Talking to Israel and Gaza

Thousands of Palestinians have been crossing into Egypt from the Gaza Strip after  militants destroyed parts of the border wall separting them. Gazans crossed over to buy food, fuel and other supplies that have become scarce because of an Israeli blockade – aimed at stopping rocket attacks from Gaza.

Mark, the editor, suggested we should try and get a few people into our Gaza studio and some Israelis from Sderot – the town that has been suffering many of the rocket attacks – into our Jerusalem bureau and to get them talking to each other and you about the situation in their region.

The Markets

Yesterday we asked, Is the US economic slowdown affecting you? The Federal Reserve cut interest rates yesterday by 0.75 per cent following big falls on markets on Monday.

The current situation is being blamed partly on the credit crunch in the US, and British newspaper The Times says financial institutions in the West have had to go to China, Singapore and the Gulf to borrow money. “This represents a rebalancing of power in the world economy,” says the paper.

Is the latest financial situation another sign that the US and Europe are being replaced by China and Asia as the world’s economic power houses?

Heath Ledger

One story that has had a large response on the BBC’s web site is the death in New York of the actor Heath Ledger, who was found dead in his flat, with prescription pills found nearby.

In September the Brokeback Mountain star split from his girlfriend Michelle Williams, with whom he has a two-year-old daughter.  

It made me think of the recent stories in Britain about the singer Amy Winehouse, who has had drug problems and a troubled private life. I’m not quite sure what the question about Heath Ledger or Amy Winehouse would be, but their cases certainly create a lot of interest.

Boy and girls   

The American pyschologist Dr Leonard Sax argues in a new book that boys and girls should be educated in separate classes because their brains are hard-wired to learn in different ways.

With boys generally falling behind girls in education, he says too many schools are creating an environment that is “toxic” to boys, turning them off learning and leaving them quite unprepared for adult life. Is he right?

30 Responses to “Talking to Israel and Gaza”

  1. 1 Miche Norman
    January 23, 2008 at 10:15

    Perhaps the only way that the Gazan’s understand that if you keep throwing sand in the well from which you drink you will eventually get thirsty will be to reroute the power and water supply for gaza through the streets of Sderot so that when they are inevitably hit by the hundreds of rockets they send over each week then they will understand that it is not the evil Zionists that will be cutting off their supplies but their own Hammas government.

    you can also congratulate the Hammas on their singular achievements – their genocide bombing campaign from 2000 onwards led to the building of the wall, their ceaseless rocket attacks since the gaza strip was declared judenrein have earned not our hatred but something far worse – you have gained our indifference.

    you have litterally kicked the cow that feeds you to many times.

  2. 2 Mohammed Ali
    January 23, 2008 at 11:15

    We will talk and talk and talk anout the Palestinians and the Israelis, they will not stop fighting. All we need to do is to put the two groups in a cage and alllow them to fight on and on and on. If anyone survives from the cage, that person should be allow to inherit the land. Don’t you think that is the best solution to this crisis?

  3. January 23, 2008 at 11:26

    Hi there.
    I won’t buy Dr Leonard sax’s claim from a boy and girl point of , you have to consider pysical fact, and culture and noums of the society you are in, for example if America or Britain have guaranteed full freedom then you expect boys to react to that free more than girls.Teaching girls and boys from separate classes will only make every thing worse , you need to recall girl power ( the friction between a boy and agirl) he will be forced to know things for him self or gain shame from his girl friends.When boy with freedom to anything are under one roof then you will not export much from them.That is the sake of countries with too much freedom and where parents have little say to the growing of the kid.
    In cultures of Africa and most Asian countries where no woman has been proven to be more brilliant than a man , you won’t expect such claims.Boys are originaly and MUST be more brilliant influencial to all aspects of life us inheretred from their aclaimed god fathers.

  4. 4 George
    January 23, 2008 at 11:28

    1, Gaza-

    Getting them to talk to each other sounds good, just do a good weapons and bomb check in the Gaza group.

    2, Crash-

    Bush announced Friday permanent tax cuts for the rich and a 150 B jump start rebate.

    Monday the markets crashed around the world.

    Any connection? Could be the world has had it with Bush running up USA debt without sound policy to pay it back?

    3. Winehouse is a talented woman who is a drug addict. Let’s not use WHYS to chant “jump”.

    4. boys and girls edu.-

    Together or separate, educate the children.

    Stop blaming trivial things and actually teach the materials.

