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Israel/Gaza 2024

Image by CHUTTERSNAP

The events of 7th October were truly barbaric. Hardened journalists and politicians have recoiled at the sheer savagery and brutality of the attack on a Jewish settlement that had moments before been enjoying a music festival. With no regard for age or sex women children and men were tortured, raped, murdered, and taken hostage. Even some of the dead were `kidnapped` so that their families could neither grieve nor bury them.

Under international law a state has a right to defend itself and Israel has done just that. Whether the response has been proportionate or justified only time and a properly convened international court may determine. What is immediately clear is that most of Gaza has been reduced to the rubble under which thousands of innocent civilians have lain dead.

Israel. however, is dealing with a democratically elected Government of Gaza, Hamas, which has no qualms whatsoever about using hospitals and schools and civilians as shelter for its terrorist war-machine. And it is a `government` that even now is capable of launching rocket strikes on Jerusalem and it is a regime whose expressed aim is to wipe the State of Israel off the face of the earth. And dead or alive Hamas is still holding a significant number of Israeli hostages in its network of underground tunnels.

So, a unilateral `ceasefire`, which is what most protesters are calling for, is not viable. A ceasefire requires the co-operation and agreement of both sides in the conflict which is why the United Nations, The United States, The United Kingdom and many others are pressing for a humanitarian pause in the conflict, the exchange of hostages and then negotiations based upon the concept of a long-term two-state solution. That is what David Cameron, representing the United Kingdom, is working for and I support it as it is the only practical way forward.

It remains to be seen whether the most recent initiative taken by President Biden offers sufficient to both sides to bring them a point of agreement. There is – I put it no higher than this – at least a glimmer of hope but with political vested interests on both sides obstructing progress the signs are not promising.

I know of nobody half-decent who is not appalled by the way in which events have developed and lives have been lost in the Middle East since Hamas launched their attack on innocent civilians in Israel on 7th October last year.

That said, I have not been able to subscribe to the “cease fire now” demand that many well-meaning and some disingenuous people have been making. Quite simply, it is unrealistic and unachievable and would not lead to the lasting peace that we would all dearly like to see delivered.

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