Israeli-Palestinian community in Jamaica call
BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Sunday Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.orgSunday, January 04, 2009
MEMBERS of the Israeli and Palestinian communities in Jamaica have called for an end to the deadly conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza where at the weekend the number of persons killed was close to 500.
On December 27, Israel began a series of air strikes on targets throughout the Gaza Strip, an area controlled by Palestinian resistance faction Hamas since the summer of 2007.
Israeli officials reported that the air strikes were in retaliation for rockets fired by Hamas on Israel.
The arguments coming from members from both communities (the Palestinian and Israeli) in Jamaica have varied but have one thing in common - a call for an end to the fighting.
"People are being killed like animals everyday," Osama Ibrahim, a member of the Palestinian community in Jamaica, told the Sunday Observer yesterday. "Women, children and the elderly are falling victims to the attacks on the Gaza Strip. It makes me feel very disappointed; we need the international community to intervene."
The feedback from the Jewish community was also for an end to the attacks, but from a different angle.
"The solution is stop firing the rockets," said Ainsley Henriques from the local Jewish community. "The problem is they (Palestinians) do not respect Israel's right to exist. Once they stop firing rockets and recognise the state of Israel there will be no more conflict."
Henriques disagreed that assistance from the international community would help.
"I do not know what more the international community can do," he said. "Gaza receives the highest per capita aid programme in the world."
"The [international] community has put its money where its mouth is. It has attempted to make Gaza and recognise Gaza as an independent state but Gaza has not developed any real responsibility as a nation," Henriques said.
"Israel has not set out to kill anyone in Gaza. Israel has set out to protect its people after seven years of rockets," Henriques argued.
Ibrahim, however, noted that the "The United Nations in 1947 had divided Palestine, but the Israelis, they are not satisfied with what the United Nations had given them".
"How can a little place attack one of the strongest armies in the world?" Ibrahim asked.
"What is happening in Gaza represents an unprecedented crime against humanity where large military power, featuring the latest weaponry, is being brought to bear against a poverty-stricken and largely defenceless population," said Hussam Ibrahim, brother to Osama.
But Henriques said there was more to the issue than meets the eye.
"What many persons are not understanding is that it is the Iranians who are really behind the conflict; they are providing the rockets that are being fired from Gaza," Henriques said. He said that part of the problem was that the Iranians had decided to create a whole problem in the Middle East and also in Europe and in Pakistan.
"So, the question really is, what is the world going to do about Iran?" Henriques asked.
It is a complex issue. stopping the Hamas. not the people of Gaza but the Hamas, a few thousand terrorists in Gaza that are keeping the people in Gaza in terror themselves is a key part of the solution," Henriques explained.
...Local Muslims pray for Gaza
SENIOR officials from the Muslim community in Jamaica said yesterday that members of the Islamic community were praying for an end to the Gaza conflict.
"Each passing day we are concerned about the news we are hearing and we cannot do anything about it, but we pray for Allah to provide the guidance for our brothers to stop the fighting," said Mustafa Muhammad, head of the Islamic Council in Jamaica.
According to international reports on December 27, Israel began air strikes on targets throughout the Gaza Strip in retaliation for rockets fired by Palestinian resistance factions.The BBC yesterday reported that the attacks had so far left more than 420 people dead.
"Each day that the bloodshed continues the Muslim community prays for it to end," educational officer and director of the Islamic Council of Jamaica, Musa Tijani, told the Sunday Observer.
"Each day when our Islamic bothers pray, for example, the Witr Prayer we pray for peace to return to Gaza," Sheikh Tijani told the Sunday Observer yesterday.
"Oh Almighty God show right as right and assist us to follow, and show us the wrong as wrong and assist us to stay away," Sheikh Tijani said, repeating the prayer.
"For those who are perpetrators of the wrong, we pray, "Oh Almighty God show them the right as right and assist them to follow and show them the wrong as wrong and assist them to stay away," the prayer ended.