In October 2008 Sydney's Taronga Zoo saw the arrival of the first pygmy hippopotamus to be born at the zoo in 23 years. Australians were captivated by photos and video footage of the endearing baby animal. It was named Monifa which, in Nigerian, means "I am lucky".
Not so lucky were the animals in Gaza Zoo. When Israeli storm troopers mounted their devastating New Year blitzkrieg upon defenceless Gaza they spared neither hospitals, schools, mosques, trapped families, women or children - nor did they spare the animals in Gaza Zoo. After the Israeli incursion the zoo reeked of death, with the bodies of dead animals lying in nearly every cage. They had been shot at close range.
I doubt whether even Mark Regev, the Melbourne-born chief apologist for Israel's war crimes, would have the hide to suggest that these animals posed a threat to the security of Israel. Their only crime was to provide some pleasure to the children of Gaza, 1,000 of whom visited the zoo each day.
Israel has decreed to the people of Gaza: no food, no electricity, no medical supplies, and no pleasure!