West Asia’s trauma and diplomatic doublespeak - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

West Asia’s trauma and diplomatic doublespeak

Oct 16, 2023 11:25 AM IST

Israel-Gaza conflict raises concerns about violations of international law. Humanitarian approach urged to avoid further tragedies.

Let us talk about that land that has a direct link to three prophets and three religions. Those born here, however, are cursed to suffer for generations. The most recent example is the terrible massacres taking place in Israel, the Gaza Strip, and adjacent territories.

Israeli soldiers stand near their armoured vehicles stationed close to the border with the Gaza Strip on October 15.(AFP) PREMIUM
Israeli soldiers stand near their armoured vehicles stationed close to the border with the Gaza Strip on October 15.(AFP)

The terrible deed committed by Hamas on October 7 will be remembered as a tragic chapter in human history. Israel saw this as a war imposed on it and is using its military might to destroy Hamas. In the first six days of the war, Israel dropped around 6,000 bombs on Gaza. Tel Aviv has also ordered around 1.1 million Palestinians in northern Gaza to evacuate their homes and move south in 24 hours so that it could order the ground forces to take “decisive action”.

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, even 72 hours are insufficient to complete such a task. On the other side of the border, Hamas is doing everything it can do to prevent the people of Gaza from leaving. It is aware that the world will not allow Israel to continue shelling as long as people are there. It’s a clear case of using one’s own people as a “human shield”. Hamas also continues to hold 120 Israeli hostages. They will go to any length to use these helpless people as human shields.

Hamas had threatened to kill some of the hostages on the holy day of Jumma (Friday). Perhaps, as a result of back-door diplomacy, it didn’t. By killing innocent hostages, Hamas could risk losing its growing support in the Islamic world. Millions of Jordanians came on to the streets of the capital Amman after Friday prayers to protest the bombing of Gaza. Not just in Amman. Similar protests have taken place across the world, including in New York. If Israel’s rage lasts a few more days, support for the people of Gaza may grow.

Guterres has urged Israel against retaliatory action, reminding Tel Aviv that “even war has rules”. US President Joe Biden has also asked Israel to follow the “law of war”. The same Biden had authorised the Pentagon to deliver lethal equipment to Israel immediately after the Hamas attack. The first shipment of weaponry has already arrived.

In the last three decades, the double-faced American diplomacy and a hollow UN have inflicted unspeakable harm on the world. Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan are examples of this. Consider the plight of the Gazans. While bullets rain down, Hamas advises them to stay in their houses whereas Israel pressures them to evacuate. They have no water, electricity and other supplies because of the continuous blockade for the past week. Hospitals are crowded with injured people and patients. Medicines are in scarce supply and doctors are overstretched. Israeli bombs and missiles have hit 23 ambulances and more than 50 medical facilities so far. The 22 lakh people who live in one of the world’s most densely populated zones are already known as people imprisoned for life.

Take note of the timing of this attack. Previously, Netanyahu and Hamas, the two opposite poles of the far Right, were rapidly losing support. The popularity scores of both dropped by more than half. “Mr. Security”, as Netanyahu is known, has failed. This attack has harmed his reputation even further. Will he be able to rescue his image by taking the most severe action against Gaza?

Was the October 7 attack the result of a single terrorist organisation or the collaboration of several outfits, including Hezbollah? The way Israel’s security system was breached suggests that several senior military minds may have joined hands to execute this plot. The procurement of essential equipment and machinery is also a subject of investigation. Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria have also started to burn.

On Israel’s counterattack, the world appears to be divided. Iran claims if Israel is not stopped, the conflict will escalate. Once again, the discord between East and West, North and South is evident. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing such diplomatic acrobatics following every major act of war and destruction. Instead of making statements, it would be useful if these people took a humanitarian approach to the pain, suffering, and agony that has spread both inside and outside Israel. This is the only way to avoid further tragedies.

Shashi Shekhar is editor-in-chief, Hindustan. The views expressed are personal

Tell us what your First Vote will stand for in a short video & get a chance to be featured on HT’s social media handles. Click here to know more!

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections 2024, Lok sabha election 2024 voting live , Karnataka election 2024 live in Bengaluru , Election 2024 Date along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

Continue reading with HT Premium Subscription

Daily E Paper I Premium Articles I Brunch E Magazine I Daily Infographics
freemium
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, May 30, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On