There may be signs that the current Gaza Israel conflict could be resolved at the negotiating table but for now there is a long way to go. A flurry of activity between representatives of various countries and organisations offers hope. In brokering a deal there will have to be give and take on both sides, with the emphasis on give. For now both Israel and Gaza are sticking to some principles which will be hard to overcome.
The people of Gaza have been living under a blockade for years. The Israeli government maintains that this has been put in place in order to prevent the movement of weapons into Gaza. They claim these come into that country via many means. The blockade is said to reduce the number of weapons available to Hamas.
Israel has been able to stock pile its weapons and has a ready supply notably from the USA. Both sides in this conflict are at fault with both trying to blame the other. Inevitably to speak out against Israel in this conflict can lead to verbal abuse, that is being called anti-Semitic and the like. Israel though it is in a sticky position has plenty of support. It risks losing support if it continues to bombard the people of Gaza.
Early in 2012 Der Spiegel reported that German submarines supplied to Israel now had nuclear capabilities. The important point is that the German government was well aware of the situation. Yes Hamas is at fault but so are many others.
Israel has a sophisticated Iron Dome which protects it from incoming rocket attacks by Hamas. It is not 100% but it has limited the amount of rockets that have hit home. It has also minimised deaths and casualties in the conflict.
According to the BBC the Iron Dome, "Uses radar to track incoming rockets, and then fires two interceptor missiles to knock them out. Each Iron Dome battery costs about $50m to install. So far, there are five batteries in operation, but officials plan to have eight more by next year. Each Tamir interceptor missile costs roughly $60,000." "As of Saturday night Israel had spent roughly $29m on interceptor missiles in three days."
"Americans set aside more than $200m (£125m) to help Israel pay for the system, " The money did look set to be cut. The Iron Dome was installed following conflict between Hezbollah of Lebanon and Israel in 2006. The dome was not fully installed or operational until 2011. Israel obviously has many sources supplying it with aid and weapons.
Gaza is a small strip of a country which is densely populated. This means that inevitably even targeted attacks on Hamas may hit the civilian population. The death toll in Gaza during the latest conflict, Israel's Operation Pillars of Defense, has risen to 90. One man lost nine family members in a single attack. Yesterday Sunday, nine children were killed in Gaza. There have been numerous casualties some serious and many involving children. The Israel death toll has remained at three. The ongoing blockade of Gaza by Israel means that supplies including medical ones will be in short supply.
The strike which resulted in the death of nine family members was allegedly "a mistake" Israel's Haaretz newspaper quoted IDF officials as saying the strike had hit a neighbour's house by mistake because of a "technical error". The IDF said it did not know what the Haaretz source was, but was looking into the report."
Israeli PM Netanyahu could still be on the brink of a ground invasion of Gaza. Having called up 75,000 reservists it certainly looks that way. Is the bombardment of Gaza a precursor to such an invasion. Bombing Gaza to its knees first.
Words will not bring back the dead. They are meaningless. They will not prevent a new generation using their hate in terrorist attacks. And so on it goes. Sooner or later both sides will have to negotiate. Although the Middle East is in disarray Palestinians are not totally alienated in this World. Yes Israel may have powerful allies in the West but are we prepared to let them annihilate a people, Palestinians? They of all races should know the answer to that. We have hopefully learned our lesson.
Late Monday the news is that the death toll in Gaza has increased to more than 100. Scenes on mainstream news programs of emotional funerals for four children killed in one house will not deter terrorism. Such scenes invariably encourage more hate and revenge. The Iron Dome offers Israel a greater level of protection than their neighbours in Gaza. Because of this the death toll in Israel remains three.
There are still ongoing attempts at a resolution and or a ceasefire. Israel knows that if it oversteps the mark it will be accused of causing a bloodbath. They may as well try to reach an agreement now. Sooner or later that will have to be done. It may as well be before more blood is spilled.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog
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