Israel v Palestine.
How do I even start?
I do not agree with Israel's actions. Defending yourself does not include shelling a school full of families. I wonder what Israel's government expects the consequences of that to be. Are the children who lost their parents in what they thought was a safe place going to think "Wow, thanks for ridding me of those awful terrorists!" Are the parents who lost their children going to say "Oh, I'm so glad you did that, my three-year-old and newborn baby might have grown up to join Hamas. But they're dead so we're all off the hook now!"
Neither do I agree with Hamas. I don't agree with terrorism whatever stripe it displays. It's not an either/or situation. Not for me anyway.
I grew up Catholic in the west of Scotland. The IRA never ventured to Scotland and I never felt much affiliation with the Catholic church anyway, but I have a sliver of understanding about what being lumped in with unacceptable nutterdom feels like. Guilt by association isn't pleasant, wherever it's coming from.
Three-year-olds are not terrorists. But maybe their parents and siblings are now. There is no peace for Israel while they are killing children. There is no peace for Hamas while they are killing children. Just as not all Palestinians voted for Hamas, not all Israelis voted for Netenyahu. But did Israelis really sit in deckchairs and cheer on the rockets heading for Palestine? Did they really sing "No school tomorrow, Gaza's children are all dead!"? I cannot tell you how much I hope they didn't. Maybe I'm naive but such inhumanity from those whose ancestors suffered so much scares the living shit out of me. I live in hope that it's horrible propaganda.
The real disgrace in all of this - the absolutely fundamental disgrace - is the UN doing nothing. We can all see the western governments' realpolitik in action here. The vast majority of the Middle East's problems have sod all to do with Israel directly, and the few that do are hardly insoluble, apart from Palestine. But what are the surrounding Muslim countries supposed to think when the US unconditionally supports and arms Israel? Is anyone really surprised that Iran wanted nukes? Nukes get you left alone. Ask Kim Jong Un. It's also a good idea to not hit oil.
Yet Saudi Arabia gets to be our friend, despite their rulers not being Muslims - they're barbarians with a Koran. I'm so tired of being nice to unacceptable regimes just because they've got something we need.
I get why Israel feels vulnerable but if it wants to solve that and be considered a civilised nation on a par with the US and the EU, it has to stand back and be the bigger person. It has to stop breeding hatred by killing wee kids. Hamas, vile as they are, are a product of Israeli aggression. Bloody Sunday - the UK government's inadvertent IRA recruitment drive. Opening fire on the unarmed. Nothing is worse. Not even in war. And I don't doubt for a moment that Israelis feel loss of their children as hard as the Palestinians do.
Who ever thought the world would miss Yasser Arafat? Fatah were a basket of fluffy kittens compared to Hamas.
There are too many straw men in the Israel-Palestine conflict. I am in no way anti-semitic, but I accept that some supporters of Palestine are, and will use any excuse to bash Israel over the head. I am also not Islamophobic, but I accept that some supporters of Israel are, and will bash Hamas on that basis. But it is possible to criticise Israel without hating Jews. I know to the casual observer it's hard to prove that I'm not anti-semitic or Islamophobic, but I know in my heart I'm not and that's all I can really do.
Everyone has to stop killing children. If the world can get behind that one basic sentence we might get somewhere.
Everyone has to stop killing children.