Has the Israeli Government Lost its Way?

The conflict between Israel and the people of Gaza is much too brutal and inhumane while the civilised world watches and finds itself in a kind of self-imposed paralysis for fear of taking sides with one of the combatants or the other.

Both peoples have a history of suffering and seem to forget that victims tend to become the perpetrators of heinous acts of oppression and cruelty.

Those of you who watched Monday night’s main Channel 4 News @ 7 would have seen a gruesome report from their correspondent, Jonathan Miller, in Gaza, reporting an Israeli rocket attack on the home of the chief surgeon at the main hospital in that beleaguered city.

‘The precision of the targeting is extraordinary,’ reported Miller. ‘The home of Dr Nasser al-Tatar, Director of Shifa Hospital – Gaza’s biggest – was destroyed by three missiles just before he joined his family to break the Ramadan fast last night. A warning was phoned through to his nephew; he had ten minutes to warn neighbours and get his wife and four children out. He thinks two were fired from drones and one from an F-16 fighter. He watched his home of thirty years blown up in less than a minute. One big missile left a ten-foot-deep crater in what was his front room. But the houses on either side of his were hardly damaged. A couple of windows were broken — probably from the pressure wave.’

Here’s the link for those of you who missed it: http://blogs.channel4.com/miller-on-foreign-affairs/gaza-live/768

The second surgeon in the interview is one of Quartet’s authors, Mads Gilbert. A Norwegian doctor who’s also a Professor of Medicine at the University of North Norway in Tromso, Mads has regularly worked for the Norwegian Palestine Committee in occupied Palestine.

Eyes in Gaza, his shocking account of Israel’s twenty-two-day military offensive in 2009 on the Gaza Strip where one thousand, three hundred Palestinians were killed, a large majority civilians, with many more thousands injured, written with another Norwegian doctor, Erik Fosse, remains essential background reading to this appalling conflict.

The book should be read for its fearful lesson that war has never solved a problem in the long term but essentially fuelled hatred at a level beyond the comprehension of any sensible human being, whose quest for peace is paramount in a region where the scripture of the three main world religions refers to it as The Holy Land.

In an article written by Roger Cohen entitled ISRAEL’S BLOODY STATUS QUO published in the New York Times, 14th July, he ends by saying:

Jews should study the Nakba. Arabs should study the Holocaust. That might be a first step toward two-state coexistence. And everyone should read the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai’s lines about redemption only coming for all the peoples of the Holy Land when a Jerusalem guide tells his tour group: ‘You see that arch over there from the Roman period? It doesn’t matter, but near it, a little to the left and then down a bit, there’s a man who has just bought fruit and vegetables for his family.’ 

These are wise words. I hope they will not fall on deaf ears and when you read Eyes in Gaza you will find it the best antidote to war.


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