The killing fields of Gaza

An unequal war in going on, killing innocents almost every day, and yet there is not a murmur from the governments in the region and across the world whispering a ‘Stop it’.

The killing fields of Gaza

Gaza has become Israel’s backyard for use of military weapons, targeted assassination, and control of a hapless population that seems to be virtually living at the mercy of its all powerful neighbour with no solution in sight. The targeted assassination of a top Hamas commander, Ahmad Jabari, along with seven others deserves strong condemnation but unfortunately has not made the headlines, even in newspapers of supposed friendly countries like India.

The moment there is even a hint of unrest or opposition from the Palestinians living in Gaza, Israel retaliates with air strikes killing hundreds of innocents on a regular basis. The fear and trauma affects all residents, with the women and children remaining the worst hit as normal life for them has been overtaken by conflict and war. In this recent case Jabari was murdered by a initial Israeli strike on a car in Gaza city in broad daylight, just before 4 pm, according to the West Asian media. This was supposedly an Israel operation targeting armed groups. Jabari was killed along with his son and his bodyguard when his car was blown up. After this, again according to conservative reports, Israel pounded the tiny strip with at least 20 air strikes in which seven Palestinians were killed, 30- odd injured including two children.

The Israel-Iran face-off has diverted attention from the plight of the Palestinians who are facing attacks on a regular basis. Apart from this they have been hemmed into their tracts of territory with the infamous wall, that makes them captive until and unless they are cleared for movement from one part to the other by the Israeli troops in command. Travel outside West Bank and Gaza remains in the hands of the Israeli controllers, as does the electricity and water in parts. Garbage is piling up, the Palestinian tracts are turning into overcrowded, congested, disease- bearing ghettos, with the standards of livelihood reduced to unimaginable levels.

Talks for a solution seem to have disappeared from the global agenda, with Israel’s hard line position working to virtually eliminate the free spirited Palestinians from the world stage. In killing Jabari, Israeli military claimed that the attack was justified as he was a “senior Hamas operative, directly responsible for executing terror attacks against the State of Israel in the past number of years.” This absurd justification has been met with silence from the world, including the Arab League that is more vocal against rulers like the Syrian President, than it is in its condemnation of Israel’s unilateral military actions in the region.

The United States, of course has nothing to say about this violation of all democratic principles where a tiny country backed by military power, takes law into its own hands through a system of targeted assassinations that has killed any number of Palestinians not just in Gaza but in western countries as well. Rumours that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had been poisoned to death by Israel eight years ago, were buried in the Palestinian scramble for the top position with even leaders like Mahmoud Abbas ignoring Mrs Arafat’s allegations at the time. Now eight years later reports seem to have vindicated her stand, and the dead Palestinian leader’s body is being exhumed on November 26 for a proper autopsy. Arafat was held prisoner by the Israeli’s in his last days, with the great leader being humiliated, harassed and threatened on an almost daily basis. Most Palestinians believe he was poisoned, and it is indeed regrettable that the Palestinian leadership that succeeded him did not raise the issue and take it to its logical conclusion.

India, under its pragmatic and not principled, foreign policy has forgotten the Palestinians completely. Except for the usual lip service to the cause the mandarins in South Block clearly do not believe in, the Indian government is only interested in strengthening relations with Israel, diplomatic and military in particular. The money lies with Israel, not with the Palestinians and the pragmatic turn to Indian foreign policy has ensured that it does not move away from Tel Aviv in any meaningful way. The Arab League controlled by the oil rich nations have never really been sympathetic to the Palestinians even during the days of Yasser Arafat, with this lack of sympathy turning into callous indifference over the years.

Thus one of the most serious violation of rights in history is slowly being absorbed by the world community as a given. The marginalization of the Palestinians is reflected in the media, with the true picture of their stress and trauma being completely blacked out from the mainstream newspapers in all countries. An unequal war is going on, killing innocents almost every day, and yet there is not a murmur from the governments in the region and across the world even whispering a “Stop it”. Ironically if and when there is an initiative, clearly weighed in favour of Israel, it comes from Washington with its satellite countries then suddenly re-discovering their interest in the Palestinian cause.

The world has thus become a silent spectator to the systematic attempts to eliminate the most secular Arabs ever, proud, courageous, and dignified. This attitude if not radically changed will lead eventually, to a Holocaust more terrible, and virulent than the one that led to the creation of Israel.


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