Getting both sides talking

Hi there – Chloe here in the hot seat again today.

Many of you have been contacting the BBC over the last few days about the situation in Gaza. Today we’re going to do things a little bit differently on the programme. We’re assembling a group of Palestinians from Gaza and another from Sderot, the Israeli border town, to talk directly to each other. They’ll talk about their lives, their different and collective fears and what changes they would like to see, plus any concessions they are willing to make in the pursuit of peace.

UPDATE: In Gaza we’ll be talking to and in Sderot. Find out more about them below…

After you’ve heard their discussions we want you to put your questions to both sides. If you live either side of the border we want to hear from you, your stories, your views. And from around the world we want get your take on where both sides go from here.

Can a collective punishment against the Israeli’s, in the form of indiscriminate rock attacks on Israeli civilians, ever work or be justified? How much of the current situation is directly the fault of Hamas or the Israeli government? And is it realistic for the Israeli’s expect no resistance when they continue build new settlements on what the Palestinians view as occupied land?

Speak to you later,


Meet our panels

Not long until we go on air, and we’ve organised our guests from Gaza and Sderot to take part in the programme. Here’s some of their stories.

Humanitarian worker and part-time journalist Mohammed Ali from Gaza
I’m the only source of income for 12 family members. I have a 4-month-old baby and my wife is pregnant. There’s now food shortages due to the blockade and food prices have gone up so much that my salary only buys food for 5 days not two weeks. One of my brothers wants to work in the Gulf states, but can’t leave Gaza because the border is closed. Because of that, I was stuck in an airport just across the border in Egypt for two months on my way back from France a few months ago. This Israeli policy is turning people against Israel not against Hamas. I feel sorry for ordinary families in Sderot who come under attack, but do they have sympathy for us? They are occupying our land and could move. We can’t.

Mechi, Emigrated from America with husband 24yrs ago. Has lived in Sderot for 13 years.
It’s a difficult situation. I have seven kids, three of whom don’t know life without the rockets. they can’t go outside, can’t ride their bikes. But Sderot is part of Israel proper and we’re not running away, even though it’s scary. But if Gazans are happy that the rockets scare us then they need to worry about that because it’s not helping them.

David Frendel, Mechi’s husband
Mechi and I have seven children. We moved to Sderot to devlop the town. I run an academic institution, where students combine learning and the army. I think Israel should attack Gaza and clear-out the terrorist cells. The children sleep downstairs because of the rocket attacks.

Mohammed Omer, 23, from Rafah. Journalist and development worker
I have been to the border at Rafah today and seen several hundred thousand people crossing to buy things such as milk, cheese, medicines, cows, goats and washing powder. I support six brothers, my mother and sister with my salary. We currently have no running water at home and electricity is off much of the night. Mother had to sleep on a hospital floor when she went for operation recently due to the lack of equipment. I have sympathy for all human beings, but I’m not in a position to criticise the rocket fire. My brother was killed in 2003 by the Israeli army, who also demolished our home in Rafah even though we just ordinary Palestinians.

Shai Ben-Yaish in Sderot
I’m a local councillor in Sderot, also a Lieutenant in the Army Reserve. I run a security company in Sderot. Its a disaster here in Sderot. We’ve been under attack for 7 years, and left alone the by the Israeli government.

Sami Abdel Shafi – management consultant in Gaza.
I am unable to find printer paper for my office. If I find these supplies they are triple the price. I have difficulty finding light bulbs for example. The water supply is very bad (even before the siege). We cannot get any magazines for example. I am fortunate to be able to buy things still..but I am the minority of a minority only about 10 percent of the population that is “privileged”. People in desperate situations have no jobs, no savings, unable to buy food, can’t go to school. One of my main concerns is medical care which is almost non-existant.

110 Responses to “Getting both sides talking”

  1. 1 Neil McGowan
    January 23, 2008 at 13:45

    I see “Gunboat Miliband” has been entirely inactive, and hasn’t done a single thing about the Gaza Crisis?

    It’s odd that this spineless weasel can work himself up into a fury over the suspension of a poetry-reading session in Chelyabinsk, but when people in Gaza have their heating and power cut-off, or monks in Burma are massacred by the Govt… ol’ “Gunboat Miliband” sits on his hands and does nothing at all??

  2. 2 Brett
    January 23, 2008 at 13:51

    I can’t wait to hear this discussion. I will be tuning in today at my office and look forward to learning quite a bit about each sides point of view and the dialogue.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  3. 3 David - UK
    January 23, 2008 at 14:00

    I’m not sure what this will achieve because the everyday people, once they start talking to each other, generally get along. It’s the inflexible people with their set and concrete ideas and beliefs that are the continuing problem in Palestine and Israel. I would like to know, if the people in the studio, are happy with the people who represent them. Does it make them feel more secure when hardliners and people with a clear and authoritarian voice represent them in their governments? In our own lives we know there are very few times when we’re 100% certain, Life is mostly shades of grey and is very rarely black or white.

  4. 4 ZK
    January 23, 2008 at 14:02

    I’ll quote a point I made on yesterday’s lead-up post:

    Olmert should be held culpable under international law for any injuries or deaths to civilians in Gaza should the blockade continue.

    The fact is that Hamas will attack Israel just for the sake of doing so. Regardless of whatever happens to the Gaza civilians Hamas won’t care. They’re just using the poor people as an excuse. And nothing’s going to change that. It’s just another excuse for Hamas to continue attacking. I just can’t see what a blockade would do.

    This is why we need Fatah back in control over the whole Palestinian Territories. At least Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad would be able to convince Olmert not to blockade Gaza. As it is, Fatah have no reason to do so, as they see this as being detrimental to Hamas, which they wouldn’t mind at all.

    Both Hamas and Olmert’s government are equally responsible and I can see no end to this conflict so long as both sides refuse to talk to each other, as is currently the case.

  5. 5 John D. Anthony
    January 23, 2008 at 14:17

    What’s to argue? Both sides are in total agreement that the problem is someone else’s fault, the U.S. will support any compromise that lets it feel good about itself, and the average person in the region will get the short end of the stick.

    John in Salem

  6. 6 Arnaud ntirenganya Emmanuel
    January 23, 2008 at 14:17

    This is life conflict like the one in great lakes in central Africa.

  7. 7 Tommaso Debenedetti
    January 23, 2008 at 14:19

    After Annapolis Summit, after new talks between Israel and Palestine, the situation is really terrible. In Gaza and in Israeli city of Sderot. I want to ask to people in Gaza and in Sderot: what’s the situation of childrens in the two countries? What’s the situation of security for schools in Gaza and in Sderot? Why leaders and representatives of the two cities have not decided a plain for security of schools and in general for childrens of Gaza and Sderot?
    Thank you for the answer.

  8. 8 steve
    January 23, 2008 at 14:32

    Gaza isn’t occupied, so why are the palestinians “resisting” by firing rockets into civilian Israeli areas? Quit making excuses for terrorists. They are monsters. If the gazans don’t stop the the terrorists, then expect Israel to. Time to grow up Gazans. Prove to the world you would rather have a state than to destroy Israel.

  9. 9 VictorK
    January 23, 2008 at 15:13

    So, ZK, is it your position that self-defence is an offence under international law, or just when Jews defend themselves against aggression?

