AS THE very disturbing escalation of hostility between Israel and Hamas in Gaza started because Israel was subjected to an intolerable increase of rocket attacks on practically her entire population, I was disappointed to see a headline on your leader (14 July) saying that “pressure must be brought to bear on Israel”.
The key to de-escalation is very simple. In the past four days alone, more than 1,000 rockets of hugely increased capability have either landed in Israel or, thankfully, have been intercepted by the Iron Dome. No people can tolerate this level of attack and no government can stand by and fail to protect its citizens.
So, to stop this very worrying scenario all it will take is for Hamas to abandon its declared objective of the destruction of the Jewish state and to stop the rocket fire which triggers Israel’s inevitable retaliation. The need to continue to seek out and destroy the rocket launchers and arms caches that are hidden in houses, schools, hospitals and mosques would cease immediately.
It is impossible to avoid civilian casualties when the enemy you are having to fight against uses women and children as human shields (which is a war crime according to the Geneva Convention), puts people on rooftops on the homes of known terrorists and rocket launching sites, and moves people into danger rather than out of it. In contrast on the Israeli side, the population is instructed to use the 15 second warning they have of an impending attack to find a place of safety.
In the light of all this, surely the very least we might have hoped for in your headline would have been “pressure must be brought to bear on Israel and Hamas”, as I share your view that every effort is needed to stop this tragic escalation and allow people on both sides to get back to some degree of normality and safety.
Your leader “pressure must be brought to bear on Israel” is clearly not an objective one. Why not write: “Pressure must be brought to bear on Israel and Hamas?”
Furthermore, you bemoan the lack of “strongest foreign diplomatic intervention to break this cycle”. This paper could play an important part in bringing at least a cease-fire closer, by persuading the Palestinian Islamists that Israel has the right to live peacefully like any other nation, and that Hamas must respect the rights of the Gaza civilians whose lives it endangers. Binyamin Netanyahu made it crystal clear that “Israel uses its forces to protect its civilians. Hamas uses its civilians to protect its forces.”
If the UK can go to war 4,000 miles away from home to fight terrorists who are not an existential threat, why can’t Israel do the same on its borders and attack a foe whose charter and Koranic exhortations call for the annihilation of Israel and Jews everywhere?
Your leader says: Netanyahu “made clear that he could never countenance a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank”. Not true. Check his recent Bar Ilan and Herzliah speeches, where he shocked his own party by declaring his acceptance of a two-state solution.