Published on 4 Aug 2014

As a Brit in Gaza, ‘it’s all your fault,’ is a line I’ve heard a lot

Sit down with any Palestinian over the age of 50 on a street in Gaza and, if you’re British, you’ll soon be discussing Arthur Balfour.

It was in November 1917 that the Conservative foreign secretary promised the leader of Britain’s Jewish community that Palestine would be a Jewish homeland.

“It’s all your fault,” is a line I’ve heard – delivered reasonably calmly. Though nobody’s around to remember, people who remember the expulsion of their grandparents by the Israelis in 1948, and Balfour’s promise, are very capable of joining the dots.

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British imperial troops had spent the best part of 1917 fighting through Gaza, against Turks dug in to defend the road to Jerusalem.

In the past few days, I’ve been speeding up and down the same roads and towns they fought through: Rafah, taken in January 1917; Khan Younis, seized by the Brits and ANZACs in March.

In Gaza City, the capture of which triggered discussions leading to the Balfour Declaration, you can see today the same military means deployed – gunboats and air strikes.

So, events in this corner of the Mediterranean today are just the latest in a complex pattern of cause and effect set off by the first world war.

I’ll try to visit the British war cemetery on Monday. Last time I sped past it two days ago, Israeli Merkava tanks were bracketing the civilian road with shell fire, so we’ll take a view.

Surveying the hand-drawn maps of the British Eastern Expeditionary Force, it’s a reminder that all wars create “facts on the ground”.

History of Gaza

The Allied victory shattered the Ottoman Empire, and brought British and French imperial rule to Palestine, Lebanon and Syria between the wars. The Balfour declaration brought Zionist settlements to Palestine. The Holocaust and the Israeli armed struggle against the British after 1945 created the nucleus of Israel, with the mass expulsion the people here remember as the Nakba – the catastrophe.

Today, Gaza’s human geography is ranged around refugee camps created then, that became towns: the Beach Camp, just up the road from my hotel near Gaza City’s fishing port; Jabaliya where they shelled a school; Khan Younis, Al Burj, where I picked up a Palestinian journalist with her two-year-old child and we had to sing nursery rhymes as shells whizzed into the fields around our car.

Wars create facts and the ones created today, tomorrow, will be created on top of the ones created by a British empire that promised things it could not deliver.

For Balfour promised “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.

By the time Britain had to make good on that promise, in 1948, it was too weak to do so.

That’s why my British face and accent do not go down universally well here, among those who know their history.

Balfour made his promise in the year Russian workers seized power and stopped the war, led by a party – the Bolsheviks – containing many Jews. The explicit aim was to rally Zionist Jews to the Allied cause, and away from the revolutionary movements that were sweeping Europe.

Today, British foreign secretaries don’t do declarations anymore. They consult their inboxes, where they hear widespread angst from ordinary Brits over what the Israelis are doing to Palestinian civilians.

War ‘is never worth it’

Meanwhile, British education secretaries tell us that the “war is hell” meme, that which unites so much of Britain’s popular memory of the 1914 war, is anti-patriotic.

My response to that, with the smell of death on my clothes and pictures of shattered bodies fading too slowly from my mind – we never show the worst on TV but we film it, for the record is this: war is utterly futile. It is never worth it. Not even for the noblest empire or the most just resistance movement.

Sometimes, it is forced on you. If you have to do it, do it humanely and with mercy and finish quickly. But don’t revel in it.

Too many people – and not just the leaders here in Israel Palestine but the ordinary people – do revel in it. Our forefathers, for all the “pro patria mori” rhetoric, did not revel in it. One hundred years of war, betrayal, genocide and the failure of secular ideologies have brought us to this point.

I’ve been saying this all week but I’ll repeat it: I don’t have a message for Cameron, Netanyahu or Obama. But I will offer them full access to our unedited camera tapes.

I would play them on a widescreen cinema unedited without pause. Nobody would be eating popcorn.

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75 reader comments

  1. rehan arshad says:

    Paul
    Thanks for the reporting.
    Would you and C4 please put up the unedited footage on this or another website so we can all see. You can caveat that it contains distressing images etc (I presume) but it would be worth seeing in that raw way.

    1. Jim Catney says:

      Hi Rehan,

      Are you not already disturbed by what we’ve seen?

      It is the war mongers who justify these brutal acts who need to see it. It is they who need their sense of humanity stirred. If it doesn’t work. I don’t know what will.

      We don’t need to be further disturbed.

    2. a.albert says:

      I believe,that Paul was courageous to do what is right.
      As for the unedited footage ,and the worst of pictures ; probably I agree with
      him,because he will be brutally targeted ,by the mainstream Zionist media.
      By mentioning , the reality of the existing ,atrocities is quite a sort of a red flag,
      to the perpetrators.
      We are fed up with the bias media,in France and in the united states.
      I do ask PAUL , to help in considering;that GREAT BRITAIN ???!!!
      Should be held accountable, during their mandate on Palestine in 1947 ,to
      protect the native Palestinians ,instead of leaving them ,under the mercy
      of 40.000 well equipped hagana troops,to decimate the palestinians ,and
      posesse their lands ,and lives.

    3. Philippe Gaeng says:

      Paul,
      Thanks for the great reporting work, I don’t watch dead bodies so I will not look at your footage and I even strongly believe it is not recommended to watch them because emotion can easily lead to massive mistakes when reasoning.

