Gaza

 

The reports from Gaza and Israel in recent days have been harrowing. The US is seeking a ceasefire by both sides. This is proving difficult to agree and enforce, given the very different views of the crisis taken by the combatants. The UN too, with UK support, would like to achieve a ceasefire. There are many offers of help to broker a peace, but it will require changes of stance by both sides to end the violence and get around the table to discuss the deep rooted problems of the area.

I receive emails from supporters of the Palestinians and from supporters of Israel urging the UK to do more to create conditions for a peaceful settlement. I understand the strong feelings the current bloodshed is generating, but it is difficult to see what more the UK can do to bring about change. The advice I receive of course differs depending on which side the person writing supports.  There are limits to what foreign policy can do. People on the ground have to want to change the way things happen. The UK is stepping up its humanitarian aid in the meantime.

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87 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    John Redwood MP said;
    “People on the ground have to want to change the way things happen.”

    This is very true ! And whilst one side seeks the ‘absolute’ destruction of other, and daily sent rockets to kill innocent men, women and children, you will NEVER find peace.

    To me, this is a battle between the IDF and Hamas, not the Israeli’s and the Palestinian’s. And when one of those two finally win, then there shall be peace.

    To that end I say, stand aside, and let things take their natural course.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      How are Hamas getting these rockets in to Gaza? Land, sea or air? Is the Israeli blockade deliberately ineffective or am I being too cynical? And does it, in fact suit the Israeli government to turn a blind eye to some arms imports to Gaza in order that they are seen by their voters to be taking a hard line and ‘hitting back’ against the Islamic enemy? Right-wing Israeli leaders are vindicated and win the propaganda war at home. Hamas win the propaganda war abroad. Win, win for Hamas/IDF. Lose, lose for the dispensable and innocent children.

      • Mark B
        Posted July 31, 2014 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        Max

        You are normally a sane chap but, I do not subscribe to conspiracy theories. And although you mention what possible routes they may be taking to get the weapons they are so clearly using, and indeed, have been using against Israel long before the IDF offensive, you have neglected to mention that which has been widely reported and accepted as fact in all the worlds press. Namely, they are getting weapons and supplies, not to mention carrying out attacks in Israel itself, via a network of tunnels. Although I confess that could all be a great Zionist plot.

        As for the people, and indeed the poor children of Gaza, I say this. They are the responsibility of Hamas. Hamas is their elected government. And I think it is worth mentioning this. When Hamas came to power, in free, fair and open elections, the first thing they did, was not to attack the Israeli’s, oh no, they set about systematically killing their rivals, Fatah – Fellow Palestinian’s and Co-Religionists.

        Hamas can end this; now ! All they have to do, is lay down their arms and not attack Israel. Israel is not attacking Jordan, Egypt or even the Lebanon, is it ?. They are not aggressors, Hamas is. Israel is even treating Syrian’s fleeing the war there, in its own hospitals for free.

    • outsider
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mark B,
      When re-reading Christopher Sykes’s book “Cross Roads to Israel” Collins 1965 (the least partisan history I have come across) I saw the following: (After the 1920 Cairo Conference which created the state of Jordan) “Mr Churchill went to Palestine. There is a well-authenticated story that at Gaza he and the High Commissioner courteously acknowledged the yells of the people, unaware that the latter were demanding a massacre of the Jews”. Ninety four years later, plus ca change …

  2. Old Albion
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Sometime, somehow, somewhere the Palestinians must be allowed thier own homeland.
    Of all the people in the world who know how important that is, surely the Jews know.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Peter Hitchens has been very good on this over the past few weeks. His blog is easy to find.

      Israel (with America in the descendancy) is going to find things very difficult in the future. I feel that she has behaved foolishly and should have been more restrained. Hamas have led them into a media trap.

      There is a poster created by supporters of the Isrealis showing rockets flying over our Parliament with the caption “What would you do ?”

      Well actually it did happen to us – and a lot worse that we couldn’t defend against as the Isrealis can. We didn’t declare war on the Republic of Ireland, did we ? But then we did end up capitulating – an option which Israel doesn’t have.

      • waramess
        Posted July 31, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        The Republic of Ireland did nothing hostile against the UK. Hamas is a democratically elected government representing the people of Gaza and it is they, not a terrorist organisation, that is firing the rockets.

        I see only suppport from the population of Gaza for what Hamas are doing and condemnation of the Israelis.

        Hamas can bring this all to an end by not just a ceasefire but by recognising, both in words and deeds, Israel’s right to exist.

        This really is not a big ask etc ed

      • Tad Davison
        Posted July 31, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        ‘What would we do’ indeed!

        Irony of ironies, in world war two, we were actually fighting people who wanted to seize other people’s territory for themselves.

      • Mark B
        Posted July 31, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        No we did not declare war on Eire. But Erie were not firing rockets, the IRA were (or mortars at No.10), and they came from the North and were technically British subjects.