  5. 5 Brett
    January 23, 2008 at 12:30

    I would love to hear a discussion between people from Gaza and Israel!
    It is a shame about Heath Ledger too, but not really much to discuss.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  6. 6 John D. Anthony
    January 23, 2008 at 13:26

    I’d like to hear more discussion of the learning differences between girls and boys. I know they’ve found that women are better at multi-tasking and men are better at single-focus tasks, which would explain why she can carry on a conversation at a restaurant and listen to the people in the next booth at the same time and I can’t watch tv and hear anything she says.

    Heath Ledger = Kurt Cobain = Jim Morrison, ad nauseum. Talented but ultimately stupid.

    The Markets…. Everyone’s entitled to their own worthless opinion….

    Israel and Gaza….. On and on and on…. quack quack quack.

  7. January 23, 2008 at 13:34

    the key factor is the USA

  8. 8 Brett
    January 23, 2008 at 13:43


    “2, Crash-

    Bush announced Friday permanent tax cuts for the rich and a 150 B jump start rebate.

    Couldn’t say I didn’t see that one comming. I think I even mentioned it last week when discussing what would happen in Bush’s ‘plan’. It seems the old guy is getting all too predictable. Just immagine a 12 year old running the country and think ‘what would he do next’. There you have it!

    and on number 4; You could not have stated it better!

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  9. 9 Rashid Patch
    January 23, 2008 at 14:01

    The headline page asked if “collective punishment against Israelis” was ever justified. That’s either very poor taste in irony, or the most blatantly tenditious news copy ever.

    Israel has been imposing collective punishment on the Palestinians since 1948. Israel drove out half of the Palestinian population then, and has kept the remaining Palestinians in concentration camps for 60 years.

    Israel is starving the Palestinians, denying them food, water, fuel, electricity, medical supplies, freedom of communications, freedom of movement in even the small areas that Israel admits belongs to them. Israel has been destroying homes, farms, schools, hospitals, whole towns. Israel has indiscriminately killed noncombatants – women, children, the elderly and disabled – along with every other Palestinian in their gunsights. Israel has specificly targeted journalists and peace activists for killing . Israel has routinely targeted Palestinian police officers and public officials. Israel has routinely conducted assassinations and “nonjudicial killings”. Israeli policy has consistently been ethnic cleansing – by any means necessary. Israel has driven almost all of the Christian Palestinians out of the Holy Land – once over 30% of the population, they now number less than .5% – “too low to measure”, according to some international agencies.

    Were blacks in South Africa exercising collective punishment against the apartheid government there? IThe question is not if Israel is being subjected to collective punishment, but rather, is resistance to a racist regime justified?

  10. 10 steve
    January 23, 2008 at 15:06

    Rashid, typical, you blame Israel for the actions of the palis “arab brothers”. But for the actions of the arab brothers, there would have been a palestinian state 60 years old now.

  11. 11 Karen
    January 23, 2008 at 17:08


    If you are properly educated about Israel you cant write this: “Israel has indiscriminately killed noncombatants – women, children, the elderly and disabled – along with every other Palestinian in their gunsights. Israel has specificly targeted journalists and peace activists for killing . Israel has routinely targeted Palestinian police officers and public officials. Israel has routinely conducted assassinations and “nonjudicial killings”. Israeli policy has consistently been ethnic cleansing – by any means necessary.”

    1. Why do Palestinians use women, children, and the elderly to hide behind?
    2. Why do most reputable journalists live and work from Jerusalem? Israel has a free press and protects journalists and their rights to free speech. This protection and freedom does not exist within the West Bank or Gaza.
    3. Israel only targets terrorists and criminals who destroy the process of peace and the hope of a Palestinian nation.
    4. If Israel wants to ethnically cleanse Arabs and Muslims then why are there so many Arabs who choose to live in Israel? They live peacefully within Israel and enjoy full rights and religous freedom. Many choose to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Israel has embraced diversity and protects all of her inhabitants.

    I would encourage you to spend some time in Israel or simply learn about the people and government before making uneducated statments. It is really a shame that good Palestinians who are desperate to live in peace with their neighbors must suffer so much due to terrorists and the corruption of Palestinian governments.

  12. 12 Sarfaraz
    January 23, 2008 at 17:08

    “Crime Never Goes Unpunished”

    The sufferings the Israelis are causing on the Palestinians for more than the last 50 years with the help of so called “Super Power” will one day be the cause of their own destruction.

    “Every Action Has Its Equal And Opposite Reaction”

    This law of physics will hold in this case as well.

  13. 13 Sarfaraz
    January 23, 2008 at 17:17

    Making them meet is not a good idea. Israelis coming to the Bureau may occupy the Bureau itself considering it to be part of their so called “Holy Land” and kick you people out. After all Israelis love occupying lands. You have nothing to do as the US is on their side. Neither UN nor EU can help you.

  14. 14 Nick
    January 23, 2008 at 18:14

    Israelis and Palestinians will never have peace because at this point their identities are totally dependent on the conflict. Palestinians blame Israel for all of their problems, and Israelis blame Palestinians for all of their problems. They are playing the blame game, and it’s a lot easier to do that than to tackle social problems taking place within the community (corruption, racism, etc., all of which exist in both Israeli and Palestinian communities).

    In this way, Palestinians and Israelis need each other: so they can avoid tackling their real problems.

  15. 15 Rajesh
    January 23, 2008 at 18:29

    Given that there is a conflict between the two parties, I’d like to analyze this situation in another way:

    Palestine (Gaza, in particular) at present, is marred by unemployment to the extent that there is no food to feed the people. When things are this bad, where people do not have any money, it is obvious that people would take drastic steps to put an end to it. They’d need to vent their frustration on the reasons for which they are in this state. If there is no employment, then they consider it better to end their lives once and for all, rather than to live like this, which prompts them into picking up arms.

    Its no wonder that today we see parties like Hamas in power. Since we all are well fed and far more literate, we realise that such parties should be gotten rid of. However, for Palestinines, it is very easy to entice them because of lack of money. This would be true for even me and you if we were in such a state.

    Hence I believe that it would be good for the Israeli state to take drastic steps and help these people come out of their misery. Help them with building industries and universities so that they have a capability of thinking beyond what they are.

    I know it sounds like an idealistic thought, but we can always aim to get higher and lead a better life.

  16. January 23, 2008 at 18:55

    Aggressive people like Mr David are part of the problem, not the solution. We need to give our children hope for peace and not teach them hatred….

  17. January 23, 2008 at 19:33


  18. 18 HaifaMan
    January 23, 2008 at 20:24

    The Palestinians democratically chose a terrorist group to lead them and now will bear the responsibility. This is their first lesson in democracy, hope they’ll learn it well until their next elections, in 50 years probably.
    This war is fought mainly in the news and the forums, if the Palestinians manage to fire rockets at our cities and still look miserable in BBC, they win. They won this week big time, as they always do thanks to support from a billion of muslims. Congratulations, you guys are just much better than we are at these games. However when the Arab oil will end, who will finance your rockets, guns and favorable reporters?

  19. 19 Alec Paterson
    January 23, 2008 at 22:28

    The bottom line is that the Arabs will not accept Israel as a Jewish State. They have been trying to destroy the state since it’s inception, by various means. There was 800,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries, including the Jewish populations of Hebron and other areas of mandated Palestine. Prior to 1967, with no so called “occupation”, there was continual raiding from Jordan and Egypt with the specific aim of killing civilians. With the continual bombardment from Gaza, Israel has the right to defend it’s citizens with everything at it’s disposal. The Palestinians elected a government those aim is Israel’s elimination, so they should understand there is consequences. Why should we taxpayers in the west subsidise a terrorist, and corrupt entity to the tune of billions of dollars over many years. We should pull the plug on these leeches. What about giving a few billions to the refugees in Darfur, who are more worthy of aid.

  20. 20 George
    January 23, 2008 at 23:29


    You got it.

    A stimulant rebate Rx for recession.

    A Fed interest cut is the Rx for Wall Street dips.

    Republicans exclusively run, preach, and practice reducing taxes for the highest income brackets- Always.

    It just seems we are at the end of the debt rope- nations are going to stop lending us money.

  21. 21 George
    January 24, 2008 at 09:50


    You state a spiritual law but I have to ask you to reconsider your conclusion.

    The insane hate of Israel, constant attacks against Israel, teaching children to hate, and election of Hamas

    are subject to the same truth.

    It is written:

    “Give and it shall be given back to you a full measure pressed down and overflowing.”

    “First take the log out of your own eye to see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”

    Sarfaz, this applies to all of us.

  22. 22 Sarfaraz
    January 24, 2008 at 17:46


    Some of you are blaming Hamas and its resistance. My question is there was no Hamas even 20 years back from now. No rockets were fired to Israels then nor were there any suicide bombers. Why did Israel continued its oppression against the millions of Palestinians rather than handing back the occupied land?

    I strongly believe in every event that occurs has a cause. Here we fail to understand which one is the cause and which one is the effect. The resistance is the effect of years of occupation, killings of innocents including children and daily humiliation of Palestinians. There were no resistance before occupation by Israelis. Since occupation is the cause, we should talk about stopping it first to get rid of the effects (resistance). Once the cause ends the effects will automatically die.