      That said, a few basic historic notes to your paper.
      1. Jews were already settling in under the Ottoman Empire. Zionist supporters were helping refugees from the pogroms of Russia and Poland to BUY land from Arabs.
      2. Fights between the Arabs and the Jews have started before Independance
      3. The Jewish Aqaba has been in conflict with the British Ruler as well
      4. It has always been a best practice of colonizer to support his rule with a minority (usually the merchant elite), jews have been granted the possibility to become French citizen in Algeria etc… Nothing to do with the Bolchevist revolution
      5. At the time of Lord Balfour, Britain was ruling a third of the world with little consideration for the rights of the people but only for stability and peace so trade can prosper in the Empire. This is the very reason that pushed the British not to support the Balfour declaration during the 20 and 30’s even at a time when it became blattant that security of the jews were endangered in Germany.
      6. The independence was granted by the British in 1948 because the Aqaba was at war already with the British ruler.
      7. After World War II, Millions of Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, etc have been deplaced in Europe to adapt to the new frontiers of the countries, it was not seen as inhuman to seize a land and deplace the population.
      8. Palestine and Jordan could have been one and only country if these two would have been able to come to agreement, which they failed. Jordan is big enough of a country to support both populations after the defeat of their armies.
      9. Jews and Arabs supported by the armies of their neighbours fought after the independence. Israel won.
      Israel won 2 other wars in 1967 and 1974, all initiated by its neighbours.
      In 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank and Golan for military reasons. Jordan was bombarding Israel from the West Bank and so did Syria from Golan. If you are a state at war, and if you win a conflict, you make sure to get rid of your enemies strongholds.
      This situation has not changed, and so the mindset of Tsahal will not change. West Bank and Golan should be controlled by them.
      10. Radicalism and Extremism has raised in unprecedented proportion in the islamic world since the 1990s. Afganisthan, Irak, Mali, Niger, Soudan, now Syria, Lybia etc… Do you believe jews feel safe in the 2000’s? I don’t.

      I am not at all justifying to kill civilians, but I am far too much looking forward to not back up the Win the Hearts campaign of Palestinians. If Hamas has been able to bomb Israel, if they were able to build the Tunnels, then they are supported by the Palestinian populations.
      There is not much Palestinians can do, but not to support the ones who are at war with their perpetrators…

      We are Europeans and democrats, we must know where our values stand, and if it’s yet hard to believe, we are way closers to the one of Israels than of their adversaries.

      PS: when we see the scenes of horrors in Syria or Irak, do not tell me that the Hamas will not spread blood in attila’s ways if it were given the opportunity to do so.

  2. Ansar Hussain says:

    Paul, I would like to say that I’m proud of the way Channel 4 but mainly yourself and Jon Snow have reported this conflict. it’s important for the British and the world public to understand the history and facts, this is not as one sided conflict as Israel are making out to be!
    People are quick to look at what the media approach has been which I’m applaud on a bias view point from the US channels SKY BBC and ITV who never look at the bigger picture and the reasoning behind the pain of a broken country.

    1. karita says:

      Thank you. and i agree.

      By contrast BBC reporting has been appallingly biased. And today i heard that the this old etonian pro zionist institution will join with Sky to raise charity funds for gaza. That is the LAST thing the people of Gaza need or want. First they need no more lies about their “terrorist” cause. Second the world needs to wake up and make Israel pay for the damage. Why should we have to keep rebuilding gaza and forcing the people to live on charity? lift the blockade, no more guilt ridden charity! I hope that C4 will have the courage to take the next steps and ask these questions and change the balance

  3. Chris Lowe says:

    If the government had reacted to the Sri Lanka governments genocide of Tamils, then Israel would perhaps not have acted with such impunity when it came to massacring Palestinians, most of whom were non combatants. My email to my MP sent when the death toll was 500, still hasn’t been answered two weeks on. The Conservatives will support anyone that will buy their weapons.

    1. Robert Clark says:

      Cheap shots at Tories: look at the history of Labour governments, especially Blair, then ask what is really going on.

  4. Philip Edwards says:

    “Today, British foreign secretaries don’t do declarations anymore.”

    Indeed not. They do exactly what the Yanks tell them to do and say.

    I spent 20 years living and working in the Middle East. I have many Palestinians among my friends. And I can tell you unequivocally they will NEVER forget what has been done to them. Neither will their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

    One day there will be a terrible price to pay for what the USA and Europe have done. I am glad I won’t be around when that invoice of history is presented. It may take decades or centuries, but it will surely come unless the guilty nations abandon their current murderous course.

    Amongst “ordinary” Arabs the West is seen as a single enemy. It isn’t hard to see why.

  5. David Walker says:

    I agree that war wrecks lives – now and ij the future. It tends to leave a lingering hatred against those who have committed terrible acts. At the moment there are some who would deny their role in all of this. For example, when I hear Mark Ragev or Lt Col Peter Lerner I am reminded of a section in Primo Levi’s ‘The Drowned and the Saved’

    …there are it is true, those who lie consciously, coldly falsifying reality itself, but more numerous are those who weigh anchor, move off, momentarily or forever, from genuine memories, and fabricate for themselves a convenient reality. The past is a burden to them; they feel repugnance for the things done or suffered, and tend to replace them with others. The substitution may begin in full awareness, with an invented scenario, mendacious, restored, but less painful than the real one; in repeating its description to others but also to themselves, the distinction between true and false progressively loses its contours, and man ends by fully believing the story he has told so many times and still continues to tell, polishing and retouching here and there the details which are least credible or incongruous or incompatible with the acquired picture of historically accepted events… ‘

  6. SW says:

    Thanks for this Paul. I’d been lamenting the lack of historical facts in the media coverage and where the reason for Israel’s “right to defend itself” came from. Specifically concerned at the “nobody’s around to remember”. The further in time we get from it all ie WW1, the fewer the people around the world who’ll understand or empathise with the Palestinian side of things. Hopefully, that’s where the media comes in.

    Best,
    SW

  7. Talat Ahmed says:

    Paul

    You are doing an incredible job and so pleased that C4 news is reporting the true situation in Gaza. I hope you as a channel and personally receive the awards and credit that is due to you and your news team.

