We have all been horrified by the barrage of Gaza. We watched as homes, hospitals, mosques, schools, UN shelters, ambulances and even children being blown up.
We hear very conflicting narratives as to who is to blame.
It is easy to get caught up in the propaganda from one side or another. What is more difficult is understanding all viewpoints and to come up with a plan to stop this carnage.
My viewpoint is from Hebron, Palestine. I’ve been coming here from Sheffield since 2006 to monitor human rights abuses and now I’m married to a Palestinian and live here. I post films on YouTube as Hebron Voices, photos and updates to Facebook as “Save Tel Rumeida.”
I can’t offer a “balanced view” – it’s not a balanced conflict. Israel has the 4th largest army in the world, backed and supplied by the US. Palestinians with homemade rockets, fireworks and stones can never win a military victory. It is futile, counterproductive and immoral for Hamas to attempt this. I’m a pacifist but any practical person can see non-violent strategies are the only effective resistance Palestinians can offer. Violent attacks give a pretext for the Israeli government to respond with overwhelming force.
80% of Gazans are refugees whose homes, land and livelihoods were stolen from them when Israel was established in 1947.
A comprehensive peace plan needs to include compensation for 5 million Palestinian refugees living in exile and citizenship for 1 million who have no papers.
The other major stumbling block is the illegal settlements in the West Bank. Israel needs to stop expanding them and begin to dismantle them.
What can we do to bring peace closer?
I suggest joining Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign and getting better informed on the issues. Help to spread stories of Palestinian lives under occupation to counteract the highly effective Israeli propaganda that dominates our media.
Join the campaign to Boycott Israeli Goods, especially those from the illegal settlements. In this way we can put pressure on the Israeli government to act with justice for all the people in Israel and Palestine.