« Home | The naivety of age restriction. » | Terrorism: Even when bombs aren't exploding, it ne... » | The truth will out. » | By-election cry babies. » | A bizarre coincidence. » | Don't you just love being in control? » | Skull rape. » | Ex-MI6 officer arrested over leaked lists of curre... » | When politicians attack: Clarke bites the hand tha... » | News of the Screws and Sun pay Ashley Cole £100,00... » 

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 

A major escalation.

The Palestinian school in Anata, with the playground split in two by the Israeli security wall.

At times it's difficult to know whether to laugh or cry when it comes to Israel and Palestine. When once asked who would win out of a fight between an Israeli and a Palestinian, I remarked that the Palestinian would first poke the Israeli, with the Israeli retailiating by drawing a gun and blowing the Palestinian's head off.

So it seems to be when it comes to today's "major escalation". While Gilad Shalit is still being held by his Palestinian captors, Israel has been shelling and firing missiles into Gaza as usual, while forces have been gathering on the border surrounding the strip. The bridges and power station remain smouldering, while Israeli jets have been breaking the sound barrier at night, making life as uncomfortable as they can without invading. In response, the usual barrage of homemade rockets, including Qassams have been fired into Israel, causing little damage but spreading fear and anxiety in their wake.

Today one group finally managed to get a rocket to travel as far as a school yard in the centre of Ashqelon, a small city to the north of Gaza, which is far further in distance than the other usual target, Sderot, which is to the east of the Strip. (Maps showing the Gaza Strip with Ashqelon and Sderot are available here and here.) No one was hurt. In response, the Israeli security cabinet has authorised the re-occupation of parts of Gaza, which has been free of Israeli troops since the disengagement of last summer.

The fact that the missile hit a school obviously did nothing to help matters. Yet while any attack on a place of learning full of children is unacceptable, the Israeli military has killed at least seven children who were in Palestinian schools at the time since the second infitada began in September 2000. One school in the West Bank has had its playground split in two by the security fence which is meant to stop suicide bombers from getting through into Israel. And just yesterday, an Israeli airforce missile hit a school in Gaza City itself.

It's a point that's been made countless times, but the entire issue in Israel is one of reaction to a reaction. Both sides are prone to hyperbole. Both sides share the blame. Even so, signs last week were encouraging when Hamas was humiliated into accepting the prisoners document which supported the two state solution. They were left explaining that they still hadn't recognised Israel's right to exist, even though they had signed up to the PLO documents that do exactly that. As such, even though the kidnapping came before that agreement, it's rightly being seen as being part of the power struggle between the exiled Hamas military wing leadership, which seemingly ordered and knew about the plans, and the political leadership which has had to face up to reality. This has been used as an excuse for the Israelis to seize many Hamas politicians, and hold them as "terrorists". Some have already appeared before a military court.

This then, is what it comes down to. A Palestinian poke leads to an Israeli bullet, and at times, vice versa. There is cynicism on both sides, as well defeatism. As a result, both nations live in fear of each other, with a unhealthy mix of hatred thrown in. The re-occupation of Gaza won't stop the Qassam rockets, much like the beach massacre didn't end the Israeli shelling. Until both sides dedicate themselves to talks, accept that there will have to be sacrifices on both sides (although a state in the West Bank and Gaza must be viable, something the current Israeli plan of disengagement does not offer) then peace will not happen. We know what will end the war. It's just down to how long it takes for both sides to realise it.

Share |

Maybe in a parallel universe somewhere, there is an America that will admit that the Israeli army are just as much terrorists as the Palestinians supposedly are.

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link