    I also hope you get to play those tapes as pledged. However, these 3 men and others (such as Blair) are so desensitized to the suffering of human beings, particularly those of the Muslim faith that we will never see even a flinch of regret for their evil actions, biased and muted responses.

    But thank you Paul and super job!

  8. Jamie Houseton says:

    Paul Mason, I have got to say you and Jon Snow, in particular, from Channel 4 News have been outstanding. This is the kind of reporting and the kind of people the world needs. I really do pray for your safe return and hope that you continue with your unbiased (unlike the BBC…) articles. Channel 4 News is more than a news programme.

  9. Ted Hartley says:

    Yes, you are right to mention Balfour, since this really does show how responsible we are for yet another Middle Eastern dabble that became a tragedy. It might be worth saying something about the power of Zionism here. Balfour was a fanatical Christian Zionist and thus deeply sympathetic to the mainstream Zionism that drove the homeland argument forward. I don’t think people know enough about this very powerful force in the history of Israel. I’m sorry to say this but I always put Blair in the same box as Balfour, someone with a direct line to God. Keep safe out there.

  10. saimah afzal says:

    I am 33 British born and bred. Schooled on the world wars in state schools. Taught through the entertainment medium of books like “dairy of Anne frank”, movies like “Schindlers list” about the holocaust. The many stories of slavery in the us and apartied in south Africa.

    With tears in my eyes I swore the world I lived would not let the stains of history repeat themselves.

    My heart breaks when I see inhumane support for killing CHILDREN NEXT TO BRITISH/ENGLISH FLAGS.

    I am British/English and stand with those fellow Brits, the reporters at c4 news included, who realise we humans have a responsibility.

    To those silent I implore you, for the sake of humanity, in the lyrics of a moving song,
    “Say something… I’m giving up on you”

  11. Fatema Patwa says:

    We must not forget the people of Gaza even after there is a ceasefire. If we forget, this will happen again. We must insist that Israel lifts the blockade. The people of Gaza want peace and freedom. If they get freedom, peace will follow. They will have no reason to support terrorist organisations if they have freedom. They will have no need to fire rockets. They will have no need to hate anyone if they are left in peace and to build their own lives and future. It must be obvious to everyone that all they want is the lifting of the blockade and so freedom.

    Whatever the history of Israel and why it exists, it exists. Now let the Palestinians have their own State and let us demand that everyone, including Israel, respects that State, its’ borders and its’ people right to self-determination.

  12. MR says:

    Do the older Gazan residents have any regrets that their forefathers may have contributed to their eventual downfall by siding with the British and Anzac forces against the Ottoman Army? The Allied forces may have suffered the same fate as their comrades in Gallipoli, otherwise. Whether that would have had any effect in slowing the recession of Ottoman power in the region is moot, but it might be a question to put to them when they accuse you of being at fault. This is not to say that the British and French have a lot to answer for.
    On another note, I would like to add my voice to all others who have congratulated you. Channel 4 has been fearless in its reporting and holding the likes of Regev to account. They have not given in like the BBC or indeed our government whose main concern seems to be not offending its party backers, rather than the plight of a brutalised people.

  13. Peter says:

    Yes channel 4 always does an accurate and true report of what is happening unlike the bbc. And I am always pleased to listen and read the news everyday on channel 4.

    I was certainly pleased to read the historical facts of this area, which is always an extra side to the reporting .

  14. Taj Hussain says:

    Israel believes bombing the hell out of the Palestinian people will bring security to the Zionist state. This is a perversion and false. War never brings peace. Israel has to sit down and listen to what the legitimate grievances of the people of Gaza. Israel is committing heinous crimes against the people of Gaza with the support of USA. 1800 civillans killed by Israel who has no care for the people of Palestine. Resistance will never be annihilated.The destruction of schools and universities has been a deliberate ploy to ensure education is finished in Gaza. Channel 4 coverage has been deep,with factual truths from the ground. Constructive questioning and analysis of interviewees. Well done Jonathan Miller. Jon Snow and Paul Mason. C4 deserves award for coverage.

  15. Phil Hall says:

    I read on Wilkpedia that the Balfour declaration and Lloyd George being behind it lay in 1/ Money (influence and no doubt donations) from Rothchild and 2/ armaments – a Jewish chemist called Chaim Weizmann who had an attractive offer to help Britain in WW1 against the Germans, so War has always been a major component …… text below from Wikipedia:

    One of the main proponents of a Jewish homeland in Palestine was Chaim Weizmann, the leading spokesperson in Britain for organised Zionism. Weizmann was a chemist who had developed a process to synthesize acetone via fermentation. Acetone is required for the production of cordite, a powerful propellant explosive needed to fire ammunition without generating tell-tale smoke. Germany had cornered supplies of calcium acetate, a major source of acetone. Other pre-war processes in Britain were inadequate to meet the increased demand in World War I, and a shortage of cordite would have severely hampered Britain’s war effort. Lloyd-George, then minister for munitions, was grateful to Weizmann and so supported his Zionist aspirations.

  16. ferzana says:

    Paul you have restored my hope in the media. It’s brave truthful journalists like yourself that are our only hope of helping the people of gaza. But I fear it may all be to late. I am not anti semitic and have friends of all religions but I can’t help noticing that during shocking events such as 9/11 Muslims throughout the country were declaring openly “not in my name”; unfortunately the response that I’m hearing from my Jewish friends tends to be one of “well its hamas’s fault”
    I hope that more Jewish people will stand up and accept that despite the fact that there are faults on both sides, Israel must stop this carnage and accept that it’s 70 year reign of brutality and terror over these people must end. USA and UK and Europe must demand that Israel removes it’s settlements and give the Palestinians their rightful land and lift any blockades. Palestine must be recognised as a sovereign state with total control over its power and water.israel cannot starve these people anymore. It’s articles like this that may shame them into action.

