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The bloodshed in Gaza excludes Israel from the civilised world

February 17, 2024 at 1:52 pm

A view of Palestinians as they try to continue their daily life amid Israeli attacks at the Jabalia Refugee Camp in Jabalia, Gaz on February 17, 2024 [Dawoud Abo Alkas – Anadolu Agency]

The inhumane conduct of Israel’s military and its political leaders in the bloody campaign in the Gaza Strip puts Israel outside the civilised countries of the world. Regardless of whose side we stand on in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is time to admit that the international mechanisms to protect civilians and non-combatants have completely failed. According to the most recent data, nearly 30,000 Palestinian civilians have already been killed, and this number will continue to rise unless the world quickly and effectively takes decisive action to stop the Israeli butchery in the Gaza Strip. Even previously staunch supporters of Israel, including US President Joe Biden, are now trying to get Israel to halt its killing machinery in Gaza. The completely destroyed neighbourhoods in the Gaza Strip, people living on the streets without shelter, ubiquitous diseases and acute shortages of food, water, medicine and other necessities of daily life are just a stark list of the atrocities that the Israeli army has resorted to, collectively punishing civilians in the most heinous and despicable way.

It is evident that at this stage of the conflict, all this is not about the elimination of the Hamas movement (which was only pium desiderium from the very beginning), but nothing less than the deliberate mass murder of civilians who have nowhere to escape and nowhere to hide from non-stop bombing campaigns and violent incursions by the Israeli army. Thirty thousand deceased Palestinians are apparently not enough for the world to say a resolute no to this human catastrophe for which Israel must be held accountable. If something is to be changed, then it is absolutely necessary and urgent to impose even stronger international pressure, even if that means excluding Israel from the international community, which would be an appropriate and legitimate measure in the current situation. It is not possible to stand by idly any longer and silently observe how the Israeli army massacres civilians and decimates the Gaza Strip, including the livelihoods of the Palestinians, without any realistic future plan for the two million suffering inhabitants.

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Let’s not forget how convincingly Israeli leaders claimed they knew precisely where the Hamas Operational Centre was and where its leaders were hiding. First, it was under the Al-Shifa Hospital in central Gaza, where nothing was found, then it was Khan Yunis, where the leadership of Hamas was also not found. Now, it should be the last habitable city of Rafah – the last refuge of 1.5 million civilians who did nothing but obey the instructions of the lying politicians of the Jewish state “to move south where they would be safe.” Safety was only an illusion and pretext for Israeli soldiers to destroy all the civilian infrastructure so that the civilians could not return to their homes and be forced to leave the Gaza Strip forever.

Israel, now increasingly infamous for its army and intelligence services, greatly failed, and this is clearly shown in the tragic civilian death toll and total destruction of the Gaza Strip. Israel has not yet reached any significant military victory, and this fact has driven it to the conviction that the desired results will only be achieved by total destruction and unprecedented killing. Unfortunately, the only thing Israel is doing without realising it is destroying itself, and it’s only a matter of time before this situation gets out of control and past the turning point.

We know all too well, despite the populist statements in many of the world‘s media, that the attack of 7 October is not a new pogrom against the Jews but that it was preceded by a long and well-documented eighteen years of a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip, which threw more than two million Gazans into despair, striking poverty and utter hopelessness. There is no need to be pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli, but it is clear that action provokes a reaction. The primary action and the main problem of Israel is the constant oppression of the Palestinians, multiplied by immunity, impunity and the double standards that Western powers have been using for a long time and without precedent on the one hand to Israel and, on the other, to the rest of the world.

We can repeatedly point to Hamas and claim that it is a terrorist movement based on the fact that its fighters killed 1,200 Israelis on 7 October. However, we will also have to be fair that since 7 October, Israel has killed ten times more Palestinians than Hamas has killed Israelis and thus has no less terrorist practices than Hamas (the opposite is true). The information circulating in the media outlets favourable to Israel not only deliberately ignores this fact and mistakenly gives us an image of a morally behaving and legitimately self-defending Israel and evil terrorists from Hamas, which could not be further from the truth, that is, if we look at the whole matter objectively.

So why has Israel been demonising Hamas and trying to destroy it at all costs?

Let’s not forget on what basis Israel has been building its security policy for decades: an invincible army that can withstand anyone’s attack and can fight on several fronts at the same time. This may have been true until 7 October when Hamas fighters made a mockery of Israel and managed to deal it a blow from which it has not yet recovered and may never recover. This whole strategy of deterrence and invincibility of the Israeli army was just a paper tiger and suddenly collapsed. Even those in the Arab world who once believed that it was reasonable to conclude a peace treaty with Israel, such as Jordan or Egypt, will quite possibly back down in the near future since they will not want to maintain relations with the state that proudly and openly commits the crime of genocide. For both Jordan and Egypt, the termination of the peace treaties with Israel would be a pragmatic step with regard to the fragile internal political equilibrium, which would be violated by the exodus of Palestinians from Gaza to either Sinai or to Jordan from the West Bank. Neither President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi nor King Abdullah can allow that in the current fragile situation.

READ: Attacks on Gaza cause increasing uncertainties in Israeli economy

Of course, this is only one side of the coin – perhaps the easier side to argue. The other is the rational perception of the fact that Israel is militarily vulnerable and more so than anyone ever thought (which was not true until 7 October). It is now trying to regain its lost reputation and “masculinity” by razing the Gaza Strip and slaughtering as many innocent Palestinians as possible so that it can blame its suffering on the bad policies of Hamas leadership. But that is not how things are; in the long run, it will not save Israel. On the contrary, by killing civilians, it is exposing its vulnerability and shameful incompetence to destroy the Hamas movement conventionally. Even with its most modern espionage technologies, Israel cannot locate the Hamas leaders nor most of the kidnapped Israeli hostages, and we are only talking about an area of around 40 by eight kilometres.

It was none other than Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who has long and consistently claimed that Israel is vulnerable and militarily paralysed. Nasrallah perceives this fact about Israel’s weakness very well and will try to use it to the fullest. The leader of Hezbollah is a pragmatic thinker and a very smart person, and without a cast of doubt, superior to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing racist partners, and that is very dangerous in the current situation.

It is surprising that despite the tragically bad results of the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip, the voices of hawks (for example, the historian Benny Morris) are still heard in Israel. Insanely, they are trying to force Israel into another military campaign against Iran or the Lebanese Hezbollah. The endless wars that Israel has provoked with its neighbours in the region will certainly not bring it security, a simple fact understood by everyone except perhaps Israel. In the long term, Israel loses strategically not only on the geopolitical map of the Middle East but also in the Western countries in particular, losing support among the majority of the world population. This sharp drop in popular support is a clear sign that people largely oppose Israel’s policy of genocide and apartheid.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.