A War Against Hamas, Not Against the Palestinians

[Indian Express-India] Mark Sofer - One of the saddest aspects of the fighting in Gaza is that it never should have happened. We had reached a point where it was impossible to go on like this any longer. The southern part of our country had been under a barrage of rockets, missiles and mortar shells for over six years. Some 20,000-30,000 rockets fired at Israeli civilians saw up to 500,000 people permanently within 15 seconds of a bomb shelter. Over time, this is an impossible situation for any country to stomach. Military confrontation must always be the last resort. We really and truly tried everything and in the past six months reached a truce brokered by Egypt, but the missiles hardly stopped for a day. In the last three days of the truce, there were another 300 rockets. If anybody can believe for a minute that we had anything but the best of will and the best of intentions towards the Palestinians in Gaza, they need only look at the facts. In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza without getting anything back. We did it solely to try and reignite the peace process. It cost us $2.5 billion; we were forced to take out 8,000 families who had been living there all their lives. Then the rockets restarted in all their fury. The death of a Palestinian is as hurtful to me as a death of an Israeli - as long as they are completely uninvolved in Hamas. This was a war against Hamas, this was not a war against the Palestinians. We believe strongly that Palestinian society is the victim, as we are, of some of their own extremist leadership in Hamas. From an interview with Israel's Ambassador to India.

2009-02-09 06:00:00

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