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What does the Gaza conflict mean to you?

By Tamasin Ford
Newsbeat reporter

The conflict in Gaza is having a knock-on effect for relationships between some cross-sections of British society - particularly Jewish and Muslim groups. Newsbeat caught up with some of those affected.

Israeli soldiers
Israeli soldiers wait as smoke billows from an air strike on the Gaza strip

Natalie Samuel, Jewish, 19

It all just makes me quite uncomfortable to be identified as Jewish because I'm worried about how people are going react to me. I think I'm a lot more aware of what's going on around me, just as a person walking through campus at university.

I definitely look over my shoulder a lot more. I also feel frustrated being told I should be ashamed of myself for standing in a pro-Israel rally holding a placard saying pro-peace for Israel and for Gaza. It doesn't make me feel great someone telling me I'm a disgrace for the Jewish state. If we can't work together here and achieve peace how can they do it thousands of miles away?

Mohsin Ditta, Muslim, 20

Tens of thousands of Israelis have come out for pro-Israel rallies in England and I think they should be ashamed of themselves quite frankly.

The media shouldn't pick up on the 20 or so people at the [pro-Palestinian] demonstrations acting violently. They should focus on the tens of thousands of people who have come out asking for peace and asking for the British Government to do something. Muslims and Jews might feel intimidated in Britain but it's nothing like having F-16s bombing your homes all night and desecrating your peoples. We shouldn't be distracted by the real issues.

Alex Dwek, Jewish, 21

What's happened in Gaza has spilled over into Britain. There have been demonstrations on both sides. I think it's made me, personally and other Jewish people, feel slightly more uncomfortable living in Britain. I've had many friends who've been intimidated and threatened.
The synagogue at Saint-Denis
Two petrol bombs were thrown at a French synagogue in January

They feel they've been targeted because they're Jewish and that people are making assumptions about their political opinions just because they're Jewish.

People assume because someone is Jewish in Britain they hold the same opinion as the Israeli Government and that's just not the case. We're British and each individual has their own opinion.

Laila Hussain, Muslim, 20

Exam time is approaching and we've got to do as much revision as we can. But I'm going to demonstrations to try and get my voice heard. I want to educate people about what's going on and do everything I can to stop the fighting.

The pro-Palestinian demonstrations have been pro-peace and it's a minority of people who have caused violence. The media focuses on the one person holding the Al Qaeda flag but there have been hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating. We've had people holding flags with picture of Palestinian kids crying and slogans saying 'We want peace' but that's not shown. We're not doing this because we are Muslim, we are demonstrating because we believe what's happening in Gaza is wrong.

Danielle Shirion, Jewish, 19

The pro-Israel rallies haven't necessarily been pro what the government is doing, they've been more pro-peace.
Protesters in London
Protesters march in London against Israeli air strikes on Gaza

I know a lot of people who disagree with what the Israeli Government is doing. I'm not condoning thousands of people being killed. I don't want to see Jews or Muslims or anyone being killed. I'm not anti-Muslim or anti-Palestinian but I don't want to walk around the streets having to hide being Jewish. At night I won't walk around by myself in case someone knows I am Jewish.

Sultana Naveed, Muslim, 31

I'm a housewife so I don't go out too much. The main places I go to are mother and toddler groups and things like that. We have a lot of Jewish women going there and we get on with each other. We do talk about it but the main issue we discuss is all the civilians who are being killed.

There's a lot of animosity towards Muslims anyway and this has just elevated the labelling we've had and this is not good for us.



SEE ALSO
What Gaza means for people in the UK
Wednesday, 7 January 2009, 17:08 GMT |  The P Word
What's going on in Gaza?
Monday, 5 January 2009, 15:47 GMT |  The P Word


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