Friday, 16 January 2009

Violence - It's not the answer

Following the Israeli attack on Gaza, there have been two major demonstrations against Israel in Oslo that have turned very violent. The first demonstration was a counter-demonstration against a peaceful, pro-israeli demonstration.

First off; I am certain that Israel is in the right in acting against Hamas. If this had been anywhere else, a military response would have happened MUCH sooner. There's something about having fifty to seventy rockets fired into civilian cities, that just doesn't sit right. I have a serious problem with civilians being targeted, never mind blindly firing rockets in the general direction of civilians.

That being said, I can't - and won't - answer for the methods used. I feel saddened at the thought of innocent civilians losing their lives. Even so, the problem with fighting organisations like Hamas is that they do not follow any conventional rules of warfare; they do not consistently wear uniforms, they hide among the civilian population and so on.

I may disagree with the people demonstrating in support of Hamas, but as long as they choose to do so within the limits of law, I will fight for their right to voice their opinion. When they do not; when they attack people more or less indiscriminately, when they break windows and generally wreak havoc, they should pay the consequences.

I also think that these consequences should be severe. A criminal record, and a hole in ones resume of two to ten years, would probably be a deterrent to many of these people. Heavy fines should also deter them.

I do not claim to have the answers to the conflict in Israel, although I do think that Israel has a right and a duty to repel attacks. I think that, broadly speaking, the answer lays in dialog, in diplomacy, and in mutual respect. I do not think I will see true peace in the middle east while I am alive.