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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 June, 2004, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Are Israeli actions in Gaza justified?
A Palestinian man carries a badly wounded child following a Israeli missile strike on a demonstration in the Rafah refugee camp
Israeli troops have partly pulled out of the two areas of the Rafah refugee camp that they have been occupying over the past few days.

The BBC's Gaza correspondent says local residents, who are venturing onto the streets once more, are furious.

Israel says the incursion, in which at least 40 Palestinians died, was aimed at destroying arms-smuggling tunnels.

The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution condemning Israel's killing of civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Do you think that the Israelis' actions are justified? Do you live in Gaza and have you been affected by the demolitions, or do you live in Israel and have an opinion on the issue? Send us your comments.

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far.

This is just a continuous cycle of revenge leading to innocent civilian deaths on both sides
Alexander, Toronto, Canada

This is just a continuous cycle of revenge leading to innocent civilian deaths on both sides. Losing family members or military companions sparks such hatred that innocent people are continuously paying the price. Although most people want peace, there are small groups on both sides fighting for complete control of the lands. Divide the land, share the water resources, and live together in Jerusalem.
Alexander, Toronto, Canada

If the Palestinians really wanted the madness to stop, they could easily make it happen. All they need to do is declare an end to the intifada they declared, drop the right of return and accept the viable Palestinian state Israel has offered, which is similar to the offer in Camp David. The reason why they will not do this is because they are fighting for a cause which calls for the destruction of Israel, and the Palestinians are more than willing to sacrifice everything they have lost including their economy, their homes, and any hope of living normal lives in order to achieve that cause, no matter how long it takes.
Sebastian, Oxford, England

Some ask "why are we focussing on Israel's actions and not those of the terrorists who hide behind children, in schools, homes, hospitals and mosques and use UN ambulances as transport?" Because the so called 'terrorists' have nothing else to hide behind. The Israelis have armoured vehicles and helicopters etc that they use to oppress a neighbouring population.
Fairhurst, UK

I think Israel is continuously having the finger pointed at it as the main aggressor. This is unjust and unbalanced! Numerous attempts at compromise have been offered by the Israeli nation, all have been thrown back with contempt. The Israeli people (with the exception of a very small minority) are desperate for a lasting peace but are left with no option but to fight in order to protect themselves and their children.
Mark Davidson, Hong Kong

As a level-headed Israeli, I feel very bad about seeing innocent people suffer and be killed or have their homes destroyed. However I need to put these painful facts into some kind of proportion. The head of the Palestinian people decided three and a half years ago that negotiations would not achieve his people's goals, only armed conflict. Arafat has encouraged a massive transfer of weaponry and ammunition under the border with Egypt, at Rafah. The Egyptians, ostensibly at peace with Israel, have in fact encouraged this arms smuggling by turning a blind eye to what was going on, under their very noses, on their side of the border. So what is a nation to do against never-ending supplies of guns, missiles and explosives?

The tragedy is that so many Palestinians and Israelis have been killed in a conflict that should have been sorted out around a table, not on the battlefield. Let me say this to my Palestinian neighbours: Look at what has happened to you in the last three years. You have been badly let down by Yasser Arafat, the man who was supposed to represent your interests. Think about your own political changes and insist that life has to start getting better - under new, young and vigorous Palestinian leadership. You need it badly, and so do we.
Mike Druttman, Hod Hasharon, Israel

If Mike Druttman, and other Israelis read the contents of those "negotiations" three and a half years ago, he would have realized that Arafat would have been agreeing to more land being taken away from the Palestinians, as well as other factors, that his people would not have agreed to. Basically he was being asked to give up more, for less. Though, recent actions by Israel (the so-called security wall) have advanced the taking of more Palestinian land, and creating more misery for the Palestinian. Arafat may be corrupt, and may have let his people down, but it is Israel that is at the heart of this conflict in the first place.
Miguel Nieto, Germany/USA expat

