Gaza : your stories

Sometimes we sit around at the WHYS editorial meetings looking at all the things you want to talk about and we try to frame a question to take account of as many of your views as possible.

Today there is only one talking point, but not just one question.

Most of the editorials i’ve seen look at whether Israel’s actions are “proportionate” , (here’s  a view from Jerusalem , while this is from the Palestine chronicle.)

Others look at Israeli motives.  Some, like this in The Australian , talk about elements of the media being biased against Israel.

 What we do know is that, according to Palestinian doctors,  more than 300 people have died in Gaza, and one person has  been killed by a Palestinian rocket in Ashkelon, just north of Gaza.

Protests have been taking place, with demonstrators on the streets in many countries — including Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. In Tehran, Iranian officials joined protestors calling for Israel to be — in their words — wiped off the map. In Ankara, the Turkish and Egyptian foreign ministers renewed calls for an immediate ceasefire.

Here in Britain, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, described the situation in Gaza as a dangerous and dark moment for the Middle East.

Today, we’ll host the programme from Jerusalem where our WHYS producer/presenter Madeleine Morris has gone. She will be joined by a group of Israelis, and they will talk with and listen to – the voices of those affected by the events of the last few days.

Please tell us what you’d like to ask them..  

135 Responses to “Gaza : your stories”

  1. 1 Robert Wolfenstein
    December 29, 2008 at 13:58

    The Israeli air raids on Gaza, killing many civilians, are truly a tragedy. Surely there must be a better way of bringing peace to the Middle East. But peace is hard work and complicated: it entails making difficult compromises with the other side; by contrast, war is pretty straightforward: just give them hell until they’re all dead. That may be why the people of Gaza elected Hamas, a party of war, to power. Just like the Nazi party was effectively elected to power in Germany in 1933. But the problem when people elect parties of war is that war is what they get, and tragic consequences is what they suffer. The people of Berlin suffered direly when the Russians ran over the city in 1945. Today, the people of Gaza are experiencing the same sort of predictable tragedy.

  2. December 29, 2008 at 13:59

    My questions are:
    1- In such a situation who should be accused of crime against humanity: is it Israel who is making much more casualties among the civilians than the armed groups or is it Hamas who has its weapons and weapon factories in densely populate areas?

    2- Should Egypt be accountable for turning a blind eye to the tunnels from which weapons are smuggled or for closing its borders with Gaza, making easy for Israel to impose its total blockade on Gaza?

    3- Wouldn’t it have been better for Israel to mount a ground invasion of Gaza and arrest Hamas leaders and armed factions instead of mounting air strikes that randomly killed innocent civilians?

    4- Is Israel easing the shipment of medical aids to the injured in Gaza now that a lot of medicines and medical equipments were destroyed by its air raids?

    5- How will such attacks in Gaza affect Israel relations with moderate Arab countries and will this mean its contact with them will be in a low key profile?

    6- How are the current relations between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs?

  3. 3 Brett
    December 29, 2008 at 14:01

    Heres a question, or questions rather, to pose to them (and it isn’t meant to be rude or anything):

    1) Do you not understand that violence begets violence?

    2) What do you expect to accomplish with such cowardly attacks (coming from both sides)?

    3) Do you think that violence will actually end your problems?

    Good luck tumbling down the mountain on a snowball of degenerate violence, hate, and revenge.

    (And please, don’t anyone cry about bias, that card is well worn. I would pose the same questions and statement to Palestinians)

  4. 4 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    December 29, 2008 at 14:17

    Over the weekend, I heard spokepersons for the Palestinians say that one could not compare the many hundreds, if not thousands, of rockets launched by Hamas from Gaza with the Israeli’s capabilities. True enough, one cannot. However, one CAN compare the aims of Israel with the aims of Hamas.

    If Hamas had better weapons, they would use them to target Israeli civilians, not military targets. They proved that today, by launching a sophistocated missile into Israel—at a civilian city center. If I were an Israeli, daily dodging dodgy missiles, I would feel very vulnerable to Hamas’s intentions, in addition to its current abilities, and would want my government to end that threat.

    Also over the weekend, I heard many people speaking for the Palestinians, who said that because Gaza is so densely populated, Israeli actions must perforce harm “innocent” civilians. Two points here. First, Hamas is the democratically elected government of Gaza, it serves at the will of the people, and I have heard no Gazan voices raised against its continual targeting of Israeli civilians. Second, because Gaza is so densely populated, its citizens surely know who imports, prepares and fires the rockets raining down on Israel. The Gazan electorate is complicit in the firing of those rockets.

    Israel has stated it will stop bombarding Gaza when Hamas has stopped firing rockets at Israeli civilian targets. If Hamas had any interest in peace, it would take Israel at its word and stop firing the rockets at civilian targets.

    Donnamarie in Switzerland

  5. 5 Ansu Tangar
    December 29, 2008 at 14:24

    Actually voilance action from both end is totally unacceptable, but I believed the action taken by Isreal from my perception could be the right one.
    Hamas in the Gaza strip to me is one example of a group that has portraid a very bad image of the Islam religion and as a member of said religion, I’m not and will not support this kind of action taken by Hamas. I don’t even want the other Muslim brothers from any part of the world to support Hamas with this kind of inhuman beheviour.

    Tangar in Monrovia

  6. December 29, 2008 at 15:03

    Hi WHYSers!

    This story is so absolutely distressing. The “all out war” on Hamas and its especially deadly impact on the ‘innocent’ (?) civilians is painful watch.

    While I understand the motive, in terms of eliminating the threat that Hamas presents to Israeli security, I am shocked at the death toll and wonder whether these things are sufficiently considered by the Israeli authorities whether during, or before such an attack.

    This comes in light of recent BBC and other media reports of the collapse of the banking system in Gaza, specifically, because of the Israeli blockade, as well as the number of other Palestinians who have died because of it (lack of appropriate medical help, food, etc).

    Hence, my questions:

    1 How, do you equate the destruction of the Gaza in these strikes to the impact of Hamas’s rocket attacks?
    2) What is to be done in a case where the majority of Palestinians, even the rest of the ‘Arab World’ develops sympathies towards Hamas?
    3) How will this engender real and lasting peace between the two countries and the rest of the Region?
    4) And, how many more people will have to die before the leaders come to terms with the destructive effects of all this violence?

  7. 7 brinda Rao
    December 29, 2008 at 15:46

    My questions

    I am not taking sides( nothing against the Arab world or the Israeli;s) and would like to ask the same questions to the Hamas.
    1. Will the attacks solve the problem? (We all know the answer to this one)
    2.What are the civilians doing to change it?(on both sides).In Greek a 15 year old kid was killed and there was Hugh Riot .Are people in these two countries so indifferent ?
    3.Is it all worth it ?

  8. December 29, 2008 at 15:56

    Low-key demonstrations in Tehran and turn-out by Iranian MPs.
    Sad day for Arab world; sad day for Egypt.
    Israeli action out of proportion to Hamas fretting and cursing or loud verbal outbursts.
    Sad Sabbath. Sad Christmas. The Israeli action dealt optimum damage over the holiday period when the media wasn’t watching, thereby limiting public viewing and stifling possible outcries.

  9. 9 Peter
    December 29, 2008 at 16:01

    This is not about David and Golait the Philistine are using pea shooter against a cannon. The axis of power seems to like to have a go at countries that cannot fight back. Like going hunting.Israel has the technology to prevent rockets from being fired into Israel . With spy drones they can detect impending strikes. With sensors calculating the position of fire they can take it down instantaneously. Israel choose not to use that option.
    Remember Lebanon.

  10. December 29, 2008 at 16:02

    Israel is showing once again its complete disregard for human life and the rule of international law. The time is now to call Israel to account for its actions and force this rogue state to abide by the Geneva Conventions, UN Resolutions, and other agreements and treaties that constitute international law. Until we, the international community, show the spinal fortitude to forcibly restrain Israel, there will be no peace in the Middle East. True peace can only arise from the foundation of justice.

  11. 11 Carol
    December 29, 2008 at 16:06

    I want to see peace for everyone in the Middle East. I hate to see Isreal blamed for everything. Hamas must stop their rocket attacks on Israel if they want their people to have the peace they so deserve.

  12. December 29, 2008 at 16:22

    @ Peter and Akbar Javadi,

    Thanks for that intervention. I certainly do not pride myself on being a specialist in this area. However, it is plain to see from all the reports which have circulated in the media that this is excessive by any stretch! I am shocked at how a call for peace might be aided by this kind of onslaught. It seems more destined to send a message to all would-be opponents of Israel, than a counter attack against Hamas. Indeed, I should expect that long before the strikes have ended Hamas will be completely eradicated. The ferocity of it all takes my breath away!

  13. December 29, 2008 at 16:28

    One fuel keeping the violence near (and going over) the boiling point: my own country’s, the U.S.’s, ever-ongoing military subsidies for Israel — over $3 billion every year outright , plus extra legislation from our Congress allowing, say, the sales of the F-16s that periodically bring more death.

