All these years on from Sabra and Chatila, has anything changed?
By Patrick Cockburn
".....Soon after seeing Waltz with Bashir I saw TV pictures of the broken bodies of the Palestinians killed by Israeli bombs and shells in Gaza during the 22-day bombardment. At first I thought that little had changed since Sabra and Chatila. Once again there were the same tired and offensive excuses that Israel was somehow not to blame. Hamas was using civilians as human shields, and in any case – this argument produced more furtively – two-thirds of people in Gaza had voted for Hamas so they deserved whatever happened to them.
But on returning to Jerusalem 10 years after I was stationed here as The Independent's correspondent between 1995 and 1999 I find that Israel has changed significantly for the worse. There is far less dissent than there used to be and such dissent is more often treated as disloyalty.
Israeli society was always introverted but these days it reminds me more than ever of the Unionists in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s or the Lebanese Christians in the 1970s. Like Israel, both were communities with a highly developed siege mentality which led them always to see themselves as victims even when they were killing other people. There were no regrets or even knowledge of what they inflicted on others and therefore any retaliation by the other side appeared as unprovoked aggression inspired by unreasoning hate......."