Tangled knot

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Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, broke down shortly after being interviewed about the recent shelling of the UN school in Gaza. When a UN spokesman sobs over the horrific deaths of children, it highlights the appalling, relentless suffering of the people of Gaza.

Many have known nothing but war throughout their short lives. Hatred is a powerful emotion. The people of Gaza are too traumatised to hate, too focused on trying to survive in a country whose infrastructure is being relentlessly destroyed by Israeli missiles.

The hatred we are now witnessing in parts of Europe is not spawned by a natural revulsion against the slaughter of innocents. It has its roots in darker emotions.

Antisemitism flows like an underground river, silent and unseen until it erupts through the deceptive veneer of religious and ethnic tolerance.

The seeds of the Israeli-Arab conflict were sown in 1947, after the UN voted to partition Palestine. The horrors of the Holocaust had stirred the conscience of the world, reinforcing Jewish claims to their legal and historical right to their own state.

From suffering came compensation, but at the expense of the Palestinians Arabs, who were submerged under a tide of European Jewish immigration.

How do we untangle this knot of historical injustice experienced by both Jews and Palestinians, in different contexts?

Past political decisions have created a tragic situation in which it is the Palestinians who now suffer disproportionately when violence erupts.

We should indeed protest strongly against Israeli military action in Gaza, but we should also beware those who let 
ancient hatred drive their 

Carolyn Taylor