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LETTER OF THE DAY - Peace hinges on Israel

Published:Tuesday | July 29, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The death toll of Palestinians in the latest Israel-Gaza conflict is approximately 1,100, while 49 Israelis have perished. This represents a ration of almost 1:23 as posited in the Gleaner editorial titled 'Israel's impunity, Blair's cynicism' (July 24, 2014).

Israel continues to be on the offensive, bombarding the densely populated Gaza strip, where two million people remain prisoners as the Erez border crossing remains close and the Rafah border crossing is only open for the passage of goods and commerce.

Schools, hospitals and residential homes have not been spared the shelling. Children, women and the elderly are highest among the death toll. Yet still the international community seems to be in favour of Israel's aggressive policies towards Palestine.

The UN Security Council has failed in all its recent attempts to pacify international conflicts. This failure has resulted in the continuation of the Syrian civil war and the subsequent evolution of ISIS, which now possesses the ambition to govern the region under one caliphate, declaring itself the Islamic State.

We have also seen the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has positioned Vladimir Putin as the untouchable. He has shown no intention of withdrawal from his imperialistic desires despite the downing of the MH17 commercial airline, for which all fingers have been pointing to the Kremlin.

Here now, Israel has been unopposed in its grotesque atrocity on the Gaza strip, which has annihilated entire families; caused disruption to the already limited water and power; and inflicted wounds that will leave not just physical, but also emotional scars.

If Israel continues with this type of aggressive, draconian, non-humanitarian policy, the Israel-Gaza conflict will never arrive at a genuine truce. Israel is simply creating enemies and enabling the conflict to not only escalate, but also to be prolonged beyond many future generations.

VENGEFUL MINDSET

The Palestinian youth, having experienced this type of conflict, having family members dead, dismembered or displaced; themselves being displaced, and the emotional horrors cultivated by the continuous air, land and sea strikes, will develop within them a vengeful mindset, where Israel must pay, even when they are aware of the unlikelihood of obtaining victory.

A ceasefire should be restored indefinitely, backed by the Netanyahu government. In this ceasefire proposal, the content should include a plan to restore water and power and allow the flow of goods and commerce through the Erez border into the embattled city. Israel should also offer to assist in the rebuilding of damaged and destroyed infrastructure and to provide humanitarian aid for the injured and displaced.

Such a move would signal Israel's intention to put an end to a conflict that has existed for more than 60 years, which has grown to be very untenable because of the immense death toll and repulsive abuse of human rights and human dignity.

Hamas is like an overgrown child who is totally befuddled as to the consequences of his action. Therefore, as a First World nation, Israel should be more passive and sympathetic in its policy towards Palestine.

BASIL M. HARRIOTT

harriott_200@hotmail.com

Old Harbour, St Catherine