Hamas broke the ceasefire by firing more rockets into Israel. Imagine if this had happened here. Imagine if France fired rockets onto Dover from Calais. Would the British people expect its government to stand idly by and do nothing? Of course not.
The simple fact is that Israel endures near-daily rocket attacks from Gaza; let's face it, when the Israelis withdrew from the Gaza Strip, it took less than a week for Hamas to start firing rockets into Israel.
As Iain points out, many people blame Israel for the appalling living standards in Gaza.
They are wrong. Hamas is to blame for keeping its people in abject poverty. Israel handed over the governmental administration of the Gaza Strip in 2005 to the Palestinian Authority. They had an opportunity to run it themselves. Instead, since Hamas took power, they have done everything in their power to keep their people in poverty and use it as an excuse to radicalise those who are inclined to believe their propaganda. But even despite this, Israel was providing huge amounts of humanitarian aid to Gaza - more than 4,000 truck loads a month as well as fuel and electricity (despite the ongoing rocket attacks). Conditions were by no means good, but there was no humanitarian crisis, according to Khaled Abdel Shaafi, director the United Nations Development Programme in Gaza. He said this month that "this is not a humanitarian crisis... It's an economic crisis, a political crisis, but it's not a humanitarian crisis. People aren't starving."
Whilst it is appalling that civilians are being killed, as with Hezbollah in Lebanon, there would be far fewer casualties were Hamas not firing their rockets from civilian areas. And whilst one could argue that this is not the fault of the Palestinians, one could equally argue that if the Palestinians did not condone these attacks then... well... maybe they should not have elected Hamas to the be their government (although I admit that the choice at the time was, roughly speaking, between a fresh turd and a slightly less fresh turd).
If, of course, Hamas gave two shits about the people of Palastine, one would have thought that they would at least allow them to receive medical treatment but apparently not.
Egypt says the Hamas militant group, which controls Gaza, is preventing hundreds of wounded Palestinians from leaving for treatment in Egypt.
Cairo says dozens of empty ambulances are at the Rafah crossing - the only one to Gaza which avoids Israel.
And as David Davis at the Libertarian Alliance points out, if Hamas actually gave two shits for the people that it is supposed to represent, then maybe they should look at their spending priorities?
If they can afford rockets, they can afford food, which is much cheaper!
Quite. Still, why bother, eh, when the European Union is busy bunging them large amounts of our money in order to
There are any numbers of "on one side but on the other" arguments that one can have about this situation but, for me, there really is only one relevant point to make: do you think that Israel, given that it has for some 60 years now, have the right to continue to exist?
Yes, one can say that it should never have been set up in the first place, but it was and it now exists: given that, does Israel have the right to defend itself? Did Israel have the right to defend herself when the Arabs tried to invade—three fucking times?
If you think that Israel shouldn't exist (given the above conditions) and thus has no right to defend herself, will you please have the balls to say so. Thank you.
UPDATE: Old Holborn has a debate going on over at his place, and he has published this rather revealing map.
It is, of course, a little disingenuous, since this map only goes up to 2000 and thus reflects none of the concessions that the Israelis have made since then. Just to throw fuel on the fire, here is the comment that I have left over at Old Holborn's post.
Let's leave aside the Bradford question, shall we? It's a little bit silly.
Let us instead consider what you would do were France – or, indeed, Ireland – to launch rockets, thousands of them, on London.
Let us also consider concessions that have been made by the Israelis over the last few years (for I notice that, somewhat disingenuously) your happy map only goes up to 2000).
They gave back (partially, admittedly) the Gaza Strip. The Knesset removed Israeli settlers from there, and parts of the West Bank (provoking the opprobrium of their own people). One might say that Israel is at least trying to make some concessions, no?
Or would you not?
I would say that they are: the things that you say that they have not allowed in the Gaza Strip – a port, or an airport, for instance – are fairly fucking sensible, no? If you were Israel – constantly under attack – would you simply allow your enemies to bring in fuck loads of weapons by boat, or allow them an easy launchpad for airstrikes?
If you are, you are a tactical numpty and I hope that you never become a Defence Minister for this country.
If the transfer of Gaza had gone well, and rockets had not been launched within three fucking days of it being "returned", then I am sure that more concessions might have been made.
As it is, the Israeli government would be fucking stupid to allow any kind of major trade route into Gaza that by-passed Israeli checkpoints because then the amount of weaponry would increase exponentially.
