Why all the attention on Gaza?

I find it hard to understand the press fascination with Gaza.  And the anti-Israel feeling that gets whipped up.

 It’s not a large conflict.  More people have been killed in the Ukraine recently and this civil war has received less coverage (even with the jet airliner shooting).
On one side of the conflict in Gaza there are some religious nuts and local gang-leaders (among the many civilians who would rather get on with their lives in peace).  There are many young religious men.  Who are happy to build tunnels and shoot rockets even though this is purely terrorism, they can never win a war against the most advanced military power (a nuclear one at that) in the region.  But they hold out hope of all Muslims rising up and wiping the Jews off the earth (so they can move onto the next group of infidels?).
On the other side is a democratic state with elected leaders who have to do something when rockets are fired.  Their voters include moderates who say “just clean up after the suicide bomber, don’t give them publicity, just everyone keep calm and carry on”.  But also hawks (some religious nuts) who argue for extreme military response.  The average person on the street puts a lot of pressure on politicians when they fear that their children might be bombed tomorrow.
Of course, it is terrible that Israel’s action results in the killing of innocent civilians.  But there is plenty of evidence of considerable restraint.  They could wipe out Gaza in a week, but they don’t.
What would English government do if a well armed group of French Catholics (Guy Fawkes’ heirs) had an enclave in Tyburn and were shooting rockets at the rest of London to avenge their martyrs?
It’s like Northern Ireland, it will never be solved until the leaders of Gaza have the political power to sit down and negotiate a peace.  For a long time now they have been unable to.  Arafat was corrupt, but there was probably more hope than now under Hamas.  Any agreement they make will be instantly broken by a substantial number of people who are committed to war with Israel for ideological (religious) reasons and for practical reasons (their power over people in Gaza depends on this conflict).  It was like this in Northern Ireland for decades until the people got tired of all the death and finally the moderates gained political control over the IRA.
I suspect that American negotiations, and special envoys like Tony Blair only made the situation worse.  They give it oxygen.  They give the nutters an important stage to stand on.  Northern Ireland was resolved during Blairs tenure but I suspect that was just good timing. The result of decades of changes on the ground.  Of course Tony sees it differently and thinks he can work wonders in Gaza.
Again, I’m surprised how much press (and politician) attention given to each of these little conflicts.  When there are far larger religious wars raging in the Middle East and Africa.  Wars that have the potential to create terrorist states.
This article reflects my personal views. It was not commissioned or paid for by anyone.

About ByronSharp

Byron Sharp is Professor of Marketing Science, and director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, University of South Australia
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