Destroying Food is No Route to Peace

First published: 16th January 2009

Can Amikam Levy, consul general of Israel state how many warning phone calls were made to the UN Compound in Gaza before launching white phosphorus shells at the alleged Hamas fighters there, and, incidentally no doubt, setting fire to the food and medical supplies? Allowing humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza is pointless if they are then targeted by the Israeli Government. Destroying those supplies plays directly into the hands of the Hamas elements who Mr Levy alleges are stealing and reselling them - making the food shortage worse just increases the price that the criminals can demand. My advice to the Israeli Government is to flood Gaza with humanitarian supplies, undercutting the black market, denying funds to the criminals and winning the hearts and minds of civilians. The civilians will take note of who is confiscating food, and who is distributing it, and make their own decision about who has their welfare at heart.

May I also remind Mr Levy that the oppressive regimes of the early 20th century he alludes to had another tactic: when partisans made a successful attack, the regime would take reprisals against the nearby civilian population. The ultimate successfulness of the tactic, and the similarities to the situation in Gaza are both worth considering.