        I disagree with Hitchen’s. Whilst indeed his arguments are sound, part of his reasoning is that the Hamas rockets are not very effective and, either get intercepted or miss their target. That is, until the day Hamas get better and more rockets.

        Israel is doing the right thing. It is showing Hamas and others that it will act to defend itself.

        The only mistake Israel can make, is to call a cease fire. Hamas, just by surviving will claim victory, and will gain more support and funds to start the whole blood-letting again.

        The sooner the IDF destroys Hamas, the sooner it will be over and no more people need be needlessly harmed.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      PS – Peter Hitchens’ view is that Israel was once outnumbered by hostile Arab nations. David against Goliath. By creating a separate Palestinian people David BECAME Goliath.

      • Timaction
        Posted July 31, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        A very valid point. I saw the reports over the last weeks and was shocked at the number of babies and children that the Israeli rockets have maimed or killed.
        We don’t here any of the major powers threatening sanctions against Israel when the deaths they have caused run into the 1000, s.
        This was once Palestinian land given by the victors of WW2 to create an Israeli state that has grown and grown, occupying the West bank and elsewhere.
        The Palestinian people have had a rough deal.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 31, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

          Tim – Peter Hitchens makes good reading. A number of posts over the past few weeks have gone into great detail. The Jews have had a raw deal too over 2000 years.

          What I can’t understand is how people unconnected can be so angry about. The ‘Palestinians’ are being used.

        • Mark B
          Posted July 31, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          Yes, lots of babies and children. And all very terrible I am sure but, it does not have to be this way. If Hamas cared about these children, they would end it.

          And isn’t it odd, that we see only dead babies and children ? We do not see Hamas firing rockets or mortars, or even dead Hamas terrorists do we ?

          All very carefully controlled, for maximum effect.

    • outsider
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Dear Old Albion, You write “the Palestinians must be allowed their own homeland”. If that were the issue it would easily be resolved. And please spare a thought for the Kurds, whose “homeland” is spread over four countries.

  3. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    If you listen to Jon Snow on C4 News you’d be under the impression that there are not two sides to this story and that the Israelis are wholly to blame for everything and are deliberately killing children as a war aim. It is amazing that Ofcom let him get away with such obvious political bias and lack of balance but as the bias is in favour of the views of the liberal metropolitan elite I suppose he will continue to be praised rather than censured.

    • stred
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      The C4 news did seem very one sided and the chatterati will find this normal. What are the Israelis supposed to do- pull out and leave thousands of rockets and tunnels all over the place? With the aid money they could have built a holiday resort and farming industry, but they just have one aim, which will result in permanent war. Many of the Israelis are refugees from the Middle East where they used to live in peace. There are millions of Christian refugees too. The foundation of Israel was probably the biggest blunder ever but the refugee problem is not only of the Palestinians.

      Contrast the C4 and BBC news where scant coverage is given to the heavy weapons closing in on the Ukraine East and their refugees. Russian TV an Al Jaz cover this but Ofcom is considering removing the licence from RT because they dare to put their side of the argument. Are viewers thought so stupid that they can’t make up their own minds?

      • Bazman
        Posted July 31, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        RT is Putin’s mouthpiece and offer no coverage of Russian internal affairs,
        such as corruption and human rights issues.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      C4 seem to take the bbc line on nearly every issue too.

      • Bazman
        Posted July 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        What line do you want? Fox News, CNN or RT? You trust these more than the BBC and C4 or you just like what they say? No doubt you see Russia as a very ‘sensible’ country?

        • stred
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          I like to be able to flick between genuinely alternative news channels. BBC, Sky and C4 are almost identical in their choice of subjects and Guardian reader views. Al Jaz and RT have genuinely different approaches and often cover news that MSM would rather avoid. Preumably all are controlled by the government establishment if they wish to retain their licences.

          It is easy to see the bias and reasons for it, (etc ed). On the other hand, there are genuine debates with very capable interviewers who control the overtalking and allow spokespersons from the US neocon and EU side to have their say. The programmes on economics and the comedy rude presenter show on banking and money are also more entertaining than the BBC/Sky bores.

          The Russians and Arabs have every right to put their point of view, and sometimes ask questions which are not raised otherwise. For example, why did Air Traffic Control tell the MH17 to turn left over the war zone and reduce altitude by 2000 ft. And why did some airlines avoid the area, while Eurocontrol allowed flights to continue. Why are these questions not raised by British and american TV journalists?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      My own view is that the British media is not the best place to gain a true insight into anything. It is shallow, and more often than not, just regurgitates the ‘official’ line.

      I listened to an excellent piece on a foreign TV station yesterday by two US university professors who specialise in international affairs, who showed just how easy it would be for a confrontation to happen between Russia and NATO (the US being the driving force behind it). They reminded us that the Clinton administration flagrantly violated 1991 agreements with Russia, not to surround it with NATO countries and offensive missile systems.

