Frosty Winds Make Moan

It is a bleak winter in Gaza. Earth stands hard as iron, and water freezing like stone. Seventeen thousand Palestinians who live there will have to spend winter in tents that are now their homes; more than 120,000 homes have been destroyed by air strikes as Israel punishes the people of Gaza for injuries caused by a small minority of them. With every death and every piece of new destruction more Palestinians are driven to extremism against Israel, feeling that fighting is the only option even if fighting involves self-destruction. Continue reading

New Years is Coming But Old Problems will Remain

As the old year turns into the new year, the old problems remain, getting more complicated and less soluble. It seems that Israel is entitled to exist as a State, but that Palestine is not so entitled. Continue reading

The Land Which Hope has Forsaken

For the Palestinians, August is the cruelest month. It mixes death and destruction. Yesterday a cease fire was agreed in Gaza, which was supposed to last for 72 hours but lasted for less than five hours. There was insufficient time for people to bury their dead or to retrieve what possessions were left after their homes and schools and medical centres were shelled. Both sides claim the other was responsible for breaking the cease fire. Continue reading

The Manicured Sophistry of Israel

I am getting tired and depressed listening to representatives of the Israeli government explain, with their manicured sophistry, just how essential it is to protect Israel that Israel should bomb women and children while they sleep in a United Nations shelter in Gaza, and how it is proportionate that the body count of Palestinians exceeds that of Israelis by a factor of twenty and how to describe such body count as disproportionate is “emotive”. Continue reading

Blood Lust and Land Occupied for Eternity

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. Continue reading

An Eye For An Eye

Three boys are kidnapped and murdered in Israel. In reprisal it seems another boy is kidnapped and murder in Israel. Rockets are sent to bomb people in Israel from Palestine. In reprisal houses are bombed in Palestine by Israel. many people die. Continue reading

Gaza: Peace Without Freedom Can Never Be Achieved

Sometimes in the West we close our eyes to events in the world. It seems that we can only take in one problem at any time. It was Iraq, then Afghanistan, then Libya, then Syria and now Palestine. Each time new atrocities and deaths occur we take in the news, intervene to make things worse, and then turn the page as our attention gets grabbed by another war or another disaster. In Palestine many people are in peril, and have been in peril for many years. They have suffered tremendously over many years and in the West we have ignored their suffering. Continue reading

Diplomatic Exchanges

In the Middle East, Egypt seems to have brokered a cease fire, or rather a cease of rocket launches and bombings between Gaza and Israel. Rockets have been fired into Israel and in retaliation air strikes that have taken place on Gaza and in retaliation rockets have been fired into Israel and so forth. This vicious circle of violence seems to have no beginning and no end. As usual, recent exchanges of violence have resulted in many more Palestinian dead than Israeli dead. The most recent body count is 25 to nil, in favour of Israel. Continue reading

The Dead Sea is dieing and the River Jordan becoming a small stream

The shores of the Dead Sea are the lowest part of dry land on this planet. The sea itself has no life, apart from some forms of bacteria that can live in its salinity. Salt constitutes about a third of its water content and as a result the Dead Sea is buoyant. When I was young, fifty years ago, I saw pictures of people reading newspapers while effortlessly being kept afloat in the Dead Sea by its high salt content. I resolved to see if it really worked when i visited the Dead Sea, so when I finally did I borrowed an Italian newspaper from a friendly Italian and had my photo taken in the classic pose. Continue reading