By Debabrata Biswas from Boston, USA
After eighteen days of the surprise attack by Hamas on Israel, the return onslaught against Gaza strip continues. The Hamas attack resulted in the killing of 1400 Israelis and abducting of more than 200 others, leading the Israeli govt. to declare war on the Palestinians in Gaza and even in West Bank to end all the terror attacks on Israel. Actually those have been going for decades. Benjamin Netanyahu vows to wipe out Hamas from the face of the earth, but it is the same man who told his Likud colleagues in March 2019 – “Anyone who wants to thwart the establishment of Palestinian state has to support bolstering Hamas and transferring money to Hamas. This is a part of our strategy – to isolate the Palestinians in Gaza from the Palestinians in the West Bank.”
Israeli leaders have promised to eliminate Hamas – but possibly can not end Hamas existence ; even if it succeed to eliminate Hamas infrastructure in Gaza , in the process killing thousands of civilians , including children and uprooting a whole population from their land. – ‘Hamas is not simply a militant organization limited in Gaza Strip – it is more an ideology. You can not eliminate an ideology by force ” – said Gawain Bahgat, – National Security professor of Asia Centre at National Defence University in Washington.
Israel, how strong it may be with the backing of USA and other western powers, can not achieve its goal in a short period. Israel is going to start a ground assault shortly , which will incur significant Israeli casualties and Palestinian collateral deaths of many more as well – which would result in pressure in both internally and from outside world , where concern about civilian deaths , including many many children are already leading inflamed tensions regionally and internationally.
Though US president Joe Biden had gone to Israel day after the Hamas attack, breaking any precedent before and unilaterally supported Israel strongly, ignoring caution from many of t Democratic congressmen, he recently toned down his unconditional supporting voice due to internal and external pressures. Biden has granted $ 10 billion to Israel’s aid and sent them the most modern war planes and missiles. It is to be noted that 20% of Israel’s budget is fuelled by US dollars and US aid is unconditional for Israel which no other countries are favoured with.
There is a possibility that the war might escalate to other regions. The US had deployed two naval strike groups to eastern Mediterranean, led by USS Eisenhower and USS Gerald Ford aircraft carriers. It has also deployed several squadrons of F 15, F 16 and A 10 warplanes to its bases in the Middle East. This show of force is expressly an attempt to deter other players, especially Iran and Hezbollah from getting involved in the conflict. But now there’s a report that China has sent six war ships to the Middle East.
As Israel is pounding Gaza ceaselessly with its war planes, the humanitarian crisis is surging; all the International laws are being violated, war crimes are being committed – concern about it are also rising. In America, Senator Bernie Sanders and former president Barack Obama both strongly expressed annoyance in Biden’s unilateral support of Israel and Israel’s brutal attack on Palestinian civilians in the name of crushing Hamas. Both expressed concern for the humanitarian crises and asked for immediate ceasefire, saying history will not forgive us for this. Student bodies in college and universities are divided in their support, but as the war escalates, many are expressing their concerns about the humanitarian crisis that aroused from the conflict and vied for immediate ceasefire.
Till October 23, more than 5790 Palestinians were killed, 40%of that are children. There is a serious shortage of essentials in Gaza Strip- food, fuel, drinking water, shelter, medicines and other commodities. Hospitals are being bombed. About more than 190,000 Palestinians have fled north Gaza after the Israeli warning. Many of them took shelter in UNRWA schools run by UNICEF and many of them are children. Even some of these schools are bombed, ‘The Save the Children Charity’ reported that one child in Gaza was being killed every 15 minutes. On Saturday, ‘the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor’ was estimating a daily death roll of 200 children are infants. At least 4000 have been injured. “Gaza’s children are suffering record psychological trauma and terror” Euro-Med says. Many are homeless and short of food and safe drinking water, or have been forced to flee south under fire , compounding their trauma . ‘Human Rights Watch’ said – ‘Israeli bombardments and blockade of Gaza mean that countless wounded and sick children ,among many other civilians, will die for want of medical care’.
Though Biden now has taken initiative to send convoy of relief through Egypt, it is very much inadequate, about 7% of the total minimum requirements to reach Gaza so far to avoid a total humanitarian disaster. World Health Organization said it is unable to provide fuel and life saving supplies to major hospitals in northern Gaza due to lack of security. It called for “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire so that health supplies and fuel can be delivered safely throughout the Gaza Strip”. The number of aid trucks being allowed in Gaza is “wholely inadequate”, – says United Kingdom’s Tory minister Andrew Midul.
“The US speaks a good deal about principles, political analysts point out that president Biden has embedded a hierarchy of human life in official American policy. He expressed outrage at the massacre of the Jews by Hamas, as he should have; but he struggles to be equally clear valuing Gazan lives, especially of children.
Not for the first time, the international community stands accused of complicity in a war crime , of a collective crime against humanity; it is watching it at Gaza, mostly and it is failing miserably to stop it. Killing and targeting civilians, especially children is illegal under 1949 Geneva International convention.
In a joint statement on Sunday, the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Canada while supporting Israel’s right to defend, called for “adherence to International humanitarian laws, including the protection of the civilians”. But they know full well that in Gaza, the exact opposite is happening. Big powers like China and Russia who could have really done something effective to stop the savage bloodbath in Gaza are not active at all. Chinese President has even commented that Israel has the right for self defence. Chinese foreign minister is visiting Washington on October 26 for discussions. Palestinians are left alone to fend for themselves.
The continuing Israeli-Hamas war has once again shown the duplicity and the revanchist attitude of the NATO nations as also the cavalier stance of China and Russia .It seems that the Gaza strip Palestinians are fated to face the worst humanitarian disaster in recent history as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has got free hand in implementing his resolve to free Gaza from the Palestinians taking advantage of the October 7 Hamas attack. (IPA Service)