  17. Amy Cameron says:

    I want to thank you Paul Mason and also Jonathan Miller, Jon Snow and your camera crews for your outstanding reporting. I have so much respect for your courage and for letting the world know the truth of what is happening.
    What the Ch4 news team has done really does make a difference and now it is our turn get involved in every way possible to bring justice for Palestine.

  18. MR says:

    Dear Mods
    Please can you correct the last sentence of my first paragraph, which should read as “This is not to say that the British and French don’t have a lot to answer for”.
    Many thanks.

  19. Alan says:

    can you expand on the “failure of secular ideologies” that you refer to, it seems to be a problem of setting up states that divide people along religious lines and reinforce faith based discrimination and bigotry that is causing the problem. Having more inclusive states that allow people to be atheists or followers of any religion, but getting religion out of political power would seem to be a way forward for a more peaceful world. Religions are all bad, even the nice friendly fluffy local Church of England churches prop up and justify the horrific genocidal ones.

  20. Esther says:

    Paul, all that you say here is no doubt true. But there is also much more to the history, even the fairly recent history of Palestine/Israel that is not much talked about. Just one example: the sovereign country of Jordan was also carved out of the old British Palestinian Mandate. So in that sense, there is already a “two State solution”. There are also 1.25 million Palestinians with full Israeli citizenship. Of course you know all of this – but does your TV audience? I bet most don’t. Do they know that around 700,000 Jews were expelled from the Arab countries of North Africa, Syria and Iraq after 1948? Who’s hearts bled for them?

    My grandparents were dispossessed refugees from Russian Cossack pogroms in the 1890s. But I’m not regarded as a refugee, obviously. But somehow the English language is stretched uniquely for Palestinians so that not only the 10s of thousands remaining from 1948 but also their millions of descendants are also called refugees by UNRWA. Isn’t that odd?

  21. Liz Court says:

    As always, excellent and moving reporting from you Paul and Channel 4 in general. I was prompted to do some research into the history of Palestine going back to WW1 and it is replete with all the conflict and tensions and crises that have been repeated over and over again. The Balfour agreement was very poorly thought through and executed, and both groups – the Palestinians and the Jews were mislead into thinking they had each been promised the territory . The history from that time has been one of land grabbing , invasions , uprisings , wars and the deaths of many many innocent people in the process. Yet nothing has ever been properly worked out . the West has failed spectacularly down the years to find any solution to what is now an existential problem for those hemmed into the West bank and the Gaza Strip . Very little is left of what the Palestinians were once given in the UN settlement to divide the territory into two states in 1947. The rest, as they say, is history. And what a bloody and tragic history it is.

  22. Darren says:

    Thank you Channel 4 News. Paul, I honestly feel for you. I have found watching the edited footage harrowing and very emotional, I cannot imagine how it must be to see this everyday. Unfortunately we live in an age where the line between reality and entertainment is so blurred. I see some people commenting on this war and I despair. It’s as though it is now a given that civilians are acceptable cannon fodder, it all has the feel of some horrible video game that people just watch and tally up the scores. I hope you can return from Gaza and gain some kind of peace. Please be aware, your work is so unbelievably important. I salute you and your Channel 4 colleagues for your work.

  23. Esam Elsify says:

    ” partners in crime”

    accordance to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide under article 3 anyone supporting the genocidal maniacs in Tel Aviv could be guilty by association of genocide: The British government is betraying Britain’s values in its response to the Massacre in Gaza

    Trying to ignore the fact the uk government they are the one who create this problem in 2nd of November 1917 .

    You ignoring the fact the Palestinians under occupation and they have all rights to defend themselves .
    You ignoring the fact What you call it Israel violating the Fourth Geneva Convention?
    The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention and abbreviated as GCIV .

    I’ll remind you with great leader’s quote ” Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
    -Winston Churchill
    “We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle until in God’s good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old.”
    – Prime Minister Winston Churchill (after the fall of France)

    you let the Israelis committed crimes against humanity and they get a way with it because of your support that’s why they killing the palestinians now at this moment & they knew they will get a way with it that’s make you and the hypocrites the political leaders in USA,UN,UK&EU their partners in their crimes

  24. John Tyler says:

    2 wrongs do not make a right. The Jews suffered under Hitler & now they are making the Palestinians suffer too.

  25. shabeena says:

    I can’t imagine HOW you MUST be feeling. Reading your piece REminds me THAT there ARE people inthe WORLD who don’t abuse THEIR work. You are doing a VERY difficult JOB , inthe face of this difficulty YOU are reporting Accurately WHAT you see. Your emotional tone is all over that wrtting i can almost here your the emotion in your VOICE. It humbles ME. Thankyou.

  26. Steve Wallis says:

    As someone who has campaigned on the streets and the internet on this issue, particularly highlighting the role of Barclays Bank in funding the drone-making company El-Bit (Elbit Systems) that has dropped bombs/missiles on Gaza, I’ve really appreciated your reports on Channel 4 News showing real empathy with the ordinary people there.

    I also particularly appreciate you probably having been the first reporter on British TV to mention the use of “drones in the sky” above Gaza (Rageh Omaar on ITV has since done likewise but I don’t think the BBC have yet). Such “unmanned aerial vehicles” are produced by Elbit (as their Wikipedia page confirms) and a petition by BankTrack linked to in my e-petition below was my source of Barclays funding them and their use to drop bombs in Gaza, a practice that surely increases the number of civilian casualties (the Guardian have now reported the use of a drone in the attack near the latest UN school – see a link in an update to the e-petition below).

    I of course appreciate your explanation of the circumstances that have led to the ongoing hostility between the Israeli and Palestinian people on this blog entry – and the prominence given to it on the Channel 4 News website is very welcome.

