Published on 7 Aug 2014

Why Gaza will prove to be a game-changing event

Rafah, Jalabiya, Beit Hanoun… these names are placeholders for a conflict that never goes away. During a month of fighting they’ve flashed up on our TV screens, or in geo-tagged tweets from citizen journalists.

Numerous UN resolutions outline their status. An entire sub-species of the human race specialises in documenting the conflict: the Middle East reporters, the NGOs, the think tankers. So the danger is, with so much expertise, so many reputations, so many PhDs sunk into the old view of the Middle East, we fail to see what is new in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Or we see only tweaks to an old picture.

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Some things, however, were new in the Gaza conflict. Or had emerged and were clearly demonstrated by it. Instead of the “latest round”, it looked to me, at times, like a wholly new situation, and one whose dangers are exacerbated by our failure to see what’s new.

1.   America is weak. The USA’s failure to force Israel to show restraint, even while condemning certain of its actions, is part of the new reality that has emerged during the second Obama presidency. Weakness over Syria turned into weakness over Ukraine, paralysis over the breakup of Iraq, humiliation by the Sisi junta over the jailed Al Jazeera staff, and then humiliation during the first attempts to broker a ceasefire in Gaza.

2.   Hamas is weak. However high its reputation is flying right now with the Palestinian population of Gaza, its strategic alliances have been cut off: the Muslim Brotherhood has had its time in Egypt, the Qatar monarchy is isolated. This war, for Hamas, was a last-ditch attempt to gain something by force – namely a full or partial lifting of the siege – before all its diplomatic leverage evaporated.

3.   Isis has changed the regional dynamic. The possibility of a breakup of Iraq forced Iran to seek a limited détente with the USA over nuclear power. Isis currently holds much of Iraq, a large part of Syria and is certainly building limited, covert support both on the West Bank and Gaza, according to my sources (black Isis flags were tolerated over certain homes in both Rafah and Gaza City, my Gazan source says).

4.   The right, far-right and religious nationalists in Israel are driving its policy. Not only is the anti-war left tiny, but the liberal voices calling for restraint – both on the bombing of Gaza and the settlement of the West Bank – are increasingly treated as treacherous. When the commander of the Givati Brigade called Operation Protective Edge a “holy war” without censure, it was just the latest symptom of a cultural shift. Numerous expert voices have expressed concern that a permanent divide between liberal Zionism in the west and policy and culture in Israel has opened up, that may in the medium term lead to the end of the west’s strategic support for Israel.

5.   The technology of war has evolved. Living for 10 days under constant drone surveillance in Gaza City, it occurred to me that this might be an early foretaste of what large parts of humanity have to suffer in the 21st century: total asymmetry of force. Israel, for certain, carried out indefensible shelling into civilian areas; and its soldiers are reported to have drawn arbitary “red lines”, past which they entitled themselves to shoot civilians. However, the ability to be drone struck, or drone targeted, creates a different issue: many of the homes struck by drones, we have to assume, were targeted because of Hamas members who were alleged to live inside them. But as with the USA in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the drone strikes then killed much of the civilian families who were in those homes. This is extra-judicial killing, by any other name, and in the case of the non-combatants, murder.

6.   Social networks change our perception of war. I’ve written about this before, but seeing both journalists and Gazan citizens at work on Twitter and Facebook, spreading real-time, verifiable imagery of arbitrary killing of civilians has, most probably, been as big a shock to the global audience as, say, movie pictures of the trenches were in the first world war, and the first anti-war novels of the early 1920s. Many people say they can “feel” what it must be like: this is a big change from Iraq, where we saw the war through the nose-cameras of missiles, or satellite imagery from Centcom, or the occasional live-feed from the top of a hotel on 24-hour TV.

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Because of these new elements to the situation, the Gaza war looks less like another stalemate, more like a game-changing event.  It creates, in the short term, an increased likelihood of miscalculation. Genocidal thoughts are spreading on both sides. I’ve heard secular, modern Palestinians in the Arab nationalist tradition, previously wedded to the two-state solution, say “after this we can’t live on the same planet”. Likewise, in the Israeli media, parliament and Twittersphere, the rhetoric of ethnic cleansing, “camps” and anti-Arab racism is rife.

Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly faced down a call from his parliamentary allies to occupy Gaza. This is fortunate, because given the holy war rhetoric, messages from home calling for Arab blood etc, and the determination of Palestinians to fight house by house, there would have beena  bloodbath far in excess of what’s happened to date.

Second, it creates the possibility of a rapid descent into humanitarian hell. It’s impossible to convey the extent of the destruction in a single picture: but if you add up the severe shortage of acute hospital beds and medical staff, the shortage of clean drinking water, the tens of thousands of dwellings destroyed, the lack of electrical power – and the siege and blockade – then the possibility of disease and social breakdown are high.

Third, it creates a window of necessity for a solution: it might not be strategic or permanent, but the weakened diplomatic position of Hamas, plus the rapidly deteriorating international support for Israel, means that regional players have the ability to impose a peace that stabilises the Gaza strip enough to allow in the massive medical and material aid that will be needed in the next days and months, and for the government of Gaza to become a recognised interlocutor with those who want to prevent catastrophe.

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Right now, with the Cairo ceasefire talks bogged down, the dangers of a renewed conflict seem higher than the possibility of a lasting truce. But if you look beyond the short term, the dynamics of the Middle East look ominous.

Once America morally walks away from the situation it has created, during more than 70 years of foreign policy in the region, there is no lever to pull. The Palestinian youth, who thinks his suffering will “force the world to act”, suffers for nothing; the State Department official, who thought they were bringing democracy and humanitarian values to the region on the back of the dollars and arms poured into places like Israel and Egypt, finds out it was all just to fund the killing of civilians and the suppression of protest. The journalist who thinks that, by running the story of criminal behaviour – either by the IDF or Hamas – it will force restraint, is similarly disillusioned.

Without a global order, the order in the Middle East will be made by forces in which there is no redeeming feature: Isis, the racist right in Israel, Assad, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the corrupt generals of Egypt.

I am no supporter of “liberal intervention”: what’s caused this, ultimately, is the unilateral – and it turned out pointless – interventions by the USA and UK, in Iraq and Afghanistan, between 2001 and now.

The populations of the west are sickened by the results of “intervention” and have no appetite for further engagement with the region. Whether this lasts a decade or a generation will depend on whether the results of the chaos start filtering back into western countries, in the form of unstoppable migration surges or new terror groups, or high energy prices.

While everyone is patting everyone else on the back and going moist eyed over the first world war, it’s worth remembering that it was out of that carnage that the idea first arose of a global order – not imposed by a superpower but by negotiated and limited ties of mutual dependence.

It was the British Jewish socialist Leonard Woolf – husband of the more famous Virginia – who published the first serious design for  what became the League of Nations, in April 1915. Woolf, with his roots in pacifism (he’d been a colonial administrator of the British empire in Ceylon) emphasised the need to build, not a Utopia but “a duller and heavier structure placed logically upon the foundations of the existing system”.

What they actually built was imposed by the victors and, as we now know, solved nothing long term – creating in the process the “mandate” system, which produced Syria, Palestine etc.

However, if we measure the current situation in the Middle East against the desperate situation that faced the world 100 years ago, the glaring truth emerges: there is nothing remotely approaching “foundations” to build on.

The Middle East “system” is currently one of pure antagonism between rogue states, pariah states, non-state actors and out-of-control client states. No military power – be it Turkey, Iran, Egypt or Israel – is in a position to impose any kind of order on their borderlands.

This is a cause of huge fatalism among the old tribes of experts and commentators: the “order” they thought they were expert in has collapsed.

The only point of light is that, beneath the drone strikes in Gaza City, beneath the Qassam strikes in Tel Aviv, amid the executions and floggings in Tehran, and among the scattered millions of Syrians and Iraqis, exist many young people who don’t buy the hyper-religious, violent fantasies of the region. They all live the same kind of lifestyle; they all aspire to a tolerant, techno-empowered society.

