By Michael Addai
Almost every 5 years or so, the whole world is forced to watch and witness this unnecessary heart wrenching, heartbreaking carnage and destruction in the ‘Holy Land’ as both sides try to outdo, outgun and outmaneuver each other with unbelievable violence in order to inflict maximum damage and exact intolerable revenge and misery against each other with indiscriminate artillery, air strikes and rocket attacks.
The latest episode i.e., the recent 11-day war — the fourth of such senseless wars/conflicts in just over 12 years among these two arguably recalcitrant, intransigent, intractable combatants — which has just ended, apparently, claimed more than 248 lives including 65 innocent children in Gaza and other Palestinian’s territories as well as 13 lives including 2 innocent children in Israel. Overall, more than 261 lives were just killed for nothing, just like that. These fatalities are beside other countless unnecessary casualties like severe injuries and numerous loss of/damage to properties caused by this ultra-violent destruction for the so-called just cause. Sadly, this did not end there, the conflict triggered rare fatal inter-communal clashes in Israeli cities between Jews and Arabs.
The world is being told with such unconvincing justification that in order for one to defend oneself, one has to assume the mentality of “killing a fly with a sledgehammer” approach. This mentality is, unfortunately, an uncontrollable animalistic rage at the least/slightest provocation which cannot be allowed to be associated with any society that calls itself civilized in this modern era. Of course, every country has a right to defend itself, the right of self-defence is an inalienable right to individuals, groups, societies and countries but this inalienable right comes with proportionality and responsibility towards the infirm and the vulnerable. Using excessive force and aggression to destroy properties and lives at all costs at the slightest provocation in the name of self-defence is itself a violation of human rights and human dignity. Wanton destruction of lives and properties of one’s opponents despite the repeated rendition of ‘Israel has the right to defend itself’ is porous and lazy. Usage of excessive force in whatsoever form is a sign of weakness emanating from debilitating fear of others which is borne out of innermost vengeance — the inner desire for violence that masks inert incompetence in forging lasting relationships and co-existence with others outside one’s bubble.
These seemingly endless wars where one side is severely hamstrung and disadvantaged with blockade, occupation, and propaganda, the other side can afford to defy international norms, laws and get support militarily. Whereas, one party has the right to arm itself to the teeth to defend itself to ensure its security and safety, the other party is denied the same right in the sense that someone cleverly intimated; when they attempt to take up arms to defend themselves, they are branded terrorists, when they speak up forcefully against the injustice meted to them, their words are branded anti-Semitics and when they decide to sit down to talk peace but insist on their right of abode, they are branded intransigent. What other choice do they have apart from despair, stubbornness, hopelessness and misery?
Both sides were quick to claim victory after this episode of madness but if anyone were to ask each side how many of the respective so-called terrorists or Zionist infidels were actually killed for any side to claim victory, each side would find it very difficult, if not impossible, to give the exact number. This senseless approach of maximum killing just for the sake of killing is unsustainable and, in fact, assails the sensibilities of all well-meaning people all over the world.
Hamas cannot and should never be allowed to claim that all those 13 Israeli lives lost including 2 innocent children as a result of their indiscriminate rocket attacks in Israeli territories were Zionist infidels hiding behind the state of Israel to perpetuate the occupation, the blockade and evictions. This is crass stubbornness, insane, at least, not expected from a side that is serious about peace and final settlement.
In the same vein, Israel cannot and should never be allowed to claim that all the 246 Palestinians killed including 65 innocent children were all Hamas terrorists. Despite all the sophistication and superiority in their weaponry/armoury and the claim of so-called precision bombing, it appeared to all and sundry that all those artillery, air strikes and bombings were just indiscriminate, disproportionate, imprecise and were just meant to hit anywhere and at any target hoping to have the chance to kill the so-called Hamas militant terrorists. What a waste of resources, time and lives? All those claims about the terrorists hiding behind civilians as shields are just hollow, unconvincing and egregious especially coming from a major military power with all the superior technology and knowledge, at least, not expected from a side that is serious about peace, final settlement and security.
Ironically, both apparent intractable enemies do not hesitate to profess their faith in the Almighty God on their sleeves and in the strength of their beards, but they fail to realize that their unbridled fear of others is ungodly, unholy, deadly that betrays their cherished religious beliefs and this is pathetic, to say the least!
As for Palestinians, the two factions in Palestine must come round fast to resolve their differences to end this unnecessary power struggle among them and present a united front to insist on their just rights. They have to be mindful of the mantra; “United they Stand, Divided they Fall”. They must assure Israel’s security and safety and be capable to live with Israel as a neighbour in a future Palestinian state. The Hamas militants must come out of their stubbornness to realize that, every now and then, they engage in these useless wars that they cannot ever win but rather end up putting their own people through excruciating pain, misery of bombardment. The state of Israel is there to stay forever, it is not going anywhere nor could it be wiped out from the face of this earth. They should co-operate with the Palestinian Authority in their differences to put up a unified front for the Palestinian just cause and be reminded that they are stronger when they are bound together.
As for Israel, they should rid themselves of that victimhood mentality that the rest of the world does not buy anymore. They cannot continue to portray themselves as victims and at the same time commit such heinous crimes unimaginable against Palestinians with impunity. They must come out of that bubble of invisibility that they are the “chosen people” and thus have the right to dehumanize others and be insensitive to their plight. Their quest for security and safety will continue to be illusion, a mirage despite their military prowess and achievements as a state so far as they continue to live in that bubble and continue to act with impunity especially with their defiance and insistence on building Jewish settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the land Palestinians want for a future state. The belief that they can afford to continue to defy international community and laws and thus can do it alone is untenable and has, so far, not guaranteed them the security, safety and peace they yearn for despite all the backing from the United States of America. This generation of Israelites cannot afford to continue to be pampered and then shirk any responsibility towards our common humanity with impunity.
This state of affairs in the ‘Holy Land’ is unsustainable no matter what the antagonists try to convince themselves with. The solutions are, two-state solution, assurance of Israel security/safety, final status of Jerusalem, right of return of refugees and the confidence in Palestinians.
Perhaps there is an opportune time and a crack open of the widow for peace settlement, now that the Israelis have finally gotten rid of this intractable, intransigent warmonger, Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister and possibly about to install another ultra-nationalist, who boasts of killing a lot of Arabs in his life and has no problem with that, as prime minister. Well, who knows?
Both sides have the right to live safely and securely, side by side with each other in dignity, in peace and in mutual respect in a two-state solution. Amen.
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