Israeli operations in the Gaza strip are rapidly moving from simple self defense to an all out war on an embittered, entrenched, defenseless and destroyed populace.
Israel is a country that was setup with the best possible intentions, but seems to have quickly decayed towards being yet another rich, self centered country – and one who feels that a self built moralistic background allows it to propagate its own world view upon its neighbors. A dangerous combination, as anyone who studies Iran can testify.
The suffering and destruction that Jews have survived throughout the ages -not least in our own Andalucia during the middle ages – does not exonerate them from the charges that could be levied against them during the current occupation and near destruction of Gaza.
Ignoring the illegal occupation of the West Bank, if Hamas was voted into power in the Gaza strip, it was only because of the frustration felt by the ordinary Palestine – Hamas coming to power in Gaza cannot be attributed to a mass Islamic movement across the region, but simply to a natural desire for change among the ordinary voter, and the inability of the previous administration to negotiate with Israel. It is a simple swing away from one end of the spectrum to another, in the same way that the Spanish, against expectations, voted PSOE after the Madrid train bombings.
While Israel is justified in its attempts to bring to an end the constant rocket attacks upon its citizens, it is worth remembering that these have been traditionally homemade rockets fired by patriots who have nothing else to occupy them, due to Israeli sanctions and roadblocks – sanctions and roadblocks that have lead to international condemnation, and has brought only further power and ammunition to the local leaders. Therefore, if Hamas has access to advanced Iranian and Islamic military technology then it is only because the local region feels that Hamas is a martyr worth supporting for their own gain.
1,4 million people live in the Gaza strip – a fetid, rotting remains of a city that is being constantly encroached by Israeli “settlers”, and is ringing off by a formidable military force. It is only natural that in such a situation the citizens of Gaza will look to the strongest leaders – and that those leaders would pretend to the local religion in order to win support from local theocracies. Therefore the election of Hamas (in a relatively democratic election) was an entirely natural choice that had Israel desired otherwise could have been avoided.
Israel has had enough chances to lower the temperature on this boiling pot, and should remember at all times that they are the local superpower, with the almost unconditional backing of the western world. But it is currently allowing short term political gain, and possibly long term territorial gain, to outweigh its own personal philosophy of peace and Zionist teachings.
While nobody doubts the fact that Israel is surrounded by hostile nations, and must have a strong and committed military to prevent attack (if you desire peace, first prepare for war comes to mind), stirring up such unnecessary hatred would appear to be a self harming action in the face of the current geopolitical scene, if not a deliberate provocation.
As I watch the news reports, I am forced to speculate on whether this could actually have been a long term plan by Israel to take control of Gaza – for it’s intractable political position against Palestine can only otherwise be explained by short term political gain, willful ignorance of basic psychology and pandering to an uninformed mass.
In either case, it seems incredible that we can support the mass killing of innocent civilians (men, women, children) by a Western Democracy. While the American Presidency may find itself incapable or unwilling of condemning Israels actions, I fail to see how any EU member state can find it within itself to support Israel or be mute on its actions. The Jews have enough experience of being the helpless victims of powerful bullies – by their constant attacks on unarmed civilians they are allowing their own power to go to their heads, and acting in the same fashion as their oppressors in times past.
Hmmmm. Unfortunately criticism of the mistakes of Israel in this rather selective way does not make Hamas into angels. These are people for whom nothing but the removal and destruction of Israel represents an acceptable outcome for the struggle which has gone on since 1948. Whatever is the true nature of the problem in this region Hamas is not the answer – as the very muted reaction of the West bank and other arab states in the region clearly demonstrates.
On this one David I strive to respect your views but cannot support them.
I certainly refuse to back Hamas or to support it in any way, and condemn its actions and aims.
However, I still believe that it is only because of past mistakes on the part of Israel that Hamas gained the power and support it has in Gaza.
Israel voluntarily withdrew from Gaza 2 years ago – Hamas came to power there as a result of a conflict with Fatah centered on Arab corruption and not directly conected with Israeli actions. Indeed there was briefly some optimism for the 2 state solution in 2006. Much of the moderate Arab world does favour this but unfortunately faced with a choice between a Hamas led Gaza determined on the destruction of Israel – moderates will always favour Israel as they rightly should.
