23/07/2014 06:55 BST | Updated 22/09/2014 06:59 BST

Gaza Conflict: Is It Too Late For Negotiated Peace?

Have I awoken to a swarm of bees in my lightless hotel room? The electricity is off, again. The bees are drones, devised in America, manufactured in Israel, overhead in Gaza at all times in this war.

Crump, crump, boom. boom. You hear the shells fired, and the boom of impact and wonder who has died?

I am in Gaza, in the al Qudz hotel, a street away from the beach. I can't hear the sea, only the drones. I'm up.

No amount of toothpaste loaded onto my toothbrush will drown the tang of salt water. Purified water hardly exists even to drink. A horrid taste, Palestinians tell you the aquifer under Gaza has been drained by the Israelis, and sea water has seeped in to replace it. Maybe the vast claimed Hamas tunnel network is also to blame.


There is soap, there is even an apologetic little sachet of Head and Shoulders shampoo - how did that get into Gaza? Can't you make explosives out of shampoo?

Judging by the peeling paint, you can make explosives out of that, so nothing appears to have been painted in Gaza in two decades.

The shower is salty, sticky too. When did I last thank the Lord for a cold shower? The soap and the Head and Shoulders lather delightfully. I'm briefly in heaven. The dust and sweat of yesterday is drowned.

I put on exactly the same clothes I got up in yesterday. I don't know when we are leaving - we could be stuck for a week, or just another hour. And having to carry everything in, could not afford luxury of clean clothes.


I'm out alone on the street. Where are Gaza's 1.8 million souls? Sheltering. And yet when you meet them, in the shadows, their clothes are clean and pressed, their faces smile, and they greet you, as you greet them.

So gracious and hospitable - yet condemned in this graceless inhospitable place. Not one building stands complete and whole. Some were never finished, some have been finished by shells and missiles.

You glimpse the out-going rockets. Their random human targets are protected by America's brilliant Iron Dome shield.

I first came here 20 years ago. Then there was grace, great Palestinians houses, green gardens, sweet squares, and old men taking tea beneath the shade of palms. There was a strong degree of peace, prosperity even.

Now it has been extinguished. But not the spirit of the people. The people now may not rave about Hamas, but they praise their resistance in the face of what they feel, experience, and argue, is the aggression of Israel.


14 months of no Hamas rocketry. Then the brutal killing of three Israeli teenagers and the renewed exchange of fire.

This cannot go on. Humans live in Gaza, remarkably like us. They laugh, they cry, they die. But too many of them die before their time.

And that is true for those 29 Israeli military boys who have died, none older than his 20s.

Cannot their end be the starting point for something revolutionarily new? Getting inside each others heads, understanding the other, or is it all just too late?

Read all Jon's Channel 4 News blogs here.