In 2011 – from Tahrir Square, Cairo to the Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv – they protested about things in a new way. Now their region is being torn apart in a new way, for the old reasons.

I don’t have any answers, but anybody who thinks there can be anything “permanent” in the disorder thus created is crazy.

Order – even limited order of the kind the world enjoyed between 1920 and 1933 – has to be created by acts of will and self-sacrifice, done in common between formerly belligerent peoples and their politicians.

They probably laughed at Leonard Woolf, beavering away in the New Statesman offices to produce a blueprint of a peaceful world while all around were celebrating the effectiveness of machine guns, but somebody had to do it. Who will now?

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70 reader comments

  1. Sahira says:

    I wanted to thank Channel 4 and you Mr. Mason for doing a neat job in covering Gaza in news. Hoping and praying for justice for Palestinians and peace in the land.

    1. Wendé Anne Maunder says:

      Hear, hear Sahira. I’m 100% behind this comment.

  2. organic cheeseboard says:

    I’m not so sure this demonstrates America’s weakness per se. What it demonstrates is that Israel won’t listen to the Obama administration, but that’s more to do with Israeli intransigence than American weakness, and in the longer term this psuedo-tough grandstanding is going to be awful for Israel. They seem, in general, to have badly misplayed their hand both domestically and also internationally – it’s really extraordinary for so many UK politicians to come out publicly against their actions.

    1. Jonathan says:

      I consider these politicians to be self-righteous, depraved fools. They have granted virtual immunity to all terrorists. All they have to do is to surround themselves with civilians and they can do what they wish. It is sad, but Israel does not have the right to self-defense in the eyes of a large part of the world.

      1. Peadar MacGhabhain says:

        The Middle East is a disaster zone,and has been for decades , caused by USA and Western IMPERIALISM and COLONIALISM over past centuries. It’s that simple

      2. Lee says:

        What utter nonsense. Self defence from what? The “3” civilians that have been killed? You think the murder of thousands of civilians in the attempt to kill some Hamas fighters is self defence?

        The iron shield prevents anything hitting Israel, the artillery of Hamas/Palestine is akin to throwing rocks. It’s complete ignorance like yours that perpetuates this problem. Nobody is saying Hamas should be firing rockets etc, that is also wrong but put things in perspective.

        Yes, Palestine needs a new political regime away from Hamas but so does Israel and its right wing Zionist terrorist regime.

      3. Sabeel says:

        @Jonathan why do people keep saying that the world is criticizing Israel for defending itself?we are not nor is the world! Israel is the aggressor here, according to UN resolutions that everybody is the west keeps throwing in the face of “less civilized” people , they have failed to enforce the same on Israel, who is currently occupying their land! Would you let your enemy control every aspect of your life? I don’t think so and neither will Palestinians! so stop trying to portray Israel as a victim because the are clearly the opposite, Illegal and unlawful occupation of land is not done by the blameless victims

      4. Mamaika says:

        Nobody denies Israel the right to defend, but killing more that 300 kids is a crime against humanity! Only in the camps more kids were killed…

  3. Christa says:

    I search for your reports daily. Thank you for taking the time to discuss these events in context – to educate and enlighten.

  4. Bob says:

    I greatly admire Channel 4 News, I feel where is a problem, there is always a solution to it, often not found for a long time, but there, also this is soluable, it is not after all Ebola, although that said, some of the answers may already be around

    best wishes

  5. Tony McLoughlin says:

    great piece…. try to spend time in Iran before lumping them into the same bucket of media narrative.

  6. Ivan Pope says:

    I’d like to suggest this, which you implied. Israel is also weak. Possibly weaker than Hamas. Can Israel restart the war on the same basis? What will that do to her international situation? We seem to be at a tipping point, but you don’t come to a conclusion on what that means. I think Israel doesn’t know what to do next and although Hamas is also pathetic, they know that.

  7. Paul Gosling says:

    Excellent analysis.

    I suggest there is one other new dimension today. It is not just the leadership of liberal (and neo-liberal) nations in the West whose support for Israel is now ebbing. There is what seems to me an entirely new street level reaction against Israel amongst the populations, at least in the UK. The resentment against Israel is nothing that I have seen since apartheid was in place in South Africa.

    Israel is becoming isolated, potentially culturally as well as diplomatically. That could change many things if it leads to a widespread boycott of its goods and cultural activities in the same way as happened with South Africa.

  8. Esam Elsify says:

    I only wish that the truth has a tongue, I only wish that, the TRUTH has a tongue…!
    Will you have the decency to stand up for Israeli’s crimes against humanity against the Palestinian people .
    I am writing to express my deep concern regarding Israel violating the Fourth Geneva Convention & UK governments support for Israel which make you partner in their crimes
    Please check these facts and figures:

    1. Gaza was invaded by Israel in 1967 & ever since Israel is illegally occupying the whole of the Gaza strip.

    2. Gaza is surrounded on three sides by Israel who has blocked all these three sides by Israeli army.& Navy.

    One side is border of Egypt where the Egyptian army along with Israeli & UN observers & monitors blocks the entry of any body from/to Gaza.

    Gaza is literally huge prison where not even a bird can enter without Israel’s permission.

    3. Gaza has no sea port or airport or even a train station.

    4. Gaza residents cannot leave Gaza as they don’t even have passports. Plus there are Israeli checkpoints at every place. Also no one from any country can enter Gaza without Israel’s permission which is impossible to get , forget about ordinary man even the top politicians of powerful countries had been denied entry in Gaza by Israel. Gaza is a place which is totally cutoff from the rest of the world.

    5. Each and every daily use commodities comes through these Israeli check points. Even the milk, wheat medicines all items come through these Israeli check points. Israel charge taxes on all the items witch goes through these check points.

    6. Gaza is like a big jail. It is entire country under seize. Even inside Gaza Israel have several check posts at important junctions. The Israeli army harasses and humiliates Gaza citizens every day as the Gaza citizens cross these check posts.

    7. The UN has urged Israel numerous times to remove this illegal seizure of Gaza but Israel never listen to UN .

    More then 50 resolutions have been passed by UN against Israel but with USA always on its side so Israel just doesn’t care.

    8. The food and essentials are always in short supply in Gaza as Israel delays, discourages and harass its imports in Gaza. Shops don’t have enough rations, hospitals don’t have enough and essential medicines. Power is in short supply, petrol and gas is in shortage too. The inflation is highest in the world in Gaza as a result of it. The poverty is rising at the highest rate also. The Gaza children’s are among the worst malnutrition children now.

    9. There are no specialized doctors or equipments to treat the serious injury or disease in any hospitals. Every now and then Israeli army bomb Gaza and the innocent civilians get hurt during bombing. These wounded civilians plead and beg in the check points to let them out for treatment but they kind Israeli army never let them. So the wounds which could have been treated become more severe and often the wounded becomes handicapped for the rest of their lives.

    10. Once a thriving society and rich people now have become beggars & prisoners in their own country.Can you imagine the trauma the humiliation the harassment the pain in the hearts of these people who have been invaded and made prisoners and slaves in their own country?

    They have been struggling for their independence since almost 50 years now. With each passing day Israel is constructing new settlements for its Israeli citizens in their land. With each passing day their hope of independence, a hope to live a normal life like any other human is fading away. Every night they sleep in pain and every morning they wake up with sorrows.

    In the pretext of peace talks Israel actually is delaying their independence to capture more and more of their land everyday by constructing new Israeli homes and settlements. The Palestinians know this and they are watching it helplessly. Just like a goat watch the lion eats its children but can do nothing. They are shedding tears of blood. With Israeli soldiers harassing them , cursing them, abusing them mocking them, hurting them , killing them everyday in their very own land, all Palestinians can do is watch and cry.