    Sad to say, but my country has no other policy than such one-sided encouragement of force, violence, and murder. Sad to say, but our “leaders” have no more imagination than to have the Israelis steal more Palestinian land and build massive walls on it, just as our same leaders do the same on our borders here with Mexico. And we Americans, schooled as we all are in the mutual-isolation specializations of so-called “higher education,” only learn to retreat (but full of consumerism entitlement conceits!) in our further departments of cubicle imagination. So the corporate forces here just go trundling on, profiting from war, and fueling further fears that allow our permanent state of war ever to stoke Israeli war-only policy, too.

  14. 15 Dan
    December 29, 2008 at 16:30

    Akbar Javadi
    We can discuss that this was a response to Hamas firing HUNDREDS of rockets and mortars into Israel and any country has a right of self-defense but let us hope that Iran and the US start to talk averting another crisis so this does not happen in your country.

  15. December 29, 2008 at 16:46

    @ Dan,

    It is obvious to me that talk alone will not provide a solution to the crisis in Gaza and Israel’s “all out war” on Hamas, which in a way, is a show of force and a statement of power. My further questions is:

    1) what else is it that Israel hopes to achieve by these strikes that it was previously not able to do before now?

    The right to self defense is unquestioned, but this takes this right a little over what might be considered proportionate. Or, is it the case that there is no proportion in such matters? How will this impact the rest of the Region?

  16. December 29, 2008 at 16:54

    @ Pink,

    You seem so on point with that reference to that Peter Tosh line: “How can there ever peace, if there is no justice?” (Forgotten the name of the song!) But, it seems so appropriate under the circumstances. I shudder to imagine what it must be like living in Gaza and am especially interested in hearing more from Israel on this.

  17. 18 Mark Sandell
    December 29, 2008 at 16:54

    Thanks for the questions. That’ll be the questions i asked for, not the series of speeches, diatribes, conspiracy theories and threats that i didn’t ask for.

  18. 19 Ramesh
    December 29, 2008 at 16:59

    Israelis have proved that they haven’t changed with respect to unchanged hamas. When people on both sides don’t change their position, how can we expect problems to be solved?

  19. 21 Steve
    December 29, 2008 at 17:06

    I’m curious, why were there no embassy protests for all the rockets fired on Israel? That’s right. They simply don’t care. So these people are rallying to support a terrorist group.

  20. 22 Celeste
    December 29, 2008 at 17:08

    It is so bizarre to me why it is perceived that the US supports Israel?? I live in the US and certainly DO NOT! The people of Palestine have suffered long and hard at the bloody hands of Israel. It would not surprise me that this particular incident was fully supported by the US administration. It is just how they operate. The reason that the US holds Israel’s hand in every situation is simply because Israel is the US’s nuclear launching pad, plain and simple.
    I stand firm with Palestine and they prove over and over again that you CANNOT KILL AN IDEA.

  21. 23 PAVAN
    December 29, 2008 at 17:09

    can HAMAS or the arab nations delete Israel and Jews just by not recognising them? and can Israel shun HAMAS off by dropping bombs on civilians?

    this is NO solution, i cant imagine it to be,

    i will like to know the last time when AIR STRIKES and ROCKETS solved peoples’ problems?

  22. 24 Steve
    December 29, 2008 at 17:12

    Golda Meier said that there will be peace when the arabs love their children more than they hate the Jews. Right now Palestinians seem to be happy about all the PR they get an political points due to all the deaths due to Isreali response to Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. hamas attacks from civilian areas, and knows that israeli responses will cause civilian casualties in many cases. So they are willing to sacrifice their own people for political points. That is NOT loving your children more than you hate your enemy. Time for Palestinians to start loving life, rather than death. Until they love life more than death, it’s hard to feel bad for them.

  23. December 29, 2008 at 17:22

    Since Hamas runs the daily lives of Palistinians in Gaza and feel they have a right to rain rockets on the civilian population of Israel, they have also shown that they are not interested in peace talks and are determined to use terrorists methods against Israel which is a soverign country, accordingly israel has no choice but to attack and inflict the maximum military response against their organisation. Accordingly some civilians may die in the process as in any war.
    It is the right of any country to respond in any and every way it can when hundreds of rockets land from across their border. The sooner Israel go into Gaza and get rid of the Hamas terrorists once and for all, the better chance there will be for peace in the region.

  24. 26 Shaun in Halifax
    December 29, 2008 at 17:28

    Just heard the stats on BBC with regards to the last 3 days.

    Gaza Strip: 320 Dead ~1400 injured.
    Israel: 2 Dead, not sure how many injured.

    That seems like a fair trade, doesn’t it?

    What is more troubling to me is the one-sided-ness of the media coverage here in North America. All the mainstream media sources I’ve encountered have framed the issue as “Palestinian Terrorists” and “Israeli’s defending themselves.” But isn’t it a matter of perspective? If you are a Palestinian, I’m sure you think the Israelis are the terrorists. And if you are an Israeli I’m sure you think the Palestinians are the terrorists.

    Why do the authorities use such polarizing and forceful terms to describe this? SURELY the human cost on both sides is much more important than the political agendas?

  25. 27 Daniel
    December 29, 2008 at 18:04

    Israel is defending itself. The fact that they have incurred more casualties is very unfortunate, but irrellevant. Israel has put up with the hundreds and hundreds of rockets fired into its territorry for a long time, and now has no choice. Hamas is a terrorist organisation that kills innocent people as a delibarate tactic and refuses to accept the right of Israel to exist. Israel is a democratic country trying to live in peace. Israel does not try to kill innocent people, but Hamas does. Hamas has a history of placing its militants in and around groups of civillians, That is why I believe this operation is unfortunate but ultimately justified

  26. 28 richard
    December 29, 2008 at 18:05

    Hamas bombs israel and now they cry when israel defends itself. where was the outcry when hamas was shooting rockets. i find that hypocritical.
    Make your bed with the devil and your bound to get burned.

  27. 29 Carolyn
    December 29, 2008 at 18:07

    Please tell me how Israelis do not generally see themselves as oppressors. Also, please explain to me that since Palestine does not exist, the so-called “Palestinians” are not afforded complete Israeli citizenship staus.

    It is my fervant hope that world sentiment finally can put pressure on Israel to treat other human beings as human beings. It is also my hope that the United States will not keep shooting itself in the foot in order to appease an ally that has even attacked a U.S. Navy ship.

    From here, the Israeli government looks like a bellicose proponent of ethnic cleansing.

  28. 30 Bruno
    December 29, 2008 at 18:10

    I wonder what Israel is expecting by starving 1,5 million of people, and making teir life a living hell. Not mentionning the rampant colonisation that continue again and again in the West Bank.

    Hamas is thriving on this. Those Palestinians who lost brothers and relatives today, will be the fighters of tommorow. This is the only thing israel is achieving since decades with the same old tactics…

  29. December 29, 2008 at 18:12

    I suspected my comment on Mossad provocateurs would be censored from posting on the blog – you are owned by MI5/MI6

  30. 32 Dan
    December 29, 2008 at 18:13

    In war there is no proportionality there is only the need to what needs to be done to win.

  31. December 29, 2008 at 18:15

    The Israeli attacks in Gaza are a trying time for everyone.

    When civilized negotiations fail, there is room for bloody actions which resolve nothing but just increase the enmity between the opposite sides.

    It’ seems that only atrocities can unite the Israelis and the Palestinians against each other when it is hard for them to achieve lasting peace as Hamas and Israel are likely to remain unreconcilable forces.

  32. 34 Alan J. V. in Arizona
    December 29, 2008 at 18:15

    My concern,

    How can any parent in Palestine support Hamas and the violence they instigate. It doesn’t do their country, people or families any good. All it does is force Israel to defend itself. If the Hamas leaders cared for the people they would strive for peace and give their children a chance to grow and be prosperous in world and for their country!

    They won’t shot at you if you don’t shot at them!

    Alan in Arizona

  33. 35 Sadiq
    December 29, 2008 at 18:18

    Israel will have any moral authority to speak when they abide by the numerous UN resolutions to withdraw from occupied territories. By keeping millions in concetration camps called “GAZA” you can’t expect rationale bahavior from innocent “inmates”.

    Shame on people who support Israel’s acts of violence against civilians.

  34. 36 Trevor Ycas
    December 29, 2008 at 18:19

    The Palestinian people have been imprisoned since the internationally questionable Israeli actions decades ago. An entire generation of Palestinians has grown up without a nation, without an identity, and without freedom (or some reasonable equivalent).

