3 January 2009

Just like Groundhog Day

The never ending cycle of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants with the endless string of ceasefires, unsuccessful peace proposals and vows to open the gates of Hell and exact retribution are so familiar that they leave you feeling that they are trapped in a repeating time loop, just like that in Groundhog Day. Unlike the war in Iraq, this conflict has been raging for decades and a lasting resolution still seems remote in the foreseeable future.

It isn't difficult for Israel to eliminate Hamas as such; it is difficult for Israel to eliminate Hamas without doing likewise for the civilian population. Israel has one of the world's most powerful and modern armies, but the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

While Israel is able to target individuals within the Hamas leadership with their laser-guided bombs, Hamas can only aim their crude rockets at population centres and hope that they will inflict casualties. Whether they are terrorists depends on whose side you're on, however the main effect of these weapons is to create terror because of their great inaccuracy.

The conflict poses one of the greatest security challenges of our generation. The continual stream of footage of devastation we receive in our lounge rooms every evening might be tiresome, but the stability of the region always hangs in the balance. Iran has called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

The conflict between American-backed Israel and Palestinian militants has always strained relations between the United States and its allies and the Muslim world. The Muslim world sees the United States as part and parcel of what they perceive as the oppression of the Palestinians by Israel.

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