What do you make of or is your take on the following news flow about the tragic running out of hand Palestine-Israeli conflict/ war in Gaza? What sort of images does your brain conceptualize?
- Israel authority’s breaking news flashes: “Hamas gunmen (take them for militants or terrorists depending on your own or influenced opinion), have stormed across the border, killed some 1,400 people and taken at least 239 others hostage.”
- Israel hits back with ‘retaliatory bombardments’ which Gaza authorities say have targeted even hospitals where civilians have taken refuge.
- Israel does not buy the story, arguing that Hamas located command centres and other military infrastructure in Gaza hospitals.
- Three weeks into the conflict, catastrophe or war, Gaza health officials claim that more than 8,000 people — half of them children — have already died in the Israeli air strikes.
- World leaders of all categories and brands — from their biased set left and right distances from the centre; non-applicable north and south; highly respected faith magnets and marginalized ‘non-believers’ — all jump on the wagon at their will, calling on Israel to protect innocent Gaza residents by distinguishing between Hamas militants and civilians.
The picture on the ground is one of a sine-qua-non and unconditional ceasefire. United Nations Chief Antonio Guterres warns of a “civil order” set to collapse in Gaza after food warehouses were ransacked, taking wheat, flour and other supplies. He regrets that “instead of a critically needed humanitarian pause, supported by the international community, Israel has intensified its military operations.” The Red Crescent even complains of its work being negatively impacted by Israel.
From the self-proclaimed Western world ‘police’ headquarters in Washington, US President Joe Biden promises a significant increase in aid to the Palestinian territory. But which territory he does not define beyond any reasonable doubt. The one resided by the Palestinians or occupied by Israel? With a tongue in the cheek, he ‘warns’ Israel to protect civilian lives but assures the US ally of every support “because it had the right to defend itself BUT in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law that prioritizes the protection of civilians.” Biden’s statement comes after his National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, told the media that Israel “should be taking every possible means available to them to distinguish between Hamas — terrorists, who are legitimate military targets — and civilians, who are not involved.”
Biden is reported to have contacted Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and the two leaders “committing themselves to the significant acceleration and increase of assistance flowing into Gaza …” In the meantime, U.S. has intensified its military presence in the region while playing the Pontius Pilate role in the Gaza war, claiming that while the Biden administration is the biggest Israel ally, it insists that Israeli leaders alone decide their country’s military operations to save or kill the Palestinian civilian population in the area. This risks calling into play provisions of international humanitarian law and the laws of war.
From the Vatican in Rome, Pope Francis agrees that Israel has the right to defend itself. Of course the Roman Catholic Pontiff doesn’t support the intensity of retaliation and has no support to promise other than prayers for peace. The Middle East and the Arab World holds the Gaza Summit, the results of which could be anybody’s guess. Iran, which is on record for supporting Hamas and having close links with Hezbollah, has already condemned Israel for “crossing the redlines and may force anyone to act.”
Other world leaders also issue urgent calls for aid to Gaza. Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron “stress the importance of getting urgent humanitarian support” at the time when the situation is getting “more desperate by the hour.” They “agree to work together on efforts … to get crucial food, fuel, water and medicine to those who need it, and to get foreign nationals out.” Could the fate of foreign nationals bear more weight than that of the Palestinians?
Reading between the war political lines, one sees the US working hard to secure the release of more than 220 hostages being held in Gaza by Hamas, as well as to help the hundreds of Palestinian Americans stuck in there. According to Sullivan, while Egypt and Israel are prepared to let Americans and other foreign nationals leave Gaza, “Hamas is preventing their departure.” One is left to draw a line between objective news, propaganda, misinformation and disinformation on this one.
Turkey’s commercial capital, Istanbul, stages a big pro-Palestinian rally during to which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells Israel is an occupier in its war in Gaza, and repeats his stance about Hamas not being a terrorist organization. “I reiterate that Hamas is not a terrorist organization… Israel is an occupier…” Held at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, the rally was organized by Turkey’s government ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party to protest against Israel’s continued bombardment in the Gaza Strip and calls for a ceasefire. In what has been described as “by far one of the strongest speeches … heard from the president, Erdogan told the crowd that Western powers were “the main culprit” behind the Israeli army’s “massacre” of Palestinians in Gaza. Protestors wore headbands with inscriptions such as “We are all Palestinians”, “End the genocide”.
While all these incidents complicate Ankara relations with US and Israeli leaders, Erdogan should find it difficult to say his truth about the Palestinian issue. He is on record for supporting Hamas along with other terrorist groups in the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries and at the same time pretending to lead a global anti-terrorist campaign.
Thousands of protesters have been seen pouring onto the streets of London to demand the British government to call for a ceasefire. Other rallies have taken taking place elsewhere in the UK, including in Manchester and Glasgow. Aerial footage showed large crowds setting off on the march organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, with the protest due to end outside the Houses of Parliament after passing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Ten Downing Street office.
Police in Berlin again broke up several pro-Palestinian demonstrations while more than 100 people were arrested in front of the Brandenburg Gate as a crowd chanted pro-Palestinian, and then anti-police slogans during an unauthorized rally. Police clashed violently with some participants, injuring two officers, according to police. Another pro-Palestinian demonstration on Alexanderplatz in central Berlin involving about 100 people was also broken up.
There has been an inside story hinting on Russia, China and India supporting Israel on the war in Gaza. On the face value, do these members of the BRICS grouping talk now talk one language with the United States over the Gaza-Israeli conflict? At the same time Russia is said to have condemned the Gaza bombings as being contrary to international law. But then, there have also been reports from Russia talking of angry protestors storming Dagestan airport in search of Israelis on arriving flights. Why all these contradictions? Could there be something hidden to the world about the real situation in the Palestine-Israeli conflict?
This is where a look at what former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmerthas said about the current situation in an interview with Al Alabiya could be worthwhile. Put briefly, he told the interviewer that when he ceased to be the Israeli prime minister in 2009, the military ability of Hamas was entirely different. Since then there has been no fighting because of a change in policy to target on reducing the Hamas influence in Palestine. This, argued, was a mistake when considering what has taken place. He said this resulted from a range of indifference. “We knew everything; we saw everything; … not me but those in power. Arrogance is always very bad description for a government. And I think we have sinned. This has led to the success of Hamas.”
Ehud Olmert went on to explain that what is going on “will be very bloody, aggressive and very unpleasant … and I hope that innocent people will not have to suffer for it. We will reach out for everybody who is involved. But don’t get me wrong, Hamas will pay. I trust the Israel military ability. Hamas will pay dearly. We will identify them and will do what is necessary to get rid of them… We will also pay a price.”
On settlement, the former PM said he is of the opinion that Israel has nothing to settle with Hamas, which is a long arm with which Iran wants to change the region…” According to him, “Hamas is not a political but a terrorist organization. Look. When we pulled out in 2005 the next day the Hamas legions thrusted into the vacated settlements from which we pulled out and destroyed all the synagogues that were left intact by us.”
He concluded that such a move was the last thing to be expected from a radical religious institution. That is, failing to respect a religious facility. And on this ticket alone, making a settlement with Hamas, in the present circumstances, becomes unfeasible. This aligns with a declaration already made by current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Will the ongoing Gaza war mean the end of Hamas, leaving behind a hypocritical world and tainted character of Turkey’s President Erdogan?