The killing of peaceful marchers in Rafah only shows the whole world for a second the real face of Israel. Whatever the government in Tel Aviv says about how sorry they are, there can be no legitimacy in their destruction of Palestinian homes and occupation of their land. The fact is there is only one victim here and that is the Palestinian People. If Israel decides today to come back to its 1967 borders it can stop the suicide bombings and if even if it likes make its so called Protective Wall on it's original border.
Shuman Kibria, Rotterdam The Netherlands

I live neither in Israel nor in Gaza. The actions of Israel are, in my opinion, not always justified. However, I can certainly understand them - their children are being blown up by fanatics every single day. Arab leaders make serious faces and condemn suicide bombings but the actions of these fanatics continue.
Dmitry, Dallas, TX, USA

Why do the Israelis think that this will win them anything other than the undying hatred of Palestinians and the contempt from many living outside the Middle East. Most states that commit such acts have the excuse of being ruled by brutal dictatorships. In the case of Israel these acts are carried out by a democratic government with approval of the people. The result will not be anything other than more suicide attacks. The Old Testament says an eye for an eye can there be any clearer example of this making everyone blind
James, London Uk

It will take years to develop any trust on both sides
Rochelle, Calgary,Canada
Why blame Israel? If the terrorists would stop the violence, so would Israel. The Palestinians started this and could end it. Then, they could begin to work towards peace. But they have no leadership that is interested. It will take years to develop any trust on both sides.
Rochelle, Calgary,Canada

I am so tired of seeing such debates. Why don't we 'enforce' the UN resolutions on Israel and if they don't comply or the resolution is broken then due action should be taken by the UN. I am sick and tired of hearing that Israel has got away with breaking this regulation and that - and then there is silence!
Omar, Birmingham, UK

Israeli actions in Gaza are absolutely justified. It is a responsibility of any democratically elected government to do everything possible to protect its citizens. Palestinian Authority and Egypt are doing nothing to stop the flow of guns to terrorists that leaves Israel with no choice but to act.
Albert, London. UK

Sharon will not do what he is doing unless he has a green light to do so. When it comes to Israel we never use a red light - no wonder we are so disliked.
Daniel Kassab, San Diego. USA

Nobody likes to see civilians being killed especially when the images are of young children. However the reality in this part of the world is that brutal human beings that have no respect to human life strap themselves with explosives and intentionally go into a civilian population and blow themselves to kill women and children in order to become martyrs. What my army is doing is trying to clean up the mess that the Palestinian Authority, or the lack of it, should have done a long time ago. The person that is ultimately responsible for the mess we are in is Arafat. IDF is a professional army, and as in any military operation where the enemy is using civilian population as cover anything can happen. The bottom line: we do not want to see civilians killed or injured.
Gadi Rach, Tel Aviv, Israel

Israel actions in Gaza was not an option but necessity to find and destroy tunnels (9 tunnels so far destroyed in this operation and 90 for period last Intifada). Tunnels are arteries of terror. The Philadelphia road that separate Israel and Palestinian territory is most dangerous road in the world where 25% of all terror attacks taking place. In the latest incident gunmen had killed young pregnant woman and then at point blank killed her four small children.
Garry Stklovsky, Santee,USA

There is no way to justify Israel's actions in Gaza. That said - by focussing on Gaza and what the IDF is doing there, the world press misses the huge land grab on the West Bank and the even greater tragedy occurring in displaced Palestinians. The Israelis want the world to focus on the tiny strip of land, Gaza, while the IDF consolidates the West Bank. Then in seeming to respond to the world's demands it will give up the rundown ghetto of Gaza and the Palestinians' right to the West Bank will be forgotten in misplaced relief.
Randy Olson, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Terror begets terror, and as long as the terrorists and their supporters continue their cowardly attacks on civilized world all over the globe including South-east Asia, then the Israeli have the God-given right to strike back at the breeding grounds of evil. Houses that have been destroyed can easily be built with funds from Arab sympathizers all over the world, but families destroyed by suicide bombers still remain dead.
John Wang, Taiping