    What suggestions do you have now? The western paid media is making & broadcasting news in such a manner that one should feel as if Gaza residence are the one who are occupying Israel and Israel is fighting for the freedom!!
    the Palestinian people didn’t start this aggression
    The apartheid state ( Israel ) started this aggression
    Why they will be prejudice, hatred ,or discrimination against Jews ?
    they cant’t do wrong .
    matter of fact everyone knew the Israelis have got supreme power to lobby the western politicians & the western media they’re very good at laying traps & alas and#UK#USA#EU and#UN are good at getting caught in them
    they committing crimes against humanity at daily basis

    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

    1. the truth says:

      indeed Esam, if only truth had a tongue!
      Israel withdrew all its forces from gaza 9-10 yesrs ago. this is a fact easy to check.

      This is only an axample. there is alot of other disinformation in your post.

    2. Peter Lake says:

      Well summarized, Esam.
      As well, what is missing from most of our coverage of this slaughter is Hamas demands for a cease fire. (It’s usually reported as simply “Hamas refuses to extend the ceasefire”.
      Gaza’s demands for a ceasefire:

      1. That the siege of Gaza be lifted
      2. That Israel stop it’s liquidations (assassinations)
      3. That there by a UN monitored border in the south with Egypt and in the north with Israel
      4. That their ports be opened
      5. That their fishing boundaries be restored so that they can fish and feed their people
      6. That they be able to cultivate land all the way to their border so that they can feed their people

      All reasonable, progressive demands in accord with international law and standards.

    3. Oren says:

      1. Gaza was invaded by Israel in 1967 & ever since Israel is illegally occupying the whole of the Gaza strip. Israel occupied it from Egypt, Egypt didn’t want this part back in the 1977 peace agreement ==== Israel withdraw from 100% of Gaza area in 2005
      2. Gaza is surrounded on three sides by Israel who has blocked all these three sides by Israeli army.& Navy. = 2 sides, 1 side is Egypt, they don’t want to open this gate because if the terror (Hamas and el Qaida)
      One side is border of Egypt where the Egyptian army along with Israeli & UN observers & monitors blocks the entry of any body from/to Gaza.= ===Egyptian army only
      Gaza is literally huge prison where not even a bird can enter without Israel’s permission = and Egypt
      3. Gaza has no sea port or airport or even a train station.-===correct, did you asked yourself why ?
      4. Gaza residents cannot leave Gaza as they don’t even have passports. Plus there are Israeli checkpoints at every place= wrong, no checkpoint inside Gaza. Also no one from any country can enter Gaza without Israel’s permission which is impossible to get , forget about ordinary man even the top politicians of powerful countries had been denied entry in Gaza by Israel. Gaza is a place which is totally cutoff from the rest of the world.= ====correct- why Israel and Egypt are so bad to the people in Gaza? Please ask yourself this question,
      5. Each and every daily use commodities comes through these Israeli check points ===== 2 , 1 is Egypt. Even the milk, wheat medicines all items come through these Israeli check points. Israel charge taxes on all the items witch goes through these check points==== again you are wrong,
      6. Gaza is like a big jail. It is entire country under seize. Even inside Gaza Israel have several check posts at important junctions. The Israeli army harasses and humiliates Gaza citizens every day as the Gaza citizens cross these check posts.=- Wrong wrong wrong, no checkpoint, 0 isrealis in Gaza,
      7. The UN has urged Israel numerous times to remove this illegal seizure of Gaza but Israel never listen to UN . == ===what is the reason for not doing that and why the UN don’t really care?
      More then 50 resolutions have been passed by UN against Israel but with USA always on its side so Israel just doesn’t care= =====who passed this resolutions?
      8. The food and essentials are always in short supply in Gaza as Israel delays, discourages and harass its imports in Gaza. Shops don’t have enough rations, hospitals don’t have enough and essential medicines. Power is in short supply, petrol and gas is in shortage too. The inflation is highest in the world in Gaza as a result of it. The poverty is rising at the highest rate also. The Gaza children’s are among the worst malnutrition children now. ====== instead of finding ways to kill Israeli they should take care of their people. They could invest the money on the people not on war, should blame Hamas only.
      9. There are no specialized doctors or equipments to treat the serious injury or disease in any hospitals. Every now and then Israeli army bomb Gaza and the innocent civilians get hurt during bombing. These wounded civilians plead and beg in the check points to let them out for treatment but they kind Israeli army never let them. So the wounds which could have been treated become more severe and often the wounded becomes handicapped for the rest of their lives====== ok, this is huge bullshit, you are talking about the last “war” in July not about “now and then” and yes, one the headquarters of Hamas in is hospital and when they are firing from hospitals, this things can happen, only people to blame are the Hams leaders. And btw the Israeli are open “field hospital” for the people on gaza but Hamas didn’t let anyone go there ( about 5 people manage to get treatment there)
      10. Once a thriving society and rich people now have become beggars & prisoners in their own country.Can you imagine the trauma the humiliation the harassment the pain in the hearts of these people who have been invaded and made prisoners and slaves in their own country?========= how about stop the terror and stop trying to kill your neighbors ?? ha ?? ones Israel will put her weapon down there will be no Israel, ones the Arab ( Hamas in this case) will put the weapons down- peace will come
      They have been struggling for their independence since almost 50 years now. =====THEY GOT IT ALLREADY . With each passing day Israel is constructing new settlements for its Israeli citizens in their land. With each passing day their hope of independence, a hope to live a normal life like any other human is fading away. Every night they sleep in pain and every morning they wake up with sorrows.
      You ignoring the fact the Palestinians under occupation and they have all rights to defend themselves .===== bulllshit !!!!! Remind me again who the aggressor is… Remind me again who is causing deaths and who is embracing life… Remind me again who is, and continues to be responsible for this war…

      and again :

      Remind me again who the aggressor is… Remind me again who is causing deaths and who is embracing life… Remind me again who is, and continues to be responsible for this war… If you still haven’t figured it out, Israel, the people, the leadership, and even those soldiers in Gaza want peace. We want quiet and we have, are, and will continue to pay a steep price for it. What price? There is, despite what was a flourishing and beautiful community before, NOT ONE JEW IN GAZA. We left, we disengaged and these rockets? These rockets are the result. Again, the Jewish presence in Gaza was once a beautiful thing. We uprooted tens of thousands of families from their homes, in the hopes that the Palestinians, yes, not Hamas, the Palestinians, will embrace peace. What did they do? ELECTED HAMAS. Democratically! Occupation? Not one Jew in Gaza. Occupation? What occupation was there in 1929 when the arabs massacred Jews in Hebron? There was no state of Israel, There was no occupation, just good fashioned Jew hatin! Learn history, folks. 1948, the UN gave us, for the first time in our modern history, a jewish homeland after being massacred in Europe. You know what else they gave? A Palestinian state right next to us. Yep, the partition plan. What happened next will amaze you! These so-called Palestinians who historically, never existed as a nation, said no. They said we want all of it and Israel does not have a right to exist and so, along with their Muslim brothers from many other countries, attacked. You know what else happened? THEY LOST THAT WAR. And every war since… Including this one. So yes, Israel does have a right to exist. Israel does have a right to defend herself And Israel WILL not sit by and be bullied by our enemies, not in Europe, and not in our own borders. We are a forward-thinking and innovative country so we protect our own using amazing technology. Hence the fact that their deadly rockets, which you can see from the damage they cause when they hit in Gaza or the west back, have killed only a few on our side. We should apologize for defending our people and not having more dead Jews so the world will sympathize with us?! I think not! They, and by they, I mean all Islamist Jihadist militants can keep embracing death, shooting from schools and people’s homes, and we will continue to embrace life by protecting our people with missiles (Iron Dome), not protecting our missiles with people, as they do. Don’t like it? Tough, we tried listening to the world in the past and saw the result. Now as for Friday, if they resume fire, despite our blatant interest in peace and quiet, 8 AM Friday morning when the first rocket lands on Israel, you can expect two things. 8:01 we will use all our might to eliminate evil, people will lose their lives, not because we want them to but because Hamas does. Why? So you will be able to see all the gory, often fake pictures in your feed and say “wow, that Israel is so evil!” The second that will happen is that at 8:02, you can expect the world to condemn Israel. You know what will happen after that? Nothing! We will continue defending ourselves, Get over it.

