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Entries in Anne Frank (1)

Thursday
Jan082009

Losing a war

It's a slightly odd coincidence that the BBC's dramatisation of The Diary of Anne Frank is being broadcast this week, as the Israeli army intensify their attacks on Gaza.

Both stories have dominated my TV viewing this week, and both deal with the same thing: innocent civilians, from minority groups, hiding from death meted out by a powerful war machine. Both are horrendous to watch unfold.

In the Middle East, it's bewildering that a people who were the victims of such injustices during the Second World War are now treating another minority group so badly. This is not to equate what Israelis are doing in Gaza with the Holocaust, but it's hard, when hearing some of the news coming out of there right now, not to experience similar feelings of horror and disgust.

Two incidents in particular stand out: the deliberate bombing of UN schools full of civilian refugees, and the news that emerged today about Israeli soldiers finding but not helping four starving and injured children who were clinging to their dead mother. When these kind of events occur in a location which is often described as a 'ghetto', they evoke a horrible irony.

This is not for a moment to suggest that Hamas are a force for good in the world, or that Israelis have not been victims of horrible attacks too. But Israel's response to the Hamas rocket attacks has been of such a ferocious, brutal and indiscriminate nature that it is hard not to draw the conclusion that this is not, in any sense, a fair fight.

And that's why Israel has lost this war, even if a military victory is secured and no more Hamas rockets are fired. The horrible pictures being beamed around the world of injured, dying or dead civilians in Gaza tell a powerful story: that Israel is using its overwhelmingly strong military force to hurt innocent, vulnerable people. Israel has little to gain from this story, and certainly not the thing it waged this war to protect: security. The terror Israel is unleashing on civilians is not going to go unnoticed, sadly, by terrorists.

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