To be published in Metro Eireann, 15 January 2009.
What a start for the new year!! On 27 December, the Israeli Defence Forces launched an attack of unprecedented scale on the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli government, the attack was in response to unyielding Palestinian rocket and mortar fire into Israel since the end of the Egyptian negotiated ceasefire. Israeli F16 planes bombed more than 400 targets through the densely populated Gaza Strip, which Israel pulled out of but kept it under siege ever since, killing, at the time of writing, about 721 people, at least 169 of them young children, 46 women and 6 medical personnel, and injuring some 3200. Rather than succeed in stopping the rocket attacks, since the attack started Palestinian militants continue to fire short and long range rockets, some landing in major Israeli towns and cities. Only on the thirteenth day of the attack has President elect Barack Obama spoken for the first time about his plans to organise negotiations between Israel and Hamas, something Israel has rejected since Hamas was democratically elected.