  23. 23 Alec Paterson
    January 24, 2008 at 23:58


    A state of Palestine has never existed. Palestine was a mandated territory controlled by the British following the end of the Ottoman empire. It consisted of today’s Israel, West Bank and Gaza, plus Jordan, given to the Hashmenites by the British, as Trans Jordan in 1922, as the Hasmenites had lost out to the House of Saud in the control of Hijaz province in current Saudi Arabia. The 1967 borders are not international borders, but armistice demarcation lines (following the 1949 Armistice Agreements)without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines.
    Israel was under attack prior to 1967 from Gaza and the West Bank, which were then under the control of Egypt and Jordan, There was no word of a Palestinian state, when under Egyptian and Jordanian occupation. The Hamas charter calls for the elimination of Israel, their media and mosques continually demonise Jews. Is this a way to peace?

  24. 24 George
    January 25, 2008 at 07:08


    You certainly refuse to acknowledge any truth in that statement. You place hate above the well being of the people of Gaza, and beg the question.

    Hamaz rocketing of Israel is precisely the reason for the blockade.

    Hamaz is delighted to have the blockade and to cause the suffering by rocketing Israel daily.

    Without a doubt you will reap what you sew and you want that too much to let it go.

    You wallow in hate in your reply to Maya.

    Insanity is not a defense for taking life.

    Your talk is frankly exactly that.

    You are Hamaz, Hamaz is you.

  25. 25 Xie_Ming
    January 25, 2008 at 09:01

    The efforts of the Israeli apologists here are typical and shameful.


    All else is pretext to mask this evil.

  26. 26 Sarfaraz
    January 25, 2008 at 10:47

    George and Alec,

    You seemed to have misunderstood my point of view. I am not a supporter of Hamas but what I don’t understood is why you always blame Hamas for everything while the Hamas emerged only few years back. My question is why Israel continued its oppression and killings for decades after decades even when there was no suicide bombing and no Hamas and no threat from the Palestinian side. Please open your eyes and try to see the truth. It is easy to put blames on others but hard to take responsibilities. Israel would never accept a land for peace deal and always had an excuse to jeopardize such negotiations.
    If you continue occupying lands, making lives miserable for your neighbours by killings and blockades you will be the one responsible for the creation of many more organizations like Hamas. So I think Israel should learn from the mistakes before it is too late.

  27. 27 Alec Paterson
    January 25, 2008 at 12:04


    You need a history lesson. Hamas is the Palestinian section of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in the 1920’s, not a few years ago, as you say.
    I suppose by “occupied lands” you mean under the control of non Muslims. These lands were prior to 1967 occupied by Egypt and Jordan. Did you call them “occupied lands then? The lands came under Israeli control following a war instigated by Arab countries to detroy Israel. Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt, no Israelis reside in Gaza. By the way in the West Bank there has always been a Jewish presence, accept when Jews were kicked out by Jordanians when they annexed the area. Jewish historical sites have been are still being desecrated and destroyed, similar to the Buddhist figures in Afghanistan. What about Jewish refugees (800,000) from Arab countries? Was not their property and land taken. It is the Arabs that should stop using Israel, as a scapegoat for the ills of the Arab world.

    January 25, 2008 at 22:19

    what is the definition of a terrorist, or even better still an american definition

  29. 29 George
    January 26, 2008 at 00:14


    What I see in your posts:

    1. All you say is aimed at “Israel should not exist”

    2. All that Hamaz had done and is doing is ignored going only back to “Israel should not exist”.

    3. You have not answered one question or idea posed to you.

    4. Some of your posts are not arguments but hate and that without reason.


    I have to quote the full quote of the very spiritual laws you refer to:

    “Hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye to see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.

    “Give and it shall be given to you, a full measure, pressed down and overflowing shall come unto your bosom.”

    “Wherever a man sews, that shall he also reap.”

    God’s Promise to Israel- ” I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you”


    Of all the nations on earth, personally, Israel is THE LAST nation to curse or hate.

    It is a God thing.

    No matter how much you hate the nation of Israel,

    logically if God be for them who can be against them,

    you will find yourself fighting against God, not men,

    and no one rebells against God without loss,

    up to and including your very soul.


    Back to the secular-

    Israel exists.

    You want it to not exist.

    Israel has the right to exist.

    Israel has the right to defend itself.

    The attacks against Israel demand and receive response.

    Attacking Israel is not in any interest of the people of Gaza.

    Stop attacking Israel to help the people of Gaza.


    Denial and projection get you no where.

    It is not about Israel, it is what you have in your heart.

    “Seek the truth, and the truth will set you free”

    Ask God’s forgiveness for a heart full of hate.

    God will heal you and set you free.

    That is what God does for men.

  30. March 2, 2008 at 13:51

    Maybe the world should just step back and let this craziness just sort itself out quickly?

    It seems to me that any outside intervention hostorically has never done anything.

    Call it evolution, revolution or simply solution.

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