Sunday 10 August 2014

The problem with Gaza

About a week after the current crisis in Gaza started I was chatting with a friend about the situation.

When I said to him I hadn't really been following the story much he was surprised, as the crises had been dominating the news agenda for a number of days.

I was honest with him and said I felt fatigued about stories from the Middle East. Whether it's Israel, Syria, Iraq, the foreign news agenda is overly dominated by this part of the world.

I said there are other parts of the world where atrocities and violence take place everyday yet we hear very little about this.

The argument I put to my friend was essentially this: Tell me what's going on in Gaza now that's so different to what always seems to be going on over there?

My friend was even more surprised by my reaction and he correctly pointed out that hundreds of innocent civilians were being killed as a result of Israel's attacks on Hamas.

As the crisis has grown it's this human element and tragedy that has eventually pulled my attention to the crisis. It's this element that captures people's emotions.

Jon Snow's excellent appeal on Channel 4 news really brought the issues home for me.

I think Israel's response has been disproportionate and it appears they're willing to accept civilian casualties as a price worth paying to weaken Hamas.

When I was thinking about the current situation in Gaza it reminded me of a blog post I wrote on the subject 2 years ago.

The politics of the Palestine/Israeli conflict continually leave me baffled and exhausted. I find you're always having to remind yourself just exactly why they're fighting.

This was the point I made two years ago in my blog post entitled:

Confused about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? This might help

In that post I included a great link to an article from the Washington Post which answered the most basic questions people might have about the conflict. It's brilliant and incredibly useful.

I could have just reposted that article today as everything I said then still applies now. This is the problem I have with Israel and Palestine. It's a narrative that appears to simply go round in circles.

Once this latest cease fire takes hold and things quieten down for a period, you know eventually a new crisis will emerge and we'll be back to square one.

I'll again ask myself what's different this time before reminding myself of the human element of the story which is really the best way many of us can understand the situation.

How do you feel about the conflict? Do you agree with anything I've said? I'd love to hear.

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