    I really think that your position on this is either delusional or anti-semitic. The Burmese government can engage in acts of wholesale repression; the government of Sudan can sponsor a genocide over several years; the North Koreans can hold an entire nation hostage; the Chinese can seize and colonise Tibet, while in the process systematically and maliciously destroying Tibetan culture; Castro can turn Cuba into one vast slave-camp, with free health care for his millions of slaves; Saudi Arabia can run a system of apartheid by gender; Robert Mugabe can rig elections and transform a flourishing economy into a ruin; etc, etc. There is little or no comment about these regimes from leftists and Arabophiles like ZK. But when Israel responds to unprovoked attacks with a blockade – not even military action – we get hysterical screams about ‘international law’ being violated and how the Israelis must be held accountable for their crimes (a second Nuremberg Tribunal, perhaps?). There really is nothing like old-fashioned Jew-hatred.

    Isn’t Israel’s real crime in the eyes of people like ZK the fact that it exists at all? This is the only thing that can explain their indifference to attempts to kill Jews and their fury whenever Israelis have the effrontery to flout ‘international law’ by defending themselves.

    I hope to listen to the debate but I think I already know the lines along which it will develop. One side will attempt to put their case in reasoned terms with appeals to facts. The other side will present their case with uncompromising self-righteousness, demanding things that they know to be impossible and refusing to acknowledge any criticism of the behaviour of their leaders. By the end of the debate the friendly and optimistic atmosphere with which the programme began will have degenerated into one of open hostility. At the close the participants will be greater enemies than they were an hour earlier. But I could be wrong.

  10. 10 Mark
    January 23, 2008 at 15:26

    The rocket attacks are only the most recent manifestation of the real causes of the Arab Israeli conflict. The root of it now is that the entire Islamic world has been inculcated for several generations with a litany of lies about Jews and Israel. And they believe it. So do some beyond the Islamic world. This fiction has it that the land Israel exists on was stolen from the Arabs, that Israelis have no historic claim to it, therefore no right to exist as a nation and that Moslems are therefore justified in whatever actions they take no matter how brutal to get their land back even if it means killing every last Jew. The existence of Israel is seen as Europe’s way to push the “Jewish Question” beyond its borders since it could not be solved by Hitler. The reactions of the Israelis and their American supporters are seen as therefore a cruel injustice perpetrated against Islam in general and the Arabs in the occupied territories in particular. The real truth is quite the opposite but unless and until this lie is fully exposed and Arab government and other demagogues fully admit that they have used this propaganda to exploit and control Arab populations, the conflict will never end, it will only intensify. Why where the Arab governments so opposed to Israel’s existence in 1948? Because they were afraid that an example of a democratic prosperous western style democracy in their midst would set a dangerous example which would cause other Arabs to demand the same.

    The problem for the Arabs themselves is that they don’t recognize that the people they look up to as their heroes, Hamas, Hezbollah, suicide bombers, and other assorted terrorists and dictators are actually their worst enemy, not Israel. It is ironic that the Arabs have forced the world’s most pacifistic people who went like sheep to the slaughter in Nazi Germany to become hardened brutal killers themselves in order to survive. The Arabs made them choose between their survival instinct and their basic non violent nature and they chose the former with great difficulty. In any other culture faced with the circumstances the Israelis faces, an implacable enemy bent on destroying them but much weaker militarily, they’d have been wiped out of existence decades ago.

    The Arabs refuse to see that the occupation and settlements did not come into being until the third of four Arab government wars to eliminate Israel because its prior borders made it an irresistible target due to the difficulty of militarily defending them. They also refuse to recognize that while under Arab control, Jerusalem which contains Judism’s most sacred spot was off limits to them but now under Israeli control, people of any religion and nationality can go there and it should therefore stay that way. They also refuse to recognize that there is no historical basis for a “Palestinian People” and none was ever even mentioned until the occupation. It was the creation of this myth that continued to allow Arab demagogues to convince the inhabitants that they were Israel’s victims. That is why it is in two separate parts and not a single geographical entity. Yet even so, Israel was willing to concede the creation of a Palestinian state but in truth, two states living in peace side by side was never what the so called moderates of Fatah wanted. It should be remembered that in the closing days of the Clinton Administration during negotiations, much to the astonishment of the world and of Israelis, Ehud Barack conceded to virtually every one of Arafat’s demands. Seeing no other way out, Arafat suddenly brought up a demand for the right of return of up to five million Arab refugees to Israel, a demand which had it been acceded to would have demographically destroyed it, and when it wasn’t he walked out and begin another terrorist war, his second Intifada.

    As Palestinians now hate Israelis more than they love their own lives or their own children, any negotiated peace will only be a temporary truce until the next Arab pretext for a war. If the Palestinians want to survive, they must now come to grips with their real problem or face a humanitarian disaster on the order of Darfur, one they will have brought upon themselves.

  11. January 23, 2008 at 15:48

    Before 1945 Israel has been and will continue to be in the news. It’s sad that only Israel is the worse hit with rockets in that region of the world. Israelis have to stand up against these “threats” against their corporate existence. If Palestinians continue to launch rockets on Israel, they should intensify their blockades all around the country of Israel.
    I can’t wait to be enlightened on the challenges Israelis are facing daily from Gazans.

  12. 12 Mohammed Ali
    January 23, 2008 at 16:27

    This my candid, no level of talking will make those two groups of people to know peace or embrace. Read history and it will tell you that their entire existance has been plague by fighting. I think the best solution is to put both the Palestinians and the Israelis in one cage and allow them to fight till there is only one survival. That one survival will inherit the land they are now fighting for. other than that, they will continue to fight because the both of them like war.

  13. January 23, 2008 at 16:49

    Thank you Egypt for letting the people of Gaza get some basic supplies. Obviously the people were in need of supplies…. Isreal should not try to govern the whole region. If they were not so greedy they wouldn’t have to worry about attacks.

  14. 14 gary
    January 23, 2008 at 17:01

    Hello All,
    If speaking the truth solved problems; no problems would exist. Problems are caused by not speaking the truth. Here are some truths:
    The “Gazans’ aren’t; they are Palestinians. The Israeli’s weren’t; they were the Diaspora.
    “Guilt” felt by some western powers and the organizational, marketing, and propagandizing talents of the Diaspora recently changed these facts.
    Existence of the new facts does not making them moral or immoral. Most Israelis were born in their homeland; most Palestinians were not. Killing, whether quickly or slowly, is immoral. Only acknowledgement of this by the leaders of each side will stop it.
    The unfortunate facts are:
    1. The ability to attain a position of leadership (In Gaza, Israel, the US, England, or in your local Bridge Club) only accidentally coincides with an ability to lead.
    2. People notice whether their loved ones die of rocket attacks, or embargoed basic needs.
    3. If the deaths are attributable to a different culture, cultural hatreds are the result.
    4. Cultural hatreds last for millennia.
    Some free advice: Palestinians; Stop buying rockets. Spend your time and money educating your best and brightest, then out-organize, out-market, and out-propagandize them! They will still be alive; but not nearly as happy.

  15. 15 viola anderson
    January 23, 2008 at 17:36

    One always hopes that dialogue will bring understanding and understanding, progress. On the other hand, one realizes how unlikely it is that people with agendas will make any real effort, but simply attempt to prevail over the other’s views. I am curious about one thing and perhaps the speakers from Sderot can answer it. Whenever a rocket lands in or near Sderot, why is there not an immediate response? Surely in today’s world, there is technology available that can pinpoint from where, exactly, a rocket was fired. If that is indeed the case, one would expect an immediate response. After all, if someone is shooting at you, don’t you have an obligation to reply in kind? If the Gazan militants are able to reach Sderot with their rockets, why can’t rockets stationed in Sderot reach the militants? What am I missing?

  16. 16 John D. Anthony
    January 23, 2008 at 18:11

    For over 50 years I have watched this Middle Eastern version of the Hatfields and McCoys and I’m sick of it. There is nothing “Holy” enough about this land to warrant the endless slaughtering on both sides but I don’t expect it will see any peace until they turn it into a sheet of radioactive glass.

    John in Salem

  17. 17 Joshua Corey
    January 23, 2008 at 18:25

    That Hamas has manufactured the disputed crisis in resuming Israeli shipments of industrial diesel fuel and humanitarian supplies to the Gaza and and it bears sole responsibility for hardships, we ought to hear from some Arabs. Many agree that Hamas created this crisis and sustains it: clear and compelling evidence point to Hamas’ theft of fuel and deception about Gazan bakeries’ shutting down to suit their own dastardly ends

    The readiness of Western journalists to assign blame to Israel for Gaza’s hardships while deliberately ignoring information to the contrary – even from Arab sources – is most unfortunately not new. Last November, for example, the New York Times’ Steven Erlanger blamed Israel for an impending recurrence of the Gaza sewage disaster and ignored Palestinian evidence which pointed to Palestinian culpability. Whether the subject be human waste or fresh pita, it’s unconscionable that journalists allow Hamas spin to squash opposing Arab voices.

    Joshua E. Corey
    New York

  18. 18 Devadas
    January 23, 2008 at 18:27

    The current issue is the offshoot of the larger issue which is unresolved for years which have lead to this situation. Yet again the world bodies and the perpetrators israel and palestines are yet again asking the question whether who is responsible for the current problem the so called rocket attack or the embargo on supply of fuels and food across palestine?rather than nurturing the tree trunk to save it the stakeholders in israel,palestine and worldbodies are trying to bolster the branches of the tree trunk. It’s time israel has to talk palestine issue on the land they have transgressed in 1966 and after also the palestines must assure its extremist path in solving the issue. And the UN must see to it how they can effectively be a mediator in this conflict resolution and the veto power misuse of america for Israel aggression.

    Another method will not be a permanent solution regarding israel-palestine problem. It will be like putting band-aid to cancer wounds rather than treating from its roots?


  19. January 23, 2008 at 18:29

    This my candid, no level of talking will make those two groups of people to know peace or embrace. Read history and it will tell you that their entire existance has been plague by fighting.

    So what are you doing on this show – negotiating with words is a gift not a privilege.

  20. 20 Chris
    January 23, 2008 at 18:32

    This issue will never be resolved. The palestinian and Israeli hatred for one another is far greater than their desire for peace.

  21. 21 alpha
    January 23, 2008 at 18:40

    please why not try the idea of ‘tolerance’, from both sides.

  22. 22 najet-from spain
    January 23, 2008 at 18:42

    Listening to both sides; it’s like watching someone argue with a mirror. You’re both saying the same thing: I have the right to exist because I believe I do. Instead of just screaming out why you’re right and they’re not, why not accept the fact that both of you have messed up and should take the time to fix it.

    Palestinians: it’s not just your home, it’s Israel’s too. The Israelis have tried to negotiate (they even pull out of the settlements). Stop firing rockets and promoting violence.

    Israelis: get over it. Yes your texts say that you were given that land by God, so do theirs. why don’t we wait till he comes out and hands it to one of you? Don’t hold your breath, take your faith and put it to real use. Share and accept.

    Not to play compare and contrast, but look at Europe or the united states where the land was “given to them by god” too, and yet you can have a Muslim neighbor, and be a “Jew for Jesus”. You’re like children. You wonder why no one listens anymore, because they offer you ideas and each of you just throw it back in their face.

  23. 23 Di Hu
    January 23, 2008 at 18:42

    I want to say how can Israel and Palestinians sit down and talk fairly when Israel has both the economical and military power to ignore whatever the Palestinians have to say, which by the way Israel does. I believe there will be no real chance until the Jews changes their attitude.

  24. January 23, 2008 at 18:42

    The problem is that both sides have absolute belief that they have the right to the land. In 1946, the Palestinean people lived on that land. Regardless of the validity of the Israeli claim, the Palestinean people were forced from that land. When one side was forced from the land, and the other side feels they have a God-mandated right to that land, there will be no peace.

    I live in the USA, on land that the American Indians were forced from. I fully understand that they should have a claim to the land. But if I were to be forced from my house, with no compensation, I would be rightly angry.

  25. 25 Michael Kemper
    January 23, 2008 at 18:43

    Collective punishment is illegal. Period.

    Michael Kemper

  26. 26 Elizabeth via email
    January 23, 2008 at 18:44

    Although not a supporter of Hamas, I don’t agree with the logic presented by your Israeli guest that there is a collective responsability that everyone in Palestine shares for having voted in a ‘terrorist’ organization. That is the nature of democracy, it is unpredictable, and by attempting to isolate Hamas, Israel demonstrates a contempt for democracy.
    If we were to follow that same logic, many people in the world consider Bush’s policy in Iraq as illegal under international law, not to mention the terror that the U.S. military bombing inspires in civilians, killing them as ‘collateral damage’. Does that mean that everyone in the U.S. is responsable for the deaths of Iraqui civilians? Does that mean that we should all be rounded up and imprisoned, or bombed?
    Why does the U.S. have one policy supporting an apartheid state based on religion (Israel) while condemning other just as opressive religious states (such as Iran, etc).
    The U.N. has repeatedly voted in favor of asking Israel to respect the 1967 borders but Israel has refused.
    What kind of peace can be mediated if Palestians don’t have a right to return to their homeland? Why should only certain people have a right to own land in Israel?
    San Francisco, CA

  27. 27 Martin
    January 23, 2008 at 18:44

    Wouldn’t returning Gaza to Egypt solve a lot of Olmert’s problems???
    (Martin, Amsterdam)

  28. January 23, 2008 at 18:44

    Do you want to hear what people are saying or not. How can you justify allowing some people to speak here and not others, when this is only moderated after the discussion you have done no good.

  29. 29 Ana
    January 23, 2008 at 18:44

    I think it is really sad to see all the hatred that exist on both sides. I think they both need to realize that they are victims of their own anger and stubbornness. Violence is not the answer and this statement applies to both sides.

    Israel needs to leave all the land that they got through the war and help create a Palestinian state, if they really want peace. Palestians need to follow the example of Gandhi so that the world will sympathize with them and help them create their own country. Peace in the region is a must to move forward and people on both sides need to respect each other religion and way of life!

  30. 30 Steve via email
    January 23, 2008 at 18:44

    I wonder if your gazan guests were as outspoken about the palestinian on palestinian violence that happened when Hamas took over control of Gaza?
    And also, if Gazans didn’t launch rockets at Israel, there would be no Israeli retaliations. His only regret sounds like not enough Israelis are getting killed. This was the same arugment about the Lebanon war.
    More Lebanese got killed than Israelis so it was “disproportionate” and some same people were SILENT when Lebanon shelled a Palestinian refugee camp this summer, killing over 40 civilians. The silence was defeaning.


  31. 31 Joe
    January 23, 2008 at 18:44

    Is this not really about land? Until Palestinians are given back a fair portion of there country, can Israel expect peace?

  32. 32 Roisin
    January 23, 2008 at 18:45

    Of course i have great sympathy for anybody living under rocket fire but the fact is that if the people of Sterot and other border towns want to lay blame, they must look towards their own government.
    It’s good that both sides say they want to live in peace, side by side, but it is their own governments that is preventing that.

