In the wake of the recent Presidential elections in America, the world is looking forward with optimism towards a more stable Middle East. For the region is the key towards stability everywhere. Unfortunately as these lines were written, the Israeli army was preparing to invade Gaza and the Israeli Air Force had been bombing Gaza for 4 days since Boxing Day. At that time, foreign correspondents described this as the worst Israeli attack on Gaza with more than 375 deaths. At the time of publication, this number now stands at over 1300 in an operation which lasted over three weeks.
On 29th of December, the BBC was speaking to the Welfare Minister of Israel and had asked him why Israel were bombing Gaza; his response was this was done in response to Hamas rocket attacks into Israel. The BBC correspondent told the Minister that Hamas rocket attacks over the past 2 years have just killed 9 Israelis however the present air bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli Air Force has killed 375 civilians including Hamas members! Such is the lopsidedness of this situation. One is often reminded of a particular law in the Old Testament, an eye for an eye. However in this case or in the case of Israeli blood, it is 10 eyes for one eye! Lest we forget, the Israeli civilians who stay in the towns bordering Gaza are on occupied land which Israel has been told to evacuate countless times and by numerous resolutions from the UN. These civilians are also armed (they say for their own protection) and dangerous. Such things are not strange when we look at that region. The Israelis believe it is their right to remain in that land even though the United Nations stipulates that it is against international law. Such belief stems partly from Judaism bit more from the ideology of Zionism, that terrorising ideology which the majority of Israelis, especially their government, hold very staunchly to. The onslaught in Gaza is just beginning and it will only get worse. At the end of the interview, the BBC correspondent asked the Minister, Are you planning to eradicate Hamas with this attack on Gaza? The Minister responded in the negative saying something along the lines of making Hamas repent and not launch rocket attacks on Israel. The actual question should have been, ‘are you telling the people to leave Gaza so that the Israeli settlers can occupy it?’
On the Palestinian side the Fatah faction is also taking advantage of the situation to attack the Hamas administration which controls Gaza. Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas regards the Israeli attack as the fault of Hamas. Such disunity at a time of crisis is telling. How many more civilians have to die before these two factions unite for the sake of the people? In order for peace to come to Palestine, these two factions need to come together instead of fighting with each other. How does this current setting affect the mood towards the new US Administration under Obama? When asked why they had attacked Gaza, the Minister answered in a purely arrogant manner that if you were attacked you would do the same. Such arrogance stems from following the old administration which Obama had come to replace. Such is the opportunity that is at Obama’s feet i.e. that he is to change that shoot from the hip aggressive attitude of the Bush administration and usher in a new period of dialogue and exchange of views which are essential for peace and prosperity to return to Palestine and Israel.
In this issue of Palestinian Internationalist we have contributions from Sukant Chandan, Seyfeddin Kara, Meir Gold and Samira Quraishy. All of these articles and reviews contribute towards our knowledge of the multi-faceted nature of the conflict raging in Palestine.
Mohamad Nasrin Nasir