The contrasting responses of Irvine Inglis and Martin D Stern to my letter about the situation in Gaza highlight the polarisation of opinion on this subject (Letters, 4 August).
I was going to prepare another “balanced, even-handed view” of the current situation, including a response to Mr Stern’s appeal to consider the contentious issue of the hereditary refugee status of those who “claim” to have been displaced in Palestine in 1948, and raise the issue of the hereditary claims of Jews to justify, in turn, their right to live in Palestine.
Then I thought, what’s the point? The multitude of words which have been written on this subject have acted as a smokescreen behind which the suffering of innocent civilians continues unabated.
I now concede that it is difficult to maintain a scrupulously balanced view of events in this troubled region whilst the killing goes on. It’s hard to imagine how powerless the people of Gaza must feel under this constant bombardment. As always, it’s the children who suffer the most, and it’s the images of their suffering which haunt us.
An injured toddler shaking uncontrollably because he’s so traumatised; a baby unable to cry, staring blankly at the adults around it, lost in a psychological shut-down from which he can’t escape.
One correspondent reporting from the area quoted a little girl’s plea as the missiles exploded around her. She said: “Mummy, make it stop.”
Her mother couldn’t make it stop, she couldn’t keep her daughter safe. She was as helpless as her child. We now have another generation of children in Gaza who will never trust adults again.
Erich Fromm, the noted Jewish psychologist, once commented: “If all nations would suddenly claim territory in which their forefathers had lived 2,000 years ago, this world would be a madhouse.”
The world is a madhouse, Mr Fromm, we’re all locked up, and the key has been thrown away.