    To read/sign my e-petition for a boycott of Barclays, go to https://www.change.org/petitions/barclays-plc-we-ll-boycott-you-until-you-stop-funding-the-israeli-arms-industry

  27. Karsten Hammershoy says:

    The Jewish people received a gift from the world community, a country, a place they could call their own.

    Unfortunately, the gift that was given, had been stolen.
    So, according to normal legal practice, the stolen gift must be returned to its rightful owner.

    Imagine someone steals your car, give it to someone as a gift, and you see the recipient of the gift drive around in your car in your community, but when asked to return it to you, say, no this is my car, it was given to me as a gift, you cannot have it.
    How would you feel?

    It is time for the international community, to apply an objective view on the roots of the problem in Israel/Palestine.

    As much as I admire the Israelis and what they have achieved in a little dessert area, and Jewish people in general around the world in the arts, music, cinema, science, trade etc etc, and as much as I dislike almost everything Islam stands for, the Israelis are behaving worse than all Nazi criminals combined, and it has got to stop.

    As a French politician said a long time ago, I will fight with my life for my political enemies right for justice, as that is true democracy.

    Let us stand up for democracy, and actively help the Palestinians have a land of their own, even if our friends the Israelis dont like it.

    It is time to get tough with the Israelis, and make them understand that we gave them a gift, but maybe, just maybe, we want that gift returned, if they do not behave themselves.

  28. Neil says:

    I can only echo what other people have said, and add two possible leads and one point to follow up.

    First, the question of why the Israeli Defence Force allowed Hamas to dig so many tunnels (especially after the 2008-9 campaign, when they were also an issue): http://warincontext.org/2014/07/29/why-did-the-idf-let-hamas-dig-so-many-tunnels-into-israel/ .

    Second, the energy dimension (Gaza sits above an estimated $4 billion of natural gas): https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/12971-the-truth-about-israels-new-war-on-gaza–the-energy-rush .

    Third, a reminder of the toll of the 2008-9 Gaza campaign: “1200 civilians killed, of which more than 300 children, 6000 houses destroyed, half of Gaza’s 122 health facilities including 15 hospitals destroyed, 45 mosques destroyed, 280 schools and kindergartens destroyed, 1500 factories and workshops destroyed, 170 greenhouse facilities destroyed, 80% of agricultural crops and 1/5 of cultivated land destroyed and 600,000 tons of rubble left behind, justified by the IDF as military strategic objectives.”

    Can anyone doubt that the IDF,’s actions, now as then, are directed not just at Hamas, but at the civilian population?

  29. Bob McGuirk says:

    This is a tragic and needless loss of life. Thank you very much C4 for reporting what exactly is going on.

    Please can you ask the next Israeli spokesperson to comment on the following:

    Every 27 days, in Israel, given the 2012 road traffic accident fatality rate, one would expect approximately 18 fatalities (all tragic and not to be trivialised)

    In the first 27 days of Operation Protective Edge, there were 3 civilian casualties.

    Where is the 6 times bigger response of the Israeli state on preventing road traffic accidents in Israel?

    Why are Israeli civilians not more preoccupied with getting into their car or crossing the road? They are six times more likely to be killed in a Road Traffic Accident than from a Hamas Rocket thanks to Iron Dome.

    Israel is allowed to defend itself – Iron Dome is that defense. It has reduced the risk to below that of RTAs. Israel should now be working to reduce RTAs until those needless deaths are less than Hamas rockets if they are really trying to protect their citizens.

  30. Jacob Bax says:

    Well done Paul Mason and colleagues for bringing to us the painful truths of gaza. Your reports are factual, unbiased and reveal the suffering of an oppressed people. All the Western leaders should hang their heads in shame, not to mention the impotent arab leaders. There is a great deal of talk, but no action to stop these evil acts of the agressor. where is the arms embargo? Where is the threat of sanction? Where, the ultimata ? This lack of action is truly sickening.

  31. Khaled Kahn says:

    Excellent reporting Paul. Thank you, Jon Snow and Channel 4 for your coverage of the massacre in Gaza. Finally, with your help, the public are able to see the leaders of Israel, and the West, for what they are. Corrupt, lying, cowardly murderers. They sing from the same hymn sheet. They repeat like robots the same mantra. ‘We are investigating what happened, we do not know yet who bombed the U.N building/school/hospital’.

    It is clear and obvious, Netanyahu and the Pro-Israeli lobbies/movements, have the West by the scruff of the neck. They dare not condemn. They dare not speak out.

    You imply it at the end of your articles, but never expressly say it. What is Britain getting for their ‘unshakeable’ support of Israel?

    Why is this tiny population so powerful? Some 12 million people worldwide. Yet they can order the big bully around (U.S.A). They can have $1bn Iron Dome installed for them. Paid for by America. Designed by RADS of Israel?? So an Israeli Defence company designs and builds it, and the American public tax money pays this company for it, to defend Israel. Oh the irony..

    $100,000 a piece for each ‘interceptor’. And when supplies dry up, they are replenished by U.S.A. Plus a further $250m to reload the killing machine as voted for by Senate majority.

    I would demand my tax pounds are not spent paying for weapons of war crimes. The American citizens should too.

  32. AA says:

    Paul, you are wrong! I am sure Obama, Cameron and Blair will eat popcorn through your unedited footage. How else will they prove they are not anti-Semites to their Zionist masters? Netanyahu on the other hand…. will not enjoy anything till all Gazans are anhilated as per wishes of his friends in the Knesset

    We are all pained at the injustice, and feel for those who have lost a loved one… but for those who have been killed through oppression, their reward in Paradise is promised by their Lord. So remember that Paul, and you look after yourself and your team and do not let the injustice affect your sanity. May God give continue to give you and C4 courage, strength an patience, and bring you back safely and in peace.

