On air: Is Israel strengthening Hamas?

Madeleine is tonight at an Arab Israeli Café in Jerusalem and we’ll be bringing you World Have Your Say from there. Yesterday we were at Itay’s house, he’s an Israeli medical student who, with a couple of his friends started a dialogue with a group of Gazans about the current situation.

Also, while we’re on air the Israeli Consulate is holding an online press conference on twitter right here.

Itay and his friends were convinced their government was doing the right thing to protect them against Qassam rockets but the Gazans they spoke to said there was a great difference between those rockets and the ones that have been fired on them continuously for the past few days.

Palestinian officials say more than 360 people have been killed in the last four days, four Israelis have died during the same period in Palestinian rocket attacks.

Ehud Barak, Israel’s defence minister, has said his government does not want another ceasefire with Hamas, and his army is fighting a “war to the bitter end”.  Is that playing right into the hands of Hamas? That’s certainly the view of this editorial.

Is this offensive by Israel going to make Palestinians in the Gaza strip turn to Hamas or indeed reject them? Is the Hamas stance damaging the Palestinian cause, or is a hard line the only option? What about the views from the West Bank and the wider world?

And has Israel, been backed into a corner, with little alternative? Or has it’s response been completely disproportionate? Not so according to this article. Yes, according to this.

If you have questions for any of the Arab Israeli’s gathering in the cafe for today’s programme you can post them here.

96 Responses to “On air: Is Israel strengthening Hamas?”

  1. 1 Steve
    December 30, 2008 at 14:04

    Short term israel is weaking Hamas, long term they will be stregthened. There’s no solution to this because Gaza is already so extreme, they will just become more extremist. So it’s going to back rocket attacks on Israel forever and Gaza will be a prison of the Gazan’s own doing.

  2. 2 Nelson
    December 30, 2008 at 14:27

    No. Israel may not be strengthening Hamas but it has certainly strengthened anti-Israeli sentiments world wide as seen by the demonstrations at Israeli embassies in several countries.

    I once heard that the first law of madness is doing the same thing over and over again but yet expecting a different result each time. With reference to both Hamas and Israel, why can’t both parties try out new paths instead of this cycle of violence that we are all used to?

  3. 3 Nengak
    December 30, 2008 at 14:32

    Yes, Israel will inevitably strengthen Hamas by its raids.
    BUT note that the Hamas rockets being fired into Israel only seem less harmful because the population density on that side of Israel is less than that on the Gaza strip.
    Also note that these raids will not end the conflict but they will make a point that the Hamas does not have a monopoly of deployable force.

  4. December 30, 2008 at 14:37

    The current crisis will inevitably deliver a united Gaza to Hamas. I empathize with the residents of Gaza. In Liberia we have experienced such a terror, not knowing if the next rocket could land at your home.

    Can’t Hamas simply stop these sneak-shelling of Israeli-border towns and save its citizens? Is that too much? The heavy-handedness of Israel indicates frustration and at the same time lends credence to Hamas. But is playing with human lives in this manner for “political relevance” worth it? Hamas, pls stop shelling Israel and let’s see if they will continue doing what they are doing now..!

  5. December 30, 2008 at 14:38

    Is Israel strengthening Hamas? Yup. You can never, repeat NEVER defeat terrorists with this sort of military action. Killing innocents will just strengthen the resolve of Palestinians and act like a recruiting poster for the extremists. Put it this way: did the bombing of London in WWII break the British spirit?

    As for questions for today, I’d like to know if there could ever be a chance for the Palestinians to be the first to break the cycle of violence? I know it seems highly unlikely but remember, it was Sadat who went to Israel first.

  6. 6 Tony from Singapura
    December 30, 2008 at 14:52

    There has been a lot of discussion on why Israel is invading Gaza, i.e. due to the rockets. However there has not been sufficient discussion on why the Palestinians feel obliged to fire the rockets.

    Why are the rockets being fired WHYS’ers ?

  7. 7 Tony from Singapura
    December 30, 2008 at 14:57

    And has Israel, been backed into a corner, with little alternative?

    No, Israel should consider complying with International Law and activly start shutting down the settlements on occupied lands. Then they could lift the embargo. That will stop the rockets.

  8. 8 AZ
    December 30, 2008 at 14:59


    Can we really say the situation within Gaza is a democratic one for ordinary Gazans?

    What kinds of dependence do ordinary Gazans have on the Hamas party bosses in the precincts for every day survival?

    What information would you like to get out to ordinary Israelis about the conditions for ordinary Gazans under Hamas?

  9. December 30, 2008 at 15:06

    hello ,
    just a question do you on both sides believe that united nations has become a impotent body thats the reason for taking law into ones own hand ?

  10. 10 Joel Salomon
    December 30, 2008 at 15:07

     There are three questions I can think of:What do you believe Hamas’s long-term goals are?What do you think Hamas’s short-term goal was with the escalation of rocket attacks? And finally,What other immediate options do you think the Israeli government had in response to the rockets being shot into the country?To clarify the last question, I’m not asking whether a stronger effort should have been made to make the peace process work but what other options existed given the situation Saturday night.

  11. December 30, 2008 at 15:26

    The question is the wrong one. In a petty dispute like you see in Israel, more hatred and violence from one side will always strengthen the other side.

    The question is, will either side’s argumentation be strengthened by Israel’s cruelty or by the Palestinians’ cruelty. The answer is no. They are deadlocked, each side living in a fantasy of righteousness.

