The people of the Middle East need our support

Since Mubarak fell the pro-democracy protests in other Arab countries have mushroomed.

In Libya people are braving the bullets of Gaddafi’s thugs. Many have been killed. Today the people of Morocco have joined those in Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Bahrain in challenging their rulers.

Many on the streets ask: what are the Western countries doing to help us?

Until now the answer has been “not much”. But over the last day the Obama administration and the EU have been more critical of the attacks on the protesters.

But in the last 10 days since Mubarak fell our Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, has not been reported as saying anything.

This is not good enough. The Middle East is at the turning point, and the democracy movements need explicit support right now.

A democratic Middle East is also likely to speed a settlement of the Israel/Palestine dispute. In this respect it’s sad to see the Obama administration still firmly on Israel’s side of the fence. The US has just vetoed a UN Security Council resolution criticising Israel for building new settlements on the West Bank.