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Innocent lives caught in war - Gaza Innocent lives caught in war - Gaza
by Saberi Roy
2009-01-18 09:32:31
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Nearly 1000 people have been killed in Gaza with thousands wounded and political leaders, Nobel laureates, activists have demanded a ceasefire in Gaza, which has now been voted for, maybe a bit too late. During the entire operation, Israel has continued to shift blame onto Hamas and held Hamas entirely responsible for the Gaza crisis and the US and a few European leaders also considered the Hamas responsible for the deaths in Gaza. Hamas and the entire Muslim community in turn blame Israeli aggression against Palestinian people for decades.

Caught in the blame game and between Palestinian rocket attacks and Israel’s bomb attacks were thousands of Gaza’s civilians who have faced continuous attacks, shortage of food, medicine and lack of basic humanitarian aid in the last few weeks. The children of Gaza are doomed to develop perennial fear, insecurity and retain psychological scars and it seems no one, not even the UN could help them. The UN resolution on the Middle East crisis - Resolution 1860 has been ignored both by Israel and the Palestine. The UN resolution tabled by the UK was not supported by the US although other countries voted for an immediate ceasefire. Nearly most UN resolutions on the Middle East crisis have been so far quite ineffective and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon while expressing his views to the media said that he has been ‘alarmed’ by the Israeli operation. It seems the UN does not expect nor foresee such moves even in regions teeming with hostilities and again there are too many questions on the role and effectiveness of the UN in actually resolving conflicts and crises that have remained unanswered.

And there are many other questions. One might ask why the US continues to support Israel’s aggression and continues to provide arms and military supplies to Israel that could be used for future operations in Gaza? The blind support provided by the US to Israel has been extremely detrimental for any progress of peace in the Middle East. The US should focus on a peace deal that would prevent all future civilian deaths in the region and whilst maintaining all distance with Palestinian authorities and especially the Hamas, the US has no reason to get too close to Israel. Yet the US has until now remained supportive of an Israeli operation that has resulted in more than 80% civilian deaths in Gaza.

Any harm that Hamas may have been trying to bring to the region with their rocket attacks have now been doubled with the Israeli attacks. Hamas was clearly provoking Israel and Israel has given in to the provocation killing hundreds of civilians and carrying out an ill planned operation resulting in widespread international outrage. All international sentiments that may have been developing in favor of Israel and against Hamas have now been overturned and Hamas is now being considered a terrorist group and Israel being seen as a state sponsor of terror. This has been thus a major diplomatic failure for Israel and with changes in administration at the White House, Israel’s diplomatic failure at this stage could even result in complicated foreign relations not just with UK and EU but also with the US if the new Obama administration decides to turn away from Bush’s traditional Middle East policy of providing unfailing support to Israel.

It is easy to question the timing of such attacks in the Middle East. Why did Israel carry out such an aggressive agenda just before a change of administration at the White House? Is there some anticipation that Israel may no longer receive the support of the US and may even not receive military and arms supplies from the US after Obama officially takes charge? Did the Israeli government feel that they have to wipe out all Hamas structures urgently before January 20th otherwise US might halt their operations? If this was a well planned agenda, the operations or the way the attacks have been being carried out do not show any success of a planned agenda as schools, medical buildings, police stations and many such civilian strongholds have been destroyed in Gaza. Israel seems to have been completely guided by a hurried rather than a well planned attack strategy.

Of course Israel has the right to exist as much as Palestinians have the right to exist and Israel has a right to defend its citizens and borders against Hamas attacks but as the world has been asking, was this the only way? Israel may have faced systematic hatred by Arab states and may have even shown systematic hatred against certain states but for all interpretations, how could the civilians of Gaza be held responsible?

In the meantime, what have been lost are hundreds of young and innocent lives with dreams and hopes like others but simply with the fate of having been born and having to live (and die) in Gaza.

   
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