Gaza Conflict Tests my Resolve to Stay Objective
Try as I might I find it hard to maintain my objectivity when it come to this latest conflict in Gaza. The issues are so complex it almost would take a Masters in Middle Eastern History for someone to get their head around the issues.
Over the centuries Gaza City has been occupied by Persia, Egypt, Babylonia, Israel, The Romans, The Ottomans, the Hellenic State and the British.
In more recent times it has been controlled by Egypt that theoretically held it in trust for the Palestinians, the Israelis who occupied it a couple of times and currently it is governed by the Palestinian Authority.
Having said all that, Israel controls all imports, exports and the flow of people, by sea, air or land, in and out of Gaza.
I am not sure there has ever been peace in the region but in recent months, after the expiry of a ceace fire agreement, regular rocket attacks have been launched from Gaza into Israel. Although the rockets are for the most part home made devices with no real guidance system, they have become not really a threat, but a nuisance.
To attempt to stop these attacks Israel has launched an all out attack on Gaza. Although I have some sympathy for the Israeli need to protect itself, their responses are seldom measured. As the death tool rises in Gaza what we are seeing is for the most part the killing of civilians, women and children.
The Israeli military public relations machine is cranking out nice soft messages about their need to protect themselves and all the while they are preventing any journalists from entering Gaza so they can report on the war. What are they afraid of? What don't they want the world to see and hear about, one might ask.
I think the last straw for me was the Israeli bombing of the United Nations school yesterday. An act that killed dozens of innocents. It seems that Hamas militants launched another of its ineffectual rocket attacks from a position close to the school. That was a stupid and unconscionable act, there is no question of that. But what I have been asking myself is, what kind military targets a school? What kind of soldier gives the order to bomb children. That is unforgivable.
I also have to say that I am embarrassed, as a Canadian to see our government, lock step behind Bush supporting Israel's right to do what they have done. It is a very sad day.