    With regards to the recent violence in Gaza, to accuse the imprisoned Palestinians of ‘starting it all’ is blatantly unfair, because such a viewpoint can only be maintained if the generation-scale imprisonment is ignored. Although there are few parallels to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, any time and any place that millions of people are deprived of the right to govern themselves, the right to travel, the right to basic necessities, the rights to safety and the right to dignity, they will struggle. Dare to contain such a group of people inside a giant concrete fence against the ocean and they will resort to actions no one would normally consider defensible or appropriate. Thus the vicious cycle of violent resistance and violent retribution begins. Until the root issue, the right to self-governance for the Palestinians, is addressed, this cycle will continue. Therefore, with regards to ‘who started it all’, the roles of captor and prisoner must be examined.

  35. December 29, 2008 at 18:21

    I think Israel has the right to exist in Texas USA The land of milk and honey The promised land. and live in peace and prosperity again. Otherwise the US should send no more weapons money technology or subcities to Israel. The taxpayers of US won’t stand for their aid to go to another genocide

  36. 38 Richard
    December 29, 2008 at 18:24

    Hamas shoots rockets at israel and now they cry when israel defends herself. where was the outcry when hamas was shooting rockets.
    very hypocritical.

  37. 39 Dave in San Francisco
    December 29, 2008 at 18:25

    If Gaza wants to live in peace (a good idea) then it must ENSURE that its people leave its neighbors to live in peace.

    If Gazans want to make war on their neighbors, they have to accept a war-like response.

  38. December 29, 2008 at 18:25

    The biggest cause of war is the Jewish settlements on Arab land. If somebody kicked me out of my home, I’d want to fire a few rockets myself.

  39. 41 Alan in Arizona
    December 29, 2008 at 18:26

    My concern,

    How can any parent in Palestine support Hamas and the violence they instigate. It doesn’t do their country, people or families any good. All it does is force Israel to defend itself. If the Hamas leaders cared for the people they would strive for peace and give their children a chance to grow and be prosperous in world and for their country!

    They won’t shot at you if you don’t shot at them!

  40. 42 Trevor
    December 29, 2008 at 18:27

    The Palestinian people have been imprisoned since the internationally questionable Israeli actions decades ago. An entire generation of Palestinians has grown up without a nation, without an identity, and without freedom (or some reasonable equivalent).
    With regards to the recent violence in Gaza, to accuse the imprisoned Palestinians of ‘starting it all’ is blatantly unfair, because such a viewpoint can only be maintained if the generation-scale imprisonment is ignored. Although there are few parallels to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, any time and any place that millions of people are deprived of the right to govern themselves, the right to travel, the right to basic necessities, the rights to safety and the right to dignity, they will struggle. Dare to contain such a group of people inside a giant concrete fence against the ocean and they will resort to actions no one would normally consider defensible or appropriate. Thus the vicious cycle of violent resistance and violent retribution begins. Until the root issue, the right to self-governance for the Palestinians, is addressed, this cycle will continue. Therefore, with regards to ‘who started it all’, the roles of captor and prisoner must be examined. This consideration will ultimately provide a safe, secure, peaceful situation for all peoples in the region.

  41. 43 Glenn in Canada
    December 29, 2008 at 18:28

    I have lived in Israel and observed firsthand the system of apartheid that was setup when Israel declared independence in1948. I condemn the violence on both sides, but I more easily understand the frustration of the oppressed. Israel remains in my mind a piece of occupied territory ruled by a military junta.

    Upon what basis does your Israeli panel believe they have the right to exist as a separate nation? They have no more right to the land than the average Palestinian. There should be no Jewish or moslem state, only a land ruled by those who live in it in equality.

  42. 44 Phoebe
    December 29, 2008 at 18:29

    I have been following the Middle East peace process for years now with great frustration. I still have some hope even though its wilting away. The loose of life hurts and puzzles me. Both governments are to be blamed and must be held accountable. Israel needs to take an inward look at herself and take the moral high road ofcourse while demanding the same of Palestine. The palestinians do have genuine and deep seated grieviances that must be heard and justice be served. On the other hand Palestine must take responsibility for the leadership that they voted in power – Hamas. The world cannot be ruled by islamic fundamentalists. A legitimate and function government must be put in placed, otherwise both sides will fight themselves to a point of no return

  43. 45 Steve
    December 29, 2008 at 18:29

    I think Marc in Jerusalem’s question was asking “where is the palestinian peace movement”? There apparently are no protests against Hamas to stop the rocket attacks, which would make Israel stop retaliating.

    So where is the Palestinian peace movement?

  44. 46 Carolyn
    December 29, 2008 at 18:32

    How can Israelis expect people who are corralled and starved to gather and protest against the enemy of their enemy? Even if the situation of Israel being the enemy of Palestinians did not happen by design, it did happen and it is perpetuated — on both sides.

    I think the “do not invite any Gazans to my home” is telling.

  45. 47 GR
    December 29, 2008 at 18:32

    One of the speakers asked why there is no demonstrations for peace in Palestine — I think given how difficult it is for Palestines to simply live their daily lives, the capability for creating well organising peace movements would be a luxury. Palestinians are deprived of resources to have a comfortable life unlike in Israel and their primary worries is surviving.

  46. 48 Sadiq
    December 29, 2008 at 18:35

    I have been listning to the WHYS. Can the moderator please try to give people opposed to Israeli action equal time?

  47. 49 SlevdiDavoteca
    December 29, 2008 at 18:35

    Why is there no Israeli military action against the West Bank?

  48. 50 Dan
    December 29, 2008 at 18:36

    That is a GREAT question…”Where is the Palestinian Peace Movement”???????

    Where were the Palestinians [protesting the rocket and mortar fire into Israel?

  49. 51 Mathew in Nairobi
    December 29, 2008 at 18:36

    Everybody in the Arab world is blaming Israel. But what is Israel to do – just sit back and take in all those rockets of the Hamas? Why don’t the Arab countries persuade Hamas to stop firing the rockets? Then Israel too will cease from bombing.

  50. 52 Michael Miller
    December 29, 2008 at 18:36

    While I never see any benefit personally from a war as both sides loose lives and resources while their people suffer I do understand Isreal’s frustration at holding a cease fire while the other side, Hamas, terrorizes Isreal openly. Hamas must understand there can be no honor or peace when you are not sincere in your desire for peace. Isreal is only doing what everyone else would do it attacked and they have waited quite a while for Hamas to see the errors of their ways. There are consequences for your actions and this is a lesson Hamas must learn and the Palestine people must hold their leaders accountable for their actions. If Hamas really had the interest of the Palestinian people at their heart they would actively seek a peaceful rule and solution to the conflicts in that part of the world. They have proven over and over again they are not representative of the average Palistinian on the street.

  51. 53 GB
    December 29, 2008 at 18:38

    @ Dan

    When referring to a “just war” proportionality is a critical element.

    @ WHYSers

    A few points worhty of note:

    1. HAMAS is the democratically elected leadership of the Palestinians that has been systematically maligned by Israel and the West as a “terrorist group”.
    2. Israel via its blockade (and prior to prior to ramping it up this year) has been trying to cripple HAMAS by seeking to force abused Palestinians to rebel against them. Israel has subjected 1.5 million people to untold humiliation and suffering with very little response from the West.
    3. In the last 7 years, Palestinian rocket fire has killed 17 Israelis; in three days the Israelis have killed 300 Palestinians and counting…
    4. This is a religious/ideological (more religious than ideological) conflict and the dead Palestinians will likely be viewed as martyrs and strengthen Palestinian resolve.

  52. 54 CJ McAuley
    December 29, 2008 at 18:39

    After listening to the last call before the news at 16:30, I can only come to the conclusion that both sides are beyond listening(let alone talking) to each other. It strikes me as being not unlike Ulster a decade plus ago. There may well be plenty of room for blame, but an outside force would seem to be the only way to separate them to stop the hostility, so there can be an extended period of time of something approaching normality. One would think that this is the kind of situation that cries out for the UN; unfortunately the UN has proved it’s impotence over decades now!

  53. 55 Gadi in California
    December 29, 2008 at 18:39

    I would like to hear from both sides: what would they do if they were on the other side?

    Keep in perspective that the Israelis live in fear of being shelled or bombed by people who are willing to kill themselves in night clubs and restaurants and on the buses.

    On the other hand, the Palestinians live in daily humiliation, are killed in hugely disproportional numbers, are living under 40 years of occupation.

    What should each side do in the eyes of the other side?

    Menlo Park, California, USA

  54. 56 john in the usa
    December 29, 2008 at 18:39

    Both sides should abandon violence and isreal should also stop blockading gaza. Then both must come to the table ready to talk

  55. 57 Abraham
    December 29, 2008 at 18:40

    It is so sad to hear that civilians are dying in Gaza and Israel. The trutth is that Hamas has brought this tragedy on the Gazans. They are hypocrites. When dey fire missiles into Israel, they aim and expect them to hit civilians in Israel. Why then do Hamas complain when civilians are accidentally killed in Gaza. Until the Gazans learn to hold Hamas responsible for their problems and resist being used as human sheild by Hamas, they will continue to pay the price.

