People and Politics by Patrick Roberts
David Trimble to be Israel observer on Gaza flotilla inquiry
Posted on Monday, June 14, 2010 at 04:00 AM
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David Trimble will be one of the two foreign observers on the Israeli government investigative committee which will examine Israeli Defence Forces actions against the Gaza flotilla ships.
That is a little like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.
Trimble has a Nobel Prize for helping bring about the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland but his bona fides on Israeli issues are suspect to say the least.
He is known to be close to Dore Gold, a close associate of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Indeed, Trimble recently joined the "Friends of Israel" initiative which was launched in Paris some weeks ago.
He is about as unbiased on Israel as he is on Ulster unionism.
With his Nobel Prize he offers some clever camouflage for the Israeli inquiry into what went on when the troops landed on board a Turkish boat and nine Turks were killed
But he is utterly biased.
Unionists in Northern Ireland overwhelmingly associate with Israel while nationalists associate with the Palestinians.
You will see Israeli flags in many Loyalist neighborhoods, as the sense of a siege mentality, and surrounded by enemies runs deep in both the Israeli and Unionist mindsets.
The fact that there is an Irish dimension to the flotilla, involving another Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire and activists who have ties to Northern nationalism, further weakens Trimble's stance as an unbiased observer.
His instinctive sense will be to side with Israeli authorities.
In that respect his detractors will see him playing the role of a useful idiot to an inquiry that seems highly unlikely to find the Israeli forces at fault.
Maybe Trimble will surprise but I doubt it.
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