Which explains the 500 dead -mainly children and women- in 5 days, killed by hightech modern Israeli weaponary?
Israel should not have allowed itself to be placed in this situation, and appears to have allowed Hamas to build up the pressure in the Gaza strip until it was forced to react in a disproportionate manner.
1. There is no credible evidence that it is “mainly women & children” among the dead.
2. Are you now suggesting Israel should not have withdrawn from Gaza? Talk about ‘dammed if you do……’
1.- Actually, you only have to watch any prime time Spanish TV news (1,2,3, cuatro, telecinco or La Sexta all seem unanimous on this) for lots of closeups of what is called “collateral damage”. Bodybags. Children with missing limbs. Even the BBC is now admitting this. It’s worth noting that nobody knows the exact figure because (from the BBC): Israel is refusing to let international journalists into Gaza despite a ruling by its supreme court to admit a limited number of reporters.
2.- I’m saying that if you wall up (it’s a big wall they put up) some 1,4million people, give them intermittent electric and water, no jobs, no schools, control access to all basic goods through military checkpoints…. you can’t be surprised when they turn on you.
3.- Does anyone think this attack is really going to solve anything? It is just making Hamas stronger and the population even more embittered. Israel won’t even disclose it’s aims, because they don’t have any. It’s just a short term political aim to win the upcoming elections. And since Fatah supporters can’t even point to the moderates in the West Bank gaining concessions from Israel (because Israel won’t give them an inch) Hamas are able to rally even more support.
Oh dear – well if it’s on spanish TV it must be right 🙄
The reality is David you have effectively chosen your side in the conflict although you may not realise it and therefore I will leave the discussion. My hope is simple – a 2 state solution & I do not see Hamas accepting this so moderates on all sides will end up leaving Israel to do their dirty work for them.
Au contraire Hudson. I agree that a 2 state solution (Palestine & Israel) is the way forward. I also agree that Hamas will never accept this.
I also argue that had Israel taken a different line in the past Hamas would never have come to power in Gaza in the current manner and the current situation could have been avoided.
Israel is the regional power. It has one of, if not the most modern and best equipped armies in the world. It has the 100% backing of the US, and a good 90% backing from the EU. It has a modern democracy and strong economy. Yet, it refuses to allow journalists into the area; it refuses to disclose what it’s aims are in this war; it refuses to disclose any information on its actions; and it has so widely defined “combatant” that a paperpusher in the Palestine government could be considered a legitimate target.
You may be interested in reading this that was just published on the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7811386.stm (Gaza conflict: Who is a civilian?)
I’m sorry, but I cannot support Israel in this conflict, although I can understand why it is acting as it is (short term political gain before the elections – damn it, Hamas has been dropping rockets on Israel for the last two years and they never cared before). You really think that in a weeks time Israel is going to be able to withdraw from Gaza and everybody comes out saying “we’ve been naughty, and we understand why! Peace!”
On the other hand, we can just say “sod it” and continue repeating the mistakes of the 20th century – bomb the bastards until nobody’s left, and if anybody gets in the way, well, their fault, they should have been born “our” colour/religion/nationality/sex/[insert reason for random murder here].
Sorry for biting back but the BBC is notorious for its Lib/Lefty stance generally and is stuffed so full of poltical correctness these days that it is probably less reliable a commentator on these matters tnah Al Jezeera 🙂
And that really is my final word – it is your blog after all!
Ok then, let’s examine the more right wing The Times, which leads on an article about Israel using white phosphorus shells as smokescreens – fine, until phosphorus lands on you, when it burns like napalm. Illegal to use as a weapon, so they get around this by using it is a “smokescreen”.
Looks like we shall have to build a wall between you two!
