President Joe Biden of the United States finally called for a “pause” in the fighting in Gaza. This came weeks after much of the rest of the world had called for an actual ceasefire (not the same thing).
A pause here presumably means, “Hey guys, take a break in the killings, don’t wear yourself out”. Normal service, meaning the shooting and the bombing, an eye for an eye etc, will soon continue.
Given that the US doesn’t speak with terrorists, this call must have been meant for the non-terrorists in the equation then, meaning the Israelis. We’re yet to hear whether the Israelis will “pause”. They may, as ammunition and ordinances must be running low, and need replenishment.
I believe many Israelis, and many Jews, seriously wonder how it is that the rest of the world has not been angrier and more shocked at the nasty deeds of Hamas. Many must genuinely feel hurt and outraged at this seeming callousness of much of the world.
An interesting corollary is there are even more people who are more shocked and more outraged that Israel, with the connivance of the US, gets away with horrendous war crimes of genocide and ethnic cleansing with impunity.
Such views are not the typical knee-jerk antisemitic reactions either. Sure, there’s plenty of those around, including in the Muslim world, much of which has been brought up to think of anything Jewish as evil. As also with a lot of Christians, who have historically shown little or no compunction about offering many solutions, some deemed final, to the Jewish problem.
Israel, supported by much of the West, claims Yes, we killed hundreds (or thousands) but we could’ve killed thousands (or tens of thousands) instead. So, give us a break, we’re the good guys. We’ll get our job done with minimum collateral damage, even if minimum collateral damage here means the total destruction of Gaza. And that’s supposed to pass as being fair and reasonable.
The root cause
I’m honestly surprised by my own reactions, and the reaction of many people whom I know and respect as being even-handed and reasonable about Gaza. We see the refusal to look into the root cause of the ongoing conflict – the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 and the gobbling up of the West Bank as de facto part of Israel – as the primary and continuing cause of the conflict.
Are we supposed to blindly accept that so-called right to defend your own borders? What is the worth of that concept when Israel’s own “borders” aren’t recognised by much of the world, and are the prize of brazen use of force with callous disregard of the rights of others who were there before them?
I’m tired of the lazy branding of anybody who speaks out against Israel as being antisemitic and supporters of terrorism. There are many people in the world who see the current problem of the region – whether Hamas or Hezbollah or whoever – as the direct result of Israel’s occupation and land grabs, and not the cause of the conflict.
Terrorism is evil: replying with more terrorism doesn’t make it right. But the evil perpetrated by those supposedly civilized and humane world powers that gave rise to this terrorism in the first place is an even greater evil.
Kids as cannon fodder
I’m certainly not a supporter of the hysterical reactions, especially of the religious right in our own country (we know who they are). These are people who aren’t able to understand, or just refuse to understand, the complexity of the issues.
For them, everything is a jihad. But it is despicable to set up kids to be cannon fodder, while it is doubtful if that actually helps the Palestinians, or more likely is in aid of their own political causes unrelated to Palestine.
But I also find the instinctive Islamophobia of many, including in our own country (we know who they are) repulsive. Many are not necessarily admirers or stooges of the West, but perhaps are just carrying on with their mindset of seeing Islam as bad and dangerous.
The centre cannot hold
I hate it that it’s getting more and more difficult to be in the middle, to be sane and rational, in seeing this matter. I hate it that people and forces are forcing us into even more highly polarised positions than many of us want to be in.
And I find it funny, in a very offensive way, to see many in the Western media starting dialogues on this matter by demanding that their guests, often Muslims, condemn the action of Hamas. It’s like this is the price that must be paid to take part in the proceedings.
But are they also now starting their interviews by asking supporters of Israel to begin by condemning the razing of Gaza that has resulted in the deaths of thousands there, especially children?
I don’t think so. While I wouldn’t accuse the Western media of wholesale bias – though we’re seeing a lot more of these nowadays, because I know the other side is even worse – I also think that when this is all over, they need to have a cold hard look as to whether their claims of objectivity, impartiality and objectivity, can stand up.
The clear victor
In many ways, Hamas has come out as the clear victor in this latest conflict.
They set out with a simple objective, and they’ve achieved it totally. They probably have suffered, and will continue to suffer, horrendous losses at the hands of the Israelis, but wars are not won by those who kill more of their enemies, but by those who achieve their objectives, regardless of the cost.
And Hamas’s objective here is simple – blow up the chance for a fair solution by reasonable people from either side, using wanton killing and destruction so that there is no longer any middle ground. This will ensure their “cause” will become even more deeply embedded in the psyche of the Palestinians, and much of the Islamic world, and even much of the world at large.
And on this score, with the connivance of much of the Western world, they’re well on their way to succeeding.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.