      1. Jazzy says:

        You have given your answers, although very weak you and bias you have given your point to it. It just brings me to one of your point where you say “stop bombing your neighbours”, you forgot to put in the word “illegal” before the word “neighbours” because bottom line that’s what all this is about. Illegal occupation!

      2. Arlene says:

        Good on you Oren for trying to set the record straight. The misinformation is staggering!
        Stop the rockets and build a country and there will be NO retaliation from Israel.
        Scary to realise how people start their narrative not from the beginning as you showed them with wars always initiated by Israel’s enemies from 1948 War of Independence, but from where it suits their argument.
        Hamas, stop the ongoing lobbying of destructive rockets into Israel, letting people there live their lives.
        Give people proper jobs, reason for building a future for themselves, and change their thinking away from hate to self determination.

  9. Jeff Yates says:

    Need a strong beer after reading that, Paul. A powerful, if depressing piece. No idea how things will pan out over the next 10/20 years, but with nobody having the vision or capacity to produce a ‘blueprint of a peaceful world’, there seems little to hope for. At what point does on-going, regional chaos and carnage eventually trigger a collective response from countries, that is more than a humanitarian effort? What is likely to force a change in the Israeli government anytime soon? Who can weaken ISIS?

  10. Simon Wood says:

    At some point the rest of the world is going to have to confront ISIS. Boycotting Israeli goods is too simplistic. We have to support secular sustainable economic development everywhere.

  11. ZY says:

    Brilliant analysis, Paul, albeit bleak. I do disagree on 2 points though. I believe Hamas have been politically strengthened by this and have gained support, if anything. The next few days will prove me right or wrong on this one.

    I believe US still have leverage over Israel, but for whatever reason will not use it. Maybe they are worried Netanyahu will call their bluff and that could put them in the awkward position of finding new allies. And then there is the Jewish lobby….

    One thing is for sure, it is complicated. It will take a generation to sort out. They need a charismatic leader in the region. A Messiah figure like Nasser was in the 50s to build pan-Arab unity again. Till then, it will be messy.

  12. Bev Krell says:

    Thank you all at Channel 4 News for giving the viewers in depth reporting on the conflict. Your passion and anger matches my own and 4 News is the only channel to hammer interviewees for a straight answer! Nevertheless, this time Israel has past a new benchmark vis a vis public opinion and cannot stop the vilification it engenders. Thanks Channel 4

  13. Philip says:

    I confess to feelings of despair about what is happening in the world, where people of belief appear prepared to hurt or kill those who don’t share their beliefs. We in the West have contributed to it – not least because of our misguided interventions in many parts of the world, for a mixture of reasons, some more justifiable than others. We have also, in effect, run the world through the UN for decades, almost wholly in our own interests – e.g. to ensure our continually growing wealth while being prepared to ignore the poverty and disease of much of the rest of the world.
    The one thing we need to do is to stop believing that we can solve any problems elsewhere through military intervention. Our armed forces should be sufficient to defend us and to extract our citizens (or others, if asked) from places where their lives are at risk.
    Beyond that, we need to put support into international institutions. We need to stop seeing the UN as a vehicle for UK foreign policy, but the place and route for solving the world’s problems.
    We have lost any moral authority we might have had. The way we carved up the world in our days of imperial power, our continuing machinations against regimes we opposed (e.g. Egypt, Iran) and our ill-judged and potentially illegal military interventions have deprived us of the right to tell other what to do. Our democracy is flawed: governments generally are elected on the support of around 25% of the electorate. Our politicians are more interested in power than in doing what is best for all the citizens of the UK. Our media is biased and ignores most of what is going on in the world in favour of celebs and sport. Our society is obsessed with money, celebs and short-term pleasures. Apart from a limited amount of freedom of expression and a partial rule of law (which, however, tends to favour the rich against the poor), we have little to point to as an example, little that gives us any right to tell others what to do. For many of the more fundamental religious believers, our society appears corrupt, greedy, selfish and decadent. Our response to violence against us is violence against those who we believe may hold the same beliefs as those who caused the violence. We fall into the trap of increasingly appearing no better than those we oppose.
    Our only way forward is to assess our own values as a society. If we believe in freedom of expression, democracy, decency, the rule of law and the rule of reason and evidence rather than that of belief. We need to pursue them with energy and embody them more firmly in the structures of our society. We believe life is sacred. We need to follow that belief, supporting dialogue, and those institutions that promote and pursue dialogue. If we value life, we need to value people – all people. So we need to stop treating sections of our society differently, the media scapegoating some in order to justify the unfairly better treatment for other parts of society. We need to value people who are serving others, doing good, trying to make the world a better place – rather than the virtually all the vain, shallow people which are our current focus. The media should be forcing government to be honest and open, not acting as their propaganda mouthpieces. Until we have a decent society which truly respects all its members, which operates on moral principles not greed & self-interest, we have no moral justification for intervening anywhere….or telling others how to behave. The best we can do is give every pounce of our support to anyone who is trying to solve the world’s problems – through dialogue, not violence.
    I have little confidence that we shall follow this path, but until something changes in us, I cannot see how we can expect anything to change in others and the world will just get more violent & nastier.

  14. Laura Haydon says:

    I’m not sure about the US having ‘no lever to pull’. Surely a decision to stop pumping money and arms into Israel gives it huge leverage over the situation – in Gaza, anyway. Also, was the US really ‘weak’ on Syria, or was it thwarted in its aims by a UN which did not endorse intervention?

    A great piece though – more excellent reporting from Paul Mason and C4.

  15. SK says:

    What seemed to change the most is social media. No other conflict had so many gruesome images circulated about. The casualty figures given are from the Hamas controlled Gaza Ministry of Health and cannot be trusted. In reality, the proportion of civilian/combatant deaths is likely similar to Iraq and Afghanistan. An unusually high number of civilians appear to be combat age men. Sadly, because 40% of Gazans are below the age of 14, there is likely a higher percentage of children killed. One may oppose all wars, but I don’t see why this one if any more immoral than the others. The level of interest and vitriol are likely only a result of Israel’s involvement.

  16. Kaleem Akbar says:

    I would like to echo the sentiments of your readers. Channel 4 has been very informative but where is. Jon Snow?

  17. Russell Brown says:

    Not a word from Paul about Hamas zero sum Jihadism. No explanation from Paul that Hamas do not want peace, at best they will put up with a “hudnah”, as Islamic concept of keeping the peace (until you are strong enough to win a war). a temporary truce in other words. Not a word from Paul about the fact the rockets pre-dated the so called “seige” and no analysis from Paul about whether lifting the seige for all goods would result in more rocket attacks and a more militarized Hamas, as Israel fears.

    1. David says:

      Israel had peace from Hamas rockets for months in 2008 before they decided to break that ceasefire by launch Cast Lead. Credible voices (Efraim Halevy — former Mossad security head — also Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson…) have pointed out that they could have peace from rockets again, if they would just lift the blockade (could be under UN supervision) and let the Palestinians of Gaza develop a normal economy again. But Israel prefers to maintain a captive, occupied people — and these recurrent wars are the result.

  18. Andy Gill says:

    Gaza is a sideshow. Mason really doesn’t understand that Islamofascism is the new Nazism. The enemies of Israel are the enemies of the West. That will become evident on the streets of Britain sooner than you think.

  19. Campbell Boyd says:

    Thanks for the best analysis I’ve seen so far of what’s been happening in the Middle East. WE have got used, perhaps through advances in science and technology, to every problem having a solution. We find it hard to accept that some human problems do not have a good solution. I think the Israeli/Palestinian problem is one of those at the moment.