  56. 58 Studio 12 manager
    December 29, 2008 at 18:41

    I do believe that the population in gaza is under the rule of a undemocratic regime, and needs to get help to have real free elections – with a clear incentive from israel of peace and economical suport for one party that will offer real pece, – 100 000 un peacekeepers to gaza – hamas thrives on death and war, that is what keeps this organiztion in power, of cause they will continue war, – without that they would no longer hold power

  57. 59 Nate, Portland, OR
    December 29, 2008 at 18:42

    Halfway through, the two sides are largely throwing their pain in each other’s faces and not listening to the other. This is typical of all the conversations I’ve heard between Palestinians and Israelis. It doesn’t leave one with much hope for a solution.

    However, it seems to me that the Gazans are less reasonable. Right before the break an Israeli asked a Gazan where the opposition to Hamas is in Gaza. Perhaps the true response is “If you oppose Hamas in Gaza, you die.” But until I hear that, I suspect the answer is “We support Hamas and their attacks on Israel.”

    The Israelis consistently say “stop bombing us, and we’ll stop bombing you.” Thus far, I have to say I believe them. On the other hand, the status quo is presently imabalanced towards the Israelis. What leverage do Gazans and Palestinians have without terrorism?

    What a flipping mess.

  58. 60 Greg
    December 29, 2008 at 18:43

    I wonder about this too. Why would a neighborhood let people move about with rockets and launch them at Israel? I also wonder why the show is originating from Israel which taints it from the start. I also wonder if all Palestinians can be terrorists because in effect that is how they are all being treated? Enough with the surgical nonsense as well please. Hamas does not have the capability to do anything more than launch random rockets. I am pretty sure if they could target the military they would. Also, why now, does it have anything to do with the American election?

  59. 61 Doug in Canada
    December 29, 2008 at 18:44

    Neither Jew nor moslem has an absolute right to rule this land. Like many trouble spots around the world the two sides will never be able to stop fighting without assistance from the UN. International warships should be placed off the coast of Israel with orders to fire upon any side engaging in violence, whether they be Hamas or Israeli forces.

  60. 62 Simon in Singapore
    December 29, 2008 at 18:45

    Your Isreali guest talks about international law. The international laws says they are illegel residents and should get out at once. That’s the main cause for rocket attacks.

  61. 63 Mark Eitzel
    December 29, 2008 at 18:46

    Justify it how you will. Isreal is doing exactly what Hamas wanted.
    This will solidify hatred against Isreal and unify the world in what they see as an over reaction. Live by the sword and die by it. As an American I wish we would stop funding this anger.

  62. December 29, 2008 at 18:46

    @ Dan,

    You are obviously correct! Still, it does not change the terms of the engagement in terms of the obvious inequities between the two sides. While, we are not condoning the Hamas lead strikes, this approach by Israel does appear to be overly excessive.

    My question is, what was it about now that paved the way for this show complete force and utter domination, bearing in mind that the banking system was crippled before, according to new reports and people were being prevented from leaving or returning to Gaza and food was in short supply. All this amounts to a very lopsided relationship which must, by necessity, breed more anger and retaliation.

  63. 65 GB
    December 29, 2008 at 18:49

    Shame on you Madeleine! You’re Israeli panelists go unchecked while failing to address very valid concerns that have been raised. This is really a one-sided discussion…and as I shake my head I wonder if it is because you are doing so from the home of an Israeli? Would you be similarly biased if you had conducted this from Gaza?

  64. 66 Clay in North Carolina
    December 29, 2008 at 18:50

    Suppose that its true that the Qassams really ARE harmless, don’t do any damage and hurt no one. Does that matter?

    These aren’t hooligans with firecrackers, these are people attempting murder under the eyes on an approving public. It should not matter that their weapons are cheap and faulty.

  65. 67 Mathew
    December 29, 2008 at 18:51

    Why is the Arab world blaming only Israel? What is Israel supposed to do – just to sit back and take in all those rockets? Why don’t the Arab countries persuade the Hamas to stop the rockets? Then Israel too will stop the attack. Simple as that.

  66. 68 Todd
    December 29, 2008 at 18:51

    When Mark asks do the Palastinians want peace by the people demonstrating in some way, have you thought that in the situation the normal Palastinian is in they can’t do this? If Hamas is in total control do you think they will tolorate any disent? Gaza is all but totalatarin rule by Hamas. No different than Taliban in Afganstan. Second point would be when you are hungry and starving where does the peace process ranks in your life under that circumstance. No sides taken on my side just think people get so myopic they don’t show empathy

  67. 69 Richard
    December 29, 2008 at 18:52

    why dont the palestinians answer the questions.
    they keep avoiding and changing the subject.

  68. 70 Raitis (Riga, Latvia)
    December 29, 2008 at 18:53

    war is always pointed versus governments, estabilishments and organizations, and never is hitting them, and what is worse – war is always hitting innocent people. i really do not beleave that most people of both gaza and israel do want war. i am really sure that MOST people both there and there want peace and silent life. the worst is that that these civialian people are in fact paying for a small extremist parties both there and there. everything can be settled over a table. both parties should stop. and stop immediately.

  69. 71 Steve
    December 29, 2008 at 18:56

    @ GB

    Do you honestly think Westerners would go to Gaza? Do you remember Alan Johnston and wonder why he is not back in Gaza, nor is there any replacement there? That’s because regardless of your opinions, since you aren’t them, they’ll kindnap you. The BBC isn’t a stupid organization. That’s why the show is from Israel, becaues they won’t be kidnapped, let alone bombed there. Let’s be logical in our complaints. At least the Israeli guests answered the questions posed at them.

  70. 72 Roz in California
    December 29, 2008 at 18:57

    I just want to lodge a complaint against the abuse of the English language that equates police stations and newly graduated cadets with “Hamas military targets”. What exactly is the difference between the Serbs attack on Sarajevo and the Israeli assaults on Gaza except that the Israeli weapons are more sophisticated and Gaza’s civilian population even more densely concentrated.

  71. 73 Jack in Hong Kong
    December 29, 2008 at 18:57

    But the CORE issue that no one has yet mentioned is the Occupation of Palestinian land by Israel.

    Hamas is a legitimate, democratically elected RESISTANCE movement…..it is resisting OCCUPATION and the resistance will continue until Israel withdraws from all the occupied territories, and Israel will never be safe and secure iuntil that happens.

    Jack Lyndhurst, in Hong Kong where it is the middle of the night!

  72. 74 Raitis (Riga, Latvia)
    December 29, 2008 at 18:58

    and yes, i really think, that there is a much better way of spending money than just feeding war machine. anywhere, be it US, middle East, Europe or wherever.

  73. 75 James Harrison
    December 29, 2008 at 18:58

    Why should the people in Gaza demonstrate against Hamas? Hamas is not killing them by the hundreds, Israel is. Where are the Israelis demonstrating against the mass killings of civilians in Gaza? Why don’t your moderators ask about that?

    When you kill 100 people in Gaza to avenge the death of one person in Israel, you are stating that the life of one Israeli is worth the lives of 100 people from Gaza. This will never bring peace to Israel.

  74. 76 Victor in Utah
    December 29, 2008 at 18:58

    It’s Horrible when innocent people die. People who are making Rockets etc. aren’t innocents they are a military target and shouldn’t hide behind innocents. It’s cowardly and wrong. Innocents who are visiting militants need to realize that they aren’t innocent anymore they are a meat shield entering a war zone, even if the bullets aren’t flying. And that going to visit and getting themselves killed they are only getting their loved ones killed through their resulting retaliation.
    Israel should be Very Very careful to use precision strikes that leave innocents safe. If they don’t they are only pouring gasoline on the flame of the militant fire.

    Just my opinion

  75. December 29, 2008 at 18:59

    How adequately the BBC coverage reflects the intensity and severity of Israel’s ongoing strikes on Gaza? According to Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent “Israel’s opening salvo is not merely another surgical operation or pinpoint strike. This is the harshest IDF assault on Gaza since the territory was captured during the Six-Day War in 1967.”

    One waits to see when the details of the strikes on Gaza as reported by Jerusalem Post will be shared with BBC viewers: On 27 December at 11:30 a.m., more than 50 Israeli Air Force fighter jets and attack helicopters swept into Gazan airspace and dropped more than 100 bombs on 50 targets. The planes reported “alpha hits,” IAF lingo for direct hits on the targets, which included Hamas headquarters and offices. Thirty minutes later, a second wave of 60 jets and helicopters struck at 60 targets.

    What about shedding some light on the timings and motivations of the strikes on Gaza? David Horovitz reminds Jerusalem Post’s readers that Israeli Premier Ehud “Olmert has relentlessly insisted that he was the man best placed to oversee the rehabilitation from 2006 – from a war mismanaged by an inexperienced prime minister, a defense minister (Amir Peretz) who was entirely unqualified for the job, and a chief of staff (Dan Halutz) who placed exaggerated confidence in the air force’s capacity for destroying carefully protected underground infrastructure and a highly mobile Hizbullah fighting force” in Lebanon.

