AA Edit | A whiff of relief for Gaza

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

The universal calls for a ceasefire will and must go on in the belief that it might just register on the Israelis

Palestinians flee to the southern Gaza Strip on Salah al-Din Street in Bureij, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. (AP/PTI)

Israel’s overwhelming response in a land war in the Gaza Strip as a retaliation for the terrorist attacks of Hamas has stoked sympathy around the world for the cause of the Palestinians of Gaza. It should be welcomed then that Israel has offered a whiff of relief to the beleaguered citizens of Gaza in declaring a daily four-hour humanitarian pause in fighting Hamas to allow civilians to flee. US President Joe Biden is still pressing for a three-day halt to allow for negotiations over the release of 239 hostages.

The humanitarian pauses may be crumbs of comfort as Israel is determined to fight Hamas face to face on the streets of Gaza and in the warren of tunnels underneath. The ordinary Palestinians of Gaza are innocent folk caught in the crossfire between their militant regime and an Israel bent upon revenge and to take down the entire Hamas infrastructure and weaponry within Gaza Strip. Any relief for them to escape the inevitability of the gore of war in corridors is a strike for humanity.

The universal calls for a ceasefire will and must go on in the belief that it might just register on the Israelis though they are fighting an existential crisis and are currently talking only about the immediate tasks of disarming Hamas and not about what should happen in the day after the war.

There have been conflicting reports from a hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is dependent on the far-right for his political survival, on his intentions, ranging from a long stay of the military to ensure security to creating a Palestinian authority to rule Gaza Strip since Hamas, committed to the destruction of Israel, can never be a partner to peace.

The high civilian death toll in Gaza, more than 10,000 now as opposed to the 1,400 Israelis killed in the October 7 attacks, means the longer the war goes one, the greater will be the challenge internationally for Israel as the optics have veered away since the October 7 carnage that brought sympathy for Israeli victims of terror.