    Keep Safe

  20. DL says:

    Mr Mason
    You and your team’s reporting from Gaza has been remarkable. You have been on the side of the human, showing us how the conflict is changing and how it got there.
    Maybe they should send more Economics editors in conflict zones, they would get a dose of reality pretty quick.

    The other news outlet were still on – here we go again, the domestic dispute is back on, same old – same old – , when it’s anything but. You did not just have to notice the twitter feeds of dead children showing every minute to get the feeling something is different this time. Even if you understand Israel falling into the paranoia mode observing the changing political landscape of their Middle East neighbours, the fact that the US can’t reason with them may not be a bad thing on the long run, it might sell less Paveway iv Laser guided bombs. There is enough of hate for the West as it is.

    The images of the British cemetery with attendants mowing the lawn was surreal. The folly of leaders who implement their big and bold ideals with so little consideration for human life and the consequences of their actions is still with us. It could all go pear shaped, but also force people into a positive solution.

  21. Sheikha says:

    The problem is simple …give the Palestinians their rights!

  22. May says:

    My family call me a Cassandra for drawing mostly the same grim picture. That said I would not agree with lumping ISIS and Hizbullah as morally equivelent when they are in actual fact diametrically opposite ethically. Many people see hope in Hizbullah precisely for their political ethics, after all the fate of the Lebanese Christians hangs on them. Likewise Iran also presents a different model for possible development in the region, unless they get swarmed by ISIS, a movement that was fuelled by petro-dollars until it decided to take the oil fields, (the question becomes who buys the oil, and who transports it). I would study both before painting them with the same brush as some of the others.

  23. kevin cuckow says:

    A great piece however this is not a relatively new problem of around 70 years. It”s been going on in the Middle East for more than 2000 years and will continue as long as there is religious divide and a general divide between reality and myth. No need to blame the American administration or the British before them.We can go back to the Ottomans and before them the Arab Barbarians before them. Christians Jews and Paganism. All responsible for today and yesterdays history and no doubt the future. Unfortunately we have to live with it or for those less fortunate die with it.

  24. Mark Braund says:

    Great piece Paul, and good to see a mention for the much-neglected Leonard Woolf.

    In my play Maynard’s War (alas still in search of a producer) I advance the theory that while Woolf was marginalized, his idealism was taken up by Keynes, who changed his world view substantially between 1914 and 1918. It may be only a slight exaggeration to say that without Woolf there would have no Keynesianism, and no post-war consensus after 1945.

    Happy to send you a copy of the play if you’re interested.

  25. Ben Scherrey says:

    What’s not new is the complete lack of holding Hamas and the people who actually elected it to power responsible for reaping what they sow. While much of the list of “facts” in this article are fairly accurate, the analysis seems quite shallow. Nothing mentioned is a “game changer” – nothing has changed fundamentally that will be long term. The efforts against Hamas will come to an end in a few short months and the support that Netanyahu has as a result of the incredibly self-destructive and callus (to their own and Israel’s population) attacks by Hamas will swing back towards attempts at a peaceful co-existence.

    The ONLY game changer that we can hope for is the Palestinians unilaterally rejecting violence and adopting a policy akin to India’s Ghandi, recognizing Israel’s right to exist and demanding recognition of their own rights to do so as well. Once they demonstrate a true willingness to peacefully co-exist it will be a short period of time until they get it. Sadly, there’s very little evidence supporting that this is actually their desire, therefore we can expect more of the same and nothing resulting from this conflict will have changed in any meaningful manner.

  26. Lee says:

    I have for a long time had an admiration for your work Paul. This however has impressed me greatly. Your tireless efforts to report what is happening and how real people are affected by the decisions of a few stands out as a credit to journalism. Doing so and risking your life too, I have nothing but the upmost respect for you. You ARE doing important work here. Please keep doing it and keep safe.

  27. Laurel says:

    Paul Mason, your comments are a breath of fresh air in these troubled times.
    We must have hope, no matter what, and I agree that one of the few inspiring things to be happening recently is the new spirit of a desire for change and freedom and democracy amongst many young people in the middle east and elsewhere. It was particularly good to see young women involved in this too. Sometimes surprisingly good things happen.

    In the early 1980s World War Three looked like it might actually occur. Yet in the late 1980s and early 1990s we had the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War, the independence of several Eastern European states, and in South Africa Nelson Mandela released from prison and in power, and the end of apartheid. Gorbachev had a lot to do with what happened in the USSR as did Nelson Mandela in South Africa, but thousands of ordinary people played a very large role in achieving these ends too. The world is still ruled by politicians, as in 1914, but there are other forces at work today which can and sometimes do play an even larger role in what happens – the Media and modern communications technology for example. The inevitable conclusion you have to draw from history is that politicians and rulers don’t generally make a very good job of things. There aren’t enough people like Mandela and Gorbachev around unfortunately. Obama is visibly struggling.

    We desperately need some other kind of force for good which acts independently of international politicians, which embodies common sense and humanity and which acts as an independent arbiter. We clearly do have international law and international peace keeping organisations but they don’t seem to be achieving a great deal. Politicians are still making all the decisions within them based on nationalistic considerations. When you look at what is being allowed to happen in Gaza and elsewhere we don’t seem to be making much progress, yet I imagine that the vast majority of people in this world today want peace and have common feelings of humanity towards each other. Killing does not come naturally, people have to be trained to kill. I am sure here are also many clever, knowledgeable and good people in the world who are quite capable of evolving solutions to all these problematic situations if they had the chance.

    We need to get together a different class of people to be involved in keeping the peace. I suggest we start by appointing a large international multi-ethnic, multi-cultural group of mainly (!) women to be dedicated to this task. Realistically I can’t imagine how this would ever happen but it couldn’t do a worse job that we are seeing already in place. Watch any news report – nearly always a male majority discussing war strategies, leading the armies, firing the missiles, yet among the victims of war – many, many women and children.

    Finally can I say say how much I liked your Great Lives piece on Louise Michel. My French MA dissertation was on the Paris Commune – a brutally suppressed popular uprising but one which continues to inspire people today.

  28. PapushiSun says:

    “exist many young people who don’t buy the hyper-religious, violent fantasies of the region. They all live the same kind of lifestyle; they all aspire to a tolerant, techno-empowered society.”

    They’re powerless to do anything so they doesn’t matter.

  29. andrew says:

    One or two commentators raised the old shibboleth of the “Jewish lobby” to try to explain the apparently feeble leverage of the US over Israel. I think this is a chimera — the lobby (which is not unusual in the US political landscape) has no great power. It does the best it can — like the Anti-Castro Cuban lobby, or in its day the IRA’s lobby — but has nowhere near the power of, say, the gun lobby. It’s a myth.

    The real issue in the US/Israel relationship is that the US political establishment is divided and uncertain. They by and large do recognise that the Israeli right (exemplified by Netanyahu, Bennet and others) is pretty intransigeant, but at the same time there is a commonality of interest between the Israeli right and the US mainstream foreign policy establishment. This is based on conviction, not manipulation or money.

    If the US could manage to bring itself to really pressurise Israel in a way which bolsters the centre in Israeli politics, whilst at the same time standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel against Islamacist extremeism, maybe there would be a shift in Israeli politics. Maybe. But let’s not forget that mainly, israeli politics is determined locally, not internationally. People who think that mysteriously (or because of “the Lobby”) the US Government is holding back from doing the obvious, and that if the US Government just changed tack it could achieve great results —-well, such people are dreaming.

    As well, the Palestinian side is in constant evolution. Abbas’ faction (that’s what it is) has said the right things and largely done the right things too, over the past several years. But its commitment to that pathway has got to be fragile, if what we are told by Western reporters is true concerning the Gazan population’s fidelity to Hamas……

    1. Jared Hetherington says:

      I’m sick of talk of the Israel lobby in the US, it’s just another flavour of the age old anti-semitic “Jews control everything behind the scenes” nonsense. The fact is the Jewish population across the world is tiny (15million) and insignificant even in the US, the West broadly support Israel because they do our dirty work opposing terror and rouge regimes in the middle east.