  76. 78 Brenda
    December 29, 2008 at 18:59

    Trevor, I wish I could have said your words. I can just scream at the injustice that has been taking place for years.
    Why were the Israel’s treating the Palestinian’s so bad before Hamas came on the scene? The setelements are enough reason for any group of people to want to strike back.
    In America we wouldn’t stand for Setelements from another Country taking over our land

  77. 79 Tarek from the UK
    December 29, 2008 at 18:59

    Israel left the gaza strip but continued to blockade it by air,sea and land. They then said that arafat was a terrorist and along with the US pushed for elections that brought in hamas rule and to the situation we are in today. The latest ceasefire wasnt observed by israel..which reneged on a deal to open all crossings and trade. Israelis need to wake up to what their government is doing versus what is saying….it has not played fair with palestiniansover the years which has led to severe frustration and this latest crisis.
    Tarek from the UK

  78. December 29, 2008 at 18:59

    Thugs and criminals attack innocent people in US too every day. And we don’t bomb the high crime areas No country on earth has a perfect society

  79. 81 Yasmine
    December 29, 2008 at 19:00

    Hmm, really this situation has gone far enough. It’s like we as human beings haven’t learned anything from our history we’ve been through many wars and what has it done nothing except killing inccoeant people/taking revenge on our enemies. If Israeli wants peace with the middle east they should keep on talking peacfully, every thing is solved by Patience. What they are doing know will never solve anything it will only trager anger and hatred toward them, and more rockets will be fired.
    For me, both sides are stupied because viloence and hatred will never solved anything, Israeli should know it by now! they have lived throught these phases of their life in Hilter’s time and know they are Hitler and the Phil. people are the jews. They are killing people children that has nothing to do with the situation and for what? It’s really shamefull that neither sides has empathy for one another.

  80. 82 javed
    December 29, 2008 at 19:00

    do not fool the people. BBC is nothing but slave of zionists’ (not jews) money.
    you should close your channel otherwise u will be punish hair after.You tell your zionists ally that if you are playing more with our brothers in Palastine ur allies’ Embassy will not work more here in Delhi
    from india

  81. 83 Melvyn
    December 29, 2008 at 19:01

    The Israeli action is totally disproportionate and could be deemed tantamount to war crimes.

    The extent of the action mimics the destruction of Southern Lebanon 2 years ago when Israel destroyed much of the civilian infrastructure, and as a parting gesture dropped tens of thousands of cluster bombs on heavily populated areas which are continuing to kill children 2 years later.

    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should be indited as a war criminal.

  82. 84 MikeB (USA)
    December 29, 2008 at 19:02

    The main stream of the Palestinian people wants to live in peace. Israel … Why don’t you plan without using the F-16’s for a change and help create the mainstream of the Palestinians. Then and maybe then Israel too will live in peace. One way to start is by removing the wall, the settlements, the road blocks, let food and water through to Gaza… and many more of what the Palestinians have to deal with on a daily basis. Israeli’s will benefit more from peaceful policy than the one they have been using for the past 60 years. Israel is doing more damage to itself than what Hamas is doing to them. Israel is an occupier. You and only you have the responsibility to find a solution to the people you are occupying. Bring peace to them and to your own.

  83. 85 Steve
    December 29, 2008 at 19:02

    @ Tarek

    you neglected to mention that Gaza has a border with Egypt. Do you think israel without being physically present can blockade that border without Egyptian help? Yup, that’s right. Their arab brothers, the Egyptians, are helping to blockade them. But I know that’ snot convenient for your blame israel argument, so let’s try to forget that little fact.

  84. 86 Fabian
    December 29, 2008 at 19:03

    Well i guess the Ant will never pick an Elephant for a duel in the field, pick your enemies wisely! This is not time to measure the degree of bombings heavy or light, there is absolutely nothing like ‘Excessive Use of Force’ if you know you do not have the fire power then don’t get into war with an enemy. All fingers are not equal and there is nothing anybody can do about that, period.

  85. 87 GB
    December 29, 2008 at 19:08

    @ Jack

    Brilliant note on HAMAS – don’t think I could have said it better myself!

    @ Roz in California

    Very salient point that is seemingly overlooked in western media.

    @ Greg

    Things that make you go “hhmmm…”

  86. 88 Alan J. V. in Arizona
    December 29, 2008 at 19:08

    After listening to comments from the Arabic side, I have to wonder were the intelligence and logic is in their populace. It’s obviously not their leaders! The populace needs to rise up against their violent leaders and take control and strive for peace. They have so much to offer the world and so much strength. Those people need to get rid of the crazy idiots dragging them into a violent existence and guide their children, their future into a peaceful existence where they can prosper!

  87. 89 chris whitley
    December 29, 2008 at 19:09

    Israel as the illegal occupiers of someone’s land can not claim self-defence.
    They should pull back to the 67 borders before they claim they want peace.

  88. 90 MarkKirk
    December 29, 2008 at 19:11

    I can’t get over how, when asked, Palestinians support Hamas’ use of rockets against Israel as a form of “resistance” against Israel occupation.

    YET, when the IDF responds, Hamas and the Palestinians who elected them cry to the international community that Israel are murderers and using uncalled for force??

    Where’s the logic?

    Hamas had a cease fire in place, and for all purposes, it was working. They had the chance to continue this cease fire and REFUSED TO DO SO.

    What is Israel suppose to do??

    What good is a “proporsional response” when a MASSIVE response doesn’t move these Hamas militants?

    They want war. They want to destroy Israel. But when war is brought to those in Gaza, they cry foul.

    I don’t feel sorry for the Palestinians.

  89. 91 Peter
    December 29, 2008 at 19:12

    The purpose of zionist is to claim every land that they say God gave them . Without title deeds from God they can only use force. If they can annihilate the Palestinians in a politically correct way they will. If not they can expect US to veto any resolution against them.

  90. 92 chris whitley
    December 29, 2008 at 19:18

    Israel are the illegal occupiers They can not claim self-defence.
    They should pull back to the 67 borders before they claim they want peace.
    You don’t get peace movements in occupaid countries. Only freedom movements.

  91. 93 Aenigma
    December 29, 2008 at 19:25

    I stopped by a comment by Celeste who said she’s an American and doesn’t like the fact that the USA supports Israel – the fact is that there many Jews in the USA.
    on the other hand: the European Union supports the people of Palestine – and European killed many Jews.
    I live in the European Union and I’m pretty much against it right because it supports the islamists!
    btw Hamas and Gaza were warned before the intervention. I heard some crazy and rude statement by some Hamas leader that must have been too much even for neutral people.

  92. 94 Dave
    December 29, 2008 at 19:25

    The BBC seems to have forgotten the truth and airbrushed history out. Isreal is a nation of sqatters. They arrived in Palestine as refugees from Nazi oppression. They attacked the local population in 1948 and drove them from their land and homes. They also formed terrorist groups to attack the lawful administration, the Stern gang was one. Many UN resolutions were issued but were defied by the jewish immigrants. They then proceeded to take the entire country by force and its borders are still in dispute. The Ireali nation has no right to expect that Arabs who have been dispossesed, living in refugee camps in their own country have no right to try and get the sqatters out. This long running war will never end. If you or I had our homes and land invaded we would surely do all in our power to get it back however long it takes. Read your history books and you can also get to know the truth. TRUTH is very important, propoganda is worthless. Jews should have their own homeland and live in peace and security but not by stealing anothers home and land. So take heart Hammas, some of us are aware of the truth.

    December 29, 2008 at 19:31


    It is heart breaking to to watch the mindless killing of innocent children in Palestine.Those who are speaking about the ‘fatal’ Qassam rocket of Hamas is keeping silence of the the severity of air assault of Zionists’ state. Those who had thousands of toungues to condemn Russia’s excessive use of force against Georgia are keeping mum when the same was done by zionist outfit.

    Those who are speaking minute by minute of democracy are not ready to recognise democratically elected Hamas government. They are not even ready to talk with the Hamas.The states which built on blood did never exist for long peacefully and will not. This is universal truth that the justice breed respects while injustice breed contempt.

    Again it is not Qassam rocket of Hama swhich led to the current conflict but it is zionists’ leaders greed for power.

    noushad from India- Kerala

  94. 96 Dan
    December 29, 2008 at 19:34

    Yes both sides are beyond talking. Now it is going to take something horrific to make rational people stop and think…then perhaps talks can begin.

  95. 97 Kim, DC
    December 29, 2008 at 19:34

    As an American, I have a serious problem with US Foreign Policy as it relates to Israel. The country would not be as strong and powerful as it is today without US assistance. Unfortunately, AIPAC has such a strong lobby in Washington that proper discourse about the Arab/Israeli conflict is unable to flourish within our government. A paradigm shift in our policies towards Israel will have to change if we truly care about conflict resolution and seeing a more peaceful Middle East.

