Casualties mount after Israeli air force attacks Gaza Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:15am EST
(Reuters) - Israel's air force fired about 30 missiles at targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, destroying several Hamas police compounds and killing at least 40 people, a Hamas police spokesman and witnesses said.
Television footage showed dead bodies scattered on a road and wounded and dead being carried away by distraught rescuers. There was widespread damage to buildings.
"I'm afraid we have at least 40 dead," Hamas police spokesman Islam Shahwan told Hamas radio.
He said a police compound in Gaza City had been hosting a graduation ceremony for new personnel when it was attacked.
At least two people were killed and 30 wounded from an attack in Khan Younis, a refugee camp in the south of Gaza.
A Reuters correspondent said Gaza City port and security installations of the Islamist Hamas group were badly damaged. Thick black smoke billowed over the city.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the attack, which followed a decision by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's security cabinet to widen reprisals for cross-border Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.
A six-month truce expired last week in Gaza.
About a dozen rockets and mortar bombs were fired from Gaza on Friday. One accidentally struck a northern Gaza house killing two Palestinian sisters, aged five and 13, and wounding a third, Palestinian medics said."
Well, not a very pleasant news headline to comment upon after the Joy and Peace to the World Christmas and Boxing Day festival!!
The Middle East peace process has been going on for decades without any visible success so far. It is one of the most difficult conflict to resolve in modern history I believed!
Lessons for me are:
1. there are some issues that my 'agree to disagree' philosophy may not be applicable. This is frustrating and demoralizing. When religions and race are involved, emotion overpower rationality. So far we cannot see any evidence of one side dominating the other for a sustainable period and both sides are losing most of the time if we take a long term perspective, and YET, they do not want to talk peace until the other side is totally submissive to them!!;
2. happiness and peace are pursued by all regardless of nationalities and races and religions by ordinary people, yet sustainable peace cannot be achieved. Is this due to the 'self-fish politicians' or that the majority of people 'delegated their rights to such peace with politicians'? Is there a possibility of a national referendum to show if the majority really wanted war instead of peace?;
3. for the rest of nations and races, it is important to know that ALL EFFORTS must not be spared whenever we have major disagreement with our neighbours as once we let emotion takes over and situation deteriorated into wars or major conflicts, it will be VERY VERY difficult and costly to reverse course, to get back to the peaceful co-existence we longed! So, don't start on the path of destruction as it will consume and trap us for a long long time!!
While the facts said it is hard to reconcile, I like to keep my optimistic view that somehow someday someone with the belief that peace can be restored in Middle East and that the people can enjoy each other's differences in religion, races, and nationalities can be a reality as long as we do not stop trying!!