  30. Antipas says:

    Why does the UN pass more resolutions against Israel than the rest of the world put together?

    Why does the world media obsess with this issue above every other?

    What is it about this crisis that divides the entire world like nothing else?

    ‘Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!
    For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.’ Joel 3:2-14

  31. Tom says:

    Could any government survive in a democracy with a policy of appeasement? Because by not responding to years of rocket fire that is what the world is asking of Israel. We in the UK go around bombing countries and invading places that have never fired a missile at us. Libya, Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, we invaded the last two countries because (theoretically) they may one day attack us from training camps or imaginary WMDs. If we had zero sum Jihadists in Wales firing rockets at all our cities for years on end would we not demand our governments sorted it out and defeated them?

    These rocket attacks are from 2001, long before the ‘siege’, which as far as I can tell is only restricting materials that can be used for weapons of war, including concrete as I understand it and Israel are now going to think justifiably as the concrete they did have they used to build tunnels which cost millions of pounds to build and cost the lives of 160 children (by 2012) that Hamas forced to build for them.

  32. Steven says:

    Iran has proudly declared that it was the supplier of long range rockets to Hamas, and the expertise to build thousands of deadly kassams, fortunately mostly intercepted by Iron Dome.
    The kassams, like the terror attack tunnels, were built using materials the pressure groups like these “Elders” insisted Israel supply to Hamas. Hundreds of tons of concrete supposedly to be used to build homes were used to line a warren of tunnels, with the sacks bearing Hebrew manufacturers’ names dropped in the tunnels after use to be found by Israel in the last few weeks.
    The results without the blockade would be unimaginably worse.

  33. Paul says:

    I have lived for several years now in the Arab world and I see no game changer here. Palestinian politics is still dominated, as it has been for over 30 years now, either by corrupt, crony-ridden factionalists with no long-term interest other than an ability to lord it over fellow citizens, reap personal fortune from institutional failure and yet be somehow entertained as credible at diplomacy’s top table (Fatah) or a murderous and fascist cult fuelled by a poisonous mixture of political bitterness and religious fanaticism with none but an anarchic outcome (Hamas).

    With the possible exception of Tunisia and Morocco (to perhaps be generous) every Arab country today has only these two depressing options politically available to its suffering citizens.

    There is a chronic inability in the Arab world to build independent, durable and secular institutions capable of contributing in any way to societal peace and prosperity. I am no partisan, but only Israel, with stable democracy, a functioning justice system, a world class hi-tech sector, a diversified modern economy and highly educated populace has anything like a model to serve the long term interests of its citizens. Doing business with Israelis and Arabs is like dealing with two different planets. The former are professional, globally aware and have products that are innovative and of great use. The latter are still tribal, greatly distrustful of outsiders in their approach, projecting a distrust of functioning institutions onto any counterpart and sadly having nothing to offer. It is a great shame for a society one of whose pivotal figures ( ie the prophet) was by all accounts a trader, whose pragmatic example they fail to follow. The success of the Lebanese diaspora when placed in societies that do work shows that this cannot be anything to do with the Arabs as a people. Only a racialist would subscribe to such a view. The Arab citizen should not be asking why Israel always gets the upper hand. The 18th century mercantilist, zero-sum game mentality of annihilating one’s neighbour can never win. President Putin is showing us a good example of how such ignorance can never amount to much.

    The pertinent questions are why Israeli society works and how that model can be shared for greater regional peace, prosperity and well being. The pertinent questions for a disillusioned Arab citizen should be why so much illiteracy still exists in the Arab world. Why are conditions for unleashing Arab innovation and ingenuity – which I am confident exists in equal abundance to that of Israel – are not being unleashed. Embrace the hated neighbour and together something might just be learned for the mutual benefit of all.

  34. Mick says:

    I suspect your article would have a different flavour if Hamas were dominate over Israel. If that were the case, you may not have written on the subject at all.

  35. Martin says:

    Israel is losing support in America, the mythical Zionist lobby are not active on forums online despite the fact for all Israels faults they do have a narrative of their own. Anti Israel sentiment is at all time record levels world wide (Pew Report), like nothing the world has ever seen. Governments of the world are unleashing torrents of hatred, Erdegon, told hundreds of thousands of Turks that the Jews were “trying to create a master race” by exterminating children in schools. And the Islamic world believes this narrative, which is fed by Western career journalists, stoking an inferno around the world. Obviously this is the Hamas strategy, the media are the most integral part of it. But governments around the world are going to be forced to come together to destroy the Jewish State once and for all, simply because in countries with high Muslim populations, they are experiencing riots and social disorder that threatens their governments.

    The problem Israel now has is it has not dealt a strong blow to Hamas who still have tens of thousands of men alive, so unless the worlds media allows Israel to fight to a ground war, a proper war with an outcome (like regime change), then every few years this process will keep repeating, which is what Hamas would want as they are trying to use the international Left wing media for their nihilist expansionist Jihadist agenda.

  36. Peter says:

    Whatever people think rightly or wrongly as far as Israel is concerned this is a fight for survival.
    Israel represents itself and no one else. It is a mere grain in the sand and shortly the West will see that the deep shadow of a Thirty Year War will or for that matter has begun in the Middle East.
    Read up about that war and you will be horrified.
    We in the West should keep out of every contest in that part of the world. Let the Shia and the Sunnis and their myriad offshoots fight it out to the bitter end. It has nothing to do with us Christians Jews Buddhists atheists or non believers.

  37. Jericoa says:

    Far from an Idle Scrawl this piece of journalism is. From economic war and now to the physical kind, part of the same cycle of old repeated, mirrored in your career.

    Philosophical and moral disarray translates into economic disarray translates into violent disarray from which a new philosophical and moral order will emerge. Non of this is new.

    A worthy piece of journalism saturated with insight, compassion and moral hopelessness barely disguised by your professionalism and agility with the written word.You are a human.

    Mr Wolfe’s intervention was a pause point not a new moral and philosophical solution. Maybe there will be another pause point yet, it is doubted though, a grander wheel turns this time, when the Jewish state is barely clinging onto the rejection of the notion of its own ‘final solution’ then it is clear that the protective shield of WW2 has now passed and with it this generation is exposed to the end part of the small cycle. A bigger wheel yet may be turning, perhaps not seen since the king of Macedon was inspired by Aristotle, the ripples of which shaped the modern world, but it is close to its limits now, something else is shaping in the shadows to take over.

    Can you see what it is? The spice melange may help a little.

    Good luck Paul.

  38. Steve says:

    Paul Mason is the reason why Hamas do not accept a ceasefire.

    How much more pain and suffering does Hamas have to provoke before the international community force Israel to concede to their demands? You know this is the Hamas strategy so come home Paul Mason and save lives!

  39. Stevenson says:

    Hamas early on in the conflict published a directive to its people to lie about the conflict and not to give information about Hamas causalities or the place of their missile launchers.

    Hamas is a terrorist organization, like Boko Haram or Isis, and reporters should not take into account if this is sensitive information or not.

    Hamas is firing rockets out of schools, homes and hospitals. These are war crimes. Hamas denies it is doing so, while some foreign journalists, after they left Gaza, have provided photographic proof of their war crimes. An French and Indian news crews not only showed terrorists setting up a rocket firing station next to an UN building, a hotel and residential apartment blocks and firing rockets from those locations, they showed children playing on the rocket launchers after.

    When the Indian news crew went to examine the firing spot, they were warned away by local people who were well aware of what Hamas was doing.

    Yet the majority of journalists in Gaza ignore what Hamas did in building up its arsenal and where they operate.

  40. Joe Blow says:

    Little or no sympathy to those who fight religious wars.

