The title of this piece was taken from an anti-war song written by the late John Lennon of the music group, the Beatles. As the onslaught by IDF in Gaza continues, Tel Aviv is slowly losing any momentum left toward a lasting peace.
Lessons have obviously not been learnt by the current government in Israeli from past occupation powers who eventually faded away. Algeria with the French and Afghanistan with the Russians are two 20th-century examples.
That said, Saudi Arabia has just hosted two summits for Arab and Islamic leaders to discuss the conflict in the Gaza Strip. The member states met to discuss the Israeli assault in the Gaza Strip and its humanitarian repercussions.
Israel has been launching incessant air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on 7 October. Upwards of 11,000 Palestinians, including 4,237 children and 2,719 women, have been killed since then. The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is nearly 1,200, according to revised figures.
Along with the large number of casualties and massive displacements, basic supplies are almost non-existent for Gaza’s 2.3 million residents due to the Israeli siege.
Israel’s war on Gaza
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit described the situation in Gaza as “catastrophic”, condemning the violation of all Palestinian rights by Israeli forces. Speaking to the UN Human Rights Commissioner Volker Turk in Cairo last week, he said trust has been lost in international humanitarian law “given the daily massacres committed by the occupation forces.”
Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Israel against reoccupying Gaza, even while acknowledging a “transition period” may be necessary following Israel’s war against Hamas militants in the Palestinian enclave.
On the sidelines of a Group of Seven summit in Tokyo, Blinken said, “It is clear that Israel cannot occupy Gaza. Now, the reality is that there may be a need for some transition period at the end of the conflict. But it is imperative that the Palestinian people be central to governance in Gaza and the West Bank, as well,” he added.
The calls for a humanitarian truce were also sounded off in the halls of the UN General Assembly last week, when a large majority of countries in the United Nations General Assembly voted for a resolution calling for an immediate and sustained “humanitarian truce” in Gaza. While the US opposed the resolution, France came out in support on humanitarian grounds.
Jews all over the world have also been pained by the current onslaught and genocide of the hapless civilians. A few days ago, hundreds of Jews and allies took over the Statue of Liberty in New York to demand a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the genocide of Palestinians. The action marked a sharp escalation, one month into Israel’s war on Gaza.
The takeover on Liberty Island was led by the pro-peace Jewish Voice for Peace group- New York chapter. Hundreds of young people and elders, rabbis, descendants of Holocaust survivors, and elected officials — chanted “Ceasefire now” and carried banners that read “The world is watching,” “Palestinians should be free,” and “Never again for anyone.”
A global constituency of peace
“We came to the Statue of Liberty today because we are inspired by the words of our Jewish ancestor, Emma Lazarus, that are etched into the monument,” said Jay Saper, a JVP organiser. “Those words compel us to take action to support the Palestinians of Gaza yearning to be free. And we will continue to take action until we bring about a ceasefire and until Palestinians are free.”
Major demonstrations in other parts of the world are gathering steam in support of a ceasefire and the call for humanitarian actions.
More than two decades ago, a comprehensive peace plan agreed to by all Arab countries was presented to the Israelis, one that would have guaranteed their sovereignty and restored all rights to the Palestinians.
It is a misfortune that the peace plan envisioned by the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia which would have provided Israel with all the security it needed was allowed to wither away.
It is a tragedy not just for the Arabs but also for the Jews of the region. Will the good people of Israel rise and demand that their leaders give peace a chance?
The Israelis must understand that there will be no winners in this conflict as the resolve to withstand the forces of occupation hardens with every bomb released or every bullet fired. The way forward must be a genuine attempt to build bridges that can eventually realise the goal of lasting peace.
The Palestinians are simply not going to vanish. There should be no more killings and no amount of force can kill the spirit of wanting a just existence.
— Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi sociopolitical commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena