In observing the current and on-going ethno-religious turf ‘war’ between Israel and the forces of Hamas in the Gaza strip, who can blame Gaza? Well, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks apparently, who let slip on air that he believed the violence has ‘got to do with Iran, actually’, proceeding to immediately contradict this statement by insisting ‘no one gains from violence, not the Palestinians and not the Israeli’s’. If the latter were true then what would Iran gain from getting involved, or as Sacks is probably implying, providing Hamas with weaponry?
The common remark in the press by all sides is that a nation of peoples has the right to defend itself against attack. One of the many problems with this dispute though begins when we try to assess who, in playground terms ‘started it’, and whether they were justified. Another problem is that the more a population of displaced Palestinians grows, according to Wikipedia by 3.2% each year, the more tension and bloodshed the overspill will cause, as will almost certainly happen on the West Bank over the next few years. A further complication is that the international bodies of the UN and the EU do not want to be seen as supporting Hamas, the Sunni Islamist political party regarded as a terrorist organisation, who in all likelihood would create an Islamic Muslim Brotherhood state if they gained the appropriating land – even if their current ‘plight’ is a political one. See, it’s hard to even know which terminology to use.
I believe this last issue is a problem shared by many commentators who cannot bring themselves to condemn the Zionist occupation of Israel against a militant Islamist regime, the likes of whom are damaging the prospect of cultural peace and progression in Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, often forgetting the poor (literally) Palestinian citizens in the process. In these matters Israel is clearly not the liberal peaceful, terrorist-fighting secure state it claims to be, shown by its obsession to retain the Holy Land of Jerusalem as pure from the Arabs and often use ancient history to justify their occupation (evidence which is, anyway, inconclusive as far as archaeology is concerned. This is testified through my sister’s own experiences in Israel and this senior Israeli archaeologist: http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/2705-senior-israeli-archaeologist-casts-doubt-on-jewish-heritage-of-jerusalem). Far from a liberal agenda, Israel always conscripts its teenagers to fight for the Army in constant preparation.
Another furry aspect surrounding this battle and the Jewish Question at large, is the ethnic versus religious debate, which is why I suspect observers are so hesitant to condemn the Zionist Jews (if they don’t). Unlike Islam which claims to be universal (and Hamas would probably like to see Islamism in place right across from the ‘Jordan to the Mediterranean’), Judaism is for a place and a people. We need to be sure this is a political quarrel and not just a religious one and meanwhile condemn the abhorrent idea of a state designed for only one ethnicity and religion based on Biblical folk tales, which date back thousands of years.
Again, one can’t over-emphasize that it is the citizens who suffer eternally in this despicable conflict, with Sky News claiming that over 20 Palestinians have been killed since Wednesday, with 3 Israeli deaths. The reckless retaliation of Hamas to the initial Israeli attack a few days ago is certainly going to further harm the citizens of Gaza, whilst underground bunks are being prepared in Tel Aviv (a city which is very culturally developed). These problems which I’ve outlined detail partly why this issue is so contentious; the war within the war in Gaza, the citizens of which are constantly punished and degraded at ‘home’ and in ‘Jewish’ territory – read Chomsky’s recent account – the confusion over the Zionist conquest, who started the fight this time round, who is supplying all of the weapons, etc. It is a desperate situation which may require a desperate solution. As someone I follow on WordPress stated a week before the latest outburst, ‘The violence between both parties has become so cyclical it shows no sign of stopping unless there is a radical change in dialogue between them’ (http://ozkaterji.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/94/).
I can’t profess to say much more on this news because I feel as though I don’t know anything like enough about it, nor do I have friends or any colleagues in Israel or Gaza to provide insight. Hopefully the communities keep going. I am tempted to quote former British PM David Lloyd George on the First World War, that ‘If people really knew the truth, the war would be stopped tomorrow’. As we continue to search for a solution which evidently won’t be a two-state one, the dark smoke clouds will also continue to obscure the horizon in this small part of the middle-east. Symbolic, or what?