    Roisin, from Ireland, living in Mali

  33. 33 alpha
    January 23, 2008 at 18:45

    there problem is from both sides.. please try resolve this problem but don’t be blaming each other please we the listeners want a positive ideas from this conversation.

  34. 34 Jennifer via email
    January 23, 2008 at 18:45

    Gaza is one of the worst places to live in the world. the Israeli’s should stop acting like they are doing the Palestinians a favor by confining them into to an over crowded slum that can’t sustain itself by water by fuel. Yeah this Palestine have gotten a great education, but they can’t do anything with it because they are confined. They cannot hope for a better life. Israel is a first world country and it condemns people to live in the worst squalor because of paranoia. A few terrorists in Gaza should d not be held against the population in general just like the firers of the rockets are holding the policies of Isreal against its citizens.

  35. 35 Jacques via email
    January 23, 2008 at 18:46

    Just listening to this Israeli spokesman, I feel like all Israelis are terrorists and just plain stupid.
    They are going to have rockets fall on them for eternity.

    Jacques KO from Boston

  36. 36 Jennifer via email
    January 23, 2008 at 18:46

    Why is it acceptable for 1.500.000 people to be held hostage?

    So withholding food and fuel supplies will help the peace process?

    Gaza is not a dictatorship, Hamas was voted in democratically, that means that not 100% of the people agree. And in Israel not 100% agree with this situation and the collective punishment.

    Imagine if your baby is in an incubator and is about to die because there is no fuel to generate electricity? Will this make you support the Israeli’s? Or will this make you hate them? If you are very sick and have no medication because of the Israeli blockade, will you be in agreement with the Israeli cause?

    It’s about time that Israel stop abusing basic human rights.

    If you use David’s definition of terrorist then the Israeli politicians are all terrorists.



  37. January 23, 2008 at 18:47

    I am an American without a position in this conflict, and as I listen to this broadcast, I completely understand how intractable this situation is. None of the speakers can listen to the others. Sadly, no speaker can simply make their point once. They continue to make the same point again and again in different ways. I really want to hear the debate progress, but no one is able to do that, despite the arbitrator’s (Chloe?) best efforts. I’m tired of hearing that the Arabs are the aggressors and the Israelis have no right to be there. Let’s figure out how to get a resolution!

  38. 38 Tom via email
    January 23, 2008 at 18:47

    It is ironic that the Israelis are ghettoising Palestinians just like Hitler did to the European Jews. They have become the oppressors. What an incredibly sad turnabout!
    Bend, OR

  39. 39 Matty via email
    January 23, 2008 at 18:47

    Israel has always stated that if the terrorism stops, they will live in peace with the Palestinians. But Israel’s peace is one where Palestinians have no control over their land, their borders, their water, no rights to any part of Jerusalem. If the Kassam rockets stop, Israelis will have a normal life and they, and the world, will forget about Gaza. Gaza will continue to be a prison for its inhabitants. It’s absolutely up to the outside world to impose a solution to this conflict.

    Matty in Berkeley

  40. 40 Musa via email
    January 23, 2008 at 18:47

    I’m not a pessimist, but as long as Israel is the only super military power in the Middle, peace will never occur in that region.

    Hitler was the dominant power in Europe, the consequence was world war II. History always repeats itself.

    Jackson, Tennessee, U.S.A.

  41. 41 Farag via email
    January 23, 2008 at 18:48

    Please stop waisting valuable airtime on the Israeli mayor. He enjoys the sound of his voice, tangled in damaging propoganda that is counterproductive to the idea of the programme.


  42. January 23, 2008 at 18:49

    David just commented about how the Palestineans are trying to make the Israelis “not people, not citizens”.

    Regardless of wether you live in Sderot or Tel Aviv, you are an Israeli citizen. What country are the residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip citizens of? Israel *HAS* taken away their citizenship.

    As to the use of the word ‘Terrorist’ and ‘Terrorism’. If you blanket label *ALL* Palestinians as “Terrorists”, as all three Israeli panelists have done, doesn’t help. Yes, *SOME* Palestineans are undoubtedly terrorists. But if you paint all Palestineans with that brush, you turn peaceful Palestineans against you.

  43. January 23, 2008 at 18:51

    The way forward is therapy. These two nations need to deal with their anger toward each other. If this does not happen, they will simply keep killing eachother.


  44. 44 Brett
    January 23, 2008 at 18:52

    There will be no peace where both sides can not agree. Obviously both sides are using plans that do not and will not work as they are currently employed! I can see both sides of this problem and see no straightforward and/or easy way through it. This is like a cold war with small outbursts of violence from both sides at times.

  45. 45 Susan Blatt
    January 23, 2008 at 18:53

    The idea of your program is great, but the fact is that while the Israelis can criticize their government freely, if the Gaza residents on your program speak out against Hamas, they’ll be subject to arrest or worse. So whatever feelings they might have about the Hamas government’s responsibility for suffering there, you’re never going to hear it because they’re not safe saying it.

    Susan Blatt
    Portland, Oregon, USA

  46. 46 mary hughes-thompson
    January 23, 2008 at 18:55

    Hamas has for many weeks offered a cease fire, but Israel prefers to continue its killing campaign against defenseless Palestinian men, women and children.

    If Israel cared about its citizens in Sderot it would talk to Hamas, the democratically elected leaders in Gaza, instead of imprisoning over 40 of them.

    In Los Angeles we have thousands of Jews who are outraged at Israel’s crimes against humanity, and at the US government for supporting zionist terrorism.

  47. 47 Jacques KO
    January 23, 2008 at 18:56

    Why doesn’t Israel free up Palestine?

    Do you expect to strangle the Palestinian and have them send roses to your women and children?

    Has the whole people of Israel just lost their mind or any common sens?

    Jacques KO from Boston

  48. 48 Steve
    January 23, 2008 at 18:56

    That was sickening to ask people to leave sderot. Are the palestinians saying they aren’t capable of stopping attacking Israelis? If Mexico was launching rockets at Arizona, Mexico would be a smoldering crater right now. Why is Israel held to a different standard? When the west bank goes independent, do Israelis have to look forward to daily attacks too? Will they try to shoot down airplanes landing at Ben Gurion? Will Israel be condemned for retaliating even though any such attack would be an act of war? Again, there will be peace when the Palestinians want a state more than they want to destroy Israel.


  49. 49 Javad
    January 23, 2008 at 18:56

    I am Just amazed by Israelis attitude. It sounds to me like extreme self righteousness, extreme religiousness and extreme selfishness.

    Javad London

  50. 50 kathy casey
    January 23, 2008 at 18:57

    These two groups are fighting over a land of limited space and resources. Both the Palestinians and the Israeli settlers tend to have enormous families. Your Israeli guest has 7 children.
    In the future there will be contention over increasingly diminished resources brought on by the increased pressure of population growth on both sides.
    Is anyone thinking about this issue in order to address the consequences of an exploding population.

  51. 51 Denise
    January 23, 2008 at 18:57

    It is an absurdity to say that God gave the land to the Jews or any other people. If God gave the Jews the land why does not God protect the land. And collective punishment is not the way toward peace.

    San Francisco

    The earth is not going to cure itself. We need to be the doctors and nurses that help the process.
    We made the earth in our destructive image, now we need to cure it.

  52. 52 Stuart
    January 23, 2008 at 18:57

    Why aren’t 3000 Gaza fishermen allowed to put to sea?

