AFTER a week of relative peace in Gaza, the truce between Israel and Hamas was shattered on Friday when Tel Aviv resumed its savage bombardment of the forsaken Strip. Though the Israelis claim Hamas had violated the truce, their intentions were always clear: this was only a temporary pause, and the slaughter of Palestinians would resume at the first available opportunity.
The ruthless Israeli defence minister, a former general, had a few days earlier told troops that “we will fight across the whole of the Strip”. Certainly, a peaceful solution to the hostilities was not what the Israelis were seeking.
Besides, while matters remained relatively quiet in Gaza, conditions in the occupied West Bank — where Hamas does not rule — were stifling, as Israeli troops and rabid settlers have unleashed a campaign of terror against the Palestinians in this area.
Many of the West Bank casualties have included children. This vulgar display of state-sponsored violence shatters the myth that Israel wants to eliminate the ‘extremist’ Hamas, and is willing to work with the ‘moderate’ Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank.
The fact is that for those who call the shots in Tel Aviv, all Palestinians — regardless of their political affiliations, combatants as well as non-combatants — are worthy of extermination.
Already over 15,000 Palestinians have been butchered since the Oct 7 events. Now, Israel has vowed to target southern Gaza, considered a ‘safe’ zone for Palestinians, as well. It is evident that for the Palestinians, there is no safe space in their entire occupied homeland, as the Israeli war machine seeks to hunt them down everywhere.
Efforts should, of course, be made to renew the ceasefire, but they should also push for a long-term cessation of hostilities. It should not be a cosmetic truce that allows the Palestinians to bury their dead, then prepare for digging more graves.
The keys to a long-term ceasefire lie with the US, which is Israel’s primary foreign patron, as well as the Arab states that have normalised ties with Israel. Washington needs to push its friends in Tel Aviv to stop the butchery, while the Arabs should use their considerable financial clout and geopolitical influence to call for an end to Israel’s genocidal war.
Otherwise, the Palestinian body count will continue to mount, exposing the hypocrisy of the international ‘rules-based order’.
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2023