FeaturedInternationalVOLUME 18 ISSUE # 48

Gaza war exposes the double standard of western nations

There is once again blood and fire in the unfortunate land of Palestine. After the Hamas attack, Israel is on a rampage, killing thousands of innocent men, women and children, carpet-bombing civilian areas, including hospitals, schools and mosques, and shutting off entire Gaza from the outside world.

It has been rightly said that the Israelis who were once victims of Holocaust are now committing Holocaust against the Palestinians. But the Western nations have turned a blind to the unfolding tragedy, while some of them with a twisted logic are defending gross human rights violations by Israel.

The Hamas attack was a reaction. Even a worm turns when driven to the wall. Palestinians have suffered years of humiliation at the hands of Israeli security forces without any relief in sight, creating a psychology of hopelessness and hate among them. Palestinians have been driven out of their homeland, deprived of their basic human rights and have been victims of brutal repression, arbitrary arrests and collective punishment. Over the years, entire neighbourhoods have been razed to the ground to make way for illegal Israeli settlements.

Dispossessed of their homes and denied their right to live a peaceful life in their ancestral land, over two million people in Gaza have suffered untold misery under an Israeli-imposed blockade. Restrictions on their movement and almost daily assaults on people exercising no more than their basic right to worship in the Al Aqsa Mosque have etched deep scars in the Palestinians’ psyche and led to seething anger among the youth. It was against this backdrop that the Palestinian resistance group Hamas launched its attack, which punctured the myth of Israeli military invincibility.

Needless to say, the eruption of a new war in Gaza is a direct result of the brutalities that Israeli forces have heaped on defenceless Palestinians for years. In the eyes of international law, an occupied people have every right to offer resistance to the occupying force, and this is what the Hamas counterattack on Israel was. What else could Hamas do to register their protest in the face of ceaseless Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, unspeakable human rights atrocities, demolition of Palestinian homes and desecration of Muslim holy places.

Miffed by the daring Hamas attack which breached what was considered to be an impenetrable security cordon, Israel in a state of uncontrollable rage has imposed a siege on Gaza, relentlessly bombing residential buildings, refugee camps and schools and in the process killing more than 2800 Palestinians, including 900 children. After cutting off electricity, water, food and fuel supplies to Gaza, the Israeli army has ordered 1.1m people to leave northern Gaza.

Israel is guilty of gross violation of international humanitarian laws but Western countries seem unconcerned. On the other hand, some of them have declared their unconditional support for ‘Israel’s right to defend itself’. On its part, the US has announced to give more military assistance to Tel Aviv and sent an aircraft carrier to the eastern Mediterranean, carrying advanced armaments.

As usual, the UN has once again failed to provide relief to the oppressed Palestinian people. The UN Security Council held an in- camera session but the meeting ended in a deadlock as Western countries only wanted to condemn Hamas but not Israel for its atrocities against Palestinians. The US, UK and France also opposed a Russian move to call for a ceasefire.

The Palestine issue has been hanging fire for the last 70 years but a just solution to the conflict is nowhere in sight. Numerous UN Security Council resolutions calling for an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine are gathering dust on the shelves.

The new Gaza war has shown that Palestine will continue to smoulder until justice is done to Palestinians who are the original inhabitants of this ancient land. Israel is a usurper state which was thrust on Palestine illegally and forcibly. Worse still, Israel has been following a policy of constant expansion which keeps the embers of anger and hate alight in the region.

According to experts, a two-state solution ensuring a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine is the only way out of the impasse. In this connection, UN Secretary General António Guterres has urged an immediate end to the bloodshed and asserted that only a two-state solution can bring long-term stability to the people of this land and the wider Middle East region. He also asked Israel to withdraw its Gaza evacuation order.

It is also time the OIC went beyond just verbal condemnation of Israel and took collective action to bring pressure to bear on Tel Aviv and its main supporter America to revise their policy and recognize the fundamental right of the Palestinians to live in the land of their birth with dignity and peace.