  12. 12 Shaun in Halifax
    December 30, 2008 at 15:55

    It seems to me like both sides are playing at brinksmanship, each hoping to goad the other into a foolish act. The game, it seems, is to win the PR battle first. Whoever seems to be the aggressor will be labelled as ‘the bad guy.’

    If IDF invades Gaza, they will be the ‘bad guys.’ If Hamas starts using suicide bombers (as they threaten) then THEY will be the ‘bad guys.’ If the invasion of Gaza goes as badly as the invasion of Lebanon in ’06, I shudder to think what the next step will be.

    We know that Israel is the only nuclear-armed country in the region, and that nuclear weapons are first and foremost a political tool (used by Political Tools, no less). My concern is just how arrogant and hubristic the Israeli leadership is. If they seem to be okay with setting Gaza on fire from the air (and some would say their actions constitute genocide) how far are they willing to go?

  13. 13 mark, UK
    December 30, 2008 at 16:18

    if you are under siege and your family are being murdered on a daily basis, living in fear 24 7, 365 days under occupation, not to mention a economic choke hold, and in need of serious humanitarian help, then a few prehistoric rocks which cause minor damage in land that belongs to Palestinians, which is for the most part farm land and not inhabited, hardly compatible to what a family that does not support Hamas living in a storm of sophisticated precision guided rockets with maximum damage to point of impact and surrounding areas.

    Gaza is nothing more then a military experiment area to test new and deadly weapons for Israel to use and sell. If all means of defending one self is closed off and out of reach to those who are under constant terror and military abuse from Israel, then this will create the one weapon that the enemy can’t defend itself against suicide bombers who believe full heartedly their actions are justified, therefore strengthen Hamas and its cause.

  14. 14 Ramesh
    December 30, 2008 at 16:27

    I don’t think Israel is playing right into the hands of Hamas. Israel is consistent in its behaviour – If hamas fires one rocket, Israel would respond with 1000 bombs.

  15. December 30, 2008 at 16:37

    From what it is seen, Israel is facing international criticism over its attacks in Gaza, not because of siding with Hamas but because of the casualties that were caught in its fires intended for Hamas locations and fighters.

    When there are attacks, the Palestinians are sure to stand against Israel. What can decide the popularity of Hamas are free and fair elections within the Palestinian territories to see if people in Gaza want to be ruled by Hamas or to have a new leadership.

    Hamas can be a news star during the Israeli attacks. But the question that remains if Hamas policies are the only possible ones to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If not the Palestinians should have had the chance to have their say about Hamas’s stay in power before things developed into bloody actions.

    What can solve the Palestinian problem is democracy among the Palestinians and fruitful negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

  16. 16 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    December 30, 2008 at 16:42

    I heard no reports of this on the BBC, but today’s International Herald Tribune published a first page story about five Palestinian men who had been injured when Israel bombed the prison in which the men were awaiting trial. They were murdered by Hamas members and supporters, in the hospital where they were being treated. It was claimed they were “collaborators” but had been neither tried nor convicted.

    This shows the value that Hamas places—or fails to place—on human life and the rule of law.

    The current Israeli campaign might well cause Palestinians to further embrace the cynical organization that is Hamas. Even if it does, Israeli has little choice but to try to stop a movement, a government, that murders in cold blood people who have been convicted of nothing, being treated in hospital for their injuries.

    If they treat their own countrymen and co-religionists in such a grotesque and bloodthirsty way, what kind of treatment can their enemies, the Israelis and Jews everywhere, expect from Hamas?

    Donnamarie in Switzerland

  17. 17 Peter
    December 30, 2008 at 16:48

    If the British responded to the Jewish terrorism back then in 1947 like Israel is doing to the Palestinians , there will be no Israel today.

  18. 18 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    December 30, 2008 at 16:54

    @ Nelson:

    “With reference to both Hamas and Israel, why can’t both parties try out new paths instead of this cycle of violence that we are all used to?”

    Nelson, Hamas’s charter, adopted in 1988, says “so called peaceful solutions are contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” and goes on to say that “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad.”

    Hamas at its founding specifically excluded the possibility of any peaceful solution. They have shown themselves true to their word by kidnappings, suicide bombings, and rocket attacks on all Israelis. I fervently hope that a two-state solution can be reached by peaceful means, but that cannot be possible as long as Hamas remains a power in Palestine. The cycle of violence will continue.

    Donnamarie in Switzerland

  19. 19 temitope
    December 30, 2008 at 17:40

    nobody is asking why hamas fires rockets at israel even after withdrawing completely from gaza. the underlying issue is that hamas wants israel pushed into the sea. so, israel, like any other country is obliged to react. newton,s thired law of motion says “for every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction.”

  20. 20 Michelle from Jamaica
    December 30, 2008 at 17:47

    Muslims are hyporites for siding with Hamas. When Hamas refused to renew the peace treaty and started firing on that Israel town, why did they not denoucnce this behaviour by Hamas? Hamas has the blood on many Palestinians on their hands too. Shame on them !!

  21. December 30, 2008 at 17:51

    Dear Sir or Ms.,

    It is not only innocent women and children who are being killed in Gaza but also innocent MEN.
    This constant predjudice against innocent men killed and wounded
    in wars reported by the BBC should be changed.

    Yours Truly,

    W.Kiernan (Mr.)

  22. December 30, 2008 at 17:59

    I am beyond words – this whole thing flabbergasts me. There is no way that this kind of violence will resolve one single thing.

  23. December 30, 2008 at 18:08

    Hi WHYSers!

