Israel raising perennial foe in Gaza

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The real problem that persists in the current conflict is mainly orphaned children in Gaza those who have lost both parents and lost family members without any support of family members their chance of survival is very minimal.

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By Naveen N

One of the world’s longest and unresolved conflicts is the Israel – Palestine conflict. In 2005 Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip. In 2006 Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative elections and formed their government in Gaza. Israel and Hamas fought major conflicts in Gaza in 2008-2009, 2012, 2014, and 2021, there were numerous small attacks and responses occurred in between.

The October 7th Hamas attack on Israel is a flashpoint in the longstanding Israeli–Palestinian conflict. In this attack total of 1200 Israelis were killed (revised death count) and nearly 240 hostages were abducted into Gaza. Israel’s launch of an offensive operation called Iron Swords started with the extensive bombing of Gaza and then an invasion of Gaza to topple the Hamas government which has been ruling the enclave since 2007.

More than 13,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli offensive operations importantly half of the victims who have died in this offensive are children according to the Gaza health ministry. Nearly 2000 people mostly women and children are missing they are suspected to be struck under the rubble in Gaza City. Mainly entire families were being wiped out in the arial bombing of the Gaza Strip.

The real problem that persists in the current conflict is mainly orphaned children in Gaza those who have lost both parents and lost family members without any support of family members their chance of survival is very minimal. And those who somehow manage to survive this onslaught there is a big question on their future. Many children are vulnerable to falling into the hands of terrorists and radicalized by various terror organizations and again it will start another cycle of violence in the future.

Hamas is a creation of Israel Hamas meaning an Arabic acronym is known as the “Islamic Resistance Movement” The article titled “Under Gaza’s Calm Surface: Death, Drugs, Intrigue” was published in the New York Times on March 28, 1981 states that Brig. Gen. Yitzchak Segev said, “The Israeli Government gave me a budget and the military government gives to the mosques”. These funds were used for both mosques and religious schools, with the purpose of strengthening a force that counters the Palestine Liberation Organisation which was led by Yasser Arafat.

The fundamental Palestinian Islamist movement was supported as a “counterweight” to the secularists and leftists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah party (Mehdi Hasan, Dina Sayed Ahmed, The Intercept, 2018). Existential Threat to Israel Ever since the establishment of Israel state in 1948. Israel has been fighting wars with both state and non-state actors. In the past decades, Israel has managed to establish peace treaties especially known as the “Land for Peace Deal” with Arab nations (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon) bordering Israel.

Currently, Israel is facing threats from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Houthi. These organizations follow the “The Three No’s” (No peace with Israel, No recognition of Israel, and No negotiation with Israel). Because of this constant threat, Israel is forced to take a hard military stance against its adversaries. Plight of Palestinians According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) 2022, Gaza has more than 2.2 million Palestinians living in the tiny Strip which is 365 Square Kilometres which makes it one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

According to the PCBS data, 41% living in Gaza are aged between (0-14) years of age. And over 45% of the Gazans are unemployed which is the highest in the world. In the current conflict total of 13000 people have been killed including 4,630 children till November 13th the official number of deaths was issued by the Hamas-run health ministry.

The UN and International Human Rights Watch say that the causalities are under-reported because these deaths are recorded by the hospital authorities many people bury their dead family members in mass graves. There have been disturbing reports of entire families being wiped out in the Israeli air strikes and few people who survived the air strikes are suffering in hospitals without adequate medicine and other facilities.

The Hamas barbaric attack on Israel on October 07, 2023, has brought sharp criticism even from moderate Israelis who did not approve of the policies of the current Israeli government led by Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu. The brutal killing of civilians and abducting of infants and elderly people from Kibbutz in southern Israel. In a report published by The New York Times Hamas live-streamed their attack using the victim’s social media accounts shocked the entire world.

The brutality perpetrated by Hamas strengthens the Israel hardliners. As a response, Israel began the aerial attacks on October 7 followed by the ground invasion of Gaza. So far 13000 Gazans have been killed and Israel imposed a complete siege of Gaza and cut off supply lines and stopped sending essential supplies like food, water, fuel, electricity. Currently, Gaza is been termed a Hell on Earth by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell told the U.N.

Security Council that more than 5300 children had reportedly been killed since Oct.7 in Gaza. Many children in Gaza are separated from their families and children who are injured from air strikes are not getting adequate treatment in hospitals. This situation creates more danger to the children where they will be traumatized by the violence and suffering.

This situation automatically creates a Boomerang effect on these children when they become adults definitely they will choose the path of violence against Israel and this conflict will never end. Israel cannot defeat an Ideology Israel is the only performing democratic nation in the Middle East and needs to understand that it somehow managed to defeat Hamas in Gaza.

But Israel needs to understand it will not be able to defeat the Ideology of independent Palestine. Israel must have an empathetic approach to Palestinian issues and understand the sufferings of ordinary Palestinian civilians. So, it does not require Israel to enter the insane cycle of violence rather it can put an end to this conflict.

The most widely accepted solution to this conflict is a two-state solution where both Israelis and Palestinians can live in two sovereign States. Israel’s genuine security concerns also need to be addressed where the demilitarization of Gaza needs to be done and security of Gaza can be administered by a UN Peacekeeping force for a temporary period till the situation in Gaza improves gradually.

Israel also needs to stop the expansion of its settlements inside the Occupied West Bank and in other occupied Palestinian territories. After the war Reconstruction of Gaza needs to be done on a war footing and a De-radicalisation process needs to be done among the Palestinians.

So that extremist groups will not be able to exploit the vulnerable situation to recruit young people. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) 2022 data, over 41% of the Gaza population is aged between (0-14) years. The international community must help to rebuild the schools, colleges, and universities and must create more economic opportunities for the youngsters in the Gaza Strip so that they will not choose the path of violence in the future.

Today the international community is deeply divided most of the Western country’s governments are supporting Israel and all Arab nations are rallying behind the Palestinians. Instead of resolving the current conflict, this division is polarizing the world. All countries need to understand that there is no holy cow in this conflict both sides have committed crimes against each other. The international community needs to take an unbiased position. Then only the world one of the longest unresolved conflicts will be resolved without further bloodshed.

(Opinion expressed in the article solely belongs to the author, who is an Assistant Professor at AM Jain College)

References David K.Shipler, (1981, March 28). Under Gaza’s Calm Surface: Death, Drugs, Intrigue. The New York Times. UNDER GAZA’S CALM SURFACE: DEATH, DRUGS, INTRIGUE – The New York Times ( Ruby Mellen, Artur Galocha and Julia Ledur, (2023, Nov. 13). Gaza reports more than 11,100 killed. That’s one out of every 200 people. Gaza’s death toll: 1 out of every 200 have been killed, according to Health Ministry – Washington Post Nicholas D. Kristof, (2002, April 2). The Boomerang Syndrome. Opinion | The Boomerang Syndrome – The New York Times ( Alind Chauhan, (2023, October 12). Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, PLO, and Palestinian Authority: A brief introduction to the political players in Palestine. Hamas, Fatah, PLO and more: Who are the political players in Palestine ( Daniel L.Byman, (2021, May 12). Hamas tries to seize the day. Hamas tries to seize the day | Brooking

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