Everyday I get up and read the news from Gaza. I think about my old man who served in North Africa in WW2 and was a fervent supporter of the state of Israel. He admired the spirit that was invested in creating an economically powerful nation state out of the ashes of the Nazi holocaust. But I wonder what he would think today of Israel today with its apartheid, its walls, its bombardment of a civilian population hemmed in… imprisoned and encircled by the Israeli army.
Any outside observer can see that Hamas’ rocket attacks are stupid and pathetically ineffective against the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and its Iron Dome defence system. They come across to this viewer as symbolic, a sign of resistance as opposed to a real threat to Israel. In reality, they’d be better off aiming then at the Israeli’s West Bank Barrier – the most offensive wall in the world.
The Israeli response to the rocket attacks and the tunnels that link Gaza with the outside world and evade the blockade has resulted in death and destruction.The impact and extent of the devastation in Gaza is truly shocking. The IDF leave behind a legacy of trauma and a next generation committed to resistance. During the Blitz, which lasted 8 months, the Germans bombed London for seven consecutive nights and killed 20,000 civilians. People didn’t give up. And ask yourself how many post WWII generations has it taken to accept the German people as fellow Europeans and not the enemy.
Above: the destruction in Gaza City’s Shijaiyah neighborhood, Saturday, July 26, 2014
Considering 20th century history it would be deeply ironic and tragic if Israel were to be prosecuted for war crimes but they are sailing close to the wind. Attitudes within their nation state are hardening and those people committed to peace and living in harmony with their Arab neighbours are spat upon. We in the world outside have to do what our politicians are reluctant to in relation do in all those countries that openly abuse human rights and impose economic and cultural sanctions.
The whole of the middle east presents a depressing cycle of death on a daily basis whether in Iraq, Syria, Egypt or Gaza. In fact, worldwide, politics fueled by religion remains a wickedly dangerous combination and for the foreseeable future I see no respite. That said, we, as people, continue to have a duty to evolve our own collective responses to the daily tragedies that confront us.
I agree with a lot of what you write here, Paul. Let’s also not forget the role our own British government has is the ongoing tragedy being inflicted on the Palestinians – this article in today’s Guardian made very good points I thought: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/06/gaza-crime-washington-jerusalem-carnage-western-support