Current developments include rockets from Gaza into Southern
Israel while Israel has continued rockets into Gaza and also bombardment from navy and by aid of planes. During day and night, the dead and injured are mounting in Gaza. The images from Gaza of death and injuries via the BBC here are horrendous. Just recently two media buildings have been hit in Gaza.
Obama said he would like to see all sides standing down. Obama has stated that Israel has a right to defend itself and the U.S. supports Israel’s right to defend itself. He stated he was working with others for lowering of conflict in the region and has spoken with Israel, Turkey, and Egypt leaders. He called for Gaza to stop the rockets going into Israel, but Israel has said there would be no stop to their fire until all missiles coming in would stop and there was an agreement for a long term arrangement on a ceasefire.
The Gaza based missiles are both short range and medium range, the latter said to be from Iran, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv. The Israeli government said that in the last 24 hours over 70 missiles were directed towards Israel. But Israel authorities said there would be a “significant expansion” of their offensive. Israel’s “Iron Dome” radar system has also been extremely efficient in intercepting at least 300 rockets in the last five days, a 90% success rate.
Developments in the on-going confrontation between Israel and Gaza point towards escalation including putting a ground force into a dense populated Gaza, yet there is also a possible move towards negotiations and perhaps a ceasefire. An Israeli official stated they would prefer a diplomatic solution, but the fighting will escalate unless they see progress.
The British government here today has called for a de-escalation of the conflict and negotiations. The Egyptian government also is looking for a way out as the major danger that both the UK government and the Egyptians most fear is the threatened ground invasion of Gaza by the Israeli Defense Forces which are likely to cause a larger loss of life on all sides but particularly by civilians in Gaza.
The regional implications are large and could make future searches for peaceful solutions more difficult. One of the first agreements would be that there would not be any attacks from either side. Yet it would not take much for an increase in the conflict which could hurt Israel in the region as well as hope for peace in the region. Some wonder just why Israel has chosen what seems to be a dangerous long-term path. One Israel liberal commentator has said that the continued conflict can only hurt Israel in the region and its security.
One friend from Israel, a retired high official, commented that “The Mid-East problem is that the leaders (on all sides) are not rational people.
Gaza could have been turned into a Riviera – they have the beach and the climate but both of them are more worried about ‘honor’ and ‘winning’ like children in school.
The cost of this war could have covered decent housing and jobs for every one in this part of the region.
But for that, one needs to have rational people and not emotional ones.”
Clearly, there is need again for major efforts by both the West and the Arab League (Turkey and Egypt in particular) to dampen down this conflict and start a serious effort to seek a larger settlement and peace that includes a two state solution for the Israel-Palestinian problem and to end the killing in Syria. To provide a new government and get all parties to look towards cooperation in the region. That will take a lot of doing but it needs all parties to see the advantage of peace over conflict.
What are you thoughts about the situation? Do you think a diplomatic solution is possible? Share your thoughts!