Israel has bombarded Gaza for a fifth day. The attacks on this small strip of a country have come via land, sea and air. Currently the death toll from this week's escalating violence is said to be 48 killed in Gaza and three civilians in Israel. Of the 48 around half are said to be civilians. That includes 13 children.
Israel has a more sophisticated missile interception system plus a greater arsenal than the Palestinians. There are claims that Gaza receives its weapons via tunnels from Iran. Whether that is true is not known. In many ways it should be immaterial. The facts indicate in our opinion that both coutries are on a hiding to nothing right now.
In Gaza media buildings have been shelled. These have included at least one that houses foreign media. Israel claims that eight rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza after midnight Saturday. Three hit home. How many were fired from Israel? That is not so easy to find out. Israeli PM Netanyahou has now said that it is ready to "significantly expand its operation in Gaza" With 75,000 reservists called up he appears to be preparing for a brutal invasion of Gaza. Time will tell if that is the case or if it is more mind games.
UNICEF, a worldwide charity, has said that the children of Gaza are suffering greatly and that the bombing is intense. One worker spoke of the daily fears of the charity workers families in Gaza.
Blaming each other will achieve nothing. It is time for this to be resolved. If this is at all possible it will be by way of negotiations. Simply bombing each other is nonsese. Such episodes run their course and inevtably conflict flares up again. Destroying Hamas is unlikely to alleviate the situation. Modern war tends to breed more would be rebels with hate in the hearts. Civilians who lose everything may feel they have nothing to lose in rising up.
This blogger is happy that Mitt Romney is not in the White House as this conflict may have already escaleted if that was the case. His words on Israel may have simply been spin but we can never be sure. With so many conflicts in the Middle East right now Israel and Gaza is just one more problem. With much of the Middle East in dissaray certainly Gaza will have less ready support than perhaps two years ago. A David and Goliath situation. As in that case the biggest may not necessarily be the winner.
Note: If you do not belive that Romney, Obama and the US election has not impacted on the timing of this latest outbreak of violence read this related report
Sunday November 18, 18.20 GMT
The death toll in Isreal remains at 3. In Gaza it is 67. Israel has called its latest onslaught on Gaza Operation Pillar of Defenc. You can call it any fancy names you like, as is often the case with military attacks, but it is still the murder of civilian. Sooner or later it will need negotiations to resolve the issues. Even after a protracted War both sides often have to sit down and reach an agreement.