Concerted effort needed on Israel

2012-11-17 12:40

The Gaza Strip is a postage stamp of sad land.

This tiny part of severed Palestine is now at the centre of the world’s attention as it teeters on the brink of war with neighbour Israel, the Middle East’s beleaguered but powerful Jewish state.

Since Wednesday, 18 Palestinians have been killed by pounding Israeli attacks while three Israelis have died after bombs set off by Hamas soldiers into surrounding Israeli territory.

It’s not as if it is something new: all year, there have been accounts of a low-intensity war in Gaza as rockets have flown both ways.

Israel has upped the ante because the Hamas attacks are skirting Tel Aviv, the capital and epicentre of Israeli political and economic power.

Living in Gaza is like living in a concrete cemetery. This is a region devastated by the 2007/08 war, where people have constructed shelters amid the ruins and rubble. Provision of everything from water and electricity to food is sporadic and unpredictable.

It feels like hell on earth, the centre of one of the world’s most intractable struggles for human rights and autonomy.

Israel casts its struggle as one of survival in a hostile region where belligerent Iranian leaders keep threatening to wipe it off the
face of the earth.

Now under the hawkish Benjamin Netanyahu, it is in no mood for peace. Palestine’s government is weak and powerless.

Is it time for the world to impose sanctions on the Jewish state to bring it to the negotiating table for real and lasting peace?

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