AA Edit | Israel must allow Gaza humanitarian corridors

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

There is a much larger question of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and a potential occupation of Gaza again.

Israeli tanks move near the Israeli Gaza border, Israel, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (AP/PTI)

The Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip are caught between a rock and a hard place. The 2.3 million or so citizens are facing the worst humanitarian crisis in a long time even in their perennially troubled land that is now controlled by the terrorist group Hamas, which carried out a ruthless attack on Israel and according to an Israeli report even slaughtered babies and children in a kibbutz in Kfar Azza village. The call for humanitarian corridors for the people of Gaza to exit their land, which may soon face an invasion by Israel as it aims to rain retribution on Hamas and deal a crushing blow on it with devastating force, coming from many sources, including the EU and Egypt, is just. Israel must consider this proposal with utmost seriousness even as it prepares for its tanks and ground forces to roll into Gaza.

US President Joe Biden’s advice to Israel through Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to behave like a democracy “that is stronger and more secure when it acts according to the rule of law” is a siren call worth heeding. But, in indiscriminate bombing of Gaza from air, land and sea without the customary warning to aid civilians to flee targeted buildings, Israel has hit homes, hospitals and schools. It has not spared the land route to Egypt that could have served as a corridor.

War is ugly and not without gore, but it does not have to be so inhuman as to cause collateral damage of such proportions as to kill innocent civilians in their thousands, however barbaric the acts of Islamist terrorists like Hamas are seen to be.  The rules of civilisation do not seem to apply to terrorists affiliated with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Israel is, however, duty bound to consider the bigger picture whilst doing what they must to annihilate the existential threat held out by the likes of Hamas.

A homeland for Palestinians is a just cause not to be lost sight of, regardless of the difficulties of issues being conflated because the militants among the Palestinians follow no rules, no code of conduct, not even Geneva Convention niceties. Even if Israel does take over Gaza, after having withdrawn from there in 2005, a solution must be found quickly by which the land becomes that of the Palestinians. The Indian government may have done the right thing to condemn the terror acts of Hamas and so conveyed its sympathy to the victims, on this occasion, the Israelis who have lost close to 1,200 fellow citizens while 150 or so are being held hostage in Gaza by Hamas. Even then, what cannot be lost sight of is the larger Palestinian homeland issue that has been hanging fire for more than 75 years. India must be steadfast in its support for that homeland, however remote that may appear to be in the current circumstances.

Israel cannot afford to fight a war on more than one front after having just been woken up from its Prime Minister’s preoccupation with taking on the judiciary at home by circumscribing its powers in the hope of staving off conviction in his corruption trial.

There is a much larger question of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and a potential occupation of Gaza again. Can Netanyahu’s Israel think beyond the obvious need for retribution and plan how to “wage” long term peace?