Wanton Violence

The sound of war in the Middle East is not what I would call new. It is as old as the conflict between the Jews and Palestine in Biblical times. I've grown up surrounded by news of more deaths on both sides of the opressing concrete walls, each side shouting at the other - and often to themselves - about rights of occupation, borders, responsibilities and so on. You generally get used to it. But the problem is very real. Millions of people, split into two opposing camps, each wishing the other dead - which if anything sounds like the hook for a really bad reality TV show.

What I cannot abide with in the conflict is the constant inane loss of life. Every day, a few more people are blown up in air strikes or killed by suicide bombers, and each time this happens up to 30 families (or so) learn to hate the enemy. Both sides of the coin survive on this conflict - the Israeli government's voters are Jewish expansionists who want to squeeze Gaza and the West Bank, whilst Hamas survives on their flamboyant rocket attacks, more a weapon of mass harassment than destruction. If you removed the conflict, sought a solution that dished the blows both ways, both of these governments would collapse. This is the evil of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and it has been documented many times before.

Perhaps Gordon Brown should learn a little of Israel's proactivity. Israel has an election coming up in the next few weeks. The Jewish settlers are getting a bit uneasy. What's the solution? Take it out on your resident punch bag, contained in it's own concrete cage. Wars are popular things (ask Thatcher) and taking such proactive measures such as blowing up over 100 innocent Palestinians to show your power to this electorate is a great way of gaining endorsement. Of course, when the International Community comes a-knocking, you can pretend it was all about protecting your civilians (I believe that the current ratio of Israel:Palestinian deaths is something akin to 1:100) and delivering punishment to Hamas. What an excellent election strategy.

This is politics gone hideously astray. The rocket attacks are meaningless harassment, affecting a tiny minority of Israel's civilian population. In a big to ensure retaining office, we get to enjoy the sound of gunfire and explosions further ruining any hope of building a Palestinian state. Israel has already given Gaza the Escape From New York treatment. Now comes the Independence Day treatment, making sure to cover their own backs with grandoise excuses and a fawning electorate. The violence needs to stop, now.