    I read with alot of dismay the entries on this page. Not so much because they may not be right, but because they seem to overlook, in a way, the tragedy that has become Gaza courtesy of the incessant bombings of Israel. Now, I think it goes without saying as Mr. Ban noted in reports yesterday that, the Israel has the right to self defense. What is not said, however, whether that right cancels out any sense of moral obligation in terms of respecting whatever rights, albeit questionable, of the innocent (?) Gazans who have been killed in the strikes. Put another way, is there a way to achieve a mutual regard and respect for the rights of the various stakeholders without using this line of defense?

  24. 24 Bruno
    December 30, 2008 at 18:09

    Will the attack backfire ? I think the answer is obvious.. Just look at Lebanon.
    Hamas may be militarily weakened on the short term after this but it will be strengthened politically.

    Collective punishment is like terrorism : an inhuman and very, very ineffective tactic.

  25. 25 Alan G
    December 30, 2008 at 18:12

    I find the discussion of Israel’s so-called “disproportionate” response striking…and tiresome. Whenever Israel undertakes an operation against those Palestinians who stand as its enemies, its response is always deemed “disproportionate”. Are Israel’s critics trying to say that the country has no legitimate right of self-defense? Would it be proportionate to simply trade one rocket for another? Is doing nothing the only ‘moral’ solution for Israel, and just allow rockets to continue to fall on its cities? There is no country anywhere that would tolerate such intrusions on its citizens’ daily living. Let those who condemn Israel for its actions spend a few days dodging Kassams in Sderot.

  26. December 30, 2008 at 18:13

    No-one but no-one seems to understand the fact that for 8 years there has been a non stop, yes non stop, firing of missiles into Istrael’s civilian community. Even during the so called “truce” there was never a cessation of rocket attacks.

    The British public have given millions of their tax money to a terroist organisation and what have they done with it after Israel left Gaza to the Palestinians – Zilch. Certainly not used it for building a state

  27. December 30, 2008 at 18:18

    Hamas can be strengthened only by the desperate Palestinians, especially those living in Gaza. These have nothing to lose as they feel they’re living in a collective prison under blockade. Their life can have meaning by fighting and dying for the Hamas cause.

    But Hamas getting strength from despair can’t solve the Palestinian problem which is politically very complex. There must be political solutions through negotiations and not by Hamas Qassam rockets and Israeli destructive and deadly air attacks.

  28. 28 viola
    December 30, 2008 at 18:18

    Question: In return for peace and assistance in nation building, would Palestinians be open to vacating and giving up all claims to Gaza? Would such a thing be feasible?


  29. 29 John
    December 30, 2008 at 18:21

    Hamas ended the cease fire and struck Israel
    Now Israel is striking back, defending themselves.
    Then Hamas appealed for help and
    Everyone blames Israel. WHY?
    Do I have some facts wrong?
    Israel is just defending themselves. If Hamas does not want a fight, why do they start these conflicts?

  30. December 30, 2008 at 18:25

    Obviously, it is foolish to think that there is a way that either parties, Israel and Hamas could live in peaceful coexistence, given the nature of their history. However, it does appear to me that the people who live in Gaza bear the unusual, if not unfortunate distinction of being the targets for the agreession and counter agression on either side.

    What is to be done in a situation where neither party is either willing and or able to come to a peaceful resolution in order to achieve the elusive, though ideal peace about which we all talk but are somehow unable to articulate a meaningful plan for its achievement?

  31. 31 Marc
    December 30, 2008 at 18:27

    If Israel can maintain the presence of mind to continue the job until it is finished, they will destroy Hamas. When the Gazans fear Israel more than they fear Hamas, they will begin to revolt.

  32. 32 Linda France
    December 30, 2008 at 18:27

    I am so sad for the families of the dead, The ordinary people don’t count in this situation I can’t imagine the terrible hardships that not only the Isrealis are causing but Hammas also. Who are they to think that the people want all this fighting? . I would like somebody that can explain to me what this fight is really about.

  33. 33 archibald in oregon
    December 30, 2008 at 18:29

    Israel is clearly the aggressor, with the all funding and the will to continue the conflict until they reclaim what they believe was always theirs. The Palestinians are boxed in on all sides, with scant resource, starvation and death all around them; reacting as any people would when faced with annihilation by superior force. If Israel would give some quarter, assist the Palestinians with all their US. dollars, stop delivering ultimatums and allow the people to pick themselves up with a shred of decency and self respect, there might be a true chance.
    Israel is strengthening support for Hamas, (who sees itself as a protector), by acting as flagrantly as it is injured, thus perpetuating the cycle…….

  34. 34 Joel Salomon
    December 30, 2008 at 18:35

     I’m responding to the comments by the interviewees about the number of deaths in the last few days: One in six Gazans killed was an accidentally-targeted (or rather, incidentally-targeted) civilian; every one of the Israelis killed by Hamas’s rockets was a deliberately-targeted civilian.

  35. 35 Steve
    December 30, 2008 at 18:37

    Your guest says Hamas is the only ones “Defending” gaza. Defending them from the response of attacks? If you notice, no missiles are being fired at israel from the west bank, and so israel isn’t attacking the west bank. Just thought I would point this out. Hamas is the REASON why Israel is attacking Gaza.

  36. 36 GB
    December 30, 2008 at 18:45

    @ Viola

    Would you think it likewise acceptable for the Jews to be open to vacating and giving up all claims to Israel for the sake of peace? Where would/should they go?

  37. 37 Sydney, Oregon
    December 30, 2008 at 18:46

    Think back to WorldWarII, Brits. We bombed Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki totally. We did not think that the Germans and Japanese were innocent, but complicit in their governments total war on us. That is how I see Gazans and Hamas. They voted for Hamas. They ARE Hamas. Why should they not be held accountable for the relentless war being waged on Israel and Jews of the diaspora?