      One can but conclude the US is gearing up for a showdown, and an unnecessarily orchestrated one at that. It would be so much better to have Russia on side. There is growing anti-US feeling as more and more people throughout the world see just how dangerous a place it is. The US is not a democracy anymore, more a corporate Oligarchy with the power in the hands of the neo-cons.

      Tad

      • zorro
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately John seems to have censored my views on Gaza even my quoting of an article by Peter Oborne!…. To close to the bone doubtless (articles from the DT, whatever next).

        The USA is clearly looking for a showdown because it can see Russia with the BRICs going away from the West (and who can blame them after the last couple of years)….. The US knows that it is in the descendancy along with the petro dollar and will bring the world down with it….

        zorro

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    This goes very deep. The problem in part is the Hamas leadership which, frankly, cannot be trusted. Add to that the determination of the Israelis not to lose their precious God given territory and you get small children terrified.

    Why does the BBC have to show it every night though? What about other places? For example, I understand Africa contains some horrifying terror pornography too.

    Here is a list of things that might be nice to hear about sometimes:
    How do we get out of the EU and remain in trade with them?
    Is Climate Change actually happening?
    Is a flat tax a good idea and what level should it be?
    How is Prince Williams family doing at the moment?

    In your dreams…

    • lifelogic
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Certainly more BBC bias on this I agree but what an appalling situation it is. Religion as usual much to blame for creating the cleavages. Yet still even in the UK we push it in school into young minds with all that global warming exaggeration drivel and even protect religion from criticism by idiotic laws.

      Any one born in s country without wars and with weak religions should be hugely grateful.

      • outsider
        Posted July 31, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Dear Lifelogic, You are right that events across the Middle East form a powerful argument against all revealed religions that resist rational change but your comment illustrates people’s need for some form of religion to form a framework for ordinary life. The Green religion has taken hold precisely because there is a vacuum to be filled in much of the UK and Northern Europe. In the 1980s a free market religion flickered briefly. Humanism is the religion of our liberal establishment but does not seem to have grown roots among ordinary people.

        • lifelogic
          Posted July 31, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          I agee some may need or find something in it but without indoctrination of our youth at tax payer expense they would be fewer

        • Bazman
          Posted July 31, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          Green issues have advanced due to peoples awareness of pollution and the unsustainable levels of many of the worlds countries energy and consumption levels. You cannot put this away by calling it ‘green religion’. Is the desire to clean up the air in London green nonsense?

          • Bazman
            Posted July 31, 2014 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

            It interesting how you seem to be unable to accept that bikes are powered by cheap sugar and fats, but cannot tell us why they are not, so try to sneak past the view that they are powered by ‘meat’. You dare to lecture on science and truth? LOL! You are as deluded as any religious anti science bigot on a good day.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Well, we did get to vent our collective spleen on cyclist’s and cycling..

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 31, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        Cycling yet another area where the BBC is hugely biased and totally misguided, they think it is green to use meat to fuel transport.

        Cyclists to the BBC are saints saving the world from a firery man made hell. All worked out by rather dim, irrational art graduates, who think positive feedback in science is a positive thing and do not know the difference between power and energy nor their units of measurement.

        They just now that green, sustainable, pv, wind is nice and cuddly and nuclear, gas, fracking, oil and coal are evil.

        They think with their guts and raw emotions, but understand almost nothing. Would you fly on a plane designed by the BBC?

        Free at the point of use (or rather rationing and delay) in the NHS for example, it kills thousands, but is yet another daft BBC & Cameron religion.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 31, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          Also that polar bears on melting ice and ice glaciers melting and falling into the sea make good visual footage, even though irrelevant to the issue.

        • Bazman
          Posted July 31, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          Bikes are in general powered by chap fats and sugars not meat. Got that or can you tell why they are not?
          In your myopic right wing world how do you square off the Quango OUGO or Office of Unconventional Gas and Oil?
          Set up in march 29013 FOIs have revealed OUGO has already spent 568k and has been awarded 1.8 million for this financial year. It has the equivalent of 10 full time staff. Its aim? To encourage the development of shale gas and oil and coal bed methane. Fracking no less. It would be interesting to hear you deluded views on this subsidy for fossil fuels which you tell us do not need or receive any subsidy and whist you are at it tell us why massive subsidy for nuclear which could not exist without it in any form is OK. Constant supply? Many wind and solar plants offer this? Yes even at night by storage and where wind is consistent. Yes it blows all the time! Yes it does you are wrong!
          When challenged you have no answers but tell us. ‘they’ presumably anyone with any sense think with their guts and raw emotions, but understand almost nothing. Clearly you do not as you would have a reply to this?! Would you fly on a plane designed by right wing religious theorists and their anti science supporters?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 3, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

            Would a plane designed by left wing “religious theorists and their anti science supporters” be automatically more safe?
            Can you tell us Baz becsuse I’m flying off soon on my holidays and need to check who designed the aircraft, just in case.

