Its seems that much worse because its Christmas. No sooner have Christians the world over celebrated the birth of Christ, signalling hope for a better and more peaceful world than full blown hostilities break out in both Israel and the Gaza strip, close to the area where Christ was born. Actually, they broke out in Israel some time ago. There have been a series of rocket attacks on Israel from inside Gaza, which may not have killed many people - but have created so much fear that an Israeli military response became inevitable. I never believe even a half of what I hear reported on the news from conflict zones, but it does appear that hundreds have been killed in the Gaza strip by Israeli assaults. It also appears that many of the dead are non combatants. Its awful news made worse by its inevitability. And the worst aspect is that no-one seems to have any idea how to bring it to an end. No-one that is except President Ahmedinajad of Iran, who would sort the problem out by killing the entire population of Israel - or at least pushing them all into the sea. We knew there was a fair chance of this conflict flaring up before Channel 4 decided to give him a platform to deliver his 'Alternative Christmas Message' on Christmas Day - one of the most offensive actions by a media operator in the history of British TV.
Some responses have been predictable. I wonder at how anyone can take a view on such a complex issue with any certainty. US Secretary of State, Condeleezza Rice has called on Hamas to end the rocket assaults, and UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has called on Israel to stop the 'disproportionate' assaults on Gaza. Some put the blame on Hamas, while others condemn the Israelis. And there's some of us who read of what's happening in a resigned way, not knowing what to think. We just want it to stop. In due course there will be a ceasefire. lets all pray that it is agreed soon. But we know it would only be until the next time, unless there is some long term agreement guaranteeing Israel's secure future. What an irony it would be if a democratic Iraq were able to play some part in bringing it about sometime in the future.