Readers' comments tend to be long on criticism of Israel for her recent incursion into Gaza, and short on criticism of the Palestinian leadership for putting Palestinian non-combatants in harm's way by storing weapons in densely populated civilian areas. Totally absent from the discussion, however, is any criticism of Egypt, and that's shocking because the arms smuggled into Gaza come directly from Egypt. If Egypt acted responsibly and stopped the arms smuggling operations on its side of the border, there would be no reason for Israel to go into Gaza in the first place.
Mark M., Boston, USA

Is Murder Justified?
Michael Koumenides, Ottawa Canada

Absolutely! In contravention of both the Oslo Accords and the Road Map, the Palestinians fuel their war of terror against Israel by smuggling weapons and explosives in from Egypt. If the Palestinian terror groups succeed in bringing in long-range Iranian scud missiles and firing them into Israel's major cities than a much larger war will follow. As tragic as civilian deaths are, remember that the greatest threat is perpetual Palestinian terror and the creation of a Palestinian terror state dedicated to Israel's destruction as per Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Arafat.
Bob Kirk, Lao Angeles

The Israeli Defence forces have snipers on rooftops targeting civilians and yet Israel continues to call this an operation to find tunnels. Can someone tell me how firing on protesting children is finding tunnels in the Rafah area
Usman, Karachi, Pakistan

Israelis justify their actions in Gaza by saying that this violence will prevent violence against Israelis. What kind of screwed up logic is this? They are only feeding the anger of the Palestinian people. This anger will result in hatred and will never result in peace.
Adam, San Francisco, CA, USA

Palestinian militants kill Israeli people with "smuggled" weapons; Israeli militants kill Palestinian people with "imported" weapons. I hope this difference brings comfort to the mourners of murdered family members.
John, Canada

I've changed sides on this issue too many times. The Palestinians seemed to be suffering a lot, then they would bomb innocent Jews. Then Israel would destroy some homes. It's turning into a game with the government officials of both sides playing it, and the people in on the sidelines. The Israeli bulldozing of houses has made me totally lose respect for anyone in the Israel government. Is sickens me how they would do that, and it isn't a very good justification at all.
Adam, Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq

Hamas must stop inciting desperate Palestinians to desperate actions
Patrick Galasso, Vancouver, Canada
Sadly, yes. You don't make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies. But militant Arabs don't want to make peace with Israel. They don't even want to acknowledge Israel's right to exist. So what can Israel do? The blood of those civilians is on the hands of Hamas. Hamas needs to accept Israel's right to exist and stop inciting desperate Palestinians to desperate actions.
Patrick Galasso, Vancouver, Canada

Israel is pursuing a policy of "ethnic cleansing" in the territory it controls. It consists of massive exclusion of non-Jews from: land, infrastructure, work, education. Under these circumstances the Palestinians are in a "nothing to lose" position of third-class human beings.

Tell me how would you resist if you were in such a situation!? Would you call the European Union which is only washing his hands or America who have never done anything. Young people don't blow themselves up just to be called terrorists by a satiated community of western TV-watchers.
Constantin P., Lausanne-Switzerland

I think yes, because the Palestinian people has the solution: no more terrorism!
Xavier, Spain

Israel behaves like an arrogant, murderous and thieving pariah state
Waheed, CT, South Africa

This is terror. Israel's war on the Palestinians is not about terrorism, it is about Palestinian land, Palestinian water and about control of the international city of Jerusalem - a city which jointly belongs to Jews, Christians, Muslims & all humanity.

Israel behaves like an arrogant, murderous and thieving pariah state - like apartheid South Africa and worse. It is time for Israelis to show the Palestinians that they are interested in a genuine peace and in a viable Palestinian state for the Palestinians.
Waheed, CT, South Africa

The Israeli actions are justified from the Israeli point of view, which is to say that the murder of literally thousands of Palestinians, the dead in Rafah being just the most recent example, is worthwhile in order to defend their illegal annexation of Palestinian land.