    • Hope
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Iraq and Lybia are in a terrible mess, a mess created by the UK and US. Syria and the Ukraine not much better, all because of interference from the west. Today it is reported the US is still supplying ammunition to Israel!

    • Bob
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink


      “Here is a list of things that might be nice to hear about sometimes:”

      Agreed, and I would like to add my two penneth:

      Q: How do we get out of the EU and remain in trade with them?
      A: Repeal the 1972 European Communities Act

      Q: Is Climate Change actually happening?
      A: Yes, it has been going on for the entire history of the planet, even before motor cars and incandescent light bulbs were invented.

      Q: Is a flat tax a good idea and what level should it be?
      A: It would be better than what we have now, but difficult to sell to an uneducated electorate that have been conditioned for 40+ years by the BBC and their Frankfurt School chums.

      • outsider
        Posted July 31, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Fair enough Bob but these subjects are not entirely absent from Mr Redwood’s posts and at least one commentator specifically (if not entirely widely) asked him to write something about Gaza.

  5. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Twice in Jeddah (1980) I was fairly forcefully informed that the problem for Palestinians was my fault, meaning it was the fault of UK. Also, that the Holocaust did not happen. Both informers were Palestinian and resident in Damascus.

    Up until that point I had had a general respect for both of these informers. This is at the time of the PLO and its wayward rampage around the world. I saw and heard enough to know that such people would never live in peace. We note Fatah and Hamas are themselves in conflict.

    Israel has no choice but to defend itself because the Palestinians and much of the Middle East cannot/will not live in peace. The various tribes have many axes to grind as a result of earlier (and now) Western ambition/interference and their own tribal squabbles – use Islam as required.

    There is no solution available. I am a little surprised that Syria had not become the new Palestine..well, not openly? Seems the Lebanese did not want them either. And then there was Libya.

    The dumb BBC (Today Prog) this morning asked if Hamas would show the BBC journo’s where their ammo was stashed…. I surrender I really do!

    I am posting too quickly again….? and again….

  6. bluedog
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    It is within the power of the Arab states surrounding Israel to take each and everyone of the Palestinians as refugees, but they never make this offer. Indeed, in 1991 Kuwait expelled 300,000 Palestinians. Imagine the headlines if Israel had done this.

    Perhaps the best thing the EU could do would be to stop financial support to the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza where a terrorist organisation rules. But then we should not be surprised to learn that the EU finances terrorism, along with its other achievements.

    • outsider
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Dear Bluedog, It is not just Kuwait. Over the years Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia also expelled the PLO and Palestinians in camps, not for fear of Israel but for fear of instability in their own countries.

  7. Posted July 31, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    I am now for intervention.This has gone too far.The children should systematically all be taken out of Gaza and taken to a place of safety and fed. Any strikes by any side should be recognised as a war crime and these people disposed of. The inaction reflects how man’s inhumanity to man is always someone else’s problem.

    Incidentally Jon Snow has been on the ground and has seen a great deal more suffering than most and to support the children in Gaza is not a bias.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      All aboard the good ship Common Purpose.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Margaret

      I agree with your first point. Women, children, sick and non-combatants should be free to leave the Gaza Strip for safety in the Sinai, away from any fighting.

      Surely that is something that ‘both’ sides should be able to agree upon and implement ?

      As for the rest. Beware of all that you see and hear.

    • Barry Sheridan
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Margaret, there are some ugly realities for you to deal with should you intend to call for intervention, not least here is the diabolical civil conflict in Syria where the number of people killed is well north of 170K, far more than have ever been killed by Israel in all of its wars it has fought to defend itself. Need another example of an area that might qualify for our humanitarian intervention, how about the area dominated by ISIS, a radical Islamic group that routinely shoots, crucifies or beheads any who do not do as they say.

      I could go on along this road for a while and introduce plenty of other situations that are far worse than what is going in Gaza, but instead prefer to spare you. Unless your a fool, which I doubt, you will be aware of enough of these facts so perhaps you should stop singling out Israel. Sure, it’s horrendous what is going on, but this is down to the attitude of the Palestinians who continue to refuse to accept the right of the Jewish people to live in peace. Living with the daily threat of unprovoked rocket attack or attack via tunnels by Hamas constitutes acts of war, Israel must defend its citizens!

      • Posted July 31, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        My point is that all sides who strike and act out this genocide are guilty regardless of who they are or represent. The innocent are simply that .To compare it with other atrocities is not helpful. Cruelty is not excused by comparison of worse .These type of problems over the years have regularly been reported on and even captured on ‘U Tube.Blame is not a justification for further cruelty.

      • stred
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        The Israelis could find where the tunnels were coming out on their side of the border and destroy them from the other end.

        • zorro
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, but it would stop them being able to kill a huge percentage of civilians/children in their ‘carefully targeted attacks on terrorists’…

          zorro

        • terry
          Posted August 2, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          And how do they locate the ones that have not reached the borderline or those still under construction with no exit in Israel? And why would Hamas want to build so many tunnels in the first place? And where did the money come from? UNICEF?

