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Flying Israeli flag causes controversy

Never one to shy away from controversy, Whitianga flag man Garth Nicholson is at it again, this time flying the Star of David high over his front garden in a show of support for Israel.
 |  Tony Stickley  |  ,
Israel Flag
Garth changes the flags regularly. After a couple of days the Israeli flag was replaced by the flags of the Netherlands and Ireland.

The 68-year-old former soldier has hoisted dozens of ensigns from different countries up the flagpole outside his house in Albert Street over the years, including the Palestinians’.

But after what he describes as the “orgy of evil” carried out by Hamas terrorists three months ago on Israeli territory, there is now only one flag allowed to flutter in the breeze.

“What we are doing is showing support for Israel because we don’t think that they are getting a lot of support from around the world,” said Garth, his wife Marilyn sitting by his side.

When the couple talk about support, this is not some sort of half-hearted, mealy-mouthed wringing of the hands; this is full throttled championing of Israel’s right to defend itself in its war against Hamas in Gaza.

“What happened to the settlers and the concert-goers was terrible, just pure evil.

“Parents and children were killed in front of each other, set on fire while still alive, people were beheaded, and women raped and mutilated.

“War is one thing, but when you enjoy making people suffer like that, then that is nothing but pure evil and Israel has the right to strike back,” Garth said.

Now was the time for individuals and for countries to face up to the influx of Muslims into Western countries with their different views and culture.

“Already in Europe, a number of countries are saying enough is enough.

“They are suffering heaps of problems with Muslims because their ideology does not fit in with the Western world, some even demanding to impose Sharia law.

“Sooner or later you have to take a stand, stop sitting on the fence and decide which side you would rather have: one where you still have freedoms to protest, or one where you get thrown off a tall building or get shot for daring to say what you think,” said Garth.

Asked whether he thought Israel’s response was maybe a little extreme, Garth said that the Israelis had made it clear that they wanted to root out the Hamas fighters who had carried out the atrocities on Israeli soil and destroy the organisation for good.

“At the end of the day, it is horrific, but that’s war. There will always be collateral damage but Israel is going out of its way to forewarn people where it is targeting, doing their best to prevent collateral damage,” he said.

Asked about innocent civilians being killed, Garth questioned just how innocent they were.

“We all saw the Palestinian people abusing the bodies of the dead hostages as they were dragged through the streets of Gaza – this was average Palestinians, not just Hamas.

“Average Palestinians have allowed Hamas to operate there and voted them in and they go along with Hamas ideology.

“They have allowed them to operate out of their hospitals and schools and their whole ideology is to kill Jews.

“Well, if you allow fundamentalist Muslims to use your hospitals, schools and houses, you deserve what you get. War is not pretty and if you allow them to set up bases in your hospitals and schools, then the Israelis have the right to go in to get these fundamentalists who slaughtered innocent Israelis,” Garth said.

Coincidentally, Garth’s father served in that region during WW2 and just after, but he said that had nothing to do with his views on the rights and wrongs of what was happening there now.

Despite his support for Israel’s military action, Garth says he would like to see a separate state for Palestinians. “Currently, no-one wants to take them, not the Egyptians, not the Jordanians…none of their Muslim brotherhood.”

He said that most of the comments he had received from people about the Israeli flag flying over his house were favourable but there had been some negative remarks.

“That is one of the good things about living in a Western democracy like New Zealand, we have freedom of speech,” Garth said.

“Try saying what you think in Iran, who support Hamas, and see what happens…”