Breaking the cycle

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Breaking the cycle

Amid the world’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Israel has made retaliatory attacks on Palestine, continuing the vicious cycle of violence in the region.

Israel’s strikes on Gaza, an area dominated by Hamas, continued for a third day from Dec. 27, reportedly killing some 300 people and leaving around 900 wounded.

It is the largest number of casualties in such a short time period since the 1967 Six Day War.

Israel and Hamas must respect the United Nations resolution and immediately end attacks on each other.

Israel explains that it retaliated because Hamas continued to fire rockets into southern Israel despite the fact that Israel repeatedly urged it to stop.

Even if that is the case, it is excessive to retaliate for rocket fire with air strikes. It is like responding to a slingshot with a cannon.

While merely 17 Israelis have fallen victims to Hamas’ rocket fire over the past seven years, Israel’s air strikes have resulted in the deaths of some 600 Palestinians in Gaza this year alone.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, with the legislative elections coming up in February next year, seems to be trying to clear away the roots of Hamas through these attacks.

He has perhaps reasoned that as long as Hamas, an armed organization that denies the existence of Israel, remains, there is no chance to achieve peace in the region.

However, Prime Minister Olmert must understand that the Israel-imposed economic blockade which threatens the lives of 1.5 million residents in Gaza strengthens support for Hamas.

Israel’s bombings cause rage and resentment, and spread sympathy and support for Hamas across the Middle East.

Israel must abolish its policy of destruction in Gaza and let humanitarian aid into the area. These moves will surely weaken Hamas’ power.

Palestine is split into two areas: the West Bank on the Jordan River, which is ruled by an autonomous government comprised mostly of the moderate group Fatah; and Gaza, which is dominated by Hamas.

Therefore, negotiations for peace between Israel and the autonomous government can only be half effective.

Attacks on Gaza must end immediately and the economic blockade must be loosened in order to give more power to the autonomous government and to rekindle peace in the region.

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