    • A different Simon
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      What sort of intervention do you suggest Margaret ?

      The Israeli high-tech sector is the second largest in the world , U.S. being the largest .

      Israel uses all the technology at their disposal to avoid innocent casualties and in return Hamas use children as human shields .

      Gaza is a sorry situation . The Palestinian’s need to find themselves a real leader who will rid them of Hamas .

      • Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        I have already mentioned one type of intervention: removal of children and women.
        The USA have also commented that the reciprocation by Israel is out of proportion.We need to anchor on to this internationally.

      • zorro
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        ‘Israel uses all the technology at their disposal to avoid innocent casualties’….. Is that some kind of sick joke? If you believe that you will believe anything. Look at the casualty percentages compared to Syria….are you really serious?

        zorro

  8. Amanda
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    The UK Government would be better advised to concentrate its efforts on influencing activity in its own sphere of control. I was under the impression that ‘hate’ speech’ and ‘racism’ were crimes now – yet, it seems there is a great deal of it about in public places.

    I am truly, truly horrified by what I see happening in Britain – from the downright lies and propoganda of the MSM and BBC, to the double standards in both the policing of crime, and ideology, on the streets.

    I ask some of these people one question – if Hamas (and associates) got its way, and destroyed the state of Israel. If the Jewish people have no homeland, and are once again at the mercy of others – what then? Does this solve anything?

    Truly the UK is in the grip of public insanity, and that is what this weak, shameful, hypocritical Government should be dealing with.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      I’m right with ya!

      I’ll have to remember to text an old friend with a few pointers now it’s within his area of ministerial responsibility.

      Tad

  9. alan jutson,
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately those who always suffer in the end appear to be innocent people.

    The problem is those who create the problem very often hide themselves amongst innocent people, shoot from areas where there are innocent people.

    At some stage those innocent people have to rise up and denounce what is being done, but that is not easy when those you are to denounce have guns, and are often feeding and controlling large numbers of those innocent people.

    I agree John, intervention by outsiders (other than talking) just raises the pressure to spread the conflict further.

    The answer is in the hands of those who occupy the areas in question.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Well said.

  10. Roger Farmer
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I am beginning to despair of your diary in that having commented ,posted comment ,all I get is a Yahoo page and my comment is nowhere. Get your IT people to sort it please.

  11. ian
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Why is the British government sitting on it hands when you should be sending in medical ship with doctors and supplies also food. Your not the British government i know, your just usa puppets. This government sign off on this and say we should trust them when you can not even think for your selves. We have very bad governments these days. Same thing happening with this country, they have no idea how to save the people or country of the UK. They just blindly follow other people and country down a dead end. No brains just follow the leader and self interest, all parties.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Ian, did you see what happened when George Galloway organised a relief mission to the Palestinians?

      The ship was boarded by Israeli commandos, and innocent lives were lost. Accountability? Answer: there was none, and they wonder why so many people hate the Israeli government and the US who backs them.

      Tad

    • BobE
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes a hospital ship could be placed alongside the strip. It would do a lot of good. Perhaps an aircraft carrier to provide safe shelter. I would love to see Britain do this.

  12. The PrangWizard
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I can’t do anything g personally but I would like to see some balanced reporting so I can get a better picture. I don’t believe the Israelis are carrying out a kind of indiscriminate action, to accuse them and yet make almost nothing of the use by Hamas of schools and hospitals is wrong, it seems almost to be excused. Pictures coming out of Gaza sometimes appear to be staged, and often don’t seem to ring true. Over 50 Israeli troops have been killed. That is a very high number so fighting must be intense, where are pictures of the Hama gunmen? We get no figures about how many of them are killed. Why does no-one ask? They are invisible, yet there must be many of them, as is their hardware, they must have a big organisation to fire thousands of rockets and it must be visible on the streets. Clearly Hamas won’t let them be filmed, and on the other hand reporters won’t go to a rocket site, as they are likely to be on the wrong end of an Israeli bomb. But they are soon there afterwards, seems strange to me. Always plenty of shots of so-called civilians giving the impression that there the Israelis are firing only on civilians. The MSM seem to have I think decided that they are on the side of Gaza, that the Palestinians are victims and the Israelis are the long-term oppressors and they report accordingly, they also like sensation and controversy.

    If I had to choose which side I would choose Israel. In the big picture the war in Gaza seems to me to be part of the war of civilisations, and we have more in common with the Israelis, and their supporters are not attempting to kill us and change our way of life as are supporters of their opponents.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      The UN must get their information from somewhere, and they seem a lot more critical of Israeli actions.

      Tad

  13. Iain Gill
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Do and say what Switzerland does and says on these kinds of issue. We are a small country, we have more than enough problems at home.

  14. Posted July 31, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    In principle I have tremendous sympathy with Israel over the Hamas rockets.
    Unfortunately, as happens so often, the response from Israel is so over the top that they forfeit much support in the West.