  41. R Brown says:

    We all know Israel is not going to allow in the sort of materials that can build more tunnels. This is the central Hamas demand for a ceasefire, so what is Paul campaigning for? It is clear the media will not let Israel win a decisive war that ends this once and for all, so what is the alternative? Endless low intensity warfare in which more people are killed in the long run?

    In 2005 Jews where ethnically cleansed from Gaza, all that happened was Hamas burnt down the synagogue and used the area to fire more rockets at Israel. They won the 2006 election as they campaigned that this proves violence works. So the people of Gaza voted for Hamas because they thought they were going to get the spoils of war. They made a foolish mistake because they thought they had the worlds media behind them. Now the only chance of peace is regime change.

    People claim Hamas and Fatah in unity is a good thing, but you have to realize that from the realists perspective we are doubtful that the concept of Palestinian nationalism, as espoused by Fatah, is more of a powerful influence than zero sum Jihadist expansion, as per the Hamas charter i.e “Israel will continue to exist until Islam annihilate it”. The Left seem to think such unity would by default moderate Hamas, while the Right tend to believe it will radicalize the more moderates to the Islamist expansionist cause. After all, Palestinian nationalism was really a 1960s-70s creation. Arafat was born in Egypt. It was always Jihadists from outside this region that started all the problems. Jordan was the arab Palestinian state.

  42. Amy says:

    Although I admire your courage and integrity in reporting the horrific events in Gaza , I do not agree entirely with your analysis.
    America is not weak in my opinion.It has the power to withdraw financial and military support from Israel ,indeed it has the moral imperative to do so but sadly the political will is not there.Similarly Western governments too could withdraw military support and impose sanctions on Israel and apply pressure as happened against Apartheid South Africa.
    The attitude of Western governments in supporting Israel is sickening in the extreme.
    When the education minister emphasises the need to teach British Muslim children ‘British Values’ is she referring to hypocrisy and double standards?

  43. Amy says:

    This comment is for the moderators to clarify my last post, I did not mean to imply that Paul Mason has shown any degree of hypocrisy or double standards, it is how I feel the British government , the US and the European union countries have behaved towards Israel.
    Paul, Jon and the channel 4 news teams are true heros for bringing the truth to our screens.

  44. Michele says:

    ‘They all live the same kind of lifestyle; they all aspire to a tolerant, techno-empowered society.’ Isn’t this where the problem lies? A ‘techno-empowered society’ requires resources. The powerful fight or make agreements with each other over the sources that feed our technology addiction, while the powerless just get in the way and need to be disposed of. Like a snake eating it’s own tail. If the next generation learn of the suffering and destruction this technological age is built on, then we will see change.

  45. Pamela Jane Smith says:

    Would Channel 4 please send another reporter to Gaza? Now that Paul Mason has left, only the Israeli side is printed and heard. The Palestinians want the blockage lifted and we all agree with that demand but their message is not being reported by Channel 4 this evening. And we, as observers, must watch as Israeli militants continue to kill civilians in Gaza. Please may we have a Channel 4 reporter sent with the NHS team?

  46. Peacenow says:

    Paul Mason comes home and Hamas accept a ceasefire. Coincidence? I dont think so. Without Mason Hamas cannot destroy Israel by invoking international intervention.

  47. Russell Brown says:

    Lets face it Paul, the pain and suffering is horrendous, but you know the truth, you know everyone is brainwashed, you know that lifting the seige is not going to bring peace. There will be no peace until there are millions of dead Jews in the middle east again. Zero sum Jihadism, same as everywhere else. The people of Gaza are occupied by Hamas, that is what is killing them.

  48. Bob says:

    The Palestinians want the blockage lifted and we all agree with that demand but their message is not being reported by Channel 4 this evening.

    >
    But lifting the blockage will not bring peace it will just allow Hamas to build more tunnels and fire more rockets, they are zero sum Jihadists that do not want peace, they are not Fatah, so if Israel open the borders unrestricted, expect to see wars without end.

  49. Claire says:

    I agree with Pamela. Bring back Robert Fisk.

  50. willow bell says:

    Hi, the article is great (no time to read in depth) but would like to pick up on a few points. Hamas is weak, its isolated from the Egyptian brothers by the blockade. I doubt they, or the Syrian brothers, accept ISIS, they are too scary for real Muslims and no-one really admits to owning them, though if you look in the direction of Britain, it is likely its the right one, with one or more of the amirates (maybe Qatar) footing the bill. Qatar own a huge chunk of the Suez canal so don’t know how weak or strong it is.
    Judging from the ”pro” Palestine demos in London, there are plenty of potential ISIS members in Britain and with the sanction of the Trot parties, they’ll be rearing to go. When you talk of the new generation of techno-ites, I don’t believe, that degree of westernisation exists in the mid east but if it does it is equally as dangerous. Facebook exacerbated the destruction of parts Syria, a stable, secular and eclectic society. Social media, though it has its uses is a breeding ground for ignorance, band wagon jumping and lazy thinking.
    Arab nationalism was a fine entity for allowing people to maintain their culture but now Arabists are terrified out of their wits and will not speak out. Of course the downfall of Arab nationalism in Syria and other places was its refusal to join the free market economy, Britain does not like that at all.
    The government, here, deny involvement with ISIS of course and refer to the mercenaries as ”terrorists”, while Radio 4 refers to the Caliphate proudly any time they can, even when told about forced marriages, possible genital mutilation and lashings, for disobedience. More suspicious is the presence of ISIS in Iraq has allowed bombs by Britain and co. and the further separation of the Arab nationalists from the non representative government there; not to mention the possible arming of the Kurds.
    The subject of the Kurds is virtually banned in Britain, as they’ve been held up as an oppressed victim by the media for over 25 years. That’s all in the British psyche now but just look at their history. They are not a homogenous group and their politics range from Maoism to extreme fundamentalism. To me they are the most frightening middle eastern groups, with an abject hatred of Arabs and a history of warring among themselves.
    As for America, it is dying and I doubt Obama likes Zionism. It lost control over Zionism decades ago, particularly, when the Zionists got their own nuclear arsenal.
    Lastly the Tories in Britain didn’t want Zionists in Palestine, as they preferred the amirs to serve their interests, notably prince Faisal, Lawrence’s partner and a Hashemite.

  51. Gary Stoltzenberg says:

    You’re absolutely right, America is weak or is afraid to exert it’s power for fear of backlash. How do you deal with societies that drill hate into the minds of their young, believe in beheadings and stoning as forms of punishment and have no regard for human life. One of the biggest concerns during the Bush years wasif Saddam was removed from power the country would wind up divided between the Sunni’s the Kurds and other regimes

  52. Stevenson says:

    If Israel completely opened the borders unrestricted to Gaza as the Left believe is the problem we do not have peace. And if as I suspect this does not make Hamas happy and they re-arm even more and begin to provoke Israel into more media wars in which they use the Left for international sympathy to pressure Israel, will Paul Mason change his opinion and narrative? Or will his narrative remain the same all the way to Armageddon?

  53. Diane Karoui says:

    To be truthful Israel was only constituted as a state by doubtful resolutions, in 1922 by the League of nations. Half the world Jewry do not believe Moses and his followers should have settled there anyway. A friend of mine studied at Heythrop Uni, part of London uni, where Jonathon Sachs, the former head Rabbi often invited fellow rabbis to lecture on this point. So even the old stories are debatable.
    Palestine has always existed and was in Greater Syria for centuries, until the mandates.
    The Israeli factions have to abide by majority rule and live in Palestine. Many of the settlers and more recent emigres have no history there and reportedly not Jewish at all. They should return to their countries of origin.
    A united Syria under secular principle is the ideal but is not acceptable to the West, who drove the Muslims in that region and others to fundamentalism, with their desire to trade with the amirs of the region and defeat Arab nationalism.
    As long as Hamas remain a small national group, ok, but I’m not sure they are that popular with the majority of Palestinians and the Zionists are more powerful and dangerous

  54. b v hughin says:

    A COMPLETELY DEPRESSING PIECE — UNFORTUNATELY PROBABLY EXTREMELY FACTUAL

  55. Bob says:

    Quick get back to Gaza! Hamas need more pictures of Palestinian suffering so the international community can put pressure on Israel to meet its demands.

