The Malta Independent 5 December 2023, Tuesday
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Inappropriate words hurt those mourning the victims

Noel Grima Sunday, 19 November 2023, 07:14 Last update: about 17 days ago

When Roberta Metsola and Ursula Von Der Leyen courageously travelled to the kibbutz near Gaza after the 7 October massacre, they could still smell the acrid smell of burnt bodies and most probably there were still dead bodies lying around in the grass.

For that gesture of solidarity both women were crucified all over the world, and in Roberta’s case in Malta by the pro-Palestinian majority and especially by Robert Abela who does not miss one chance to attack his possible antagonist in the next general election.

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Later forensic examination then discovered how the victims were killed. Like males having their genitalia cut off before they were killed. Like a mother bound to her daughter and then set on fire. Like a baby stuffed into an oven while her mother was raped. Like.... so many other stories of incredible ferocity against unarmed civilians who were just carrying on with their lives. Killed just because they were Jews.

The world was shocked but not all had the decency to express horror.

Then Israel began tightening the noose around the Hamas killers and all the world discovered the words of condemnation that had previously had them tongue-tied.

In only two countries, the US and France, people came out to protest against this wave of anti-Semitism. Otherwise, in practically every country, people gathered to protest against the bombing of Gaza. And only that.

As they did, in a minor key, here in Malta. And in Malta Robert Abela found his tongue. Speaking during a party political meeting at Paola, Abela was quoted as saying that “no retaliation justifies the butchering of the Gaza people”.

Excuse me. Who is doing the butchering here? The real butchering had taken place on 7 October and was up close and personal.

Of course the above does not condone the death of so many citizens of Gaza, especially children, in the bombing raids. Every death by violence is to be condemned especially of children.

But in his speech Robert Abela did not even try to be fair and mention both sides of victims. Nor did he refer or condemn the butchering of 7 October, up till then, at least according to the press reports. Perhaps he was euphoric that day because one opinion poll had put him as a winner in an eventual election by the grand total of 9,000 votes (down from the 40,000 at the last election).

Whatever the reason, he used inappropriate language and hurt those still mourning the victims of the massacre. And he joined in the Palestinian chorus of speaking about the victims of the Israeli bombing as being “butchered” while consigning the Israeli victims to eternal forgetfulness. And this on Remembrance Day.

The theme was repeated some days later when Parliament discussed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the Budget Debate, not having found time to hold a specific debate on the 7 October massacre. Speakers from both sides continued with the two sides mantra, even Mario de Marco whose father we remember with the Palestinian keffiyeh years ago.

I have three warnings for Robert Abela for in this matter memories have long feet.

It was in Malta that Mossad carried out the murder of the Jihadi leader Fathi Shqaqi outside the Diplomat Hotel in Sliema on 26 October 1995.

It was in Malta that the film Munich about Israeli retaliation after the Olympic games massacre was shot.

And thirdly let Abela himself find out what happened to a previous resident of Castile after he tried to be cocky to the Israeli government. National security does not allow me to tell the whole story.

Time will tell.

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