I have just heard that British Prime Minister has called for an immediate cease fire in Gaza. 10 minutes ago I heard a newscaster on French TV informing their viewers that Israel started an embargo on Gaza because it considers Hamas to be a terrorist group and it is this which led to the present conflict.
I think I know what Mr Brown was saying; I hope I am wrong. And I don’t think there is any need to tell JC readers that the French newscaster is spreading cynical Arab propaganda. It is true that Israel considers Hamas to be a terrorist group, so does the European Union and so does the USA , Egypt and many other states. However this has nothing to do with the present conflict
In 2005 all Israeli settlements in the Gaza strip were evacuated. 9,000 people were removed from their homes. The idea was to enable to the citizens of Gaza to start afresh to build their own society- without any excuse that Israel’s presence prevented it. Ariel Sharon planned the move as a first step towards to a mutually acceptable peace settlement.
Since then Hamas has launched 3,000 rockets at Israel. And Israel hardly replied. Even today, 4th January, (until 6pm), after 9 days of Israel’s long overdue response, Hamas has fired 44 rockets at Israel.
What is Gordon Brown talking about? Would he have recommended that Israel wait until 6,000 rockets were fired? If 3,000 rockets had been fired on Britain would he have reacted earlier or later? Or maybe he would have done nothing. Or maybe Mr Brown feels that the “only” 44 rockets is an acceptable daily tally. Maybe he considers that this is Hamas’ idea of a cease fire. And what about French TV? What do they think that the Israeli evacuation of Gaza settlements was intended to achieve? Do they think that Israel would not have reacted to the 3,000 rockets had they been fired by a “legitimate” government?
Were I to talk directly to Mr Brown or to the French broadcaster I would no doubt be treated to long meaningless explanations. I would have heard what they meant and what they would have meant had they not said what they did not meant to say when they had to say what they did not mean to say it (or them). Maybe the British cannot speak English any more or maybe the French cannot speak French. It is probably the fault of the Common Market.
Everyone agrees that the firing should stop immediately. It is easy to say and it is also meaningless to say it, unless we want Hamas to be permitted to continue with their murderous assault. If Mr Brown means that- then he should say so and then we would know where we stand.
For my part we have now lived through several Israeli military operations. I cannot recall any previous operation when the Israeli people were so united and so determined. We all hope and pray that the results justify the effort, that the army succeeds in the task, and that our soldiers all return home safe and well.