    We have seen in the last few days that there have been far too many civilians casualties. While I have no doubt that a large proportion of the 1,000 plus killed have been militants, despite what Hamas has said, we have to accept what the UN has said about the bombing and shelling of their schools and compounds.

    It is very unfortunate that the people of Gaza voted Hamas into power in a fairly well run election . This was clearly only going to end in tears and, as so often happens, you reap what you sow. I doubt whether Hamas will allow another election to enable voters to kick them out and, given what Israel has done, they might even win another term anyway.

    The Egyptians as well as the Israelis have blockaded Gaza for sound security reasons and it’s hard to see either country giving in on this point while Hamas continues in power.
    Hamas hard line militants will never accept the right of Israel to exist nor will they stop attempting to kill Israelis with rockets or by infiltrating the country through their tunnels.

    Sad as it may be, until the people of Gaza become so fed up with the consequences of the actions of Hamas that they turn against it, The situation is very unlikely to change. This is the only thing that is likely to break the log jam. Only the Palestinian Authority with support from Egypt would have the authority and power to stop the militants attacking Israel.

    Finally, isn’t it interesting that, with all their land and money, other Arab countries have never allowed Palestinians living in such bad conditions in Gaza and the West Bank to settle in their countries ? I wonder why ?

    • A different Simon
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      “It is very unfortunate that the people of Gaza voted Hamas into power in a fairly well run election . This was clearly only going to end in tears and, as so often happens, you reap what you sow. ”

      Spot on Chris .

      How about a bit of balanced reporting by the BBC for a change ?

      Maybe they could cover the actions of ISIS such as the eviction of Christians from Mosul and proposed enforced genital mutilation of a million females with the same zeal they apply to Israel’s self defense .

  15. Mark
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Gaza is getting all the attention thanks to our media. Indeed, it is likely that their presence and the prominence they give to events is counter-productive. Meanwhile religious genocide in Iraq on a far larger scale is ignored by TV, and paradoxically only brought to our attention through horrific “recruitment” videos made by the assassins themselves.

    The Hamas regime has few friends. I always think of the same sounding word in Spanish – jamás – which means “never”. Israel is losing friends over the nature of some of its reprisals. It is unfortunately normal that fighting breaks out between Palestinians and Israelis, as it has been doing for decades.

    Religious genocide of both Christians and Shias in Iraq (and Syria) on the other hand is new, and potentially of much wider consequence. I would suggest it provokes security issues for the UK that it needs to think about very seriously – and that we need to think of solutions to bring it to a halt.

    • A different Simon
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      Mark ,

      We might be needing more of that Israeli technology to combat such threats on our home soil .

  16. Tad Davison
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I am on the side of the ordinary hapless Israeli and the ordinary hapless Palestinian who just wants to live in peace. It used to happen many years ago, with those from different religions living side-by-side as neighbours.

    The problem is not intractable, but it needs concessions, not deliberate acts of confrontation. A good start would be for the Israelis to stop building settlements in other people’s territory, and stop violating international law and UN resolutions. But then, they’re backed up by the good old US of A, so get away with pretty much whatever they want. If Israel went back to the pre-1967 borders, it would do much to reclaim the widespread support it once had, and not be seen as the pariah state it now is.

    Hamas for their part, make it easy for the Israelis to justify their actions (although the killing of civilians in my view is never justified, no matter who does it). Maybe if Hamas became far less militant, that would help, and they cannot hope to beat Israel when the latter is provided with billions of dollars worth of US aid and military hardware. To continue to want to destroy Israel is just fanciful nonsense, but their avowed aim risks destabilising the region even further.

    Things are already tense in other parts of the world, chiefly the Ukraine, where expansionism by both sides risks a global conflagration, so we must draw back and use every diplomatic means to bring calm to these trouble spots. Trouble is though, that isn’t what some people in places like Washington really want.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Barry Sheridan
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Tad, western notions of compromise do not work with the kind of people who make up Hamas and other radical Islamic groups. They only see their way and will not accept anything else. Hamas does not give a damn about the average Palestinian, never mind the average Jew. Why would they, because as youngsters they absorb the lessons of hate, only rarely do any become capable of developing sufficient rationality to see that it is feasible to live side by side in peace.
      The son of one of Hamas’s founders, who now lives in the United States, has recently come out and called for the destruction of this terrorist organisation. How ironic then that Hamas now gets much of its succour from citizens of the free world, be they the journalists who cannot tell the truth about what is going on in Gaza, to the foolish ignorant pampered citizens who protest on behalf of those who would kill them without any remorse.

