Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sensible words on the war in Gaza...

Sir Jeremy Greenstock Former UK Ambassador To The United Nations, writing in Daily Mirror on the current war in Gaza:

The tragedy of the situation in Gaza is that this terrible outbreak of violence was never necessary in the first place.

Last summer, Hamas initiated and accepted the terms of a six-month ceasefire between them and Israel.

Israel agreed to open up the border crossings if rockets ceased to land on Israeli towns. The rockets stopped for five months but the crossings did not open. Gaza became a prison for its inhabitants, one without food or medicine.

On November 4, Israel sent tanks in to prevent the use of smuggling tunnels, killing Palestinians.

The ceasefire nevertheless continued, but was not renewed by Hamas in December - they saw no chance of the crossings being opened. An arrangement would have been possible at that point - if only the Israelis were prepared to allow much-needed food, fuel and medicine into Gaza.

But talks which could have led to that were shattered by Israel's air campaign.

For two years I have been with an organisation which is trying to encourage Hamas to see their rejection of the Israeli occupation as a political rather than a military campaign.

The potential for a diplomatic solution has never been explored. It is too convenient for Jerusalem and Washington to label Hamas a terror organisation and shoot from a distance.

Hamas is a grievance-based political organisation with Islamic credentials, which is committed to freeing Palestine from the Israeli occupation. They are capable, in time, of accepting a two-state solution.

Hamas won the fair and open election in Palestine in 2006.

They won because the people thought Fatah, the party of the rejected government, had failed them. Fatah had not achieved a Palestinian state, despite renouncing violence and recognising Israel. This is crucial to understanding Hamas - they won't recognise Israel until sure of the world's commitment to a just solution to the Palestine issue.

Hamas are not the creatures of Iran but they will accept money and arms from Tehran in the absence of any other source of support.

Adversaries of al-Qaeda, they are in no way interested in setting up a "Taliban-style" government.

Hamas are wrong to target Israeli civilians but no solution is possible unless they are involved.

The only way for Israel to achieve security is to get to political grips with its enemy.

It is way past the time for the shooting to stop and the talking to start.

The potential for a diplomatic solution has never been explored.

It is too convenient to label Hamas a terror organisation and shoot from a distance.


Anonymous said...

Talk about nonsense.

To the regular socialists who continue to choose to condemn Israel I have one question:

What else could Israel have done to protect its citizens?

The fact of the matter is that the people of Gaza chose to elect Hamas, which is recognised internationally as a terrorist organisation, and which always puts its hostility to Israel ahead of any concern for the well-being of its people

Therefore, it sickens me to see that so many readers commenting on the situation in Israel take the side of Islamic terrorists who seek the destruction of Western civilisation.

The current situation in the Middle East is totally down to Hamas terrorists firing rockets into Israel.

For years the Israeli people have had to put up with this daily threat to their lives while the world looks away.

The terrorists have an expanding range of missiles supplied by Iran.

No sensible person should expect Israel to sit back and tolerate this.

It is only right that Israel acts in self-defence because if Britain faced a similar threat most people would expect the British government to respond in the same way.

The Palestinian side has always ended any hopes for peace in the Middle East, and this current episode is no different.

In the last 10 years they rejected historic solutions proposed by both Bill Clinton and the great George W. Bush in favour of continued violence and terror.

In the face of such a threat we must commend the efforts of our Israeli allies to protect its people as part of the war on Islamic terror.

Of course everyone did not want to reach a situation in which IDF soldiers were ordered to go into Gaza.

I hoped that Israel would succeed in preventing this but from the moment they decided to go into Gaza it had to be done with determination and without hesitation.

People must not forget that Israel are dealing with brutal terrorist organisations devoid of the compassion and tolerance which characterise traditional christian nations.

Therefore, the blow inflicted upon Hamas had to have unprecedented strength.

One must not forget that Israel has also suffered losses since the start of Operation Cast Lead but should not be disillusioned that there could be fighting without casualties.

That is why I believe that that the war must go on until the conditions that are essential for Israel's security are met, that Hamas rocket fire ends and that means that the strengthening of the terrorist organisations via the smuggling of war materiel from Egypt into Gaza must also stop.

In the last two years, Israel has dedicated great and almost unprecedented efforts in order to reach peace with the Palestinians and the Syrians.

This in itself proves that Israel are not a country of war and do not want to fight but we must not forget that when it comes to security, Israel or any country for that matter should never compromise.

Anonymous said...

Being so far removed from the situation highlights (at least to me) the importance of having access to both sides of the story. That Israel refuses to allow forein media into Gaza is a pathetic move of manipulation. It, obviously, prevents people from hearing both sides of the story, and it enables Israel to claim that the news that is coming out of Gaza (from Palestinians) is unreliable and biased. This leads me to question what Israel is afraid of letting the world know, and makes me increasingly skeptical of their attack on Gaza.