    From a historical perspective, it is easy to understand why there is such animosity towards Israel and its existence as a state. When my grandmother was my age, world maps said Palestine and not Israel. Yet, whether one likes it or not, Israel is a legitimate nation-state and that should be respected by the world community. That being said, the borders that make up Israel today will have to change to accommodate a nation-state for the Palestinian people. This too should be respected by the world community.

    Hamas provides services to the Palestinian people they would not otherwise receive because of Israeli blockades. It is easy to chastise Palestinians for their ‘support’ of Hamas but one must question why they ‘support’ them or why Hamas won the elections and not the Fatah Party.

    My parents survived Jim Crow America. They did not engage in gun fights with police or any other violent acts, but they understood why some African Americans did such things in their fight for equal rights and justice. By no means do I agree with Hamas’ actions but the saying ‘no justice no peace’ should not be taken lightly. Until the inequalities and injustices Palestinians are faced with on a daily basis are addressed openly and honestly, violence will continue. Dialogue is key and given the United States’ relationship with Israel we have a very powerful position that we need to utilize. Strictly condemning Palestinian factions for the violence without distributing such condemnation will get us nowhere and will exacerbate a tragic but familiar reality in that part of the world.

  96. 98 chris whitley
    December 29, 2008 at 19:38

    From above he says:

    I suspected my comment on Mossad provocateurs would be censored from posting on the blog – you are owned by MI5/MI6

    BBC let us read what he had to say!
    Free speach!

  97. 99 Jamal
    December 29, 2008 at 19:47

    The solution to the problem for Israel to stop living in fear and lift all barriers and sanctions and give the gaza people what they want. If this does not bring peace and they continue to attack then military action by Israel would be justified and the world will be in support of it. Not until Israel does this will there be peace. No justice no peace… The Palestinians are justified in their attacks due to the mistreatment and false promises of the Israelis

  98. 100 GB
    December 29, 2008 at 19:47

    @ Steve

    The complaint remains legitimate and logical. On the whole, the Israeli guests were more composed than their Arab counterparts. However, they (with Madeleine’s help) dodged important questions with impunity. Also, I was not suggesting they do the show from Gaza…just alluding to the fact that hosting it from Israel compounds the inherent bias many Westerners have regarding this conflict.

  99. 101 Njenga
    December 29, 2008 at 19:55

    The latest attacks are simply horrific…The argument that Israel is targeting Hamas is a lame one….the fact of the matter is that Israel is occupying Palestinian land so the argument that the Palestinians should resist the occupation is ignoring the history and therefore ignorant of their reality…why does Israel decide how an occupied people should act….Israel should stop blocking basic goods from entering Gaza…then withdrawl from Palestinian land and then give them back their God given right to be free…THEN if home made rockets are still fired at Israel…then Israel should have a moral right to protect herself….until then Israel is creating another Apatheid and or another Holocust only this time they are the perpertrators..
    The Israel/Palestinian conflict will never be solved if we do not put the conflict in historical context…yes going back does not help but it sure helps us understand what happens to a people when under occupation or oppression…I wish Israel peace but I also wish Palestinians freedom, peace and the right to be..

  100. 102 Steve
    December 29, 2008 at 19:55

    @ GB

    The point being, I doubt any BBC employee is brave enough to risk getting kidnapped again over their job. They would be fools to do the show from Gaza. If you are so keen on them getting kidnapped or killed, why don’t you volunteer to hold a show in Gaza? Think logically, not emotionally. They couldn’t do the show from Gaza. Let’s try to keep our wits here, okay?

  101. 103 DENNIS
    December 29, 2008 at 20:09

    @ GB:
    I also agreed with Steve remarks; I do not think that the BBC and/or employees are not brave [stupid] to get kidnapped again…to cover a story….


  102. December 29, 2008 at 20:10

    This is deja vu all over again…
    We have all seen this tit-for-tat actions and retaliatory attacks time and again over time and when that lull set in, we all thought history was dead.
    It will be interesting to listen to the tone of Barack Obama on this issue because his pronouncements will set the precedent for America’s handling of the new Middle East.

  103. 105 archibald in oregon
    December 29, 2008 at 20:44

    Why is it that the Palestinian deaths seem to always outnumber the Israeli deaths, (post retaliatory strike), while Israel always claims to be the one who has been more grievously attacked? It is a consistent phenomenon found in much of the reporting on the region and I am wondering if you think that ardent supporters of Israel have a blind spot with regard to perceptions of the conflict? I am sure that bias exists on both sides, but, it seems that Israel plays the victim quite a lot. Thoughts?

  104. 106 David Tate
    December 29, 2008 at 22:33

    Hang on a minute. Have we forgotten that the reason why we went to war with Iraq is because Tony Blair and George Bush told us that we need to defend ourselves against Saddam Hussein as he had the capability of sending missiles that would reach us within 30 minutes of being fired? Remember, the Israelis are justified in what they are doing as they have ACTUALLY been hit by missiles of mass destruction on a daily basis.

  105. 107 MARK , UK
    December 29, 2008 at 22:36

    i feel that the reporter questioning is very bias and is . sympathetic to israelie cause, she pursuits and drives home the question only when they are from the israelie guests,

  106. December 29, 2008 at 22:55

    Come on people let’s stop turning a blind eye to Isreal’s disregard for these people’s human rights, if any one of our nations was under this type of occupation and oppression wouldn’t we fight back any which way we can? Isreal has these pepole under this type of oppression and expect them to lay down roll over and just say thank you. Isreal is trying to tell us that they are retaliating to rocket attcacks, but aren’t they in fact the original aggressor with this occupation? On top of it all Isreal is running this public relations campain in the world press try to make us believe that they are not fighting the palistine people, well sorry i’m just not buying it, cause all i’m seeing are images of dead children, who have known nothing but oppression. By they way, aren’t elections due in Isreal soon? You do the math

  107. 109 Alan J. V. in Arizona
    December 29, 2008 at 23:12

    Why are we wasting time listening to you if you are going to sensor someone! I want all the info, all the comments and the chance to think for myself. Is Stalin working there?

    If it doesn’t have bad language then we deserve to hear every voice!

  108. 110 viola
    December 30, 2008 at 00:15

    MIssed the show but will catch it later. Glenn in Canada said a mouthful with “Israel remains in my mind a piece of occupied territory ruled by a military junta.” Good to hear someone admit what we all know–that what so many people “know” about Israel and Palestine originates in their own heads and has little or no connection to reality.

    The “assigned” reading was a good mix of opinion and information. The concept of proportionality especially interests me. It sounds so straightforward at first., as in ” You can’t kill more of them than they do of you or it’s not proportional.” Gotta remember that the world “proportional” doesn’t have the same meaning as the word “fair.” It’s not fair, let alone logical, to shoot bomb-laden rockets during the ceasefire and then scream bloody murder if the target shoots back.

    It’s true that it is better for the world if there is justice. The difficulty is for there to be justice for all and to bear in mind that justice is not the same as fairness. Justice is also not the same as revenge. Real hard concepts, I know, but we must try to grasp them, even us regular folks.

  109. 111 DENNIS
    December 30, 2008 at 02:00

    I know that the show went live already on Monday; But, the story is going to be around:

    What is the international community going to do about a cease fire [from imply or consent] on both parties?

    What is the time frame….Before the United Nations Security Council going to be reigning in the parties in to stopping the fighting?

    Or, Is Israel ….going to vow an wage an all-out war against Hamas?


  110. 112 Ericka
    December 30, 2008 at 07:47

    it is easy to blame israel for the sufferings of the palestinians, but even the most peaceful nation in the world would not allow a situation where tens of thousands of its people are living under a daily threats of rockets, as primitive as these weapons may be. I can only imagine waking up every day and wondering “mm.. so where are the rockets will fall today”

  111. 113 Andrew in Oregon
    December 30, 2008 at 09:24

    While it may be true that Hamas represents a political party based in war and terror, why should Israeli casualties be considered “civilian casualties” as long as the Israeli citizenry accepts mandatory military service? If there is no distinction between the civilian and military, then you accept all targets as fair– just as bin Laden has declared against the American people.

  112. 114 omissam
    December 30, 2008 at 11:36

    4 israelis killed by Palestinian rockets as against 360 Palestinians by Israeli bombs! This is due to the disastrous policy of George W(armonger) Bush who has always let free hand to whatever illegal/murderous action Israel took. The rocket attacks are useless butthe Palestinians don’t have the planes, helicopters,armed cars that Bush has supplied Israel. The Israelis have the right to defend themselves, ok. But they also have the DUTY to abide by all the UN resolutions that they have constantly ignored and the sentence of the Supreme international Court of Justice that they have spurned. Had they observed them instead of continuing the occupation and building walls,THEY WOULD NOT BE THERE and there probably would be no rockets. What surprises and disgusts me is that sanctions have been applied all over the world to all kinds of people but NEVER to Israel who deserves them most ! And yet sanctions would probably make the Israelis understand that THEY ARE NOT ABOVE THE LAW and at the same time the Palestinians watch for “what next” ? Let’s hope Mr. Obama will at least consider this issue.

