By Dr Arun Mitra
As per the statement emanating from the Palestinian Health Ministry in its update on October 24 , the number of children killed in Gaza rose to more than 2360 out of 5791 total number killed due to Israel’s bombardment and dropping of 12000 tonnes of explosive on Gaza. This number is rising every day. The number of Israelis killed due to attack by the Hamas is about 1,400. The attack by the Hamas on Israeli civilians on October 7 was a heinous crime. This had drawn global condemnation.
But the disproportionate bombardment on Gaza has shown that the Israeli regime’s intention is not to eliminate just Hamas but it appears to be moving forward with the aim of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Possibility of other countries entering in the conflict cannot be ruled out. Such situation will be most dangerous not only for the region but would have global ramifications.
There are no figures available to quote the number of Hamas cadre being dead but the number of ordinary civilians who have been killed and rendered homeless with majority being the children, women and the elderly is heart rending. With hardly any food, water to drink, basic sanitation facilities, electricity and lack of medicines, life of people in Gaza is becoming hell.
There are several studies to corroborate the health impact on the people living in refugee camps. But the situation in Gaza is much worse and can be very well compared to Nazi concentration camps. There is a grave danger of spread of hunger related diseases, more so among children. There is also danger of spread of Diarrhoea, Dysentery, Chest infections, Viral infections etc. Non communicable diseases like Heart problems and Diabetes are very likely to jump. In the absence of any support for chronic illnesses people are likely to die in large number. The war if continues will cause unprecedented collateral damage.
Besides the physical problems and diseases, the mental issues are even worse. Paranoid attacks are common. Children get distressed by losing their kith and kin and watching death all around. With no one to care and support, they feel emotionally helpless and disturbed which is likely to lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is a persistent fear in the minds of people; the fear whether they or their children will survive the next bombardment. The news that Israel is likely to use chemical weapons adds to fear and distress. It is medieval ages like situation in modern times. People of Gaza need support of all types including food, water, medicines. Global community has to come forward to their aid. It is unfortunate that only a few trucks have been allowed to enter into Gaza with aid material. First priority in this condition is to save lives otherwise what for and for whom the so called aid is coming.
It is unfortunate that the big powers instead of calling for peace are overtly siding with Israeli Zionist government’s actions and paying only lip service to the Palestinians. Statement by the UN Secretary General, that “attack by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. Palestinian people have been subjugated to 56 years of suffocating occupation” is an indication of his earnest desire for a lasting solution to the issue. Violence is no solution to any situation. This has to end immediately. The Arab countries should take initiative in true sense to resolve the issue through dialogue. They should impress upon the UNO to act positively. Much can be achieved with a person like Antonio Guterres as secretary General of the UNO. Domination of the big powers on the UNO has to end and it should play a real peace maker role. If the security council is not able to resolve the issue then the General Assembly session should be called immediately before too many lives are lost and we enter a point of no return
Indian Prime Minister showed his mind set initially by supporting the Israel openly but later on the government of India, probably under international and national pressure, started talking of peace and aid to the people in Gaza. Now is time to talk straight for legitimate rights of Palestinians. India has to play a more proactive diplomatic role for peace and a lasting solution to the problem to ensure peaceful co-existence of people of Israel and Palestine.
People of Gaza are brave enough to bear this onslaught but their confidence has to be maintained. Every life form on earth has an instinct for survival. So are the humans. This instinct has led to man’s struggle against all odds, natural or man-made calamities. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist, who was a Holocaust survivor, motivated prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps to never lose hope for a better future. With his persistent efforts he was able to save many from dying and survive after Hitler lost the war. Health professionals in Gaza are doing tremendous job; trying to save lives in extremely odd circumstances and in an untiring manner and also motivating the people.
The Military Industrial Complex will play its dirty role to sell arms as is happening in Russia Ukraine war. History would recognize the role of those who are standing with the cause of Palestinians in these testing times. Time will come soon when those who side with the murderers of children will be put to trial. (IPA Service)