  17. Max Dunbar
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    The Israelis certainly have the experience and strong sense of self-preservation that we seem to lack. They will have taken appropriate and proportionate measures, in the interests of their own people. The ‘deep rooted problems’ currently appear to be up-to-date highly mobile rocket batteries located cleverly, and ruthlessly sited around areas of significance to the western media such as hospitals and schools. As with the London bombings Hamas care nothing if hundreds of their own people perish. Winning the propaganda war is all that counts and they are doing well at the moment. They are being encouraged by us and will continue to poke the Israeli bear until the western media become bored and move on.
    One other point worth considering is that these minor skirmishes are just that, minor, but have been exaggerated here by media such as the BBC and Channel 4 for political purposes. I remember being advised not to travel to Israel in 1978 while the Israeli army invaded Lebanon. The bombing, shelling and aviation activity could be heard from where I was staying next to The Sea of Galilee in the north but it all calmed down very quickly and reverted to ‘normal’.

    • outsider
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Dear Max Dunbar, It is unclear to me if the latest Hamas rocket campaign started as a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from the mass slaughter and torture of Christians, Shias and Sunni moderates by extremists in Iraq and Syria. If so it has been successful.
      Unfortunately, for the past century, the only way for any of the main powers of the region to unify its warring groups and exert leadership is to attack in word or deed first the Zionists and now Israel. Nasser’s Egypt, Saddam’s Iraq, Iran and latterly Turkey have all been through this phase.
      At present, however, it may just be that any Middle East terrorist group sees a vacuum of power to exploit because, for a great variety of reasons, the USA, Russia and Egypt have left the field in disarray, while Iran and Turkey are preoccupied with the effects on them of the civil war in Syria. With all potentially restraining influences gone (including US restraint of Israel), those who want conflict at any cost see their chance to create general mayhem.

  18. Bryan
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    HAMAS vows to destroy Israel and every Jew. Israel always hits back one-hundred fold worse.

    Hamas does not seem to care how many of its fellows are killed and seems to fire its rockets from wherever the most death will occur from the Israeli reprisal. Israel does not seem to care how many its reprisals will kill.

    As usual the innocents on both sides suffer the most.

    Is religious dogma and hate worth this?

    Not if both sides truly believe in their God!

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more Bryan. We only need study history to see the many instances of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man, all in the name of religion.

      I left religion behind many years ago, and I feel vindicated for so doing.

      Tad

  19. Posted July 31, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    A peaceful settlement? Let’s identify a couple of fairly obvious points:
    (1) A peaceful settlement will involve a two State solution. Therefore, Likud’s doctrine of Eretz Israel can never lead to peace.
    (2) A Palestinian State cannot be in two areas of land, with trips between them criss- crossing Israeli territory. It must be a single area of land.

    So what would be the single area of Palestinian land? It would logically be something like the existing West Bank, possibly federated with Jordan, with Gaza handed over permanently to the Israelis.

    A problem is that Israel would prefer it the other way round. They would take over the West Bank and make an enlarged Gaza the Palestinian State. I can’t see that working because it doesn’t offer enough to the Palestinians.

    • Mark W
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      I beleived that the populations of the West Bank and Gaza were utterly different from each other. Although this name of “Palestine” is used (never seen it on any old map except the Palestine Mandate) they aren’t the same. As Jordan was part of Palestine Mandate I would have thought having parts of both taken into Jordan would be preferable. Or Israel expand on its existing population of moslem Arabs and live together.

  20. Vanessa
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I worked briefly for a Palestinian organisation in the 70s near Jericho and even then was appalled at the treatment of ordinary people going about their lives from the Israelis.

    When the Israelis stop building on Palestinian land and erecting prison-like walls around their neighbourhoods then the Palestinians will stop lobbing rockets across the border. They live in such desperate times where they cannot cross borders without hundreds of papers and must ask permission to do virtually anything. They depend almost entirely on aid and have no control over so much of their lives. What Israel is doing at present is utterly over the top and with the death toll mounting daily they should be brought before a court of law and made to see their attack is outrageous and evil.

    • ian wragg
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Aid. You have hit the nail firmly on the head. Palestinians are addicted to aid and no effort is made to build a viable community. Where is the money coming from to buy all these rockets? Aid money from the EU I bet.
      The Palestinians have been ejected from most countries in the Middle East because they foment trouble for the host country by running clandestine organisations having penetrated government departments. I spent 20 plus years in the M.E. and I’m sure there is no solution as the Palestinians don’t want one.

    • Barry Sheridan
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Vanessa, I recognise that Israel does harbour a hard edge. The reason for this is perfectly clear after the holocaust and the attempts by its neighbours to destroy it from the day of its creation. However that is not the end of the story, nor does it mean that Jews refuse to tolerate others, after all the population of Israel is not entirely Jewish, a million or so Arabs live as citizens, plenty of whom are willing to take up arms to defend Israel.
      Of course this status does not apply to Palestinians, for them life is much more difficult, especially as they are in general rejected by the surrounding Arab countries as being more trouble than they are worth. One solution would have been for Palestinians to be resettled elsewhere, this was once tried in part in Kuwait, where some 300,000 were in residence, alas they were expelled, as they were from elsewhere. While there are a variety of reasons for this outcome, there is a history of not being willing to fit in. Ah you say, why should they have to, well other peoples have had to buckle down and learn, not least the Jews who in living memory still lived all over the Middle East. Their fate was to be systematically driven by majority opinion many of these Jewish descendants now make up the population of modern Israel. Others who must learn this cruel lesson include the Christians of western Iraq, who may find refuge in France.
      As for the walls, well as anyone knows following the intifada’s, Israel sought to protect its citizens by passive security barriers. The reason of course for the tunnels dug by Hamas. As for the rocket and other attacks, your a little bit glib, being on the receiving end of this on a random basis is an act of war. Hamas started it, Israel must finish it.