  38. 38 Harry, San Francisco
    December 30, 2008 at 18:47

    As an American taxpayer, I am aghast that my tax dollars are being spent to provide Israel with planes, bunker busters, and other military equipment to aid in the execution of Israel’s crimes against the people of Gaza.

  39. 39 GB
    December 30, 2008 at 18:51

    I’m not sure who the young lady is on the program but if I have it correct in the last 7 years there have been less than 25 Israeli deaths due to Hamas’ rocket fire while in excess of 360 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the last four days alone.

    If anyone can provide updated figures for deaths on both sides it would be appreciated.

  40. 40 archibald in oregon
    December 30, 2008 at 18:52

    Why do Israelis feel so justified in their aggression toward Hamas and completely ignore the actions of their own gov’t that have perpetuated the situation over the past 7 years?

  41. 41 Christopher, Washington
    December 30, 2008 at 18:52

    i would like to point out that during the last six months of the cease fire Hamas launched very few attacks on Israel. However, every day for the last six months there have been regions in Gaza that have had no electricity, no running, clean water, and no access to food and fuel. The fact that Israel controlled all goods and services coming into Gaza means they are responsible for the lack of services in Gaza. Although Israel has not bombed Gaza frequently over the last six months, they have attacked them by refusing humanitarian aid. I do not condone the actions of Hamas, but is it a wonder that they are reluctant to renew the cease fire?

    My fear is that this campaign against Palestine is going to increase support for Hamas within the middle east; hopefully the Gazans will insist that Hamas’ military wing ceases while their political wing grows and is willing to work peacefully with the Israeli government.

  42. 42 Chad
    December 30, 2008 at 18:54

    I don’t understand. It seems that the media is compleatly biased toward Hamas. The media is only covering the few civilian casualties and playing on the worlds pity for the poor. They seem to be ignoring the fact that Hamas is a terrorist orginization that uses innocent civilians as human shields to hide behind as they launch their rockets at non-military targets. Hamas will not even let the people who want to leave, go. There is no way to take action without a few casualties.

  43. 43 GB
    December 30, 2008 at 18:55

    @ Marc

    Do you think it is acceptable to destroy Hamas at any cost to the Palestinians? Is Israel’s survival to be assured at any cost to the Palestinians? What of their survival?

  44. 44 Scott Madison
    December 30, 2008 at 18:58

    When death and destruction are committed by Palestinian irregular forces or armed civilians, it is terrorism. When the same or greater violence, and collective punishment, is committed by Israel’s air force and army, it is a legitimate military response. This is a double standard. Terrorism is terrorism. It is not sanitized by its being committed by people in uniforms using the weapons of modern warfare.

    KALW listener, San Francisco, CA USA

  45. 45 richard
    December 30, 2008 at 19:11

    i see bbc shows alot of photos and stories of poor suffering palestinians over the bombings, why dont u also show rockets from hamas and photos of suffering israelis.

  46. 46 John
    December 30, 2008 at 19:12

    It is putting the cart before the horse to ask whether Israel’s response is strengthening Hamas. As an Israeli I would like to know why the media do not ask Gazan’s whether it has never occured to them that it is THEIR rejection of Israel’s right to exist and their determination not to let us have peace that has brought this exasperated response from Israel. Their fathers and grandfathers rejected partition in 1947 and tried (but failed) to wipe out the Jews of Palestine. Ever since, rather than make the best of what they have got , they have continued to blame the Jews for their failure and to resort to violence. Well, this is the reaction that you get.

  47. 47 ryan
    December 30, 2008 at 19:19

    viola, here is a scenario, if america by force starts taking bits of canada, until you have only 10%, would you want to just get aid and relocate whats guaranties would have of it not happening again.

  48. 48 Suhuso
    December 30, 2008 at 19:20

    I heard a young lady say that the press is bias against Israel. I live in the Caribbean where we are flooded with american coverage of the conflict and the only site that shows the palestinian view is the BBCs. FOX and its affiliates showed 14 hours of the distress suffered by the families of the 4 killed in israel – the torn curtains, wrecked windows. Switch to BBC and a crater where an entire apartment building was decimated in search of a possible underground dweller firing rockets, crowds of people fleeing an area in anticipation of more carnage – the Gaza side – is not even shown once on FOX. Yet their reporter refers continuously to the devastation visited upon israel.
    What is the use of all the sophisticated military training in tactics, reconnaisance and logistics if the only studied response to a hit-and-run enemy is to sweep all the players guilty and innocent alike off the table?

  49. 49 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    December 31, 2008 at 05:28

    I see no difference between the actions of Hamas and Israel. Both parties are raining terror from the skies. If Israel wants to defend itself, it should not be declaring war against a nation to stop the acts of the terrorists within it. Israel clearly has the upper hand, in terms of firepower and accuracy, and in terms of most powerful allies. It SHOULD be setting the better example, not generating the greater force of shock and repercussions.

    What is called for in Gaza is a police action, and by this I don’t mean a euphemism for undeclared war. I mean an enforcement of the law by a professional force that is held to no less a standard for the protection of human rights than American citizens would expect from their local police forces.

    A big ticket item, yes. But given the per capita foreign aid Israel receives, it of all nations should be able to afford it.

  50. December 31, 2008 at 13:54

    black days ahead for Humas.