  113. 115 umoh. amos (from Nigeria)
    December 30, 2008 at 13:34

    Hi WHYSeyers

    Hamas has for some 3 years been (and is still ) firing rockets against CIVILIAN and random targets (not against SPECIFIC military targets, etc). It is inconceivable for anyone to have NOT expected any type of response from whoever is in charge is the country of Israel. It has only been a matter of time!

    Israeli elections comes up February and the ruling party is more than eager to reassure her citizens that they are up to the task of providing security. Let me point out here that this war WILL NOT BE QUICK as we expect. It may well run into 2 weeks or more

  114. 116 Dennis
    December 30, 2008 at 14:58

    A more serious point: Palestinians want their own state so why don’t they independently declare it? Job done.

    Well, Israel did just that in 1948.

    What would be the problem? Israel would then be attacking (and vice versa) an independent sovereign state which under Intl. Law may help the Palestinians.

    No one has been able to answer this question for me. Please advise.

  115. 117 Andrew Alan
    December 30, 2008 at 17:11

    Contributors here seem to believe that over the last seven years Hamas has been launching it’s crude rockets into Israel while Israel has sat idly by. In fact throughout the seven years, in which seventeen Isrealis died in rocket attracks, Israel has repeatedly bombed and rocketed Gaza causing over one hundred deaths. This, of course, does not include the hundreds or thousands who have died in Israel’s collective punishment of the population through blockading the territory so depriving it of all essentials for life. Ludicrously, many of the commentators here seem to believe that the one hundred children killed so far in the last four days have brought this upon themselves as they have not protested against Hamas. No-one here seems to have picked up the very clear message from the Israeli government that following their defeat in Lebanon they need to re-establish their credentials as an enemy that strikes terror in the hearts of all who oppose them. The primary goal here is to create terror, and the Israelis have said this themselves. Somehow there are people who believe that if an attack is carried out by a national army with expensive planes and bombs donated by the USA this constitutes military action. Terrorism remains terrorism whatever the weapons used. The USA’s unquestioning total support for this terrorism bodes ill for their already ill-fated Iraqi adventure and for their hopes of winning Muslim hearts and minds in Afghanistan. One can only hope that Obama goes some way to redressing the balance but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  116. 118 javed
    December 30, 2008 at 17:30

    This is very shameful that all the democracy in the world are silent of the brutality of by the Israel, even biggest democracy of the world. India is the the country of Gandhi and Nahru. india never recognized Israel till Rao Govt. India must break its deplomatic relation with Israel to maintain Gandhi legacy.indian people must come to pressurize govt to protect democracy and human right through out world especially in Palestine. this is the right time to india to show its ability to resolve global conflicts and problems. Hamas must also keep patience and focus on the real issues of their people. they can not stop Israel by firing some rockets. Hamas should mobilize international community to stop aggression of Israel.


  117. 119 John LaGrua/New York
    December 30, 2008 at 18:20

    This conflict has been aided and abetted by te US taxpayers who have funded the Isreali war effort for decades and over 150 the billion dollars.Vitually every bomb ,bullet and jet used by Isreal has been paid for by the US yet the American public ignorant of their role take no moral respnsibility for brutal killing of Palestinians .I have a long remembered vision of seeing, in Jerusalem , an Arab farmer’s wife sitting on a blanket selling strawberrys near the Damascas Gate and directly behind her stood an Isreali soldier with a machine gun.A chilling rerminder of the brutality of the Nazi SS. Until the US public repudiates the Isreal Lobby which has intimidated the US Congress to support Isreal’s occupation no peace wil ever be achieved and the moral denigration of America and the ruin of it’s world reputation will go on. With nuclear proliferation a certainty how can we allow this dangerous situation to continue? How can we encourage moderates on both sides and support them? Can any one realy believe that a US politician has the moral fiber and courage to tell the Isreali’s to stop this terror campaign and push the Arab countries to do thier part with Hamas? A riddle worthy of Orestes and the Sphynx.A happy ending not likely!

  118. 120 Fred S.
    December 30, 2008 at 18:44


    Dennis, I think you are being very naive. Israel was set up with the support of the USA and Europe as compensation for what happened in WWII. The Palestinians would not be allowed to have a state without the agreement of Israel, which effectively has a veto over everything that happens in the area. Israel controls all access, power, water, etc. to the Palestinian Bantustans (which is what they really are!) so how could they have a state?

    What is happening now is just a continuation of the 60+ year old struggle in the region. Israel still steals land at will, controls all aspects of Palestinian life, with checkpoints, raids and ‘targeted’ killings. How are the Palestinians supposed to react to all this? How are they expected to make themselves heard? There was a cease-fire for 6 months, but life in Gaza continued as before. Result? What we see happening now. Until there are REAL negotiations (not the farse we´ve seen in the past) there will not be any peace in the region.

  119. 121 Paul
    December 30, 2008 at 18:59

    Unfortunately the Isrealis are hastening their own end. Too much blood has been spilled for there to be anything but shortlived ceasfires between arabs and jews. There will never be any peace, not now, not in a thousand years until one or the other or both are destroyed.

  120. 122 studownie
    December 30, 2008 at 19:14

    Listening to both sides makes me think of school children in a playround, “It wasn’t me it was him”, “No it wasn’t me it was him” and so on and so on. For goodness sake grow up all of you. If it wasn’t so tragic it would be laughable. There can be no peace until the Palestinians get it into their heads that, no matter how distaceful it is to them, Israel will not go away and Israelis must get it theirs that all the time they continue to expand their settlements and hang onto territory they took by force of arms, making a viable Palestinian state impossible, they will continue to be attacked by any means the Palestinians have. Perhaps the new US administration will bang heads together and make them stand in the naughty corner until they come to their respective senses.

  121. 123 Listener
    December 30, 2008 at 21:31

    I am the offspring of the 1949 holocaust survivor in China. I have the great sympathy for the Jew always. I believe that the survivors of the holocaust have the sound judgment about what is call the political justice and freedom.

  122. 124 preben jacobsen
    December 31, 2008 at 03:51

    In 1947, Britain confiscated Palestine, the ancestral land of the Palestinians, and once part off Persia. In 1948 this land was given to the Jewish people upon which to establish Israel. The Palestinians were driven off their land and became landless and stateless. Ever since then, Israel has had one objective- to eliminate the Palestinian people. Israel is founded on ancestral Palestinian land, and has no right to exist, unless the Palestinians, the rightful owners of Palestine, are given equal citizenship rights. There is no reason why Jewish people and Palestinian people can not exist peacefully together. This will also end the dispute over who owns Jerusalem. This conflict will never end unless both Israelis and Palestinians agree to stop trying to exterminate each other.
    From Bosco in Canada

  123. 125 MUSTHAFA
    December 31, 2008 at 05:46

    will any country in the world allow a bunch of people to settel down in their country and to take it over by inch by inch and create their own country ? All the people in the world know how isreal was created. England and USA created this country. So these countries have to solve the problems in Plastine. Do not blame Isreal bleme England first then USA.

  124. 126 makewell
    December 31, 2008 at 07:26

    i support the fact that Isreal has a right to protect itself. But Isreal by their action and words of their government prove that they have no regard for human life as long as it is not isreali . which is very wrong , children have died because of pursuing reckless action.

    and Isrealis should not cry foul when they are hated by the mojority of people worldwide

  125. 127 Erin
    December 31, 2008 at 07:43

    This coverage should have started over three years ago with the firing of rockets into Israeli terrority after Israeli forces pulled out of the Gaza strip.

    Please note that the majority of causalities have been Hamas terrorists because the IDF is targeting terrorists. Hamas is targeting civilians. Which is a flagrant violation of international law? The latter.

    Where was the media as Southern Israeli towns were bombarded by rockets for several years?
    Where were the breaking news stories when 2-year-old Dorit Benisian was killed while playing?
    Where was the coverage when 8-year-old Osher Twito had his leg amputated after a rocket attack?
    Where were all the articles describing thousands of Israeli families spending every night huddled in bomb shelters?

    Even Abbas acknowledges that if not for Hamas’ continual shelling of civilian targets, there would not be any military action in Gaza. Hamas has done nothing for the Palestinian people.

    When will the world acknowledge Israel’s right to defend her civilians from indiscriminate terrorist attacks?

  126. December 31, 2008 at 13:47

    Dear all, I hope everyone had a great Christmas & Seasons Greetings to all those of other faiths and beliefs,

    A lot of what needs to be said has been said here by those who have an insight and understanding of the situation outside of the normal preserve of UK and international media. The media is more than content to foist upon us a one sided perspective the majority of the time, in relation to this and all other international conflicts whereby the US and the West have immense interests and more in the region/regions concerned.

