At least 157 people have died since the flare-up of violence began between Israel and Palestine last week. Israel continued to fire missiles into Gaza, and the Gazans rockets into Israel as a cease-fire deadline approached on Wednesday, drawing the world's ire. Meanwhile, almost all of the Turkish columnists strongly blame Israel and some others criticize the Islamic world's silence in the face of the attacks.
Star's Fehmi Koru says the apparent aims of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are to strengthen his hand in the elections that will be held on Jan. 22, 2013, to seek US support and to benefit from the political instability in the region, creating the feeling of despair and sending a message to the Egyptians as well as the Palestinians that “even though authoritarian leaders like Hosni Mubarak have been toppled, nothing has changed.” After all, Israeli politicians are masters of killing many birds with one stone. Also, it is a good thing that Turkey and Egypt have united their powers against Israel, but the number of cooperating countries needs to increase further to disappoint Netanyahu in his aims, Koru says.
Another Star columnist, Sedat Laçiner, focuses on the passivity of the Islamic world in the face of Israel's brutality. While Israel plays with Palestine like a cat playing with a mouse, Muslim countries have kept a shameful silence, he says. “Muslims in Iraq and Syria are busy killing their Muslim brothers and sisters. Lebanon is shattered. Iran is waiting for the right time to take control over the Gulf region, Iraq and Syria. Turkey has just started to try its pro-Israel coup plotters. Egypt has not yet eradicated the traces of its toppled Mubarak regime. But why are we so weak? Is it only the US and the West's fault? How many years will pass and how many lives will be taken before we stop hoping to achieve peace by cursing Israel and the West and take a look at ourselves? Let's admit that we are shamefully weak in the face of Israel's massacres and the reasons for our weakness are mostly about us. First of all, we do not enjoy a spirit of unity. Even if it weren't for Israel or the West, we would be massacring each other. Second, we don't show respect to our own people. Third, we can never become fully independent until we totally eliminate the ‘deep states' in our countries. The fourth and most important reason is that we don't place enough emphasis on education, science and basic reason. I know all of these sound impractical and you will say ‘this is not the way that Palestine will be freed,' but this is life and it has certain rules which do not change even if you keep ignoring them. And just because you condemn and oppose them, tyrants do not stop,” Laçiner concludes.