I have just read the article and responses about the “war in Gaza” on this site. What is absolutely clear is that the original author has no proper understanding of the real issues involved. The views expressed are solely based on TV reports and other news items. Most of these views are as a result of propaganda by one side or the other. Few rely on facts or deal with the underlying issues which are based on the destruction of a sovereign nation by a few Jihadist terrorists hiding behind the noble aims of Islam. Make no mistake these people, including Hamas who are supported by Iran, want the destruction of ALL non-believers not just Jews. Their stated aim is to destroy all non-Islamic people and return society to a system where only men have rights and basic tribal law. They have no notion of democracy as we understand it and believe that using women and children as human shields is “God’s will”
Everyone is entitled to express a view on this most complex matter but I, for one, should prefer to hear from people who have studied and researched these things properly.
Alex – are you saying all 1,300,000 people living in Gaza are fundamentalist Muslims who want to wipe out the rest of humanity?
I have no issue with killing -make no mistake, we are idly discussing people here, and I am surprised by the people who call for the elimination of Hamas who then condemn the death penalty in prisons (something I am against, but hey) – all Hamas leaders, and agree that while Hamas controls the Gaza strip peace, love and democracy is not possible.
But that did not, and does not, give Israel carte blanche to use immoral weapons -phosphorous amongst others – against a civilian, mainly innocent, population. And I remind you that had Israel been less trenchant in the past it is possible that Hamas would never have been elected.
You and I are relaxing in comfortable chairs, maybe quaffing a beer, in front of expensive PCs in climate controlled rooms in our comfortable houses, unaware that we are the luckiest people alive. Because we have the wealth, and luxury of being able to argue and discuss other peoples lives without it affecting us in any way. And sometimes that clouds our judgement.
Of course I’m not saying that all Palestinians’ want to wipe out Israel. I didn’t even mention them! The Palestinian people are tragic victims of “Jihad” as much as the many thousands who died In New York, London and Madrid. Have we all forgotten the 8 young boys murdered in a Jerusalem school last year by those who now complain about the “unintentional” killing caused by the Israeli Defence Force? The IDF does not target women or children, whereas Hamas indiscriminately has fired over 8000 rockets into Israeli villages. My comments are about Islamic fundamentalism.
I have spent many years considering some of the issues in the Middle East. I still subscribe to dozens of Arab, Muslim and Jewish websites and am an avid reader and watcher of TV news programmes from Tel Aviv, Tehran, various Arab countries and of course Europe and the US. I have been to Israel, Jordan and Egypt and have a deep and informed understanding of Islamic and Jewish culture.
It is no twist of fate that, without exception, every free democratic nation on earth believes that Hamas is a terrorist organisation whose sole purpose is the support of Islamic fundamentalism and the destruction of both Israel and every other non-Muslim country. The current Hamas regime in Gaza was not democratically elected. A minority were until a small group of terrorists seized power by murdering the opposition members who were elected by the people. You have to ask why the vast majority of Arab States won’t support Hamas.
The use of phosphorous by the IDF was a big mistake and hopefully they will be held accountable. I wonder what the mothers of the young boys murdered by Hamas in Jerusalem would say?
So…. we are in agreement, then? Israel has the right to defend itself, but as a free democratic nation must realise that that right is limited by its obligation to defend the innocent, whatever their religion or politics?
No – we are definitely not in agreement. Israel has the lawful, moral and unrestricted right to take whatever action necessary to defend both itself and our civilised society against attack from murderous terrorists acting in the name of their God. We certainly need to try and deal with Hamas et al but until they renounce their “destruction of Israel policy” we have a duty to defend the rights of all free people living in the Middle East and throughout the world.
Defend the rights of all free people… but not the Palestinian mother cowering with her children under her kitchen table as your mighty war machine pounds her suburb into oblivion?
I am not getting into a pointless argument about which side commits the most atrocities. It is the nature of war that people get killed and injured. I can only repeat that this problem will only be resolved when the terrorists are defeated or everybody in the world is dead apart from the Jihadists!
… that sounds suspiciously like the Jihadists claim, but swapping around the protagonists.
Still, I suppose it’s our fault for sending you T.Blair. Gotta love that – send a Converted Missionary Christian to sort out Fervent Jews and Fundamentalist Islamists. Equivalent to lighting a match in a gunpowder factory.