  33. litan mahmud says:

    Thanks, i jst want say to you could you show the world what did you record in gaza?
    Leader are supporting israel for their own purpose bt ordinary people can understand.
    show it plz

  34. Azhar says:

    Thank you Channel 4 and to you Paul. I salute you for your bold reporting on the Gaza conflict.

  35. Stephen C says:

    As requested by another poster …can you put up the full footage…and thank you for the reporting. It seems like you are striving to do this without bias…unlike many others

  36. Dj Footprint says:

    Once again, Thank you Paul and the Channel 4 News Team, there in the horror and misery that still continues in Gaza. I have posted a number of messages on your (& Jon’s) previous blogs – at this point i can add no more for the moment. All that i would like to say has been said in those posts before mine on this page – from Rahan Arshad, and everyone up to and including Darren, at the time at which i type this.
    It would indeed be a huge wish that Cameron, Netanyahu and Obama saw the full unedited tapes you have – the likelihood, unfortunately is bleak – as is that of the likelihood of the insufferable Regev to continuously stop spouting his Zionist ‘flim-flam’ – helped indeed by the ‘Hasbara Propaganda Handbook’, a secret document put together by an equally rabid U.S. Right-Wing Republican. (Unfortunately, my laptop, for some reason, will not allow me to transfer a copy from my Documents Folder – to here – Though it has previously been posted on a previous blog by a very well-versed lady who posted some lengthy and very informative posts.
    Again, many, many thanks for the outstanding reporting by yourself and all of your team Paul – keep safe, and may all your minds be able to recover from what you have witnessed. An award for the contributions to journalism you have made – not just in Gaza – but throughout this year – would be more than justified.

    I would also ask that as many people as possible, e-mail or write to the BBC to complain and put forward their disgust at the level of their biased ‘News’ coverage.

  37. David says:

    If there is one thing that is certain, many more rockets will be fired from Gaza, maybe not today but before long, because the Palestinians chose terrorists to target civilians and I am sure liberal comments will damn Isreal (and the West).

    There is very little difference between Hamas, ISIS, Boko Harum etc. so choose your sympathies very carefully – whatever happens for those in Tel Aviv will be brought to your door, and those committing terrorism will always find someone else but themselves to blame for pulling the trigger.

  38. Michael says:

    I read, yesterday, an important Israeli politician that stated Israel should build concentration camps for Hamas insurgents (reading between the lines he implied in my opinion, they should be used to house all Palestinians, men, women and children) and my question is:

    Did they learn this from Hitler, Hess, et al, or was it passed down to them from the Jewish Bolsheviks that built the same during the Russian revolution, and had a reason to rebel due to their subjugation by Russia?

  39. Tom Horwat says:

    We constantly hear on the news regarding ceasefires, that it always seems to be Hamas who break these. You said in your report Paul that within 2 minutes of an agreed ceasefire it was broken by Israel, I don’t think we’d be hearing this on Sky,BBC, ITV. Also I’m shocked at seeing Israeli tanks firing into what I can only assume are built up areas of Gaza, do we know how accurate these tank shells are?, it just seems Israel are out to cause as much wanton damage to Gazan infrastructure as possible. The whole thing is incredibly one sided and comes across as collective punishment. Keep up your excellent reporting, and please please please, keep safe.

  40. Alan says:

    They’re the ones who cant live next to each other in peace; don’t blame the British. Our country is on its knees because of the amount of help we have given the rest of the world. If you don’t want our help then don’t take it.

  41. Namche says:

    For many years I have been appalled by what Israel has been allowed to get away with in it’s slow destruction of what remains of the Palestinian territories and it’s people.

    I don’t believe there can be a negotiated solution anymore, Israel has long created too many ‘facts on the ground’ (just look up a map of Israeli controlled, and settled territory in Gaza and the West bank) for it to voluntarily pull back from where it is and as it continues to destroy Palestinian infrastructure and their means to support themselves it is on the slow road to outright occupation by stealth.

    The only way to avoid this is an imposed solution (based on UN Security Council resolutions decades old, yet still not implemented), though I fear there is no one with the backbone to stand up to Israel and impose this.

  42. Cliff says:

    I too want to thank Jon Snow and Paul Mason for their coverage of this. I never knew I could cry so much.
    I really do wish there was some way of finding out if the little girl Bisan is OK. She is such a little Angel and a real little lady. I feel by showing Paul her house she was really showing us that they are just like any other children in the world.
    When this is all over,if ever, Israel should be made to help them rebuild their broken homes and lives.
    Blessings and prayers to Bisan where ever she may be.

  43. Liv666 says:

    So now that the war appears over, reporters dare to show the truth. See with your own eyes, Rockets shot from near hospital, hotels, schools, a child playing near a launcher.

    Where were you Paul? did you not see, or chose to ignore?

    From France24 yesterday: http://www.france24.com/en/20140805-exclusive-video-hamas-rocket-launching-pad-near-gaza-homes-un-building/

    From India NDTV: http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/ndtv-exclusive-how-hamas-assembles-and-fires-rockets-571033

    From Finnish Helsingin Sanomat (Turn on captions): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmQpiUvS2PQ

    12 residential shootings from the air: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUrDAEgisXM

  44. Rob says:

    It seems to me that all involved blame everyone but themselves. The Middle East had conflicts long before the Romans invaded. Maybe if less attention was paid to history and a little more to how can i live with my enemies in the future, things may improve. You cannot change the past you can only shape the future.

