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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Editorial: Restraint a stronger weapon than retaliation ]

Editorial: Restraint a stronger weapon than retaliation

THURSDAY night’s massacre inside a Jewish religious college in Jerusalem was a despicable and barbaric act of terrorism, all the more shocking in that its victims were almost all young teenagers, shot dead as they studied holy scriptures.

While the attackers may seek some spurious justification in the Talmudic school’s connection with the settler movement, the reality is that those who planned such a massacre simply wanted to raise the stakes in their merciless war with Israel.

What mattered was to strike at the heart of Israel, with an atrocity that would expose the Jewish state’s inability to defend its citizens. What mattered was to provoke a reaction that would drag Israel further into the quagmire of a war that it cannot win, to spark further military violence that would feed the resentment of the Arab world. And most of all, what mattered was to hammer a further nail into the coffin of hope in any kind of peaceful settlement.

The Israeli government’s refusal to call off talks with the Palestinian authority of Mahmoud Abbas is an encouraging and a brave refusal to allow terrorism to dictate the political agenda, though whether it will survive the public outcry remains to be seen. What’s more, it is unlikely that Israel will resist the temptation to unleash military retaliation on those it blames for the attacks, the militants of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

And there lies the infernal spiral of this conflict, in which neither side can allow a single attack to remain without retaliation – a retaliation that each time marks a deliberate escalation in a stubborn effort to teach the other a lesson. Last week, Israeli attacks killed over 120 Palestinians in Gaza, more than half of them civilians and many of them children. They came in retaliation after rockets fired from the Strip killed an Israeli civilian in the border town of Sderot.

Israel is desperate to destroy the militant threat, yet what it fails to realise is that the greater the violence unleashed, the stronger the militants become, the more attractive their struggle across the Muslim world. The more Israel punishes civilian populations, the more those civilians are drawn to those they see as their only protector, their only voice in a situation so desperate that they have nothing to lose.

In the bitter survivalism of Israel it is a brave person who will understand that the greatest weapon against those extremists bent on the annihilation of the Jewish state is not retaliation but restraint, not a missile or a tank, but a true engagement for peace.

Hamas does not care for peace, but Israel needs it to survive in a hostile environment. Battering its opponents into oblivion will at best earn Israel a respite until they regroup. But it breeds resentment and hatred and ultimately it condemns further generations to the kind of atrocity that so shocked the world in Jerusalem on Thursday night.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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