Gaza protestThe civilian population of Gaza continues to suffer a a year after Operation Cast Lead.
The Israeli government, while using propaganda to deny the facts, continues to besiege the Palestinian population though collective punishment. The current protests against the siege by various international activists, Palestinians, and Israelis, though ignored by Israel, indicate that the problem will not just go away.
The price of the siege of Gaza and the illegal occupation of the territories is one that provokes violence, extremism, and retaliation while Israel continues to be cruelly repressive. Because of this, Palestinians will continue to suffer far more than Israelis, and Israel itself become more cocooned and devoid of any moral authority. The current crisis also leads to increased hostility to Israel internationally, all too-often combined with unjustifiable anti-Semitism.
Even if Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs cannot live easily cannot live together, they should at least have the opportunity to live in two independent and viable states without permanent militarisation. Instead of taking a simplistic pro-Israel approach that does not encourage change, Australia, now experienced as a international peace-maker in places like East Timor, should engage in a new strategy as an honest broker to help bring both sides to non-violent, and more equal coexistence.
Executive, Australian Jewish Democratic Society
A version of this letter was published in The Australian on Jan 4, 2010.