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Whither humanity?

After nine days of death and destruction in Gaza, a ceasefire deal has finally been reached to end the fighting between Israel and Palestine.

On the pretext of attacking Hamas, Israel has slaughtered hundreds of innocent Palestinians, including women and children, in the process.

The pictures of those who have lost their loves ones are gut-wrenching while images of those who have died in these attacks leave one speechless.

Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in a demonstration against the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip in the Jabalya refugee camp, in northern Gaza, on July 4. Pic/AFP
Palestinian Hamas supporters take part in a demonstration against the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip in the Jabalya refugee camp, in northern Gaza, on July 4. Pic/AFP

There are those who try to justify Israeli violence by blaming Hamas and/or past Palestinian leadership. What they conveniently forget is that Israel has one of the best militaries in the world with an abundant supply of modern weapons while the Palestinians are no match for its military might.

They also tend to ignore Israel’s expansionist agenda, which seems to be getting worse every passing year. The suffering of the Palestinians in the last six decades is well-documented. The recent spate of violence has left more than 220 Palestinians dead, with more than 80 per cent of them civilians according to the UN.

Unfortunately, the international community as well as the Arab world has plunged into yet another exhibition of criminal apathy as innocents continue to die in Palestine due to Israeli aggression. In any other situation, this would be called an act of war and an illegal invasion, but Israel’s offensives are always ignored because of its strong US-backing.

It is not surprising that the US has adopted such a nonchalant attitude towards Israeli aggression. The US policy vis-à-vis Israel has always been the same, i.e. let Israel do whatever it wants regardless of the havoc it wreaks. And worse, provide justifications for its actions later.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said something deeply touching after visiting Gaza during the recent crisis: “First, never will even the most impressive television footage properly capture the depth of fear and despair felt in the homes and hearts of Gazans who are yet again facing death, devastation and displacement… Too often in their lives have Gazan civilians been denied their dignity.

Anonymity in death or injury is the ultimate denial. It is also too comfortable for the world and the parties engaged in the hostilities. Palestinians are not statistics and we must never allow them to be treated as such. They are human beings like others in the world, with their identity and the same hopes and expectations for an improved future for their children.”

Israeli unilateralism and the west’s silence will only lead to more hate and bloodshed while nothing would be left of either the ‘Two State Solution’ or of the ‘Land for Peace’ policy. It has all but been washed away in a flood of violence.

Israel remains a threat to the peace process and would always loom as a treacherous shadow over Palestine. Unless and until the international community flexes its muscles and makes Israel realise it cannot get away with its blatant aggression, nothing in the Middle East will ever change. In fact, things would keep getting worse.

The solution suggested by the Economic and Political Weekly in its editorial a few years ago should be heeded: “Remove the lie of an independent Palestine, which has never been allowed to exist and will perhaps never be and demand the secularisation and democratisation of the state of Israel.”

The writer is a Pakistani journalist. Reach her at mehmal.s@gmail.com

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