From the point of view of the civilised world (which does not include their American sponsors, who would not vote to condemn this massacre in the Security Council), the bloodbath in Rafah is not justified.
John, Hemel Hempstead, Herts

Anyone who is familiar with the history of this region must know that the victims in this 'conflict' are the Palestinians. Israel literally gets away with murder time and again (supported by the USA) while the world does nothing. Why is it okay for Israel to occupy the land of others, kill women and children, assassinate people and have weapons of mass destruction?
Jonathan James, London, UK
What is the difference between the international terrorist groups and the Israeli government?
Andrew, Malaysia

If it becomes necessary to destroy homes, terrorize neighbourhoods, build walls, gun down protesters, and murder the innocent, shouldn't Israel, a nation of Jews with a strong moral tradition, be asking itself if it is all worth it? If Israel were to voluntarily back down, cede land and let the Palestinians have their way they might be able to claim the moral higher ground even if it means losing their homeland.

If Israel is not prepared to cede land and back down, it must admit that it will be forced to sell its soul and moral position to hold onto 'its' land. Perhaps this has already happened.
R. Barbour, American in Australia

Finnish sentiment is against the Israelis, but then again there have never been any terrorist attacks in Finland. If bombs started exploding here, I believe the Finnish would not punish the offender. But if harsh measures are needed, they would definitely be used. Every government loves their own citizens more than the enemy.
Mikko, Finland

Ask yourself this question: what is the difference between the international terrorist groups and the Israeli government, or even the US government in Iraq? They torture, terrify and murder innocent people. They have hidden motives for apparently helping oppressed people, but in return oppress that very same people. I can find no excuse not to call the Israeli and US governments INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST ORGANISATIONS.
Andrew, Malaysia

Unfortunately we Israelis and Palestinians have become hostages of a spiralling violence induced by a lack of leadership on both sides that is able to track its own people to a path of coexistence. Only if both nations become aware of the pain they are inflicting on the other side, may a turning point emerge.
Michael, Jerusalem (Israel/Palestine)

Being homeless gives Palestinians even more reason to be a suicide bomber
Gazawy, Washington, US
And they say it is the parents who teach their children the anger and hatred towards Israel. When a child sees his/her house being destroyed or his/her father getting killed, Israel has just created a would be suicide bomber. Being homeless gives Palestinians even more reason to be a suicide bomber. Every death of a child, every demolition of a house, every injured brother, sister, mother, father or even neighbour increases the hate towards Israel. I think they need to rewrite their plan to get rid of militants, because Israel is just helping them become militants.
Gazawy, Washington, US

Egypt supplies weapons and explosives to Arab fascist organizations operating in Jewish homeland, Palestine, is responsible for death and demolition in Gaza. UN, EU are responsible for never condemning Egypt and for supporting this situation. The reason for this silence is obvious: the destruction of Israel.
Mark Bernadiner, Pearland, Texas, USA

What about the Israeli children that are traumatized by suicide bombers, who's mothers rejoice and throw parties and sweets for there martyr sons doing worse atrocities, as they are deliberately targeting children.
Hessel, USA

Both sides are committing violent acts
David Michaelson, Brooklyn, NY
I agree with your article that Palestinians will be adversely affected psychologically by the demolition of their homes. But I think you are ignoring the psychological distress that Israeli Jews feel due to Palestinian terrorism. You focus only on the wrongs of Israel and downplay those of the Palestinian militants. Both sides are committing violent acts and you should be fair in your condemnation of both.
David Michaelson, Brooklyn, NY

This question should have never been asked. The international community should have acted to protect the poor civilians and Israel should have seen a very strong red light to stop even thinking of such actions.
Ahmad Hmoud, Jordan, Amman

