It has almost become inherent in the minds of Gazans that sudden Israeli attacks or wars, from time to time, have become part of the monotony of life, even if they do not have enough time to catch their breath and try to carry on with normal life and routine. The continuous Israeli siege for more than 15 years prevents them from having what may bring a taste of normal life to Gazans and the details, even in their abstract forms.
The suffocating siege syndrome and repeated wars have made Gaza’s people anticipate where the state of marginalisation practiced by the international community towards them may lead them. They observe the extent to which they will be affected by the region’s accounts, such as the Israeli elections, which they have become a permanent component of, especially since the amount of blood they shed may lead to the advancement or regression of a candidate or a political party in the frenzied electoral game, where political parties compete over the extent of their extremism, which is inevitably associated with the shedding of Palestinian blood.
Accordingly, the extent to which the political party that holds the reins of government at the moment practices barbarism and criminality during its war is determined, as it seeks this behaviour to prove its efficiency and capabilities to the extremist electorate. This can only be understood in the context of the transformation of Palestinian blood into an auction that the politically rivalling groups sell and buy, with the violent and racist aspects of this picture that is stripped of all human value, which is perhaps unfamiliar altogether to mankind.
The war waged by the occupation at the beginning of August bears these features, as it began by surprising the residents of the exhausted Gaza Strip due to the long siege, with its fire over the heads of its innocent civilians and destroyed homes on top of its residents. The occupation’s first fire killed the child, Alaa Qadoum, who was only five years old, and it killed her little dreams along with her, as before she was killed she was drawing her simple world and what she imagined her kindergarten, which she was getting ready to start soon, would look like.
The sudden wars of occupation usually come loaded with the aims of spreading terror in the hearts of the innocent, and inflicting the largest number of victims, without discrimination, even if they target children, the elderly and women. It also aims to disrupting vital sectors, especially the health sector, in order to break the morale of the Palestinian people, lead them to a state of chronic despair, and cause them to lose hope in their future and their right to their homeland and land.
The occupation’s unbalanced wars on Gaza, which it wages with lethal weapons and missiles, which are considered the latest technology in the world, and the destruction and lethality of some are being tested on the Palestinians. There have been a large number of Palestinian victims during a relatively short period of time, by the standards of wars, for several factors, the most notable of which is the extent of destruction caused by the occupation’s modern and advanced arsenal, in addition to the large overpopulation factor in the Gaza Strip, which has one of the highest population density in the world.
The human losses in the last aggression amounted to 49 martyrs and 360 injured, in addition to the total or partial destruction of 1,746 housing units, according to government sources in Gaza. This is along with paralysing the ability of the health sector to absorb the wounded and injured, as it is a sector that has become depleted over the past 15 years of the siege, suffering from scarcity of materials, medical equipment and supplies, including many types of medicines. Moreover, the hospitals lack the fuel needed to operate the electric generators to be able to function, while the attacks continued for three consecutive days.
The recent war added to the tally of destroyed houses, alongside neighbouring homes that were destroyed in previous wars. During the past years of the siege, Gaza did not experience a real, comprehensive and integrated reconstruction process, due to several reasons, most notably the occupation’s tightening of its stifling and intensified siege, which prevented the entry of sufficient building materials, enough to meet the great need for the reconstruction of the massive destruction inflicted by the wars on the homes, infrastructure and superstructures. The occupation also uses the issue of reconstruction and the entry of the necessary materials for it as a card for blackmail and bargaining, with the aim of imposing its conditions on the resistance, in order to subject it to its will.
Perhaps the factor of denial and marginalisation practiced by the international community towards the humanitarian issue in Gaza is one of the most important factors delaying the comprehensive reconstruction process. The contexts of denial begin with American and British support, and a number of countries in their orbit, which dominate international political decision-making, when they claim Israel’s “right to defend itself”. This gives Israel free rein to kill and destroy, as well as deny the right of Gazans to lead a normal life, without suffering the repercussions of the immoral and illegal siege. The contexts also include marginalising the Gaza tragedy and Palestinian cause, in general, in the face of other issues, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which exposed the hypocrisy of the world’s superpowers and the extent of their compliance with international humanitarian laws based on racist criteria that distinguish between one person and another and one geographical area and another, depending on the whims and opportunistic interests of those powers.
