify their own right to settle in the Holy Land, Israeli leaders have tended to disparage Palestinian claims to the area as somehow flawed or even specious. In a political statement that her political successors have come to regret, Golda Meir once said "there was no such thing as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist."
The only hope for peace in the Middle East is
a just recognition of the Palestinian case. One can only hope it is
not too late. It says something for the sickness of the materialistic
West that only the selfish motive of oil is forcing recognition of an
evil, which we found it easier to ignore when it was first perpetrated.
SIR WILLIAM KNOX ON TAXATION
Former Liberal leader in Queensland and current Minister for Health, Sir William Knox, has claimed that taxation is now causing poverty in Australia. He was quoted in The News (Adelaide) 14/4/80 as saying: "Massive action needs to be taken to stop the rot, and the only way is through meaningful taxation reform. No matter what the family does, the grim tax reaper is there for his piece of the action... Many hard working family heads cannot properly support their families," he said. "It is not the wages structure which is at fault, but the tax structure."
Sir William Knox is right. Federal taxation, direct and indirect now takes just under $2,200 for every man woman and child in Australia - well over $10,000 for the average family of four. But Sir William's problem, like the rest of Australia, is to convince the Federal Treasury before it brings Australia to its knees. He'll find it something like trying to waken the dead!
Britain's rate of inflation is now nudging 20%; about the same as the rate of inflation in the U.S.A. Where are all those many professional economists - "experts", who have been forecasting an end of recession in the Western world, and a final mastery over the beast of inflation? Well, they are still around; no doubt making a good living. A professional astrologer would do just as well; casting an economic horoscope with zodiacal signs interspersed among the hieroglyphics of inflation, deflation, 'baskets' of currencies, the European "snake", and all the rest. Under the conventions of political economy this will guarantee a further surge of wage claims by the powerful unions, and these will be pushed ahead into costs of production of goods and services, together with the added costs of overdrafts with their interest rates now hovering around 20%. Hyperflation has now emerged in Britain and the USA. The erosive effect of inflation, as mentioned in last week's On Target Bulletin will be exacerbated. We recall that in 1973, Dr. Otmar Eumninger, of the West German Central Bank, forecast in an address to the Per Jacobbsen Foundation that the financial systems of the West would suffer some form of collapse if inflation were not brought under control in three years from that time. We are well over that allotted time, and it appears that the gloomy prediction of Dr. Emminger may prove correct.
A Gallop Poll in Britain has revealed that the majority of Britons feel that they should withdraw from the Common Market. This is a reversal of the 1975 Poll, which showed the majority of Britons in favour of Common Market membership. The majority of Britons saw the Market dominated by France and Germany. If ever there was a mass brainwash job on a nation of people it was that done on the British with respect to membership of the European Common Market. We vividly recall reading just prior to Britain's Market membership, a lengthy article by Barbara Ward, the "noted" British economist, headed . . ."(Common) Market for Peace and Prosperity". We can now dispose of the "prosperity"; Britain is now rocked by high unemployment, soaring inflation and interest rates. Who would now deny that the prospects for "peace" have now diminished alarmingly? In 1960 the Soviet Union was far behind the West in military capability. Britain pours $2 BILLION annually in the Common Market for which they get in return - dearer food, added inflation, and loss of sovereignty.
Now Mr. Doug Anthony has come up with a "sudden" realisation that Australia's participation in the Moscow Olympics is a security risk. The logic is that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has destabilised the Indian Ocean region of the Middle and Far East. What about the Soviet actions in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Africa? They weren't security risks, perhaps? Our point is that Mr. Anthony seems to be shaken by "sudden realisations" when oil supplies and trade with the Middle East Arab nations are threatened. The threat has been there for decades; it is just coming closer to us. It will come closer still.
Mr. Douglas Wilkie, Melbourne, the political commentary elder has drawn attention to cynicism and hypocrisy of modern day politics in his column in Sunday Press (Melbourne) April 20th. Covering the "Death of a Princess" flap, Mr. Wilkie makes a barbed onslaught against the media in Australia: "On our home front the media conspires with Al Grassby to avoid identification of ethnic minorities involved in vice, violence, or financial swindles, lest we stoke the fires of Anglo-Saxon bigotry." He further observes that Mr. Whitlam did not find it hypocritical to impose a sports boycott on South Africa without a trade boycott. But Mr. Hayden does find it "hypocritical" to boycott the Moscow Olympics without a corresponding trade boycott.
The Australian (April 21st) observes that the Olympic games are finished in their present form, and that some better type of international sporting function should be devised. The basis of this judgment is that from Berlin in 1936 to the present time, the Games have been a springboard for aggressive nationalism and political ideology. If the Games are to survive, then they will have to be freed, somehow, from these destructive encumbrances. We feel sympathy for the athletes, who train so hard to compete over the very few years at their disposal. There's no room for cynicism or hypocrisy when a rigorous training programme is to be followed.
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