If we are going to sit by and do nothing, then Israel is perfectly justified in doing whatever it needs to do to protect its citizens. Say what you want about Israel's actions, but they have stopped suicide attacks in Israel proper for months now. The same could not be said back when Israel patiently waited for the international community or the Palestinian Authority to take action to stop the attacks.
Jeremy, Regina, Canada

Terrorism is one of the most terrible and abominable crimes. Palestinian militants have been guilty of this and deserve condemnation. However, by this action, the Israeli government is committing a war crime - sorry, terrorism. Plain, vile state perpetrated terrorism.
Mbugua, Nairobi, Kenya

It has got to stop somehow. I am sickened to see reports of helicopter gunships firing against stone throwing crowds. This is just fuelling hatred and extremism. The fallout has been Global terrorism that will not end until the seat of the fire has been extinguished.
Andy, Gateshead

Let me use a response similar to what many Arabs had to the beheading of Nicholas Berg. Israel's recent actions in Gaza are regrettable and cannot be tolerated by any peaceful people. But they are the direct result of a continued Palestinian policy of the use of terror. Why does the world have one level of condemnation for the actions of the Israeli government and military, and a much more lenient level of condemnation for Palestinian terrorist?
Gary, Raleigh, Unites States

Israel seems to think it has carte blanche to do what it likes, when it likes to the people of Palestine yet if anyone complains or stands up for the Palestinians, they are accused of being anti-Semitic.
Ruth, Dorset, UK

These actions cannot achieve security
Hosam, Khanyounis

These actions cannot achieve security, they can only inflame the conflict even more.
Hosam, Khanyounis, Gaza

Israeli actions are completely justified. It is very simple. No homes would be demolished if no guns were fired from them. No homes would be demolished if they were not used as covers in which to dig tunnels and smuggle in weapons. Israelis are sick and tired of this struggle. It is not so much that the Palestinians want a home of their own, as much as they want our home as well.

There has never been a lack of excuses to attack Israel. Even if Israel would pull back to the lines that Arabs themselves rejected, 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, it would still not be enough. Peace would not break out. Doves would not fly in the air. New rainbows of promises would not appear in the sky.
Robert Friendly, Israel

Violence begets violence
Leema, London
I am neither an Israeli nor do I live in Gaza but as a human being to see these atrocious acts sanctioned at government level is heart breaking. Jews, Christians and Muslims once lived in this area peacefully under an Arab government before the Balfour declaration and it can happen again. Violence begets violence. The Israelis will not be able to stop militants seeping in by bulldozing innocents - they will only quench public anger. After so much killing there only remains one option - to talk. Genuinely and sincerely talk about peace for both neighbours
Leema, London

The issue is not about the destruction, but what is being done as a result of the IDF actions. Is there compensation for the homes destroyed? Or the people left to fend for themselves?
Peter Jackson, Bristol

Destroying a tunnel is one thing but destroying homes is barbaric and totally unnecessary.
John M, Lyne Meads, UK

The efforts in Gaza are motivated by Sharon's ego. They are wrong and inhumane. However, the world jumps to condemn Israeli action, but I wonder why the UN has never tried to pass a resolution condemning suicide bombings or Hamas, Fatah's or Islamic Jihad's killing of innocent civilians.
Dafna, New York, NY

Every tunnel has two ends. Why aren't the Egyptians doing anything about the illegal arms smuggling?
AK, California

From BBC Arabic.com
Rafah has been subjected to a war crime that will leave ever lasting scars
Ali Takreem Al Batta, Gaza
I live in the city of Khan Younis, which is close to Rafah. The bombs, rockets and tanks of the Israeli army rock the whole city and shake the ground under our feet. You may have only seen what is going on in Rafah on your television screens, but I have been there two days ago and realized that it has indeed been subjected to a war crime that will leave ever lasting scars on the Palestinians.
Ali Takreem Al Batta, Khan Younis, Gaza