    Norfolk, UK

  53. 53 Celia Lang
    January 23, 2008 at 18:58

    what do the participants in the programme think would have happened if Israel and the West had accepted the result of the democratic election and engaged in dialogue with Hamas? Dialogue is not negotiation but keeps the channels of communication open. A chance for great statemanship missed with dreadful results.
    celia Lang
    Wales, UK

  54. 54 Martin
    January 23, 2008 at 18:59

    The problem is simple: small minorities who benefit from conflict in the Middle East have, since Bush became president, had their power stengthened. How do you strengthen those who want peace??? – Martin, Amsterdam

  55. 55 shirley
    January 23, 2008 at 19:03

    Israel must be compelled to abide by international law. If Israel had treated the Gaza Strip of Palestine in accordance with international law, there would not have been any need to break into Egypt for supplies. It is not fair to insist that Palestinians give up their God-given right to resistance, which is also backed by international law, while Israel attacks them daily.

    Every time that Israel violates Palestine sovereignty, it constitutes a breach off UN Security Council Resolution 242. Every Israeli military personnel that is in Palestine, whether on the ground, in sovereign waters, or in the air, is a violation of UN GA Resolution 3236 of 1974. Peace in the Middle East has been declared to be a UN Charter principal. Every time that Israel is allowed to break international law, it affects peace in the Middle East – effectively breaching the UN Charter. Israel must be compelled to abide by international law so that the world can enjoy peace.

    In passing, I want to mention that I disagree with the guest who opined that Palestinians want to drive Israelis into the sea. The truth is that Israel has been trying to push Palestinians into the sea. As photographic evidence shows ( http://www.palestineremembered.com/Jaffa/Jaffa/Picture1253.html ), tens of thousands from the Palestinian city of Jaffa and neighbouring villages fled by boat to Gaza and Egypt; scores were drowned after zionist forces cut off land routes late in April 1948. Major R. D. Wilson, who served with the British 6th Airborne Division described that situation on page 193 of his “Cordon and Search: with 6th Airborne Division in Palestine” (Vale and Polden, 1949).

  56. 56 Vladimir
    January 23, 2008 at 19:09

    Can the israelis answer first part of mohamed ali’s question, why there are no protests in israel against their violence on gaza as they asked the gaza people to do? vladimir, london

  57. 57 Danna
    January 23, 2008 at 19:09

    Does Israel honestly believe it is doing itself a favor using collective punishment to break Hamas? The whole generation of children who are being starved in Gaza will remember what has been done to them and to their families.

    San Francisco, CA

  58. 58 Nate, Portland OR
    January 23, 2008 at 19:10

    Mark (January 23, 2008 at 3:26 pm ) hit the nail on the head!

    The creation of Israel was a chaotic one in which many injustices were committed on both sides. But in the end the creation is justified by both the historical claims of Jews upon the land of Israel and, more to the point, the untenable position of religious minorities and Jews in particular in Muslim lands. Some years and in some places since the conquest of Islam over the Middle East (historical home of many Jewish peoples) Jews have been treated well. They have always, however, been forced to have a second-class status. And, more to the point, they are always one Islamic demogogue away from another pogrom.

    (Forestalling typical objection): Yes, Europeans were absolutely atrocious to Jews through the Middle Ages and culminating in Hitler. Today, however, Europeans overwhelmingly admit and recognize the evil of their ancestors’s ways. It is telling that in this enlightened age when other people’s perspectives are available for anybody to see Muslims have become ever more entrenched in their self-righteous anti-semitism rather than recognizing their historical evils and the intolerable injustice inherent in the Islamic cultural/judicial system.

    The suffering of the Palestinians is real, I know. Israel certainly has blood on its hands and injustices to make compensation for. If the wider Islamic world was not so implacably hostile to Israel, I believe the many large and influential Jewish peace groups (where are their analogue in the Muslim world?) would gain control of the Israeli government and work towards a just solution to this problem. As it is, however, Israel has been under siege since day one. How can they make peace with such a foe and give up Israel, the only guaranteur of safety for Jews in the land of their birth?

  59. 59 Emilio
    January 23, 2008 at 19:10


    Unfortunately, you have on your program, sane rational people as guests. Both groups of guests are victims and cannot resolve anything.

    Until moderate Arabs stand up and take charge, the extremists will bully them and run roughshod over them. The extremists are the ones firing the rockets.

    The answer is for sane rational people to control the asylum. Until the Palestinians who are willing to fight for peace take control, the Israeli army has not option to impose what control they can.

    If the Iraqis want the foreigners out, they will have to take charge and destroy those committing violence.
    If the Palestinians want peace, they will have to root out the enemy within.
    The problem is the same; the best solution is, also, the same.

    Emilio d’Abruzzi
    Pittsburgh, PA, U.S.A.

  60. 60 Bob
    January 23, 2008 at 19:11

    Hello BBC,

    I greatly enjoy your programming.

    In response to the Israel/Palestinean debate.

    I feel that it is a dangerous and ridiculous position to claim that God granted you right to your land. The United States famously used that logic, Manifest Destiny, in order to justify genocide of the Native American population and it seems that certain people of Israel use the logic of divine right to justify atrocities against the Palestinians and theft of the land.

    What precludes us all from claiming divine right to whatever we want and then just letting anarchy rule the day?



  61. 61 Jennifer
    January 23, 2008 at 19:12

    Mohamed just asked why Meki and David don’t move away from the dangerous border, he was not saying they should, I felt that he was emphasizing that they can move away from danger, whereas the Gazans because they are trapped.

    What about the 1,500,000 people being collectively punished? If Hamas was voted in democratically, does this means that Israel and the US define democracy? If it’s not what they want then it’s not acceptable?

  62. 62 Steve
    January 23, 2008 at 19:13

    I’m curious, why didn’t Egypt grant gaza independence between 1948 and
    1967 when it occupied Gaza. To think, had the arabs not attacked Israel in 1948, there would have been a Palestinian state that would be 60 years old this year. The greatest irony will be that the arabs took it away, and it will be the Jews to give it back.


  63. 63 Steve in LA
    January 23, 2008 at 19:13

    My question…

    I don’t understand why the palestinians have not worked to build up the abandoned settlements left by the Israelis?
    The land and the infrastructure was there… why haven’t they taken the opportunity to build them up and improve the economy of their people?

    Los Angeles

  64. 64 Laura
    January 23, 2008 at 19:13

    I hear the Israelis claiming to be victims, and I do believe they believe that they are. Statistics prove otherwise.

    What I’d like to know is how are the Palestinian people supposed to recognize a state that only recognizes Jewish people and doesn’t recognize them? How are they to renounce ‘violence’ when Israel regularly attacks them with Hellfire missiles, tanks and the most modern weapons. And why do Palestinians have to abide by all agreements when Israel still hasn’t abided by most of its agreements including granting equal rights, conforming to international law and drafting the constitution that is now 59 years past due?

    Laura Lewis, in California

  65. 65 David
    January 23, 2008 at 19:16

    There seems to be a lot of disagreement about who is the aggressor/terrorist and who is the defender. Although generally the use of such terms is primarily manipulative in such a cyclical, and long lasting cycle of violence, it is worth considering the numbers. With some consistency, ranging across circumstances, from Israel’s recent illegal invasion of Lebanon, to the long standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the Israeli military has killed on average 10 times as many people, as have their opponent. Further, when one looks at the make uup of the people killed in the various conflicts, one finds that the majority of people killed by the Israeli military are innocent civilians, whereas the majority of Israelis killed are actually military personnel with very few, albeit some, innocent civilians killed. Further, Israel has the backing of the USA (the largest military on the planet), and receives roughly $10 billion dollars a year from the USA in military support. Israel has nuclear weapons, and regularly invades neighboring sovereing nations, without provacation. From these considerations it is hard for me to fathom how, if we are to use the word terrorist, that it shouldn’t be applied to the Israelis. Finally, as to motive, I think if we are to consider motivations without bias or racism, we have to assume all people are created equal, and from that we can ask ourselves, what would it take for me to blow myself up in the effort to kill other people. I think it is fairly obvious that it would require a serious level of persistent oppression for most of us to resort to that kind of tactic. On the other hand, if you ask yourself what would it take for my military to kill and invade, one need only look at the USA, and know that it does not require any other motive than greed and powerlust. With those two tacks in mind, again I ask, who in the current conflict is likely to have the more pure motive?

