Monday, 19 January 2009

Ceasefire At Last

After three weeks of fighting, more than 1,300 Palestinians killed and thirteen Israeli deaths, both sides have announced a ceasefire. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he wanted troops to leave as quickly as possible, and some have already left. The BBC's Christian Fraser, on the road from Rafah in the south to Gaza City in the north, says the troops are pulling out fast.

Tens of thousands have been made homeless by the bombardment, so much work is needed to rebuild.

United Nations officials had earlier called for an investigation into possible war crimes officials after two children, aged five and seven, were killed when Israeli tank fire hit a UN school where hundreds had taken shelter in Beit Lahiya. Hamas has launched many attacks on Israeli civilians.

Amnesty are calling for a full arms embargo on all parties involved in the Gaza conflict.

There is also a political split between the West Bank and Gaza; for many months Gaza has been run by Hamas, which has done its best to stamp out the influence of Fatah there through arrests and violence. The West Bank has been run by Fatah, which, in turn, has used force in an attempt to crush Hamas.

Sadly Hamas call for death to all Jews, with Iran, call the Holocaust an event planned by Jews.

They are however the democratically elected government of Gaza, so need to be included in peace talks. Thankfully and with help from a less isolationist USA leadership, a coalition of peace may yet be built amongst neighbours.

We have seen seen peace grasped from the grip of war in Northern Ireland and South Africa, it can happen in the Middle East, it just needs enough people to want it to happen.

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