Blog - carnage on the border

LIKE most viewers, I am appalled by the scenes of carnage from Gaza.

At the last count 58 Palestinians were dead and almost 2,000 wounded, with reports of hospitals being overwhelmed and “running with blood”.

Israeli Defence Force snipers appear to have opened fire with impunity, using live ammunition, on a 40,000 strong crowd protesting against the opening of a new US Embassy in Jerusalem, which has been welcomed by Israel.

The move of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is regarded by Muslims as Israel laying claim to a city which is sacred to Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In particular, the Palestinians view the eastern part of the city, occupied by Israel since 1948, as their capital.

Egged on by Hamas, which essentially governs Gaza, Palestinians protested at the border wall.

The Israelis, fearing it might be breached, opened fire.

Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by the USA and the EU, was reportedly encouraging them to ‘martyr’ themselves.

At Foreign Office questions in the House today, Alastair Burt, Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, illustrated the hopelessness of the situation by quoting Irish playwright Sean O’Casey.

A young man in one of his plays tells his mother: “I am prepared to die for my country.”

His mother replies: “When are people prepared to live for their countries?”

There is an urgent need for the two state solution to be rekindled.

Mr Burt says that it must be “realistic and just” – and acceptable to both sides.

With the current climate of hate and anger unleashed by yesterday’s events, that will be even more difficult.