Arab and Muslim parties have jumped on the bandwagon of international marginalisation, some of whom justified their marginalisation of Gaza and the Palestinian cause with the excuse of “normalisation”, which took them to the highest limits of denying the Palestinian people, their cause and their rights. This level of denial extends to the history, civilisation and identity of an entire nation. There are also others who gave in to American pressure and blackmail of the occupation under the justification of the inability to stand in the face of the trend alone, and its interest in its own affairs, whether domestic or international affairs.Perhaps this explains the relatively few voices – governmental, not necessarily popular – that called for stopping the attacks and bloodshed of the innocent. Although they were often limited to statements of condemnation that varied in tone, the tone was not enough to match the magnitude of the tragedy of shedding the blood of innocent children in Gaza. This is met with the position of the UN, which reluctantly convened a Security Council session, shortly after the end of the aggression, in which the UN delegate’s speech was surprisingly unbalanced in addressing the humanitarian issue of Gaza, and his inclination to adopt the narrative of the executioner rather than the victim.
This did not prevent many institutions and charities from expressing their support for Gaza, as they derived their moral and courageous stance from their purity and devotion to the main principles of charitable work, believing in the goals of their humanitarian work. This is accompanied by their awareness and deep belief in the need to emphasise the bonds of brotherhood, and the bond between the Arab and Islamic peoples, in addition to their moral commitment to support an important part of the nation’s land, where some of its most important sanctities are located. It is also the site of the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him’s, night journey. They also support the right of the Palestinian people to live a free and dignified life on their land, like any other nation.
A number of charitable institutions and societies launched humanitarian support campaigns to rescue the wounded and provide the basic needs to those affected by the aggression. They offered the humanitarian situation in Gaza its efforts and capabilities and made it a priority, despite the fact that there are many other humanitarian issues and priorities for charities at a rough time when humanitarian catastrophes are multiplying and intensifying for several reasons, some of which are caused by humans and others by environmental changes.
In the same context, the recent war on the Gaza Strip doubled the moral and humanitarian responsibilities of the UN towards a moral, legal, humanitarian and human rights issue. Although its shortcomings were evident in the various aspects of this issue, the failure on the humanitarian side raises questions about the need to reconsider the mechanisms of the international system’s work, and scrutinise the standards of dealing with humanitarian issues, especially since humanitarian issues are given exclusive attention by the UN, specifically those related to the repercussions of wars, which is considered a dangerous matter that undermines the credibility and integrity of the UN system.
On top of all of this, hopes to remain for correcting the direction of the humanitarian compass towards the Palestinian cause, as the Palestinian people hope, remain, for the restoration of the momentum of the Arab and Islamic interest in their cause and to restore its position as a “central” cause. They also continue to hope for improving the state of “wisdom” in the UN and international community’s view of justice for the Palestinian cause. More than that, hopes remain for trying to find a greater moral depth that governs the international system, so that it can look at the Palestinian cause through the eyes of justice and equity.
The wound of Gaza has not healed for many years. It is still deep and keeping the situation the same will further exacerbate the humanitarian situation. The passing of a day for the people of Gaza is not like the others, because the following day comes carrying many question marks. Those whose homes were destroyed wonder how they will manage the next day, and those whose source of income was destroyed by the attacks and siege wonders how they will provide for their children. As for the sick, who are waiting for their medicine to become available are doubly afraid of their death or the deterioration of their health condition due to being denied treatment.
The calculations of the magnitude and forms of suffering after the current attack is not like the attacks before it, as it has intensified to the highest level and there are urgent needs that cannot wait. Taking action to meet these needs is very urgent as, first, various humanitarian and charity organisations are asked to contribute towards the reconstruction of what was destroyed by the occupation, including partially and completely destroyed homes. They are also asked to help those who have lost their homes by finding them an alternative until their home is reconstructed, in addition to contributing to the repair of the Gaza Strip’s infrastructure.
Moreover, they are asked to support the health sector by providing lost medicines, medical supplies and equipment, as well as the fuel needed to operate hospitals. This is an urgent matter to reduce the loss of lives of patients deprived of treatment, in addition to sponsoring families who have lost their main breadwinner and working to create suitable job opportunities for those who have lost their sources of income. Gaza needs this as a first step to save it from the consequences of slipping towards a humanitarian catastrophe and a social explosion, which is not acceptable in the eyes of any free person with a conscience. Only the enemies of the nation and humanity would find this acceptable.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.