  51. 51 Nofal Elias
    December 31, 2008 at 14:31

    We are still reminded to this day with Holocaust, yet the actions of Israel’s Government is surely an insult to those who sadly perished in the 1940’s.
    The Israeli Governement is treating the Palestinians in the same way the Germans treated the Jewish community in the WWII.
    Ironically, the normal Israeli citizen appears as blind as the typical German was back then.
    Hamas members are freedom fighters, their main aim is to librate Palastine. I am sure Hamas dosn’t target civilians with their primiative missiles only if US supplies Hamas with same sophasticated weapons as they do to Israel.
    I am sure Hamas will come out of this stronger and have more support.

  52. 52 Steve
    December 31, 2008 at 14:41

    @ John D. Augstine

    How do you suppose Israel conduct a police action when they are not physically present, and the government of the area is Hamas, the group that is attacking Israel? Do you think Hamas is going to police itself and stop itself from launching rockets at Israel?

    Let’s hope for a realistic solution to this, not a mythical solution.

  53. December 31, 2008 at 14:47

    Every thing has a beginning and an end. A story being told is slow, shift able, and the trajectory can be altered for length and intensity. A bullet has a beginning and an end. The Israeli/ Palestinian conflict is more like a bullet. Once the hammer drops, the trajectory is defined, unchangeable, and predictable. There is nothing that can really alter its course. From the moment of Israelis establishment, the hammer dropped on that issue. At this point it doesn’t matter what is right or what is wrong, it just matters what the reactions are to the people involved once they realize “what is to be”. The problem is that people need to accept that this is an issue more like a bullet and less like a story being told.

  54. December 31, 2008 at 15:24

    Hello All, Israel made succeed in destroying the military capability of Hamas; may destroy every hamlets in Gaza; may devastate every fabric of Gazan Society but she is fuelling a mental revolution that will harden the resolved of palestine. Brute force is not a might but a vessel that exudes a serious weakness of conscience.

  55. 55 viola
    December 31, 2008 at 16:50

    The only people who have any right to take exception to any weapon or any tactic in any war are pacifists.

  56. 56 viola
    December 31, 2008 at 16:54


    No. Of course not. But isn’t that exactly what is explicitly demanded with the terms “Wipe Israel off the map,” or “Drive them into the sea?”

  57. 57 viola
    December 31, 2008 at 17:05

    @ Ryan

    As an American- born Canadian of part American Indian ancestry who knows a fair bit of American history in that area, I’m already well acquainted with the tactic used by Europeans and then Americans in settling indigenous populations in areas already occupied by other tribes and of also allowing European and American people to settle in areas already occupied by indigenous people.

    As far as I know, human nature and conquest by war has not changed in all of human history. In my opinion everyone needs to stop with the hypocrisy and get on with the peace making.

  58. December 31, 2008 at 17:07

    @ Sheikh Kafumba Dukuly,

    I fear that there will be more bloodshed, long before there is any discernible sense of real resitance to Israel’s nuclear dominance in the Region. Though, you might well be right. Still, there has to be acknowledgement that we live in very challenging times.

    Notwithstanding what might well be the strengthening of Hamas, in terms of the sentiment of resistance to the notion (?) of the existence of an Israeli state, there is something to be said about the ferocity of the “shock and awe” of the Israeli might in this episode of the conflict. This certainly packs a punch and very real one, at that, with the death count mounting as the days go by – far more than on the Israeli side!

    Will Israel bomb all of its would-be opponents into submission and operate in a permanent state of war? If nothing else, the Iraq war has proven that ideas about democracy and political statehood do not come through violence. The government there is still very much unstable in many ways. Any peace forged through such relations must be tenuous, at best.

  59. 59 Alan Hedges
    December 31, 2008 at 17:13

    I think they are………..and pray to God they are!!

  60. 60 Admiral_Akbar
    December 31, 2008 at 17:18

    Poor Hamas! All they are trying to do is shake off the evil Zionist oppressors and Israel launches such a full scale attack! What a disproportionate and inappropriate response! ::sarcasm::

    Rawpolitics, perhaps you would understand why Israel exists in a permanent state of war if your home state was surrounded on all sides by nations whose governments and population majorities wish to destroy you and your country.

    All of this idealistic talk that “brute force can never solve problems” etc. is nonsensical.

    Brute force is merited by the terrorist attacks in which Hamas and its Islamist subsidiaries engaged against innocent Israeli civilians. Brute force must be used because it is the only thing those fanatics understand.

  61. 61 CJ McAuley
    December 31, 2008 at 18:28

    Since Israel has decided on this relatively massive bombing campaign against Hamas, to paraphrase Dubya, they must now proceed to take Hamas out completely. For if this goes the way of the recent “war” in Lebanon with Hezbollah, then the very existence of the Israeli state is debatable.

  62. December 31, 2008 at 19:00

    All the Palastiinians want is to go back to their homes and property in their land Palastine. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors house” Israel should exist but in another place on this big planet!!! God is watching and scorning on the Jews . That is why they will never live in peace in Palastine!!!.

  63. 63 Gaston Diang Bum - Yaounde
    December 31, 2008 at 19:05

    The current fighting in Gazar is not only to strenghten Hamas but also to how reloutent the Iseali Government is, toward peace. The world have never seen any public demonstration in Isreal for paece Why all the blams on Hamas

  64. 64 Michel Norman
    December 31, 2008 at 19:11

    Peter -I agree with you we should act like the British in the 1940’s – We should carpet bomb the entire Gaza strip causing hundreds of thousands of casualties, like you people did in Germany, we should hang any Palestinian caught with a gun even if it is for self- defense, we should deport all of the Palestinian leadership to some distant colony, patrol the coasts and send anyone trying to escape back to the slaughter – Boy are the Palestinians lucky that they are fighting us and not the UK.

