AFP photo from BBC
From Hope man. He is Israeli and lives near Gaza. He blogs with Peace man, who is Palestinian and lives in Gaza.
We are now 2 weeks into the war.
1 week since the ground incursion and Peace man and I have been in very little contact since the. He is out of electricity 99% of the time and cannot charge his cell phone. Added to that is the fact that reception of cell phones from Gaza is almost nil, he has to be in a high and exposed place to talk. This endangers him so we have had very little contact.
Think what that must be like. No electricity. No food supplies. No water. Virtually no medical supplies. The death toll there will be appallingly high.
Both sides were blaming each other. Israel claming that the Hamas is not abiding to the ceasefire since there were occasional rockets and the arms smuggling continued, and Hamas claiming that Israel is not fulfilling its part since the siege continued.
This war has broken out for the simple reason that neither side was willing to make a serious effort to avoid it. Both sides were sharpening their swords waiting for the next horrible round.
Was there no other option? Of course there was!
Both sides state that on the other side there is no partner to talk to. However the initial cease fire was achieved by talks. Indirect talks but that is only a technicality.
We all know that sometime (hopefully very soon) there will be some kind of agreement and both sides will talk. We all know that this agreement will not disarm either side and remove the treat of future hostilities. However it will be reached. Why then did so many civilians have to pay such an appalling price for the stupidity and incompetence of our leaders? I am both furious, heartbroken to see how our region has fallen so deep into this tragedy which could have been avoided in the first place.
I don’t care who started it or who has committed the most atrocities. Thinking that way just leads to the next blood-stained vendetta. The crucial thing is to get everyone to the peace table. That will come when they all genuinely want to stop fighting and see good reasons for doing so. This necessarily means that former enemies must talk to each other.
It happened in Northern Ireland. Hardly perfectly, but it did happen. Groups that previously would have killed each other on sight are now living peacefully. They don’t have to like each other, just not shoot at each other. And shoppers no longer have to worry about getting blown to pieces on the way to the market.