The Gaza Strip is a very small place that is crowded with more than one and three quarters of a million people. It has a small boundary with Egypt and a much longer boundary with Israel. Its people are imprisoned inside. They cannot cross borders to work and to buy goods. Israel polices the goods that enter and leave Gaza, effectively blockading it, although some goods may enter through Egypt. The people who live in Gaza are dispossessed of their land and their goods by Israel. As a result of what the people of Gaza believe to be an gross injustice, they attack their enemy by sending in crude rockets that occasionally kill Israelis and certainly disrupt their lives and well being. In retaliation Israel bombs houses in Gaza they suspect of launching the rockets, first warning those who live in the houses to leave. Israel claims this an act of self defence. It is much more powerful and prosperous than Gaza. It seems to think that the people of Gaza whose houses are used to launch rockets can prevent the use of their houses to launch rockets. I suspect that the householders of Gaza do not have much say in the matter.
As a result of this conflict people in Israel die, but as is the wont of the Israelis many more people of Gaza die. The conflict has its roots in land taken by one side from another. As a result of the conflict thousands of souls are now possessed of two paces of land that they now occupy for eternity. Many of those occupants occupy even less than two paces of land; their bodies are so small that they barely occupy a short pace of land.
The Israelis are masters of sophistry in this matter. Their prime argument is that they entitled to fight those who deny that Israel has a right to exist as a state. In truth, no state has a right to exist unless it protects the people within it and respects the rights of people outside of it. Israel is a state founded upon the theft of land, but that in itself it shares in common with many other states where conquest has seen oppression and migration of the conquered. the United States was founded by stealing land occupied by the aboriginal peoples, so was Australia, New Zealand, much of Europe and Latin America. It is quite hard to find a modern state that was not founded on land theft.
Eventually the conflict must stop. The wounds are deep and will take a long time to heal, but they will only heal if properly nursed. It is difficult to control an appetite for revenge, especially when the person seeking revenge is so much more powerful than those they seek to punish. There is a blood lust in these lands which seems to feed on its own emotions, growing more powerful and overwhelming with every new rocket attack and every new bombing.
The rest of the world looks on at this conflict, mostly supporting Israel for historic or religious reasons. Even the western media fails to provide a balanced view of what is happening, tending to favour the Israeli view. Out of ignorance or cynicism it has appointed Tony Blair, a former British Prime Minister who was a member of Labour Friends of Israel as a middle east Peace Envoy in 2007, seven years ago. Mr Blair’s efforts (if they have been efforts) have resulted in total failure. Yet he continues in this office.
I am not clever enough to solve the problems between Israel and the Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip and the Occupied Territories. However it seems to me that the problems are deep rooted and must ultimately be solved by a just division of the land which both sides occupy, otherwise there will be many more folk occupying two paces of land for eternity.