  65. December 31, 2008 at 19:23

    I am an American Christian and I abhor the violence, but Israel has no choice but to defend itself. They have gone out of their way to appease everyone. Hamas has no intention of stopping until they have completely annihilated Israel as they have said time and again.
    Israel does not want innocent people hurt either. They want nothing more than to live in peace in the land God gave them, and He has not changed His mind about any of it.
    Israel has as much chance of making peace with these extremists as you and I have of having a love affair with a snake. You can’t make deals with the devil.
    Israel will prevail. You have God’s Word on it.

  66. 66 ryan
    December 31, 2008 at 19:27

    @ viola,

    fair enough. the reason people war, rewind that, “REASON” that is what needs addressing. we cant impose things on people because its been done over and over again. as long as the standard of life, dignity, territorial integrity is not addressed, and a people’s ideology is not given a fair platform to play out, we will always have extremism because we give it something to feed off and grow. people are not born hateful and spiteful they become, lets limit that which makes them become.

    unfortunately certain statistics and facts including dates get censored on here so debate is limited to ideals rather than threshing out and convincing each other with recorded history and events. i will say it again so you can censor it again if you must, 4th of november that’s when the truce was broken and not by hamas, and from day one agreed exceptions on isreal’s side where not done, ie opening up Gaza for free movement of people, aid and journalists.

    does anyone know if Blair sister in law or whatever she is to him finally got out of Gaza?

  67. 67 Michel Norman
    December 31, 2008 at 19:37

    Lets put this into British terms – all schools south of london are to close for security reasons – citizens of kent will get a 15 second warning to get to a shelter, people in London and Sussex get 20 seconds, Essex and suffolk will get 30 seconds warning. thousands of rockets fall each year fired by a country which says that Britain has no right to Exist and all British people have to leave. How would you react – how much pressure would there be on the UK government to act? We are fighting people who build, store and fire their rockets from densly populated areas, schools and mosques because they want to create maximum casualties to their own people – at the same time we are trying to work with the PA to give up what we see as part of our country so that they can have their own country – this is not as simple as it seems

  68. 68 John LaGrua/New York
    December 31, 2008 at 20:13

    Tjis incident is a continuation of Isreal’s long term goal of driving the Palestinians out .It is nothing more than a pretext for brutal repression no different than the actions of the Nazi vs resistance movements during WW11 .Gaza and the Warsaw ghetto are mirror images of one another .Innocents die and wounds are inflicted that never heal .the Jews have complained that the US did not stop Hitler by entering WW11 to end their persecution and accussed Pope Pius X11 of anti semitim . The irony now is that the US is now complicite the brutal suppression of the Palestinians and the Pope is silent as this genocide continues .Another sad chapter in the moral decline of the West.Hamas can only gain and the peace of the world gravely threatend

  69. 69 Joel Salomon
    December 31, 2008 at 21:45

     I wanted to have this question asked of the Israeli Arab interviewees yesterday, but I’ll pose it to any poster here who believes Israel is doing wrong in her bombing campaign:
     What alternative do you suggest?
     Note that answers of the form “peace process” or “israel shouldn’t be there” are completely beside the point. The question I’m putting to you is this: given the situation as of the end of the six-month “cease-fire”, what other possible response did Israel have?

  70. 70 narupuran Nepal
    January 1, 2009 at 05:51

    The answer for your question is Yes again. Israel itself is the one who is strengthening the HAMAS. Can you give me one example that anyone who has gain the peoples heart from War…… Did America Super power … I ask you to American itself doesn’t like the War … That the result is there in america itself… So who we have to go far to see. There will be more and more collateral Damage like us people due the unwise decision to get in war rather than solve the agenda through dialouge ………… to live oneself if someone else has to die that’s simple thinking ……. for those sort of people should not be in the such post to make such cheap decision..
    I wish in this coming year May Peace prevail in everyones’ heart.

  71. 71 Raymond
    January 1, 2009 at 09:02

    I am very disappointed with the BBC. I listen to the radio broadcast here in Singapore and continually the BBC interviewers completely fail to challenge the Israeli spokes people.

    Can’t the BBC properly challenge these guys…they are free to spout what ever empty, lying and emotive rhetoric they choose with out so much as a peep.

    Come on…anyone who’s seriously read into the issues knows what rubbish the Israeli spokes people regurgitate. Why not ask them some real questions:
    -why has Israel ignored the 2002 Arab peace proposal along the lines of UN Resolution 242?
    -why dos the US allow Israel to violate UN resolutions?
    -What do you seriously expect Hamas to do after you have demonstrated ZERO real interest in peace (beyond disposable sound bites)

    Your BBC commentators have demonstrated either (a) a complete lack of knowledge on the subject or (b) unwillingness to challenge Israel state-driven mass murder.
    As a long time listener, I’ve lost a lot of respect for the BBC after this.

  72. 72 Gpeng
    January 1, 2009 at 10:32

    Yes, I agree with some of the posts here that there was no explaination from the media of why Palestinian has fired rockets against Israelis and conseguently forced Israel to attack Palestinian. I also firmly condem any subtle excuse of killing of “innocent and childrens”, because of military targets are hiding between them. I wish that media can give, yes! short news, but they mast cover both sides of the issues.

  73. 73 Yael Oren Kahn
    January 1, 2009 at 23:42

    Dispelling a Few Myths:

    1. Israeli bombardment did NOT concentrate on military targets in Gaza. Indeed, Israeli military analysts stated that Hamas ‘ military capabilities have hardly been touched.

