Gaza

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Monday 10 July 2006 3.34pm
James, I don't know whether this is OK here...
But, what do people think about what's happening in Gaza?
Monday 10 July 2006 5.27pm
I'm off to the opera, but tomorrow I will tell you...since I live half the year in Israel I'm rather close to that particular business.
Tuesday 11 July 2006 5.13pm
What is happening, sadly, in Gaza is a tragedy. The people have elected the Government they wanted. The Israelis have withdrawn from their settlements there. For the last months the people of Gaza have been fighting among themselves without stopping, shooting and blowing eachother and themselves up, and still insisting in firing rockets into Israel even though the Israelis have been out of Gaza for a year already. Instead of attending to the schools and the sewage in Gaza, and trying to make life better, they have been having a gang war between Fatah and Hamas (and six or seven other factions). Then they decided to tunnel under the border and invade an army station inside Israel, and kill two soldiers and kidnap another one. Instead of returning the soldier, they have invited Israeli fire. And they're getting it.

The famous story about the poor family on the beach who got blown up made very good press. Everyone saw the pictures of the poor people having their picnic and getting shelled by the wicked Israelis....except that actually what happened was that they trod on one of their OWN shells, planted by their OWN militants - only that bit didnt hit the news because it was a few days later that it was discovered and by that time people were more interested in something else.

It is so tragic that the majority of people just want a quiet life, and a small fringe of fanatics are making life hell for years on end.No one, certainly not me, will say the Israelis are all snow white and blameless. But I would beg of anyone who wants to understand this conflict to look at history, and see that since the War of Independence in 1948, the Arab countries have ALWAYS fired the first shot, and always started the fight, and the Israelis have successfully defended themselves to the horror of everyone.

The fact that the mega rich Arab nations have left the people of Gaza and the towns on the West Bank to fester is shocking and very sad.
There is a huge political labarynth behind the whole situation of course, and I wont go on here. But I'd be glad to meet and talk to you any time.
Tuesday 11 July 2006 5.48pm
jackie rokotnitz wrote:
The famous story about the poor family on the beach who got blown up made very good press. Everyone saw the pictures of the poor people having their picnic and getting shelled by the wicked Israelis....except that actually what happened was that they trod on one of their OWN shells, planted by their OWN militants - only that bit didnt hit the news because it was a few days later that it was discovered and by that time people were more interested in something else.

To be fair Jackie that is just the Israeli army's own conclusions, hotly disputed by nearly all other groups there.

(And to be fair, that conclusion doesn't stack up with me either - are Hamas really mining beaches in Gaza to protect against a sea invasion?! Can an entire family have set off and been killed by one mine? Was it not a terrible coincidence that the mine went off at almost the same time the Israeli army was shelling nearby? And why cant the Israeli army account for the sixth shell? I have been in London all summer and know nothing about what actually happened but I certainly find it difficult to believe the Israeli army version of this incident over the more plausible version first reported.)

I agree with much of the rest of your post though - perhaps not the tone but as I dont spend much of my life in Israel it is obviously easier for me to be detached about it.

I do get tired of the fairly biased anti-Israeli coverage of the issue we seem to get here (as I perceive it) and indeed the over-saturation of the media coverage of the whole situation in comparison to everything else that is going on in the world. Everyone it seems has strongly held opinions on this conflict and it is very rarely discussed in a civilised and balanced way.
Tuesday 11 July 2006 10.45pm
My father was a member of the Palestine Police Force between '36 and '47. During that time he was shot at by a lot of different people with different agendas. Viewed by some as criminals or terrorists and by others as 'freedom fighters', the Irgun and the Stern Gang saw political change as coming out of the barrel of a gun or the blast of a bomb (see the King David Hotel). Menachem Begin, later to be premier of Israel, led the Irgun which only goes to show that todays terrorist can quite easily be tomorrows statesman (the parallels with the IRA are obvious). Anyone looking at these events would do well to remember the old political adage - the propaganda of the victor becomes the history of the vanquished.

Regards

Niall
Thursday 13 July 2006 8.33am
I do hope everyone is aware that the latest episode (the attack from Lebanon) again is initiated from Hisbullah in Lebanon. Israel withdrew from Lebanon unilaterally several years ago...WHAT is Israel supposed to do? Just sit there?
Thursday 13 July 2006 3.43pm
Disproportionate - it seems that is how Israel reacts to any attack on its sovereignty.
"What is Israel to do?" - Does that permit the illegal mass punishment of those in Gaza with nightly sonic booms and wanton 'collateral damage' when seeking to eliminate and intimidate the palestinian people?

The fact that Israel withdrew from both southern Lebanon & Gaza is not proof of their desire to seek a just and fair solution for both sides. It simply reflects the high cost of maintaining an occupation on land no longer deemed strategic to Israels needs. And just look at the land - Israel has created a a hell hole of refugee camps festering with discontent. Is it a surprise anyone seeks to react against these enforced conditions?
Thursday 13 July 2006 3.44pm
Anyone who views current events from the perspective of the last 24 hours or 5 years is being simplistic if not naive. Current events need to be seen in the context of the middle east since the 1920s.
Thursday 13 July 2006 6.50pm
I agree - I'd suggest the actions of the Israeli state have been disproportionate and illegal for quite some time.
Friday 14 July 2006 6.49am
The collateral damage is certainly NOT "wanton". Alas, the Hisbullah and Hamas deliberately hole up in densely populated areas, hoping a)to deter attack and b)cynically to have maximum martyrs in the case of one. No one in Israel is interested in killing innocent people, no one in Israel goes off to blow up a bus full of people going to work, but I know whatever I say will fall on stony ground so I shall retire from this thread. Just remember, the northern border has been quiet for years. No one incited the Hisbullah to send rockets into (now) Haifa. No one incited the Gazans to send people to dig a tunnel into Israel and kill and kidnap soldiers. And this is the picture since 1948.
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