  66. 66 Brian
    January 23, 2008 at 19:16

    I’d like to hear more about the illegal settlements, the settler only roads, the land grab of E Jerusalem, the discrimination and so on

    I can’t write and listen at the same time, so wont write more

    Give my best wishes to Mohammed of Rafah!

    Hi Moh!! I think you’re being marvellous — how you kieep your cool i don’t know!!! I’d be furious with them – in fact, I am!!

    Milton Keynes
    Signatory Jews for Justice for Palestinians

    founder member ICAHD UK

  67. 67 John Hartman
    January 23, 2008 at 19:17

    I am listening to your show on the Gaza Strip/Israeli blockade. One question arises: If the Israeli’s think their God gave them the land they claim and the Muslims think that Allah gave them the land they claim, whose God is correct. The point is, the whole argument about God-given land is absurd and leads to intractable positions. After all, if God has said it is thus, then it must be. Only when both sides give up on their false assumptions based on doctrines that have been manipulated down the centuries can there be any hope for dialogue. In the meantime, Kassam rockets from Palestine and American-made enriched uranium shells fired by israeli tanks will continue to kill in God’s name. Give up this false conceit and start acting like human beings instead of fundamentalist idiots.

    John Hartman

  68. 68 Ryan
    January 23, 2008 at 19:18

    I’ll ask the uncomfortable question:

    Why should the average person in my country care if these two eternally warring groups keep sparring with and killing each other, ad infinitum? NEITHER side has the upper hand, and Jews and Palestinians are EQUALLY responsible for their mutually destructive relationship. I tire of hearing how one side is the victim and the other side is the aggressor.



  69. 69 Craig
    January 23, 2008 at 19:18

    What do your guests from Hamas think about these words of Martin Luther King (spoken during our Vietnamese war) : “The bombs we drop on the people of Vietnam continue to explode at home with all the devasting potential.”

    Does Hamas believe that things are different now?

    Craig Umanoff
    Portland, Oregon

  70. 70 Archibald
    January 23, 2008 at 19:19

    If someone has a hold on your throat, while asking you to stop hitting them, yet, the only way to get them to let go is to keep hitting them, what do you do?
    This is a manufactured conflict, by those who do not want Jews nor Arabs to progress, religion is fomenting the mutual demise of both peoples. The US and European interests seeking to benefit from continued chaos in this region have been perpetuating this since the formation of the state of Israel.

  71. 71 Brett
    January 23, 2008 at 19:20

    Does everyone realize this region has been in conflict for a long time and shall be in conflict. If both sides neither accepts change or wins outright, there will not be peace.

    Brett McIntyre
    Portland, Oregon

  72. 72 steve
    January 23, 2008 at 19:20

    Jennifer, the Palestinians are free to elect any terrorists they would like, but they are not ENTITLED to getting handouts from us if they choose to elect suicide bombers to office. If you vote for terrorists, you dont’ get handouts. Booo hoo, grow up, wear your keffiyeh, preach about horrible the USA and Israel are, and sleep at night well supporter aboslute inhuman monsters like Hamas. Maybe they will blow you up one day, as an act of love no doubt.

  73. 73 Tom D Ford
    January 23, 2008 at 19:22

    I note that Religion is the core problem in this, isn’t it time for both sides to grow up and act like adults who no longer believe in imaginary supernatural friends?

    Grow up, for you and your childrens sakes!

    Tom D Ford
    Bend, OR

  74. 74 steve
    January 23, 2008 at 19:23

    To all you talking about how Israelis are “religious fanatics”, if you listen to the BBC, there’s a dutch filmmaker who the government says will likely have to leave the Netherlands after his latest film is released because they cannot guarantee his safety because the film is about how the koran preaches intolerance against women and homosexuals, so they’re expecting a violent reaction, kind of like how Theo Van Gogh was murdered for speaking his mind. Again, I think you’re overly criticizing the wrong religion here. I don’t think many jews behead people from making movies potraying jews in a bad light, but hey, the reason why so many of you are so critical of israel and jews, is you know they won’t react violently to what you say and do.

  75. 75 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 23, 2008 at 19:26

    This is a VERY VERY complex problem. I have only ONE main point.

    I am NOT a Christian but I have read parts of the Bible (Old Testament & New Testament). It is quite clear from the Bible that the Jews were in that part of the world before the Muslims. This is backed up by the accepted history that Judaism is a few thousand years older than Islam & is older than Christianity too, for that matter. In other words, the Jews were staying somewhere. They were definitely NOT floating in the air.

    For some reason the Jews left their homeland, or were thrown out, or were defeated in some war & therefore had to leave….. I don’t know why? I have been unable to find a concise & clear history on this. Maybe someone can educate me on this area of history.

    My MAIN point is:

    Whatever has happened in the past HAS happened & cannot change. It is history. As of 2005 there are roughly 14 million Jews in the world & 1.5 billion Muslims, out of a total world population of, say, 6 billion. There are roughly 11 million Palestinians of which half live in the West Bank & the Gaza strip.

    Can’t we as a human race find some place on this planet where the Jews can stay in peace? After all they are only 0.23% of the world population. In the same vein can’t we DO something so that the Palestinians in the West Bank & Gaza can also live in peace?

    This whole issue has been going on and on and on. In the process children, women & men are dying on BOTH sides. This is just ridiculous.

    As far as I am personally concerned, I regularly eat Israeli persimmons, Iranian dates (still have half a pack lying in the fridge) or Saudi Arabian dates. I think I ate some Jordanian date paste too sometime ago. All are OK/cool with me.


    MaxMaximilianMaximusI, Indian Caesar in, Singapore

  76. 76 Nick
    January 23, 2008 at 19:26

    To me, this rediculous idea that god gave you the land is part of the reason both sides are so unwilling or unable to reach a comprimise. God didn’t give you the land, the state of Jordan and the allied forces did.
    Nick – Portland

  77. 77 Graham Oliver
    January 23, 2008 at 19:27

    I have been listening to your news reporting re Gaza over the last few days and I wonder if you could tell me:

    * why the west’s actions against Burma are called economic sanctions when the regime internally represses demonstrations?

    * why the west’s actions against Iran are called economic sanctions when the regime there try to develop nuclear weapons?

    * why the west’s actions against Saddam’s Iraq are called economic sanctions when he invaded Kuwait?

    * why the west’s actions against Serbia are called economic sanctions when the regime contest Bosnian sovereignty?

    …but why Israel’s actions against the regime in Gaza are called an economic blockade when she acts to stop hundreds of kassam rockets being fired into her sovereign territory?

    Again it is by your choice of words that you reveal the usual anti-Israel editorial ship of the BBC newsroom! What sovereign nation would not act with sanctions to stop its territory being constantly bombarded by a neighbouring territory?

    It is again an example whereby Israel cannot do right in the BBC’s eyes regardless of the circumstances and whatever actions she takes.

