A plea to European governments to take a signifiant role in the newly escalated Mideast conflict:
By Judy Dempsey
“A new cycle of violence between Israel and Palestine has begun. What triggered it was the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli youths, allegedly by Hamas, followed by the revenge killing (by burning alive) of a Palestinian teenager by radical Israelis.
Israel inflicted a collective punishment on Palestinians in the West Bank. Homes were demolished, people were prevented from going to work in Jerusalem, and hundreds of young men were detained and put into prison.
Hamas, the radical Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, retaliated by firing rockets into Israel. Israel managed to intercept most of them and at the same time launched a fierce and sustained attack on Gaza. Some 170 people have already been killed and over 1,000 injured, according to the Gaza health ministry.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he intends to continue Operation Protective Edge, which was launched on July 8, until Hamas stops firing rockets. Hamas responded by setting several conditions for a ceasefire including the release of all those recently imprisoned by Israel.
As for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, he is as powerless and spineless as ever—refusing to find and arrest those who killed the three Israeli teenagers, while Israel quickly detained those who killed the Palestinian youth.
What makes this latest cycle of violence particularly depressing is that the West just doesn’t seem to care. The United States has all but walked away from the conflict. U.S. President Barack Obama has shown no leadership or courage in dealing with either side. His indifference toward the Middle East is next to irresponsible.”
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