Seeing the Gaza violence through Singaporean eyes

It’s important to remain clear-eyed and cool-headed because the conflict is not a straightforward religious fight but one interwoven with complex nationalist, intra-Palestinian and geopolitical issues.

What is left of buildings destroyed in an Israeli air strike early this week in Gaza City’s Rimal area. The Israel-Palestine conflict is not a black-and-white issue or a simple matter of “justice” on one side and “injustice” on the other, says the writer.PHOTO: AFP

War arouses strong emotions. But emotions cloud understanding. Singaporeans should view events in the Middle East with a cool head and clinical eye. Whatever our responses to the humanitarian aspects of the Gaza conflict, it is important to maintain objectivity. In the Middle East there are always more layers of complexity than meets the eye.

In August 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza which it had occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War. Since 2007, Gaza has been occupied by Hamas. Since Israel withdrew, the Israeli Defence Force, in response to attacks launched from the territory, have carried out two operations against Gaza: Operation Cast Lead from December 2008 to January 2009, and Operation Protective Edge from July to August 2014. The current Gaza conflict is the third and is arguably the most politically complex. It has three dimensions:

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