A tenuous cease-fire took effect in Gaza on 20th January after 22 days of war by Israel against Hamas.

Voice for Justice supports the cease-fire.

More than 1,200 Palestinians are dead, many of them women, children and the elderly, in contrast to 13 Israelis.

Behind-the-scene diplomacy and near-universal outrage, particularly by European countries and by concerned citizens from around the world, at civilian massacre helped bring about the cease-fire.

Gaza is in ruins. Most of its 1.5 million inhabitants, crammed into a 140 sq mile strip, are without food and shelter. Israel used air and naval bombardment, artillery, tanks and troops backed by helicopter gunship to rain death and destruction on people unable to defend themselves.

Even Israeli Human Rights Organizations are demanding war crime charges against Israeli leaders.

Israel left Gaza in 2005 but imposed sanctions that deprived Gazans of life’s basic necessities.

It is clear from the images we are seeing now that there is not much left in Gaza to destroy anymore. Hamas was certainly culpable in the war. To deny it would be to patronize Hamas. But Israel's larger goal was not to avenge the firing of rockets by Hamas but to erase the stigma of its failure in Lebanon in 2006. Hence the savagery of its attack, its indiscriminate killing of civilians.

When will this madness, this morbid cycle of violence, end?

When will the world realize that unless the Palestinians can live in freedom and dignity in their own homeland, that peace on earth will remain elusive?

Dr. Hasan Zillur Rahim
Voice for Justice, San Jose, California, USA
21 January 2009