The Bradford question is silly: four people from Bradford killed 54 people on the Tube in the name of a religion and in protest at our invasion of another sovereign country. No doubt, in Old Holborn's eyes, these deaths were justified—have we given Bradford their own port, airport or tax system? No, damn it all: we haven't!
Come people of Bradford: rise up and start firing rockets at London: Old Holborn says you can!
As I have said, I don't necessarily condone Israel's actions, but I do understand them.
UPDATE 2: another gentleman has left a decent, non-rabid and pretty historically accurate comment over there (which I reproduce in full).
I apologise, but this is a little long.
An unbelievable amount of crap is burning my computer screen here, from garbage about mixed-marriage children being deported from Israel, to "Palestinian" land being appropriated. It's normal to support one side or another in a war even when they're both pretty rank (I'm talking about Bosnia, stupid), but that doesn't give anyone free rein to spout a whole lot of lies. A little basic knowledge would be helpful, instead of visceral hatred from people who "have no problem with Jews" but detest "ZioNazi Israelis", "especially the women" (you wish, Max-I-mean-Ampers). You yourself, OH, referred to "Yid moneylenders" in a recent post but hey, if you're offended, don't come here, right? Right.
In spite of the the crap on the map, there has never, ever, ever been a state called Palestine, nor a nation of people called Palestinians. They exist in the same way as, for example, Yorkshiremen (among whom, of course, there are now many Muslims). Gaza and the West Bank were part of Egypt and Jordan respectively from 1948 to 1967. They, and the rest of the territory, were part of a wider British Mandate until 1948 when Israel became independent. They were occupied in 1967 when some bastard neighbours used the areas to attack Israel.
Secondly, no one ever pushed anyone out of the region called Palestine. In 1948 the Arab states warned the people living in the area that they would attack the fledgling state and that for their own good it would be as well to get out, at the same time expelling almost 900,000 Jews from cities such as Baghdad and Damascus, who had lived there for over a thousand years. Many of these people, unsurprisingly, came to Israel and instead of living in "refugee camps", they built things like houses and cities. This may help dorks who call Israel a "racist colony" understand why there are over a million Muslim Arabs in Israel today, including Muslim MPs and a Muslim cabinet member.
Now that we have the facts straight, we have to look at the realities. The Palestinian leaders have wasted 60 years and squandered every dollar and opportunity given to them. They have as much chance of getting their homes back as the Baghdad Jews do of getting theirs, but the leaders are divided between messianic religious fundamentalism and corruption on a massive scale, and the Europeans, who created the problem in the first place, pay lip service to both and prolong the agony.
But the ordinary Palestinian sees a white, mainly European, almost totally highly educated and middle-class people living across the border and he doesn't like the skank he seems to have to put up with on his side of the border where he has little chance of either a decent education or a decent job outside the "security forces". So to give his life meaning after he's watched the 15th rerun of Dynasty, he goes out and stabs a Jewish child or launches a rocket (courtesy of the mullahs) from the nearest school playground. What? You mean they didn't tell you?
It must be obvious to anyone that the only way out of this is a) to get rid of Hamas and b) for the Arab states to sign a peace treaty with Israel and pour money into setting up a state with a high standard of living. The first is possible; the second unlikely as even in their own countries, there is an enormous underclass, so we are not going to see a new Dubai or Sharm-el-Sheikh, let alone the fabled Singapore we all hoped for. But there is no point giving up trying, unless we want to see all the states in the region come toppling down and turning into new Irans.
If you have been, as the man said, thank you for reading.
Thank you for writing.
UPDATE 3: do feel free to wander over to Old Holborn's place and see him attempting to wriggle out of his ridiculous Bradford analogy (by the simple expedient of trying to pretend that he never said anything about it).
Oh, and have a giggle at his less than subtle "Israelis" equals "the Nazis" hints. Oh, and see him justify Hamas "throwing fireworks over the fence" because they are "a democratically elected party", but attack a democratically elected party in Israel for lobbing some back.
Can anyone say "hypocrisy"...?
UPDATE 4: Chris Gilmour has been good enough to update Old Holborn's map to 2007. There's rather more Palestinian land than there was in 2000, reflecting the fact that... [drum roll]... the Israelis have been attempting to make concessions.
In other news, D-Squared comments on the actual rules on proportionality in military conflicts.