Editorial: No Light At The End Of The Tunnel In Gaza

Editorial: No Light At The End Of The Tunnel In Gaza

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Wednesday, May 08, 2024, 07:51 PM IST
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Israel-Hamas War | File Image

The celebrations in Gaza over the reported ceasefire deal with Israel for an indeterminate period were clearly premature. These had erupted after Hamas initially dragging its feet accepted it. The proscribed terrorist group was still not ready to free all the 100-plus hostages in its custody since the barbaric October 7 attack on Israel, but 30-odd were to be released, presumably including the bodies of some of them who died in captivity. Aware that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was under tremendous pressure from the friends and relatives of the hostages, Hamas was playing psychological games. Its objective was to get the Israel Defence Forces halt operations and thus take the pressure off on its remaining cadres purportedly hidden in the underground maze of tunnels. On the other hand, Netanyahu and the hard-line orthodox elements in his government were determined to “decimate Hamas by all means” so that it can no longer conceive repeating the October 7th-like atrocity again. The top leadership of Hamas along with four divisions of the terrorist outfit were allegedly holed up in the tunnels under Rafah. With nearly over 30,000 dead already in the IDF operations in Gaza, the assault on Rafah to neutralise the Hamas leadership and its fighters could further cause a humanitarian crisis. A certain amount of collateral damage in such situations cannot be avoided, but the global mood is increasingly turning anti-Israel due to the failure of the US and other western nations, which aid Israel with arms and funds, to influence Netanyahu to call off the Gaza operations.

Hamas, on its part, does not help matters by dictating its own terms for a ceasefire. The protests that have spread over the US and European campuses too are essentially one-sided, virtually ignoring Hamas’ provocations while putting the Israeli leadership in the dock. However, when it comes to matters of survival Israel leadership has always chosen security over public relations. Anyone in its place would understand what a besieged mentality can lead to. Security paranoia causes avoidable suffering for even the peace-loving Palestinians who have nothing to do with the terrorist outfit. It is time too that the protesters widened their gaze to take note of the heinous wars in which lakhs of Muslims have died fighting fellow Muslims in Syria and Yemen, to name only two of the trouble spots in West Asia.

That petrodollars are liberally funding the protests, as reported in a section of the western media itself, ought to make the sober elements in the western academic world to have a relook at the anti-Israel bonfires on the US and European campuses. Has it not occurred to anyone abusing Israel that if Hamas frees all the surviving hostages still in its custody, and hands over the remains of those who died while under its care, Israel will find it well-nigh impossible to continue its operations in Rafah? Why, in a way, one could well say that the timing of the student protests is suspect, meant to put pressure on Israel so that it calls off its clearing off operations in Rafah which shelters the top leadership of Hamas along with tens of hundreds of its fighters? Hamas too may reckon that US President Biden will pressure Netanyahu strongly to cease fire lest he lost the liberal-left vote in the coming presidential poll. Given that Biden’s most likely challenger, Donald Trump, has expressed himself more strongly in endorsing Israel’s anti-Hamas operations the centrist-liberal-left voter may be caught in a quandary of its own making. Neither side in the ongoing conflagration in Gaza is blameless, though historically the petrodollar-rich West Asian autocracies can be held guilty of leaving the Palestinians to their own devices. These are the nowhere- people whom no Islamic nation is willing to embrace. Since a two-State solution is not in sight in the near future, periodic breakout of hostilities interspersed with bouts of uneasy peace seem inevitable. But before that, Israel seems bent on finishing the unfinished agenda of wiping out the present leadership of Hamas. That another Hamas with or without another name will come up until a permanent solution is found too is not in doubt. The world is at a loss to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable.

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