I struggle a bit with my feelings about Gaza. My e mail is full of people caring passionately and straightforwardly about it. And I do too. But I’ve spent a lot of time in my life witnessing for peace. I gradually came to feel more and more mocked by those who are simply resolutely and unshakeably determined to use violence – either terrorists or securitat-minded governments. It takes more than marches. But these are some of my thoughts …
Disproportionate. The idea that one would use tanks in one of the most densely-packed civilian populations on earth is extraordinary. Disproportionate in scale – disproportionate in the cost in lives. Not therefore just.
The link between a civilian population and terrorist groups is subtle and difficult. What happens is that the civilian population does not agree with terrorist actions – but has an underlying sympathy with the aims. And the more the population as a whole feels under attack, the more successfully can the terrorists claim to be their defenders. To wage war without addressing the underlying political issues which connect the terrorists to the civilian population from among whom they arise is just inadequate.
And then there is the secure/insecure question. The Israelis appear to be the most powerful military force in the region .. yet they seem to be perpetually insecure, ever-conscious of the Arab nations all around them. That has a sort of familiar feel .. living among the Ulster Protestants – a majority in Northern Ireland but perpetually insecure – a minority in the whole of Ireland.
May peace come soon.