The Israeli-Hamas war entered its 43rd day on Saturday as the battle has turned by now one sided with Israeli defence forces going all out in bombing the Gaza strip including the civilian areas and the hospitals in the name of eliminating the Hamas militants who launched the ‘terror’ attack on Israelis including civilians on October 7. As on November 17, the death toll of Palestinians totalled more than 11,400 and the injured around 30,000.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed by the unambiguous support from United States President Joe Biden has openly declared that there would be no halt to the Israeli attacks till the complete elimination of the Hamas forces. In the process, what has happened is the killing of the civilians, especially women and children who account for 70 per cent of the death toll, according to the United Nations agencies. Out of the 28 hospitals in Gaza strip, 18 have been shut down due to the unprecedented shortage of medicines and cut off of power and water, while ten hospitals are functioning in a truncated manner without having the minimum necessity including oxygen cylinders.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) director general was virtually in tears on Friday in TV when he said that unless the ceasefire is implemented and normal medical supplies reach the Gaza residents under seize, thousands would die without treatment. In the biggest Al-Shifa Hospital, all the ICU patients died in the last two days due to the non-availability of the essential medical devices.
What is the military situation right now? On October 7 Hamas attacked the Israelis and as per the Israeli Government statement, 1200 were killed including 300 soldiers. Since then, in the last 43 days, the widespread rocket and bomb attacks at the Hamas hideouts, many of which are in the civilian areas, led to lot of destruction of Hamas weapons including sophisticated rocketry, but the number of Hamas soldiers killed had not been more. One military estimate put at less than six hundred.
Hamas has a fighting strength of 30,000 including 6,000 super fighters at whom the Israeli Defence Forces(IDF) have targeted.. In the last two weeks, the US agencies have freezed the accounts of some of the outfits abroad, including those in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Algeria and even the US. The supplies of new sophisticated weapons to Hamas have been stopped as a result.
The Hamas fighters are dedicated but the Israelis are using the latest high level weaponry and targeted rocketry and that has been used to identify the tunnels built by Hamas over the years to face any future Israeli attack. Now, those tunnels have become vulnerable as IDF through its highly sophisticated mechanism have been able to identify the various parts of the tunnel.. Hamas fighters, at the moment are at the receiving end of the IDF which is getting constant supplies from the US pentagon.
For Prime Minister Netanyahu, the October 7 attack gave him the opportunity to turn Palestine into a vassal state of Israel. The far right leader took full advantage of his people’s sentiments after the horrific killing of civilians including those attending a programme in a music hall and opted for implementing a full scale annihilation programme of Hamas militants. The entire defence forces are equally motivated to take the revenge against Hamas, thereby against Gaza residents in full. Some UN observers who talked to the Israeli officers were amazed to hear them talking of total annihilation of Hamas. Netanyahu will not opt for ceasefire unless he is compelled by big power, mainly the USA.
The United Nations bodies excepting the Security Council have passed resolutions calling for ceasefire. The WHO and other bodies are just crying for the end of the genocide of the civilians, but who cares. The UN is toothless as usual. Israel is caring little for UN sermons since the US is backing. Other western nations are more or less supporting Israeli position pointing at the viciousness of Hamas attack.
As regards China and Russia, both have their own geopolitical games where the Palestinian tragedy gets backyard treatment compared to their respective bilateral relations with the USA. Chinese President Xi Jinping had a four hour meeting with US President Joe Biden on November 15 in San Francisco. The Chinese leader was focusing on making the point that this planet is large enough to accommodate two super powers. Xi talked in general terms about the Israeli-Hamas war. No report was there that the Chinese president put much pressure on the US president for persuading Netanyahu to declare immediate ceasefire.
Significantly, October 7 was the 71st birthday of the Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was busy in his festivities during the day. He reacted three days later but that was more against the USA rather than Israel. President Putin is looking at the possibility of US failure in the West Asian region and the prospect of Russia filling up the part of the gap. Russia is in the process of improving its bilateral relations with Israel in the recent years. It does not welcome any sudden deterioration in its relations with Israel. Russia is not expected to render any assistance to Hamas directly. Putin can use Iran for facilitating some help, if needed.
Overall, Palestinians have been left in the lurch by both Hamas and their friendly nations including two big powers. Gaza has a population of 2.3 million. Out of this, more than 1.2 million have been displaced. The remaining population will face the brunt of the Israeli attacks if the Israeli forces are allowed a free hand to operate in Gaza strip. Up to now, Palestine people have paid a heavy price for the gross error of Hamas militants. The retaliation by the Israelis has been much more in terms of the killings.
Only a few of the Global South countries have shown the guts to take some action against Israel government. South Africa has referred Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed in Gaza, President Cyril Ramaphosa said Thursday. This statement of crucial geopolitical importance came as the illegal Israeli assault on the largest hospital in Gaza took place. Israel said that the command centre was housed in the hospital premises but so far, the IDF could not find any such site. This was a sort of repetition of the scenario that happened with the US bombing of Baghdad in 2003 on the plea that the nuclear bomb materials were hidden in a specific place. Finally, the US troops could not find any such thing but the massacre was already committed.
South African lawmakers agreed to a motion tabled by the Economic Freedom Fighters opposition party and supported by the ruling African National Congress on calling for the closure of the Israeli embassy in South Africa and the cutting of all diplomatic ties with the country until it agrees to a ceasefire in Gaza.. President Ramaphosa said that the Government went ahead with the motion because the government and the African National Congress believed that Israel had committed war crimes.
Brazilian President Lula also strongly warned Israel and made fervent call for immediate ceasefire. Other left wing Latin American regimes including Mexico, Honduras, Columbia, Bolivia, Guatemala and Chile have instructed their respective ambassadors to the UN to work for immediate ceasefire. As against this strong moves by some of the global south countries, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even in his last statement on Friday at the Global South meeting talked of stopping civilian casualties, but did not mention that Israel was mainly responsible for the civilian killings including bombing the hospitals full of patients. PM was acting as a full fledged ally of the US these days.
Right now, every day’s delay in ceasefire means death of few hundreds more Palestinians. Massive pressure has to be built on the US president and his accomplices in the West for persuading the Prime Minister Netanyahu to agree to immediate ceasefire and avoid further genocide of the innocent residents of Gaza strip. Netanyahu will not listen to anybody excepting President Biden. If ceasefire does not take place within next few days, it is going to be a humanitarian disaster all the way. (IPA Service)