    I have only witnessed Channel 4 News, the saving grace of TV news reporting in the UK really take to task and make the Israeli spokespersons squirm and look distinctly uncomfortable when faced with Channel 4 reporters persistent questioning in trying to elicit the truth and honest answers as to the reality on the ground in Gaza. Only Robert Fisk of the Independent newspaper will get to the crux of the matter. Sadly, the BBC pales in comparison. Those of you and you know who you are, don’t talk to me about media bias if this is all we have as an alternative and counter to examine media here in the UK. I can only imagine at how this is being portrayed by US media in general.

    Israel’s concerted and planned attacks can’t have been implemented overnight! This obviously has been on the cards for some considerable time. That tells a story in itself.

    Israel has the world’s 4th largest modern and equipped military force attacking and killing 384 with more than 1500 injured Palestinian citizens to date. Hamas respond and retaliate with home made rockets and in-equable weapon systems in the main. Israeli ground forces and tanks amassing on the border readying for attack. 8 years of Hamas rocket attacks into Israel have killed how many Israelis in relation to those Palestinians killed during 5 days of attacks up to year ending 2008? The number is negligible and those suffering at the hands of the Israeli actions are wholly and utterly disproportionate!

    If and only if America voices its disapproval of Israel then things inevitably will change. Unfortunately, a very big if indeed!

  127. 129 Yael Oren Kahn
    January 2, 2009 at 22:04

    Until the launch, on Saturday 27 Dec, of the Israeli attack on Gaza, the coalition parties of the Israeli government for many months were suffering from very poor opinion polls. Miraculously their electoral fortunes were transformed overnight.

    The Israeli writer Ran Hacohen, wrote about this extraordinary change of fortune in his article, Pacifying Gaza: “Polls now predict five additional Knesset seats for his [Barak] Labour Party in the coming February general election. That‘s 40 Palestinian corpses per seat. No wonder he promises its just the beginning; at this pace, it will take Labour just about two thousand additional corpses to go from rag to riches, from a dead political party to an absolute majority in parliament, like in the good old days”.

    This week, we witnessed Israelis’ support for “parties of war” increasing immediately after the bombardment of 1.5 million, of another people, and killing hundreds and maiming thousands.

    As an Israeli, I was horrified watching the Israeli jubilation at the scenes of destruction in Gaza and the immense Israeli support for the parties leading this attack.

    The comparison, in one of the responses, of the 1933 election in Germany with the Palestinians sounds hollow, when comparing it with the Israelis’ support for the parties in the government that ordered the bombardment of Gaza. Those scenes of rejoicing at the bombardment of a defenceless population and the numerous internet postings reflecting these emotions, haunt me, as subsequent to the 1933 election in Germany, the families of both my mother and father had to flee Germany. Other family members were not so lucky and they perished in the camps.

  128. 130 Kristina
    January 4, 2009 at 02:45

    When I read most of the remarks posted on this blog, I see one trend: first, people like to get upset and take a side, its a human emotion – just give us a reason and we start feeling. How many people know history?

    If another country, lets say Britain, has rockets flying and people exploding themselves whenever, wouldn’t they respond? Israel is actually way too soft, they should have responded to Hamas a long time ago, but they didn’t because they know that Hamas uses people as a human shield, they surround themselves with women and children. Israel did not want to kill so many people, what happened was a direct result of a calculated action by Hamas.

    Instead of critisizing Israel for something they had to do along time ago (unfortunately with a given number of casualties) why don’t we give support to Mahmood Abbas, and help build a legitimate infrastructure in Palestine? Isn’t this the whole point is to come to a two state solution? Most Muslims around the world are screaming and puffing about the Jews, but why countries like Bahrain, and all the surrounding oil rich countries, don’t take some Palestinian refugees, or give them some money, or help in any way?

    Egypt was quick to close the border when the conflict first broke down, but does anyone know that Hamas is a military wing that came out of the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt?

    More importantly, we live in a globalized world. As humans we are all part of the same family, it does not matter what religion, or perception of God or reality one might have. As people of the same planet we have to unite, have passion, understanding for differences and compassion towards each other. When a conflict reaches a boiling point as we see now in Gaza, instead of taking sides why don’t we focus on something more productive, like helping Palestine become a state!

  129. 131 anwar mansoor
    January 4, 2009 at 14:04

    “We are not against the Palistinians…” repeat Israeli officials.. who are they against then ?

    Israel confiscated the Palestinian peoples’ land, and dispersed them to the farthest corners of the world not because they, the Israelis, are against the Palestinian people but only because they want the land and they, the Palestinians, don’t want to surrender it kind heartedly… that’s all and the Israelis aren’t against the these people at all. Only if the Palestinians would agree to all this kind heartedly, then there’s no need for wars and killing.

  130. 132 Anne J
    January 4, 2009 at 23:51

    While its true Golda meiier said ‘there will be no peace until the arabs love their children more than they hate the jews’.It is not about loving their children less, it is not about PR or getting political points. It is simply about trying to live a life that is honourable to them. No-one wants to live under occupation,no-one wants to have their land usurped by the occupying forces or their homes bulldozed to the ground and no-one wants to be told what to eat, when they will have water on tap and whether they will have electricity or not,they were not allowed even to go find food by fishing in the sea, but thats’s exactly how its been for the Palestinians of Gaza for the last 18 months and more.
    How can the Palestinians start to love life when they live like this? Life was already unbearable before the war, what do they have to lose?
    When you die a Muslim proclaiming there is only One God and that Mohammed is His servant and messenger, you die a ‘shaheed’ [martyr], and are assured of heaven. No wonder then that death is more beloved to them.
    Until Israel treats the Palestinian people like proper human beings there will always be war between them. Remember Israel is the occupying power here, and its arsenal is the heaviest in the region. What they are doing is pulverising this small nation and no-one is holding it accountable, and it has behind it the full backing of one of the most powerful nations on Earth, America. Without whom they would be nothing.
    What does Israel expect Hamas to do? When Israel subjected the Palestinian people to such restriction and pain its only option is to hit back in whatever way it could. Why didn’t Israel win the hearts of the Palestinian people by offering jobs, food, good lifestyle, equality and human rights enjoyed by its own people instead of these sanctions and bombardments?
    Because they will never respect the rights of the Palestinian people, because the Israeli government and their doctrine considers every non-jew a gentile and gentiles have no souls and are no better than animals in their opinion.
    But Israel should do well to remember in that case that a cornered animal is dangerous, and when it kills its children, What then?
    Israel has opened Pandora’s box.

  131. 133 MONIR DEEB
    January 5, 2009 at 09:18

    Why does Israel behave in this way for 61 years, and always blames one group or another, but never it self for such aggressions and massacres ? It brought Jewish immigrants from allover the world,bought,stole,confiscated Palestinian land, Killed ,Expelled,and jailed Palestinians.Bulldozed,tore down,and blow up their homes, closed roads and build 650 check points between their towns and villages. Tore down their roads and build restricted ones only for Jews,closed their borders with all their neighbors, stole their water,and then sold back to them.restricted them from trading with the outside,then forced them to buy their Israeli goods. blow up their power generators,then charged them for the power. Killed every leader,then accused them for not having any one to talk to. Threatened,bribed and pressured 9 out of 10 Palestinians to collaborate with them .
    Did not comply with over 165 UN resolutions. Built 288 illegal settlements. Waged out 6 of 7 wars against the Palestinians and their neighbors. Expanded in terrain every chance it got. Massed the largest arsenal in the region, and yet it still playing the victim ?!

  132. January 7, 2009 at 19:28

    Hi dears,

    I am not talking about the sides. just attract your attention to some facts:
    please let me ask you to check what the TV news are showing.
    1) How many Israelis are killed by Hamas Rockets? compare to the amount of childrens of gaza not the total.
    2) How many hamas people are killed since 13 days ago? How many are left? What are the targets? schools? Hospitals? … Seems hamas is everywhere in Gaza.

    Better to say: Is n’t it better for Israel to destroy all people in gaza in very short operation instead of behaving so? The Hamas people are everywhere in Gaza according to the targets of bombardments of 13 last days.

    3) And hamas: if it was some thing different from to the Gazan, was it logical to stay at home and don’t come to the border and defend? It seems the hamas people and the injoured children who we watch in TV are the same.

    4) I don’t know what is the origin of the word: “defend” is it applied for a situation of what Israel is doing inside Gaza? if so, what is the meany of attack? what is themeany of what Bush says: Israel is defending?

  133. January 7, 2009 at 22:40

    Hi World Have Your Say. Have you spoken to Sameh A. Habeeb? He’s been posting from inside Gaza on the conflict, often under fire, every day since it began. His coordinates are on his blog site too if anyone wants to contact him.

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