Editorial: Unacceptable Parity Between Hamas, Israel

Editorial: Unacceptable Parity Between Hamas, Israel

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Wednesday, May 22, 2024, 11:07 PM IST
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Israel-Hamas War | File Image

The seeming equivalence sought to be imposed by the International Criminal Court between the terrorist organisation Hamas and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to say the very least, is outrageous. It fails to distinguish between a barbaric terrorist outfit deemed so by several nations and the leader of a democratic country. Whatever be the excesses and collateral damage of Israel’s armed action against Hamas following its October 7 massacre of innocents in Israel, it does not warrant parity between the two. One was an unprovoked mass murder of innocents by armed militants who raped women and killed children before their mothers and took over 200 Israeli men, women and children hostage. Another was an attack by the Israel Defence Forces undertaken to eliminate the perpetrators of that bestial savagery and neutralise the terrorist organisation that has tormented the Palestinians and Israelis in its bid to impose its evil writ on both. Therefore, the arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant, Israel’s Defence Minister has evoked a sharp reaction from the US President Joe Biden who termed it outrageous. The effect of the warrants in Israel was immediate. It led Israelis of all political persuasions to join ranks behind Netanyahu who otherwise was a most divisive figure. Even his rivals inside the war cabinet and outside showed solidarity, pillorying the ICC for its audacity for clubbing the democratically elected Netanyahu with Hamas’ top leaders Yahya Sinwar, Muhammad Deif and Ismail Haniyeh. While conceding that Israel had the right to protect its citizens, the ICC charge said that Netanyahu’s action against Hamas involved “starvation as a method of war”. The ICC failed to appreciate that the civilians in Gaza were in plain sight victims of the terrorist outfit who used them as human shields, not allowing them to shift to a relatively safe place. Besides, the other petro-dollar-rich Arab nations were unwilling to shelter the Gaza civilians till IDF waged a war to the finish against Hamas. Eventually, under the US pressure Israel did open safe routes for the flow of humanitarian aid in Gaza. Here against the well-documented charge was that Hamas cornered the aid meant for civilians, often using humanitarian workers to aid its terrorist activities. Given the brutal nature of the beast called Hamas, the ICC prosecutors showed a singular lack of good judgement when they sought the arrest of Netanyahu. That Israel is not a signatory of the Rome Declaration setting up ICC further absolves its leaders from obeying its dictate. Last year the ICC had issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin on Ukraine’s charge of Russia kidnapping little children but nothing had come of it. The Russian leader avoided going to South Africa for a conference since SA was a signatory to the ICC charter and could have been put in a quandary had Putin showed up on its soil. Such excesses by international bodies would hasten the slow but steady erosion of the relevance of the multilateral institutional architecture created post-War under the aegis of the United Nations.

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