Gaza’s darkest hour

Published December 7, 2023

AFTER the collapse of the short-term truce last week between Israel and Hamas, Tel Aviv has unleashed a torrent of barbaric violence against Gaza’s people, in an apparent attempt to depopulate the besieged Strip.

While earlier the Israeli bombing and land incursion had focused on the northern end of the Strip, after the resumption of hostilities the southern part of Gaza — supposedly meant to be a ‘safe’ area for civilians — has been facing unrelenting Israeli violence.

On Wednesday, the southern town of Khan Younis faced a deadly barrage, with witnesses saying this was the heaviest fighting since the conflict began two months ago. Homes and refugee camps were amongst the targets hit. UN officials have termed the situation “apocalyptic”, while the WHO has termed it “humanity’s darkest hour”.

The Gazans now have nowhere to seek shelter, and must simply wait for a violent death brought upon them by their Israeli tormentors, often coming via American bombs.

Now that Israel has launched a full-scale attack on the south, the only safe space is across the border in Egypt. But Cairo is wary about letting in Palestinians, while it is also part of Tel Aviv’s plans to ethnically cleanse Gaza of its Arab population so that it can reoccupy the Strip. After the Holocaust, the world said ‘never again’.

But in Gaza, the most brutal tactics of the Third Reich — genocidal violence, ethnic cleansing — are being replicated by the children of Holocaust survivors.

Israeli officials have openly boasted of initiating a new ‘Nakba’, while others have used the language of far-right extremists to justify the extermination of the Palestinians. And the violence is not limited to Gaza. In the occupied West Bank, where Hamas — the supposed target of Israel’s wrath — does not rule, rabid, and armed, Jewish settlers have been terrorising Palestinians as the Israeli state turns a blind eye.

It seems that in the eyes of the Israelis, every man, woman and child in Gaza is a member of Hamas and thus, a candidate for extermination. Some Israeli politicians themselves have said that the aim to eliminate Hamas is not achievable. Then what is the endgame? Will Israel only cease its murderous assault when all signs of life from Gaza have disappeared? That appears to be the current trajectory of Tel Aviv’s military operation.

Will the Arabs and Muslims continue to issue strong statements condemning Israel as Palestinian children writhe in unspeakable pain? Will the Western states continue to defend Israel and supply it lethal arms, while sending a truckload of aid — or two — to Gaza’s people?

Will the killers of 16,000 Palestinians ever be brought to justice? The champions of the ‘rules-based order’ need to answer these questions, and tell Palestine’s children why they must continue to die.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2023

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