    • Bazman
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Exactly.Look how the average Palestinian lives. Blaming Hamas for everything just wrong. Many of the posters on here are from the ‘have nothing and be happy with it’ school of thought. Except when it applies to them Maybe the Palestinians are just Jealous of the Israelis. If children were throwing stones at your house would you be justified in destroying the whole street they live in?

    • Mark B
      Posted July 31, 2014 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      At to most of what you have written, such as the walls and the security checks, I would like to ask one question. Why, why do the Israeli’s go to such lengths ?

    • sjb
      Posted August 2, 2014 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      @Vanessa
      If Palestine ratifies the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) Treaty it could ask the ICC’s prosecutor to investigate. However, this would only cover the period from November(?) 2012 when the UN granted Palestine statehood. So the 2008-9 Gaza ‘Operation Cast Lead’ (1,400 deaths of which 288 were children) would not be examined.

  21. Mark W
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Due to quite obvious history there was a need for a Jewish state. Somewhere for Jews to excape to. The state of Israel could maybe have had a better location but that is now done, whether right or wrong.

    I imagine there are many ordinary folk in Gaza who despise Hamas but would be too afraid to say it out loud.

    Israel would be shown in a far better light if it allowed itself to be portrayed as the victim of Hamas aggression (which it is) and did not react by firing air bombardments into densly populated areas, mainly just ordinary folk who want to get on with their lives.

    Israel may win the military battle but lose the PR war. No one can abide this constant bombing of areas with high civilian populations. They should resist this and let the world see they are the victim. They will galvanise support for Hamas within and without the Gaza strip.

  22. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m no middle East expert but it would seem that Hamas is a backward, racist terrorist organisation devoted to wiping out Isreal with limited resources.

    Isreal is a succesful country with the means to defend itself with a vibrant economy not a state with 12th century islamic values.

    Yet it is the terrorist organisation that recieves most of the sympathy in the press. We need to be a little more willing to condemn the guilty party here. The solution is to get rid of Hamas.

    There are limits to what a (politicaly correct) foreign policy can do as Mr Redwood says. So lets get rid of the PC.

  23. BobE
    Posted July 31, 2014 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Park a hospital ship next to the strip. Do it today. Nutral, just help people. Also maybe an aircraft carrier to provide shelter. Do it now.

    • sm
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Often thought how much better our foreign aid could be directly used.

      If we redirected the 15 bn per annum overseas aid to a nuclear powered nimitz class air craft carrier with a mixed ability to project hard and soft power in the aid of humanitarian needs as well as defence.

  24. ian
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    The israelis need to be taken to court now and made to rebuild all the property and pay compensation to the people. So they know threre are consequence for their actions. I do not think any thing will happen because your lot are gutless and sign off on it.

  25. ian
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Compensation for GAZA, country complicity or involved in the act. Israel 5000 million pounds USA 5000 million pounds UK 3500 million pounds Europe 3500 million pounds Saudi Arabia 3500 million pounds United Arab Emirates 2000 million pounds Kuwait 1500 million pounds Qatar 1000 million pounds Iran 700 million pounds Iraq 600 million pounds Bahrain 600 million pounds Syria 400 million pounds Egypt 300 million pounds Jordan 100 million pounds Lebanon 50 million pounds and other country voluntary if they want to. The money for new home, new electricity mainly solar, new water supply, Buying land, Like to see 2and 3 star hotel so can go on holiday there. I do not see terrorist i see miss guide people The word terrorist should be down grade.

  26. Posted August 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    An overall settlement between Israel and the Palestinians is, frankly never going to happen while the demand is a return to pre-1967 borders.

    The reason is that the pre-67 borders are impossible for Israel are to defend. While Israel has the Golan Heights it is pretty well invulnerable to any realistic attack from any combination of Arab Forces so they will maintain the status quo indefinitely because their very lives depend on it.

    Similarly, Hamas’ demand for the blockade to be lifted is not going to happen. We have already seen how many tons of cement and other materials have been diverted to construct tunnels while the blockade has been in force. Imagine what would happen were it to be lifted ?

    Today’s failed cease fire and the murder and kidnap of Israeli soldiers are perfect examples of how out of control the various groups of Hamas militants are.

    If only Israel would show some restraint in its ill-thought military onslaught it would have most of world public opinion on its side. While they continue to maintain that they are doing everything to minimise civilian casualties they have no credibility at all.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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