  45. Boris Rheinhart says:

    To be fair, the British still did everything they could to ensure the rights of Palestinians even after the 1917 declaration. They continued this after WWII in 1945 but the fatigue of 6 years of war and the rabid and very violent determination of the Zionists defeated the British morale. The Jewish settlers flooding in from Europe and the USA were, quite rightly, livid about the Holocaust and were determined no-one was going to stop them from achieving a homeland. They had learnt their lesson at the hands of the Nazis and used many of the same tactics to cow and disperse the Palestinians. There was nowhere for thousands of Jewish refugees to live so they created ‘liebensraum’ from 1948 by attacking Palestinian villages; they killed every man, woman and child they could find and then leaked it that they would be at a neighbouring village the next day. When they arrived, unsurprisingly the residents had all fled and Jewish settlers were quickly moved in. Using this method, over 400 Palestinian villages were cleared and repopulated with Jewish settlers. Palestine already had a pretty full population for the type of country it was – only desert and scrub was unpopulated by Arabs. The Jewish population of Israel has risen from 1/2 million in 1945 to over 6 million – where do you think they all live? Mostly on land previously owned by Arabs who were killed, forcibly moved to unfertile scrubland ‘palestinian areas’ or forced to flee as refugees, their land claimed as ‘abandoned’. Ironic how many Jews are now claiming compensation for their family’s houses and property in Germany and Eastern Europe taken over by non-Jews after they were ‘abandoned’ by fleeing Jews. Everyone in the West rightly sees this as just, but no-one thinks the same should apply to mere Arabs in Israel. Hypocrisy at its worst

  46. John Atkins says:

    I am glad that someone is drawing attention to the continuing compression and oppression of the people of Palestine. I find it disgusting that politicians of all stripes both here and the US dodge all questions aimed at eliciting a response as to the disproportionate use – nay abuse – of their superior power by the Israeli’s. Until the West speaks out forcefully Israel will continue to believe and claim it is merely defending itself.

  47. Russell Brown says:

    Paul, you are brainwashed.

  48. Russell Brown says:

    This blog and the entire narrative is just extremist ignorant propaganda. Hysterical when you try to do context.

  49. jeff m says:

    Not the fault of the Turks then?

  50. Tim says:

    Can someone please explain to me how Israel has the right to defend itself in such a brutal way when the wholly counter productive rocket attacks BETWEEN the three Gazan wars killed or injured no-one in Israel, from what I can gather. Or, have I got that wrong? Please tell me. Or, was this third war in response to the three Israeli teenagers killed in the West Bank in June? But, that might have been a criminal offence that should not have led to this massive, unreasonable attack of supposed ‘self-defence’.

    I can only hope that all this bloodshed leads to Israel talking directly to their, now, even more numerous enemies, to eventually get a permanent peace settlement.

    Excellent, impartial reporting from all on Channel 4 News.

  51. Varda Denning says:

    Yah why not give Israel to the Palestinians and let them turn it into a hell hole like Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Afganistan, Luton, Birmingham and Londonistan.

  52. Ben says:

    Good thought provoking article. The only piece that is missing in my opinion is what was concocted before Balfour. It is worth (re)reading the earlier influencial http://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Future_of_Palestine from Herbert Samuel (lib) in 1915! He even predicts unrest and problems if more than 4 million people would try to live there, but he sold it as enlarging the empire… I wonder what he would think if he could see it now. Let us hope that some people will have the courage to compromise enough to provide Palestinians with a dignified, economically viable living space so they won’t want to fight anymore.

  53. Ed says:

    I find the support of the Palestinian cause by the average British citizen remarkable. The Jews a small religious minority in the region, were planted on land that did not belong to them. Since that time, Palestinians and others have been fighting to displace them. There is talk of segregation/apartied. The violation of human and civil rights. The averag Briton is outraged. Yet much closer to their home a very similar situation exists. A small religious minority was planted on land that was taken forcibly from the original inhabitants. Schools are segregated, civil rights violated, human rights ignored and the average British citizen sees nothing wrong. How does the Palestinian question differ from the question of Northern ireland? Oh yeah, the religious minority in NI are British citizens. Silly me.

  54. Brian says:

    “I am glad that someone is drawing attention to the continuing compression and oppression of the people of Palestine. I find it disgusting.”

    Yes it is terrible that Hamas, zero sum nihilist Jihadists are being oppressed from wiping Israel and millions of Jews off the face of the earth as per their states goals in their charter.

    If Israel life the so called “seige” (google how much humanitarian aid they ship into Gaza), if they life the seige for all goods including stuff Hamas can use for military means then what do you think will happen? There will be peace? The rockets predated the so called “seige”. We may have a chance of peace with Fatah, but there is zero chance with Hamas.

  55. BrianS says:

    Ed says…

    “The Jews a small religious minority in the region, were planted on land that did not belong to them. Since that time, Palestinians and others have been fighting to displace them”

    Ed, if you take a look at the Turk census of 1860 you will see their were more Jews living in Jerusalem than Muslims or Christians. The most famous rabbis lived in Gaza in the 15th century. Palestine is the name of a region, like Siberia, not a nation, there has never been a nation called Palestine, the Palestinian area used to cover all of Jordan and parts of surrounding countries. So you could say Jordan is the Palestinian arab state.

    It is not as simple as most people believe. Yes alot of Jews came from Russia and many nations, but if you have a look at arab migration to that area after Zionism began (to find work and better housing), you will see it is almost identical to Zionist migration.

    1. Ed says:

      BrianS. I know that there has never been a Palestinian state. My point was that Briton’s in general are being hypocritical in their support of Palestinians while ignoring a similar situation in their own country.

  56. Russell Brown says:

    Boris Rheinhart

    Total nonsense, complete fiction, slander of the creation of the Jewish State.

  57. Dj Footprint says:

    @ Russell Brown – Yet more incisive commentary from yourself. Have you actually got anything of any substance to add to this debate? – Or is your capacity to take in the events in Gaza etc. limited to 3 sentences in three posts, that add nothing whatsoever to this blog?

    “Slander of the creation of the Jewish State”….Is that some kind of joke?

  58. Sal says:

    Well done both Paul and Jon. I have been following your coverage and am
    humbled by your courage in risking your lives to convey the truth across to us.