    2. Israel’s policy is to attack civilians. For example, Maj.-Gen. (Reserve) Giora Island ­ former head of the National Security Council ­ spelled it all out on television, without a shade of shame: Israel should not confine its attacks to military facilities, he said, but must hit civilian targets as well. The damage to the civil population should be maximized, because the worse the humanitarian crisis is, the better and the sooner the operation would end.

    3. In Israel, one of the most important military target, Hakirya, is in the centre of Tel Aviv. Hundreds of soldierds serve in Hakirya, so on the basis of the Israeli criteria for a legitimate target, Tel Aviv is fully qualified. Moreover, the Ministry responsible for the Israeli military is located in the heart of Tel Aviv. So in accordance with the Israeli propaganda they are hiding among civilians.

  74. 74 bobby harris
    January 2, 2009 at 07:04

    i like to ask you this question is it possible that israel may actually win this battle against Hamas group that they are now fighting. is there any way that someone in the knesset and Hamas can sit down and talk out the problem and try to solve it and to educate them that war is wrong and both peoples need to work together to be peaceful is this possible in any way or something that can be dont to stop all these attacks so no more people gets killed in that line of attacks on both sides??what is gonna happen now next i am wondering what you can tell me about it

  75. 75 AsifSaleem
    January 2, 2009 at 18:03

    I want to highlight here a fact tht when there were terroists attacks in mumbai and pakistan was blamed for this act Just look how active does The united Nation played its Role The point here is tht where is Un now isnt it time to solve this palestine’s conflict or killing of innocent muslim people doesnt bother them at all unless there is personal intrest in the matter WHER IS UN >>>>> or there is a fake Un only working for AMERICA AND BRITISH

  76. 76 Aren Foster
    January 2, 2009 at 19:44

    israel distinguishes hamas as terrorist but, are they any different? if israel really wanted to change something they should find another way to sop hamas not by becoming terrorist and mass murderes by killing the innocent. this is a never-ending cycle. there will always continue to be terrorist and a stronger hamas when families are destroyed and children lose their parents and siblings.shame on israel and shame on world leaders and the un is a waste of time.if israel really wanted to chnage and protect itself it would have not kill and bombard the gaza strip , feed the so called terrorist.shame on israel.

  77. 77 Luci Smith
    January 3, 2009 at 09:08

    Does anybody remember what happened – who was suspected – immediately after the bombings in Oklahoma City? And what was the truth?

    I saw an Israeli spokesman deny that this has anything to do with elections in Israel. I have also heard denials that Israelis have a carte blanche to kill Palestinians while B II is in the White House.

    Nobody seems to care that Hamas has been elected by a democratic process.
    Somehow, Democracy seems less important when your friends decide to fire off all of the bombs you sold them – so then they stay friends and you can sell them more. Kind of like a coke dealer trying to get his best customers into rehab….It ain’t gonna happen.

  78. January 3, 2009 at 11:19

    Bombing Gaza is Israel’s version of “Yes We Can!” It’s electoral politics by other means. (There’s a big election in a month.)

    If Lebanon ’06 is any indication, this may end up badly. A ground invasion will be resisted at all costs by Israel (too dangerous), but, without it, rockets from Gaza are unlikely to be stopped.

    So, then, what? The US is in no position to do anything: Condi no doubt sees birth pangs again, somewhere, and Obama is windsurfing; Bush is on his victory tour;

  79. 79 Omcat
    January 3, 2009 at 16:39

    Lately on your BBC I’ve heard the notion that since Hamas is the elected party in the areas to be Palestine, the world has to accept the Palestinian people’s democratic choice and come to terms with Hamas as the official representative of the Palestinian cause, and an eligible partner for negotiation with Israel in future peace agreements.

    If a people elect a ruling party on the platform that a neighboring state should be destroyed, this neighboring state is justifiably bound not to respect that choice.
    Expecting Israel to come to a peace agreement with the Islamic party (and army) of Hamas is expecting Israel to willingly sign its own declaration of demise.
    It is the Hamas agenda (like the PLO) that Israel should be “liberated” from the “Zionists” and an Islamic state be instated instead. With this in mind, why should Israel negotiate with Hamas at all. How can Israel afford to not fight Hamas?.

    Any agreements with Israel are viewed by Hamas as a tool for receiving from Israel as much land as they can, so they can go on pursuing their grand goal, an Islamic state encompassing all the territories of Israel/Palestine. I know this because they openly proclaim it (but not on BBC). We have seen this before with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
    If the Arab states are suddenly conscientious about democratic procedures they should deal for instance with their breach of the united nations partition of Palestine plan from 1947 when they unified to take over the new Jewish state.

  80. 80 DENNIS
    January 4, 2009 at 02:57

    Luci Smith January 3, 2009 at 09:08

    Does anybody remember what happened – who was suspected – immediately after the bombings in Oklahoma City? And what was the truth?

    [The people in the United States knew who it was Timothy McVeigh; and he was sentenced in U.S. Federal Court to the death penalty]….

    I saw an Israeli spokesman deny that this has anything to do with elections in Israel. I have also heard denials that Israelis have a carte blanche to kill Palestinians while B II is in the White House.

    [I don’t think that Spokesman Regev was trying to denied anything; he was doing his job and answering the questions]…..

    ~Dennis Junior~

  81. 81 DENNIS
    January 4, 2009 at 03:38

    [Taken from the item]

    Is this offensive by Israel going to make Palestinians in the Gaza strip turn to Hamas or indeed reject them?

    –Yes, the offensive is going to hurt everyone since they will have to leave in the same region after this is done–

    Is the Hamas stance damaging the Palestinian cause, or is a hard line the only option?