From BBC Arabic.com
Demolishing the homes in Rafah is a crime to be added to the crimes of the Israeli occupation. The purpose is to drain the resources of the Palestinians and put more pressure on the resistance.
Abdel Haleem Al Waheedi, Amman, Jordan

From BBC Arabic.com
The occupation forces are trying to commit a new crime against the Palestinians with the blessing of Washington and amidst silence from the Arab world and the international community.
Al Shibli Sahhar, Oman

From BBC Arabic.com
The Palestinian armed resistance are doing their honourable duty. They should not be blamed at a time when millions of Arabs have shown nothing but cowardice. Those who cannot say the truth should better keep quiet.
Kadri Alotaibi, Jordan

From BBC Arabic.com
Unfortunately, the whole, so called, civilized world is just watching the crimes committed by Sharon's government, and the countries that back it with arms and legitimize its actions
Majdi Khaled, Amman, Jordan

We would be more likely to have peace today if there was a parity of military power
Anthony, Irvine, CA, USA
The Israelis are destroying homes allegedly to stop arms from being smuggled within Palestine. Why shouldn't the Palestinians have arms? We would be more likely to have peace today if there was a parity of military power.
Anthony, Irvine, CA, USA

I grew up in Israel and even knew one person who was killed by a suicide bomber 3 years ago, but what my country does in return makes me ashamed to be Israeli. Sharon's aggressive actions just make things worse.
Meital, London

Cleaning house in Gaza is protecting not only the Jews living there, but also those living in Ashkelon, Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, and looking at the big picture, people, Jewish and otherwise, in places like London. It is Israel's responsibility to protect its own everywhere.
KT, Jerusalem, Israel

If the fact is that the bulldozing of houses in Rafah is simply to destroy tunnels used for smuggling in huge amounts of deadly weapons, then any Palestinian who has their homes destroyed should be compensated!
Imam Jamil Ansari, Peterborough, UK

I sympathise with those Israelis who have lost their loved ones in suicide attacks. I also recognise the right of Israel to exist as a fully functioning state. But I do NOT support the right of the Israeli state to demolish the homes of largely innocent Palestinians in the hope of flushing out a few militants.
Antara Datta, Oxford, UK

It's deplorable. And the worst thing is that none of our so-called world leaders is trying to stop it happening. No wonder the general public is disillusioned with politicians.
Nanne, Norway

The smuggling tunnels must be shut
Shlomo, Israel
The only question here is whether the use of force proportional or disproportional. The use of force in itself is legitimate self defence, of course. The smuggling tunnels must be shut. But IDF should be careful, and it usually is, in order to minimize the suffering of those not involved into terrorism.
Shlomo, Israel

It's a terrible thing and someone needs to stop it FAST before more homes get destroyed. If they think there are tunnels under the houses search them, don't knock them down.
Brian, Boston, USA

They are just furthering Palestinian hatred. When they do something like this, do they not see the repercussions? I have heard many people say Israel is just protecting its citizens, but in reality they are harming Palestinian civilians just as the extremist Palestinian groups harm Israeli civilians.
Erica, Washington DC, USA

The big mistake being made here is to consider Israel's actions as "revenge" or "punishment" against the Palestinians. The fact is that the bulldozing of houses in Rafah is simply to destroy tunnels used for smuggling in huge amounts of deadly weapons. If the Palestinian Authority and/or the Egyptians had fulfilled their obligations under various peace treaties and removed these tunnels themselves, or prevented their construction in the first place, Israel would have left the whole area alone. As it is, Israel has been left with no choice in the matter. At least the Palestinians were given advance warning to evacuate the area, unlike the terrorists who bomb civilians indiscriminately.
Anne, Israel

This is inhumane, how can you justify this collective punishment? Countries like the USA must do something to stop this inhumane treatment,
Lakshmi Narayana, Nellore, India

Israeli actions are not justified. These are war crimes and real terrorism against innocent and homeless people. There may be more killings and violence as a reaction... Israel has to give respect and rights to the Palestinian people.
Muhammad Humayoun, Lahore, Pakistan