    I pray you have a safe return,

  59. David says:

    It is really odious how Mason misrepresents history and how people on the left in Britain slobber all over themselves. The partition of Palestine coincided with the partition of India in 1947 but unlike in the case of Pakistan the Palestinians rejected statehood (as they have done repeatedly in 1922, 1947, anytime between 1948-1967, in 1999/2000 and again in 2008). Israel was then attacked by six Arab armies and the Jordanian forces were commanded by a British officer. Arab radio transmissions told the Arab population to leave the area so that the Arab armies could annihilate the Jews and drive them into the sea after which the Arabs could then return.

    However the Arab armies were defeated despite the fact that most of the world including the United States had imposed an arms embargo on Israel and expected them to be wiped out. During World War 2 the Palestinian leader Haj Amin al-Husseini spent most of the war in Berlin, met with Hitler and met multiple times with Himmler. He actively participated in planning the genocide and was later convicted in absentia at Nuremberg. However Mason warps history and claims there was a “mass expulsion” of Arabs and twists things so that it is portrayed as though the Jews perpetrated genocide. A fourth of the Israeli population is Arab and there are Arab political parties in the Israeli parliament. There is an Arab Muslim Justice on the Israeli Supreme Court and a previous government had an Arab Muslim Cabinet Minister.

  60. Russell Brown says:

    “Slander of the creation of the Jewish State”….Is that some kind of joke?

    >
    Even Benny Morris wrote a version of history to try and appease arab pride and facilitate a peace agreement at the time and he concluded (the arabs started it all). Go read wikipedia it will tell you the same. The sort of things people quote on this blog is just ridiculous Jihadist propaganda intended to deligitimize it and so facilitate its destruction on behalf of expansionist bigoted zero sum Islamism.

    Leftists are the useful idiots for that cause.

    1. Dj Footprint says:

      And idiots are useful tools for passing off the cause of inexcusable acts of terror, the deaths of 2,000 people, the injuring of 10,000 – reducing Gaza to a whole area of bombed-out rubble. All in Netanyahu’s diagnosed plan – to wipe Gaza and Palestine off the map.

      The automatic response of someone who cannot accept another person’s point of view, yet alone knows nothing about them, or their political standings – if any (they could simply be a humanist)

      ….Call them a Leftist idiot.

      Dear, dear me.

      Don’t let the door hit your behind on the way out.

      1. David says:

        Britain was never attacked with a single rocket but led the recent bombing campaign in Libya, murdering children, because at the time Libya was Britain’s third largest oil provider. Now as a consequence of your country’s failings the children of Libya exist in a state of extreme violence and anarchy and none of you people particularly care. Channel 4 has not reported anything whatsoever about the rising death toll caused by the your country’s actions. Again with Kosovo, Britain was never attacked with a single rocket and 2000 civilians were killed during your military campaign and this is celebrated in Britain as a great success. When one applies Britain’s own standards Israel is clearly the more humane of the two and all of these British Hamas sympathizers such as Mason and yourself are self-righteous hypocrites.

  61. Steven says:

    Look at arab migration to the area after 1860 and compare with Jewish migration to the area and you will see it is almost identical. The arabs flocked to the region to find work and better housing (after) Zionism began.

  62. Len says:

    Oh my Mr. Mason, what a shallow view. You kind of fast-forward from 1917 to 2014 while skpping some critical stops on the way. 1948 – the UN called for establishment of an Arab Palestinian state alongside a Jewish Palestinian state, the Jews accepted and the Arabs – rejected. Then held the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank (under Arab rule) in permanent refugee status, denying them basic human rights. 2005 – Israel hands Gaza over to the Palestinians, who proceed to vote in Hamas and invest billions in bombs and tunnels instead of schools and housing. Is Israel perfect? No. But unless you really think that 7 million people are going to disappear, it’s about time for everyone to accept its existence (which you evidently don’t) and move forward.

  63. David says:

    Regarding Britain’s culpability it was of course Britain that created the modern twentieth-century construct of Palestine “Land of the Philistines” as well as the Palestinian flag and the Arab League. Mason is economical with the truth and fails to mention this in his argument because he is a Hamas sympathizer.

  64. Dr. Hasanat Husain MBE says:

    Palestinians/victims of Israel and Iraqi Christians/victims of ISIS need to be protected.
    There should not be any double standards in these two.

    1. David says:

      What is unsavory about your suggestion is that Islamic State is perpetrating genocide where as Israel is preventing genocide.

  65. Tudor Reece says:

    I seem to remember that The Art of War itself stated a number of times that war should only ever be a last resort. It has, on rare occasion, been the only way for certain entities to survive, but it should be avoided like the plague.

  66. WRONG says:

    To say “the expulsion of their grandparents by the Israelis in 1948” is plain wrong

    The Palestinians were not forced from their lands in 1948. Maybe in a few cases, but not on the whole or as a policy. Israel, following the UN vote, declared itself a state at which stage many Palestinians left in protest and the Arab world attacked. Israel successfully defended itself from both its Arab neighbors and the Arab towns within Israel. At which stage, this whole mess (in its modern guise) truly started.
    Most Palestinians remaining in Israel, having seen and helped their Arab brothers lose to Israel, fled. But their brothers, the surrounding Arab countries did not let in the Palestinians. They left them in refugee camps on their borders…. ask any non Palestinian Arab – Palestinians are viewed as the lowest of Arab!

    Note that the neighboring Arab countries still do not let in the refugee Palestinians. By perpetuating this conflict, the Arab world is united in its hatred of Israel. Although over the last 3 years that has all changed. Even the Arab countries do not all support Hamas and their ongoing abuse of the Gazan population (why was all that aid money and resources spent on war not homes, schools, hospitals, factories?!?!?!?!)

    So to say that that the Palestinians were expelled by the Israelis in 1948 is just WRONG

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