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Page last updated at 22:51 GMT, Friday, 9 January 2009

Israeli voices: When to stop

Four Israelis who live out of range of the Hamas rocket fire discuss the conflict in Gaza.

ASSAF NATHAN, in Haifa

Assaf Nathan

I support this action although I feel very sorry for the civilians.

A couple of days ago Israeli TV news showed an old Gazan man whose factory had been destroyed just a few days after his son was killed in a raid.

He wasn't an extremist, he wanted peace. I lost control watching this, I was in tears. I don't want anybody to suffer.

I think we should open the border crossing and allow food and aid in - but Hamas must also collectively say they will never fire again. And I know the chances of that are zero.

I think there can be no total victory - it will all start again at some point. Every day Israel still finds more arms and Hamas members. But I think we should pull out soon.

I don't know how I will vote. I don't care about land so much - I consider the settlers to be even worse than Hamas.

And why do we need to control Jerusalem? Let's make Jerusalem a capital for both countries, Palestine and Israel.

ZALLI JAFFE, in Jerusalem

Zalli Jaffe

I know Gaza; I served there when I was a soldier and I went there on business when Arafat was still alive. I have close Palestinian friends.

This is a tragedy. However, I support the action in Gaza, because there has to be an end to rockets from Hamas. They want to annihilate Israel.

A victory for Israel would be peace - and it's not as difficult as you think. Stop the shooting. The only reason there are more victims in Gaza than in Sderot is because Hamas is not good at shooting rockets.

To conclude that Israel is at fault would be like saying the US was wrong in WW2 because many more Germans died than did Americans.

Of course this will affect the Israeli elections next month. [Defence Minister] Ehud Barak is doing much better now than before. Increased confidence in the leadership will be reflected in the results.

Education is the key electoral issue for me, not foreign relations. Israel's advancement is because of education, not anything else.

I do think some of the land in the West Bank - the majority - will have to be returned to the Palestinians.

I'm a religious Jew, and Jewish philosophy is full of prayers for peace and unity. Someone has to find a formula for removing fundamentalism. Extremism moves in where there is no knowledge.

MICHAEL HESSLER, in Maale Adumim
Michael Hessler

A real victory for Israel would be for the world to recognise that Hamas is a problem and that self-governance by Hamas in Gaza is not going to work.

There's been anti-Semitism for hundreds of years and that's one of the underlying problems for Israel.

Some very creative journalists have twisted things round and make out that Goliath is David. When in fact, this monster of a Hamas is sending rockets on innocent Israelis.

My views have changed a little since the conflict began. At first I was more opposed to the idea of a ground incursion, I didn't like the idea of losing Israeli soldiers.

But if you stop now, Hamas will only come back emboldened. I hear more extreme views, calling for carpet bombing, but that wouldn't be right. There are civilians there.

There are probably plenty of nice Gazan people being used by Hamas terrorists as human shields.

Politics has stopped; everyone's hearts are with the troops. I have printed out a list of the names of the injured Jewish soldiers to read in my prayers. It's got to be equally painful for the other side.

I moved to Israel from Cleveland, Ohio, with my wife and young son six months ago.

Maale Adumim is not a settlement, it's a city. When you get more than 40,000 people it's a city.

CHANA STERNE, in Tel Aviv

I definitely support this action in Gaza. I've always been fairly left-wing, but it's as if the [London borough of] Kensington has suddenly decided to send rockets into Islington. We have to respond.

But we need some sort of ceasefire, otherwise it'll go on forever. The sooner it stops the better. The Palestinians in Gaza are suffering absolutely dreadfully, one really feels for them.

I saw on TV last night how soldiers went into one house in Gaza and the whole basement was full of rockets. And they've put rockets inside mosques and private homes.

I think [Defence Minister] Ehud Barak is doing well, so I'm wondering if I should go back to my Labour Party roots, even though he annoys the hell out of me.

In terms of a wider peace deal, if it was up to me I'd give up the whole of the West Bank. I'm pretty left-wing in that.

But we retreated from the Gaza Strip and it didn't lead to peace, did it?


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