  56. Esam Elsify says:

    Main Stream Media silencing real facts about the magnitude of the collective policies imposed on Palestinians is solely launching articles when another rocket comes from Gaza. But slams mum about the systematical genocide on Palestinians which is taking place since 1937 nor is it reporting on the severe violations of Israel’s obligations as an occupier under international law

    Keep asking your local or main stream media why they do not report on the direct violations of ceasefires and/or about excess death and slow genocide by proxy which will only halt by ending the siege on Gaza completely.

  57. Esam Elsify says:

    After every bloody episode of violence perpetrated by Israel, media spin doctors are deployed with one grand mission: Absolve Israel of any responsibility in its acts of carnage. These apologists not only demonise Palestinians, but also anyone who dares to take a stand on their behalf. The main staple of this Israeli strategy is blaming the victim. There is nothing new in this tactic – this is how the so-called “Arab-Israeli conflict” has been presented in Western media. The narrative is always much closer to that of Israeli official and media discourses than that of Palestinians’ – despite the decades-long military occupation, successive wars, and countless massacres. Since the Israeli siege on Gaza began, following the democratic elections that brought Hamas to power in January 2006, Israel has needed all of its hasbara savvy – alongside that of its backers in the West – to explain why a population was brutalised for making a democratic choice. The sheer amount of deception involved in the cleverly knitted story, which among other ruses equates Hamas with al-Qaeda (as Israel once did between late Yasser Arafat and Hitler), has represented a new low – even by Israel’s own standards. The West’s media demonised Hamas, the resistance and all the other “bad” Palestinians who voted for the movement, while intentionally ignoring the fascism that has taken over Israeli society. For the “bad” Palestinian to exist – ie a “radical”, “extremist” who is anti-peace – there always had to a “good” Palestinian, represented by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas or any faction, person or leader willing to co-exist with the Israeli occupation. The PA has gone even further cooperating with Israel to ensure the demise of the Palestinian “radicals”, as in those who insist on resisting the occupation. Thanks to the PA, the price for the Israeli occupation has never been so cheap. Despite repeated attempts at re-activating the so-called peace process, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has always found a way to torpedo such efforts, even those promoted by his closest allies in Washington. “Peace” is a major risk for Netanyahu, because his government is sustained by Jewish nationalists and extremists who feel no particular need to end their colonization of the West Bank. Abbas had done a great deal to ensure that Israel feels no pressure to negotiate. Every attempt at resistance, even by standing peacefully with placards and banners in Ramallah’s al-Manara Square was crushed; often brutally. Gaza, however, remained an exception. Israel’s brutality there has reached unprecedented levels, especially after Israel’s Cast Lead Operation, which killed and wounded thousands. Many predicted that the crimes in Gaza would turn the tide against Israel, but they didn’t. Israeli influence over the media was still tight enough that somehow they managed to, at least, neutralize the impact of Cast Lead. The advent of the Arab Spring and the devaluing of human life, as happened in Syria, Libya and Egypt, somehow buried the Israeli crimes in Gaza; however temporarily. But Israel’s latest war on Gaza in the summer of 2014 has amounted to a genocide. Israel’s argument that it was “defending itself” was no longer sufficient. No amount of hasbara was enough to explain the burying alive of entire families, the summary execution of civilians, the pulverizing of entire neighbourhoods, the shelling of fleeing children playing at a beach during a deceptive “lull,” the destruction of dozens of mosques and churches, and the killing of more children sleeping in UN schools-turned temporary shelters. It is particularly embarrassing for Israel, but also poignant, that the Gaza resistance, which stood alone against tens of thousands of well-armed invaders from tunnels, killed 64 Israelis. All but three were soldiers, mostly killed inside Gaza. As the world was awakened to the level of devastation created by Israel in Gaza, many also became aware that such wrath is not independent from the fascism that has gripped Israeli society for years. In Israel, there is no longer room for dissent, and those in the highest positions of power, are the ones who openly and freely preach genocide. In an excellent article in the American Conservative in August 2006, Scott McConnell, wrote, “All societies have their hate groups and extremists, but nowhere in the democratic world are they nearer to the centre of power than Israel.” He elaborated, “In the 1980s Meir Kahane had a small following in Israel, but his pro-ethnic cleansing party was made illegal. Now Kahanists are in the center of the country’s ruling ideology.” This was discussed in context of statements made by Moshe Feiglin, deputy speaker of the Knesset and a “top player in Israel’s ruling Likud Party”. Fieglin called for Palestinians from Gaza to be resettled in concentration camps, and all of Hamas and its supporters to be “annihilated”. Who can now, with a good conscience, protest those who infuse the Nazi analogy to what is happening in Palestine? Meanwhile, in this age of social media, where mainstream news networks no longer have complete command over the narrative, no self-respecting intellectual, journalist, official or any citizen with a conscience can plead ignorance and stand on the fence of neutrality. Gaza has indeed changed everything. Israel’s criminality and fascism should no longer be open for vibrant media debates, but it must be acknowledged as an uncontested fact. Our language, as in our perception, must also change to accommodate this uncontested reality: First – military occupation must be fully and unconditionally rejected. Palestinians cannot be judged for defending themselves and for resisting Israel to end its military occupation, end the siege and achieve freedom. Armed struggle is a right defended by international law for people living under foreign occupation. Second – as anti-Apartheid icon, Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” There can no longer be a place for neutrality when thousands of civilians are brutally murdered by an invading army. Neutrality in this context is outright intellectual cowardice, if not even support of Israel’s crimes. Third – taboos placed on analogies comparing the Israeli occupation to apartheid, and Nazi conduct should be dropped. While the racist notions that enabled apartheid are practiced daily by Israel, the analogy should go much further, considering that genocide has in fact been carried out in Gaza. Fourth – There can be no mutual blame as a way to avoid placing full responsibility on the Israeli occupation and military. Palestinian resistance that blocked the way of the Merkava tanks in Jabaliya and Shejaiya is a heroic expression of the valour of the Palestinian people. Armed struggle in World War II continues to be admired throughout the world. Palestinians should not be made an exception. Fifth – There can be no bad vs good Palestinians. There are those who resist, and those who collaborate with the enemy; those who pay the price, and those who benefit from the occupation. Sixth – Israel is a fascist state. It controls the media, and cracks down on dissidents. It uses violence to achieve political ends, and doesn’t shy away from genocide when it suits it interests. Reverting to “only democracy in the Middle East” statements is a sign of willful ignorance that can no longer be tolerated. Seventh – The “Arab-Israeli conflict” is a misleading notion. The confines of misleading geography must end. Moreover, there is no conflict per se, but a military occupation and a state of one-sided war. Palestinians are fighting this alone, but are supported by people from around the world, from every color, race, religion and nationality. Eighth – The Israeli siege on Gaza would have not been possible without full Egyptian support. Egypt is a culprit in the suffering of the Palestinians, and it must be recognized, condemned and held legally accountable for such a crime. Ninth – Palestinian supporters should no longer view Palestinians with a sense of pity, but respect and admiration for their courage and heroism. Tenth – And finally, to end the Israeli genocide and occupation, the wheel of continuous action must turn and keep on turning. Those who support Israel must be exposed, and those who facilitate the Israeli occupation and sustain its war machine are partakers in the war crimes committed daily in Gaza and the rest of Palestine. They must be boycotted. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement must grow and serve as the main platform for international solidarity. The time for clever words and no action is long gone, and those who remain “soft” on Israel, for whatever reason, have no place in what is becoming a global movement with uncompromising demands: end the occupation, punish its sustainers, halt ethnic cleaning and genocide, end the siege, and bring Israeli and other culprits to the international criminal court for their massive war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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