The horrific and unprecedented attacks in Israel by Hamas have shattered a fragile peace in the troubled region and shaken the world. What the crisis has also brought out is the utter lack of humanity and a shaky moral compass on all sides of the ideological divide.
No matter where you stand — whether with the Israelis or the Palestinians — it really should not be so hard to condemn the killings of innocent civilians, children included, whoever they may be.
The UAE issued a statement on Sunday through the foreign ministry, strongly slamming the attacks as a “serious and grave escalation”, saying it was “appalled” by reports Israeli civilians were taken as hostages from their homes. “Civilians on both sides must always have full protection under international humanitarian law and must never be a target of conflict,” the UAE foreign ministry said.
Over the course of the week, commentary on the issue has exposed a shocking position taken by many — that some lives are more important than others. I don’t understand this. You can support the rights of Palestinians and yet condemn the atrocities done against innocent Israelis by Hamas.
Killing innocent people — as Hamas have done — cannot and should not be intellectually justified in any way. Similarly, you can support Israel but also condemn their retaliation in which hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in Gaza in the last few days alone.
Killing hundreds of people in Gaza, blockading essentials like food and fuel, cannot be condoned either. There is no doubt that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s politics has also fuelled the current crisis.
Annexation and dispossession
The Israeli newspaper, ‘Haaretz’, wrote a stinging editorial last week, saying it was the “clear responsibility” of the Israeli leader, who had established a government of “annexation and dispossession” while embracing a foreign policy that openly ignored the “existence and rights of Palestinians”.
There are also already some very serious questions being raised within Israel about the spectacular intelligence failure by a country that prides itself on having among the most feared security agencies in the world, Mossad. How did Netanyahu miss this?
Reports suggest that he ignored an intelligence warning which came from the Egyptians about a possible major attack by Hamas in October.
Blinding cycle of violence
For the Palestinians, already under siege in Gaza, the attacks by Hamas have only made their plight worse. The 2.3 million people who live here have been subjected to brutal blockades by Israel and Egypt for years. Now, they face even more hardship and bombardment.
“Was it my child who attacked Israel?”, a distraught Palestinian woman in Gaza told the BBC as she described how the latest blockade of essential supplies meant that there was little food left for her baby.
The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is only getting worse by the day. The Israel Palestine conflict is deeply tragic with thousands of lives lost over the decades.
The latest flare up also exposes the failure of US policy in the region. Ultimately, this blinding cycle of violence will lead nowhere. The only ones caught in the middle are innocent people. Both sides need to take a step back and find a way to cease hostilities.
Unfortunately, we are far from that point at the moment.