    You also had the Israeli Foreign Office spokesman on saying that only 30% of the electricity is generated by the power station which mysteriously ran out of fuel after one day of economic sanctions and that 70% was being supplied normally via the Israeli national grid. Did you verify this and report it or just continue reporting your false picture of the situation in Gaza? I think you know the answer!

    To let you know you do not continue reporting your distorted view of Israel in this license payers name. Its exactly this type of bias I am sure was covered in your covered-up Baylin report; but you won’t show us, will you?

  78. 78 Jennifer
    January 23, 2008 at 19:27

    I have a question for both sides of this discussion:

    It appears that both sides feel as though this land is theirs, by divine ordinance. If this is true, is peace truly possible? Can this land be shared?

    Jennifer in Los Angeles

  79. 79 steve
    January 23, 2008 at 19:36

    Well Jennifer, at least Israelis don’t strap bombs to themselves, target civilians, and think they’re going to heaven and getting 72 virgins. I think one side is a little more fanatical than the other side. Need an example? You know that airport in your town, LAX? Some arab guy decided to shoot up the El Al counter there a couple years ago, killing several people, and then getting killed by El Al security, because he was taught to hate Jews from the day he was born.

  80. 80 Steve
    January 23, 2008 at 19:38

    The panelists were disgusting, considering all the human lives at stake, they talk and behave like children – he started it, no she started it. When, if ever, will they grow up?

  81. 81 viola anderson
    January 23, 2008 at 19:38

    Once more I heard the propagandistic use of comparative casualties cited by one of the speakers on this show as a reason for the world’s citizens to side with the militant, violent Palestinians’ goals of ousting the Israeli’s from the middle east. I’d like to point out that citing huge numbers on a show like this is ridiculous in the first place because any numbers cited by anyone are suspect unless carefully investigated and validated by everyone who is interested in the subject. Only those who already back the view that only the Palestinians have a righteous cause will take that argument seriously. Secondly, the notion that fairness requires as many casualties on one side as on the other is one of the stupidest arguments I have ever in my life heard for the justice of one’s cause. If an enemy insists on a lobbing rockets with the express purpose of killing or injuring innocents, he has no right to say the people he targeted are only allowed to kill or maim exactly as many as he did. Might as well ask the Palestinians to kill some of their own innocents to “make it even.” What I heard from the Palestinian side was hatred and desire for vengeance. What I heard from the residents of Sderot was a desire for peace, a willingness to help, and wonderment at a mentality that is so intent on hatred and revenge that there are no atrocities unacceptable for use against Israelis. No way can I believe that all Palestinians are so mean-spirited. I would have liked to hear someone actually answer a question instead of simply expounding on a position.

  82. 82 yasmin
    January 23, 2008 at 20:22

    How the Israelis can believe it is feasible to separate themselves from their surroundings (including 300 million Arabs) by a wall, attack those Arabs at will (i.e. Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia), and still live normally and peacefully proves the depth of their insanity. The fact that they still see themselves as victims after all their military has done for decades is astonishing.

  83. 83 steve
    January 23, 2008 at 22:45

    Lefti wing socialists say all religious fundies are all the same. Yeah, christian fundies in the US execute people for blasphemy in the US, and the same in israel. whatever.


  84. 84 George
    January 23, 2008 at 22:59

    Please ask the people in Gaza if they are still happy they elected Hamas?

    Would they consider electing a more moderate government that is not founded to destroy Israel?

    Do they agree with the daily rocketing of Israel?

  85. 85 Dave Brit in exile
    January 23, 2008 at 23:26

    I echo other posts.

    Collective punishment is illegal under international law. Plain and simple.
    off all people the Israelies should be able to recognise this.

    I find it ironic that Israel or rather the Jews have created the Gaza ghetto.
    Will the tragic result be seen as genocide by future generations I wonder ?

    If Israel persists in ignoring or having the US Veto the many UN resolutions then they put themselves beyond the International community.

    As it now appears that Israel is also an apartheid state with its separate roads and separation wall the future remains bleak for both.
    Why is this acceptable there yet not in South Africa ?

  86. 86 Wil Ng
    January 24, 2008 at 06:04

    I shall not look at the issue from religion as in religion there is no compromise.
    Current situation is that Israel has the power to stop the conflicit, but do not want to do so. To stop the conflicit all Israel has to do is obey the UN resolution and release the prisoners. Hama will be more than happy to have peace then.
    Don’t go blaming Hama as terrorist when Israel continue to restrict travel, don’t return land, military incursion, build new settelment.
    Actually, people in sderot you are being used by your government for their politcal career.

  87. 87 Xie_Ming
    January 24, 2008 at 08:14

    The discussion misses the point:

    Israeli policy is to drive out, to ethnically cleanse, the Palestinians. All gentiles are to eventually be driven out of greater Israel.

    The home-made rockets are but the latest pretext in the implementation of the Israeli policy.

  88. 88 George
    January 24, 2008 at 10:03

    Hamaz is the enemy of the people of Gaza.

    Israel is reasonable, Hamaz is not.

    All suffering in Gaza is created by Hamaz.

    They want the people to suffer to follow it’s agenda to destroy Israel.

  89. 89 Philip Murphy
    January 24, 2008 at 10:56

    The programme was very depressing because there was no dialogue. The Israelis were quite offensive to the Palestinian panel, accusing them of being personally insincere and referring to ‘those Arabs’. Do they really believe everything in Gaza was so good before the qassam rockets began to fall? If so, it shows how people can hide from themselves what they don’t want to see. The Palestinians eloquently described their own problems, and were much more open and friendly, but showed no understanding of why people in Sderot react as they do. One asked why they don’t just move elsewhere. And at the end came a truly ignorant comment that Gaza was as bad as the Nazi concentration camps. Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is cruel, unjust and stupid, but they are not planning to kill the entire population. Very sad.

  90. January 24, 2008 at 10:58

    is it not strange how with all the killing of palistinians israel dosnt seem to kill those with the actual pipe bombs

    think why [it isnt hard] the excuse they give not to negotiate with palistein thus a good excuse to continue this ongoing oppression ,

    if israel the mighty israelie army got the pipe bombers , they would have to stop this 50 year persicution on the people whos land and electricity generators they have stolen,
    thus have no excuse to bomb at will anything they like under the pretext of trying to stop these pipe bombs

    who is doing this pipe throwing thing is giving the excuse to keep on not talking con veniant is it not?

    as long as they keep [the pipe racket]sss comming then israel has some defacto reason for the ongoing of this perversion of human decency,

    were they to ‘take out the real problem , there would be no excuse , then peace would ,could come ,and there would be no excuse for thier weekly incursions ,[what to get the pipe bombers , or just to prolong not making peace]

    what is going on isnt working [only fools or retards keep doing the same thing over expecting a different result [the people of israel arnt stupid [dont think we [the people of the world]are either

    get those doing the bombs ,how hard is that?
    clearly there is good reason they [you] dont
    there would then be no excuse not to make peace

    [look up what jerusalem means [city of peace’ who wants to make perpetual war in the peace city?
    how goes it revelations
    [when we see the beast in the holy of holies?]

    think on that

  91. 91 Isabelle via email
    January 24, 2008 at 11:32

    I do not think the Israeli gouvernment wants peace, everything proves it rather wants to continue its “low impact war”.
    But the Hamas is its best ally. They help and support eachother in keeping war, terror and hatred alive.
    Poor people…

    Antwerpen, Belgium

  92. 92 Frederika
    January 24, 2008 at 15:30

    Davos. World leaders should pause. .Numbers of people with whom I speak, especially women, are very fearful of the future and fear a major “meltdown”. World leaders should with all the political will they can muster, and goodwill, focus on the serious common problems facing us, as the survival of our species and the planet are at stake.Clear priorities of challenges should be placed on a world agenda. Additionally, we can no longer just use theoretical and technological propositions to solve the problems. With our pursuit of material prosperity and materialistic solutions, we have not used the most important aspect of our human spirit: wisdom. Wisdom is an overlooked, underused element of human life. It is an orientation, which takes into account the process of events and conditions, and relates them to the well-being of individuals and situations, for the present as well as for the future. It is actually, an intelligent and practical approach to life. It is a holistic approach, taking care of the individual need as well as the collective one, in this case our world community. Excessive greed and corruption, mass killing, large scale famines, overabundant wealth, lack of respect for the earth, deforestation and so on, are signs of a lack of balance in our orientation to life. In this context conflicts resulting in war should be mentioned. Wisdom’s orientation would enable us to solve many conflicts by diplomatic means instead of sending soldiers into killing fields, and taking the lives of innocent civilians. Diplomacy is the art of managing international relations. It means communicating with the other party with different views, respecting the opposite view and coming to an understanding of the other party and finding a way of accomodating each other. Are we going to pause and reflect, or are we just going to continue on the path of destruction on this tiny, precious globe that was given to us as a gift for stewardship?

  93. 93 Frederika
    January 24, 2008 at 16:00

    I would like to know what it means that my comment awaits moderation.I just wanted to flag in concise terms my present worldview and the need for a wise, balanced approach. There are a few world leaders like Nelson Mandela. Bishop Tutu, and the former Irish Human Rights Representative, who displayed and used a balanced, wise apporach and in that way influenced events in a constrctive way.

  94. 94 Xie_Ming
    January 24, 2008 at 17:44

    Only international involvement and sanctions against Israel can have any hope of resolving the problem.

    Israel wants to continue stealing land and driving out the Palestinians.

    The Israeli government, if not the majority of Israelis, are committed to this for religious and cultural reasons.

  95. January 24, 2008 at 18:07


  96. January 24, 2008 at 18:08

    I do not think the Israeli gouvernment wants peace, everything proves it rather wants to continue its “low impact war”.
    But the Hamas is its best ally. They help and support eachother in keeping war, terror and hatred alive.
    Poor people…

    Isabelle Grynberg


  97. January 24, 2008 at 18:09

    Gaza is one of the worst places to live in the world. the Israeli’s should stop acting like they are doing the Palestinians a favor by confining them into to an over crowded slum that can’t sustain itself by water by fuel. Yeah this Palestine have gotten a great education, but they can’t do anything with it because they are confined. They cannot hope for a better life. Israel is a first world country and it condemns people to live in the worst squalor because of paranoia. A few terrorists in Gaza should d not be held against the population in general just like the firers of the rockets are holding the policies of Isreal against its citizens.

    Michigan, usa

  98. January 24, 2008 at 18:09

    Lynne in Portugal here. I see the answer to this is easy. Israel get out of Palestine, and then I am certain that the shelling would stop

  99. January 24, 2008 at 18:10

    This has nothing to do with Qassam rockets. Palestinians in the West Bank don’t fire Qassams but the Israelis are still in occupation after 40 years and still stealing the land and water.

    Norfolk, UK

  100. January 24, 2008 at 18:11

    I would like all your guests to know that, when they speak, the rest of the world does not hear the rationale and the logic of their arguments. All we hear is the pride and hatred of each side and it makes us believe that both are incapable of compromising to achieve peace.

    John in Salem

  101. January 24, 2008 at 18:12

    Am Nicholas in Lusaka Zambia. Is it true that the hamass government to wipe out Israel and why, how does Hamass intend to make peace with a people it want dead?

  102. January 24, 2008 at 18:13

    Gazans want to travel freely into Israel, but Israelis cannot travel freely in Gaza. Israelis are subject to kidnap or lynching by roving gangs of Palestinian gunmen whom their government pretends to know nothing about. Even foreign reporters have been kidnapped, three so far, so that all the news coming out of Gaza today has to come from Gazan reporters, who themselves are under pressure from the Hamas government to tell the story as they allow it.

    Susan Blatt
    Portland, Oregon, USA

  103. January 24, 2008 at 18:14

    Alas, Shalom tipifies the behavior of the Israeli gov’t-don’t listen, blame & talk over so no dilogue can happen.

    I have gone from a supporter of Israel to being insympathy & suppport of Palestine. Just do a non emotional count of bodies killed &injuried on both sides. Many more Palestinians have died & been maimed-not a contest Israel should be proud to win.
    For a long time I thought that Jews would never do to another people what had been done to them. I am so sad that I have been wrong – Gaza is the new Warsow ghetto.

    Kathy Herman
    Oakland CA

  104. January 24, 2008 at 18:14

    How is it that the only “innocent victims” are Israeliwhen the attacks on Gaza have included unfortunate targets – i.e., non-Hamas? The israeli contention that the lands seized are god-granted is also rubbish.

    R Ledon
    San Francisco

  105. January 24, 2008 at 18:15

    I am in Portland Oregon – this issue is so important World have your say should be dedicating a show like this at least once a week until Palestinians and Israelis storm the streets for peace. Please
    Marianne Perry

  106. January 24, 2008 at 18:15

    From Nella in Oregon, USA

    Your Israelis and Palestinians are both completely right. There should be no debate or arguement as to who is suffering and who is in the wrong and who are terrorists. The only important fact is that each one of them, both sides, are suffering every day.

  107. January 24, 2008 at 18:17

    Re the Palestinians wanting to push the Jews into the
    sea: it’s ridiculous to think that the Israeli gov’t would do just that if they could get away with it.

    Kathy Herman
    Oakland ca

  108. January 24, 2008 at 18:17

    The Palestinians are doing to themselves. They do not want peace they want only want one thing to drive Israel out of the area.

    Skip – Chesterland, Ohio

  109. January 24, 2008 at 18:17

    i agree that firing rockets with the intent to kill innocent people is inherently wrong, however so is occupying the lands and collectively punishing the civilian population of Gaza. The gross generalizations are disturbing. All Israeli’s are painted as advocates of aggressive occupation, and all Palestinians are painted as terrorists. The majority of the civilians on both sides desperately seem to want peace, and are instead living in fear of violent reprisal from their neighbors on the other side of the border. The cycle of violence is being perpetuated by an extreme few on both sides, and I find it sad to see such gross generalizations and accusations of murderous intent being made. It is obvious that hard line and uncompromising policies make it impossible to live in peace. I applaud programs like this that attempt to increase dialog between civilians on both sides in an effort to help them see the similarities they have. For years I have heard of atrocities going on in the region, and I sincerely hope that humanity can prevail.

    In response to the question of why should Americans care, I just have to say that it should be of profound concern to Americans. American politicians routinely hold the country up as the champion of freedom. If we do value freedom and life in that manner(as I do and sincerely hope my fellow Americans do), then we should be active in the discussion that hopefully will contribute to saving and improving the lives of Israeli’s and Palestinians. We are all human, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or religion. It’s time to remember that and to act accordingly.

  110. 110 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 25, 2008 at 08:07

    Re: Sean Martindale January 24, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Well written! Very well written!

    But as you can see from the other comments balanced & wise views like yours ARE in the minority.

    MaxMaximilianMaximusI, Indian Caesar in, Singapore

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