I UNDERSTAND that, some time before the Hamas barbaric attacks, Netanyahu was asked why he was not taking more action against them. He reportedly responded that he preferred not to at that point, as they were doing his work for him. What did he mean? That he was deliberately giving them enough rope, ie time to act in a way that would give him a cast-iron excuse to attack Gaza and take control?

After all, he has always been clear that he believes that Israel has an inalienable right to all the territory that is/was Palestine – witness the swathe of land separating Gaza from the West Bank. Moreover, I personally find it hard to believe that the Israeli intelligence services – reckoned to be the best in the world (remember Entebbe) – could be so entirely caught off guard.

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He is also reported as comparing the Palestinians to Amalekites, quoting a Biblical reference to God’s command to attack them and eliminate them completely. If he believes in such divine intervention, has he forgotten “vengeance is mine, saith the Lord”? The inhumanity and cruelty of his so-called defence are so excessive that he is no better than the despicable gang who perpetrated the original atrocity. In his fanaticism, Netanyahu has sunk to their level.

What we have seen in the last few weeks certainly seems to support this interpretation. Food, water, power, even humanitarian aid blocked by a total siege, hospitals, schools and residential buildings deliberately targeted (all actions banned by international law); whole extended families, even newborn babies, killed in huge numbers on the pretext of destroying one or two Hamas fighters who MIGHT be hiding amongst them; thousands given only a few hours to move south to “safety” where they are bombed anyway. Can this, by any stretch of imagination, be deemed “defence”, in the heart of the territory of another nation? Meantime the Israeli army are systematically destroying anything in their path that is not already rubble.

So, even if a ceasefire were declared tonight, and peace talks begun, where is there for the displaced Palestinians who are still alive to return to? No houses, hospitals, schools, shops, even usable roads; no power, water, food or sanitation; nothing but the little they were able to carry as they fled. Now disease is spreading but there are no medical supplies and they have nowhere else to go, while aid is far too little and too late for too many. Does this not mean that ethnic cleansing, even genocide, has already happened, and Netanyahu is now in control of most of the territory, as he planned?

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Yet, to our shame, we have not been able to make our UK leaders, of both main parties, recognise this and call for a ceasefire. Sadly, I have concluded that, yet again, money talks much louder than human lives. As long as selling UK-made weapons to Israel is so profitable, as are the other sources of income from that country for many of our leaders and their families, what need have they to think of humanity or morality? And once Gaza has been

virtually cleared of Palestinians, Netanyahu controls the devastated territory and begins to establish Israeli settlements on it, who will stop him then, if we do not make stand now? Past experience over illegal settlements already tells him that we are so afraid of being labelled “antisemitic” that he can literally get away with murder.

For me the only light in this darkness is that our Scottish Government sees the reality of the ghastly human tragedy unfolding and is prepared to stand up and be counted, along with the majority of Scots and a few compassionate others from other parties, while I know my Jewish friends do not back Netanyahu, even though they hate Hamas. I will never understand why anyone so desperately wants control over the life of someone else that they will abandon any vestige of humanity or morality to achieve it.

L McGregor