    –Yes, and they should have been encouraged to keep to the truce and started to end violence, if they are provoking it…[I am not blaming anyone….]

    ~Dennis Junior~

  82. 82 justice lover
    January 4, 2009 at 07:41

    If you are occupying Gaza, West bank, East Jerusalem,Goland High, etc and you want the people there do not attack you back,you must be dreaming.

  83. January 4, 2009 at 13:20

    What Palestinians are doing is due to the aggression rather terrorizing by Israel over the past decades. The land belongs to them and they live as refugees with not rights at all. Picture this situation in your country or in your own house. Israel can get away with any thing and noone can do anything about it, US support all its action and UN is impotent. They can only force their agenda on on weaker nations. This is absurd. Please think about it with a fair and humane mind.

  84. 84 Arturo
    January 4, 2009 at 13:52

    Watch this video:

  85. January 4, 2009 at 16:23

    I believe the moderator of these postings should have the entry by Arturo 4/1 removed. This is such a distorted view and is syptomatic of a mind set that sees absolutley no fault in throwing 8000-10000 missiles at Israeli civilians in the last 8 years nor recognising that the intifada of 2000 was started by Palestinians after rejecting (yet again) President Clinton’s proposals

  86. 86 Housam
    January 4, 2009 at 17:27

    Of course, Israel is doing nothing but strengthening Hamas, and dramatically increasing its popularity among not just arab people but among muslims all over the world. For me, I’ve never been with Hamas, but after seeing unforgetable and unforgiveable Israeli crimes, I can’t but to support Hamas and every other resistance party in palestine until palestinian people get their real freedom.

  87. 87 Why?
    January 4, 2009 at 19:41

    Why is it that some believe that Israel has the right to protect herself while Palestine does not? Why should Gaza not have the right to defend herself from the oppressive conditions of a cease fire created six months ago that clearly serves the purpose of the Israeli government? Why should Gaza not have the right to object to the conditions of a cease fire that left it’s people imprisoned with shortages of food, water, medical supplies, and even ink for printing textbooks for children? Why is that when an Israeli or American dies it is the effect of terrorism and yet when hundreds of Palestinians die it is the effect of ‘necessary’ invasion? Why is it OK for Israel to continue ignoring a Supreme Court order to allow journalists into Gaza? Why is it OK for Israel to continue ignoring international rules of war?

  88. 88 Olivia in USA
    January 5, 2009 at 05:23

    I would like to know the thoughts and feelings of the ordinary Palestinians, those who work for a living and go about the business of just leading their lives and taking care of their families. Have they been supportive of Hamas as it has been sending the Qassam rockets into Israel? Have they wished they could do something to make Hamas stop sending in the rockets?

    To me, there was never any good that could come out of lobbing rockets from Palestine into Israel. Were the Palestinians thinking that it could help to end the blockade or were they simply powerless to stop it?

    Now that Israel has undertaken its reasonably foreseeable response, do the ordinary Palestinians feel anger towards Hamas or do they blame the Israeli attack entirely on Israel? Do they believe that Hamas can be something of a savior for them?

    At the end of the day peace needs to be negotiated (yet again) between the Palestinians and Israelis, but in the meantime, it is heartbreaking to watch the violence and suffering that is occurring and to contemplate the enormity of this setback to reaching a stable and lasting peace in the Middle East.

  89. 89 ben's younger brother
    January 5, 2009 at 13:10

    Israel – withdraw from the land you have illegally occupied, suppressed and starved, and you might find people think a bit more kindly towards you and talks may be able to start

  90. 90 Kristina
    January 8, 2009 at 09:53

    This question is meaningless, please suggest another topic for discussion.

  91. 91 George Aluma
    January 10, 2009 at 02:47

    Shame on you BBC for being bias. When people talk about the true, you don’t want the world to listen to their voices by not publicing their comments. It is the true that the Sudanse are still dying but the Arab world are keeping quiet. Eh! BBC, do you think that the palestinian are better the Sudanse who are dying in the hands of the brutal Islamic regim? Give me a break, the israelis have the right to protect their ciziten.

  92. 92 khadija
    January 10, 2009 at 21:56

    The US is the only international voice Isreal listens to.
    Isreal does not respect international laws.
    Do we still need the UN?

  93. 93 micky r
    January 12, 2009 at 18:02

    Would anyone like to contanplate the deathtoll of israily civilians, if the rockets directed by Hamas had been more effective in reaching heavily populated areas, in total, these have been counted as in excess of 3000.

    All of these weapons have been sent with Hamases best
    wishes,and complete disregard of the population,on the receiving end, the fact they have prooved to be fairly inafective is irellavant, the intent is there for all to see,hamas has been primarily responsable for the situation,and till they are diposed,the problem will remain.

  94. 94 rai
    January 15, 2009 at 08:30

    Hey they’ve been fighting since christ was a cowboy!!!!!!

    If only they knew, we all came from apes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Religion is the root of al evil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  95. January 16, 2009 at 15:35

    I think Katrina is right. Don’t waste valuable time of your readers.North should remain as a watch dog to the situation in the south.Israel seems to be determined to root out nonstate actors from their region and so the India.The war against terrorism is now in its second phase.The duty of UN is to facilitate them to acheive the mission.

  96. January 16, 2009 at 15:39

    I think Kristina is right. Don’t waste valuable time of your readers.North should remain as a watch dog to the situation in the south.Israel seems to be determined to root out nonstate actors from their region and so the India.The war against terrorism is now in its second phase.The duty of UN is to facilitate them to acheive the mission.

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