Israel is doing what all democracies in the free world are doing, defending its citizens. The Palestinian Authority seems to be reluctant to fulfil its obligations to stop the violent action of some Palestinians groups, so someone has to do it.
Ville, Finland

I cannot believe that conditions continue to deteriorate
David Janzen, London, Canada
Having just returned from my third trip to the West Bank, I cannot believe that conditions continue to deteriorate. The daily stealing of Palestinian land, home invasions and outright violation of basic human rights must end now. What is happening is Gaza is criminal.
David Janzen, London, Canada

Let's be clear this is the Sharon government. Similar to Bush, he depends on military solutions to create a self-perpetuating circle of violence. With him in power, it will be a long time before more peaceful solutions are prioritised.
Ray, Paris

When the state of Israel was created, Palestinians were driven out of their homes to be temporarily housed in make-shift refugee camps. Today - 56 years later, Israeli soldiers are still tearing down houses of those whose grandparents were made homeless by Israel in the first place. The world looks on as Mr Sharon defiantly ignores Amnesty's condemnation. Is it any wonder that the cycle of violence will continue as long as US President Bush calls Sharon "a man of peace"?
Zuber Hatia, Southsea, Hants

I would be interested to hear an alternative to what Israel is doing at the moment. Israel has found dozens of illegal tunnels in the past few weeks through its operations. The weapons found were for terrorist use against Israeli civilians.
Jeremy, Israel

After spending time in Israel, I have seen for myself that an effective way to reduce the amount of killings is to bulldoze many houses that are used to make arms and build bombs. Many members of the terrorist organisation Hamas have had their members homes destroyed and so reducing the threat of suicide bombings on innocent Israelis. In my opinion Israel has not committed any war crime and has a complete right to defend herself.
Danny Miller, West Midlands, UK

The continued aggression by the Israeli military against Palestinians is inhuman, cruel and barbaric. Israel flies in the face of civilised codes of international conduct and has been justly condemned by Amnesty International. The Jewish people, as represented by the Israeli state, have been the victim of terrible oppression in the past, but should not now oppress in turn. All Jewish people of conscience should protest at the Israeli government's actions.
Martin Byrne, Glasgow, UK

Israel is doing too little to defend its people, due to pressure from Western leaders. The British army would have responded in a less gentle way (which is reasonable to me). How many houses were demolished in Iraq without one British citizen being hurt by Iraq?
Raanan Bavli, Beer Sheva, Israel

One cannot stop terrorism by bringing suffering or killing (Palestinian) civilians. These action are illegal, unjustified and towards the wrong direction... Israel has managed to win many wars, now it is time to win peace.
Maria P, Athens, Greece

[It is] a war criminal offence from start to finish... Where is the United Nations when it is needed?
John McLeod, Calama, Chile

Horrible, excessive actions undertaken in the guise of "defence" - outrageous!
John Crow, Philadelphia, USA

Of course Israel's actions are justified. They have shown the utmost restraint time and time again with small targeted actions and all they get in return is more violence. Anyway, why are we focussing on Israel's actions and not those of the terrorists who hide behind children, in schools, homes, hospitals and mosques and use UN ambulances as transport?
Harvey, London

I find it very difficult to believe who is the real terrorist here. I do not condone in any way either sides actions, but to believe that one side is right and the other wrong is like having your head in the sand.
George Hill, Australia

Amnesty International condemns Israel's action as a war crime - yet it remains curiously silent when Israeli civilians, including pregnant women, are murdered by Palestinians. The Israelis know that whatever they do, they will be vilified by the international media: therefore, nothing that people outside Israel say or do will make any difference. As far as Israelis are concerned, everything they do will be wrong in the eyes of the world, even existing.

This is collective punishment of the entire population against all international laws. But will Israel listen to anyone?
Saleh, Israel


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