AA Edit | Israel must explain Indian’s death

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

Retired Col. Waibhav Anil Kale's death raises concerns as UN-marked vehicle fired upon by Israeli tank, sparking international outrage

Retired Col Waibhav Anil Kale was killed and another security coordinator from Jordan working for the UN department of safety and security injured badly when their vehicle was fired upon by an Israeli tank. (Image: X)

The death of a former Indian Army colonel in the Gaza Strip when travelling in a SUV clearly marked as “UN” is unacceptable. Col Waibhav Anil Kale was killed and another security coordinator from Jordan working for the UN department of safety and security injured badly when their vehicle was fired upon by an Israeli tank.

The tragic death of the retired colonel, who once commanded the 11Jammu & Kashmir Rifles in Kashmir, is the first of a UN staffer since the start of hostilities with an attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7 and continuing disproportionately aggressive response from Israel. It cannot be explained away as unfortunate collateral damage.

Peacekeepers like those working for the UN undertake most risky humanitarian assignments in a war zone, but there are clear rules of conflict that, if followed, should spare people who work for the Red Cross, medical units, and the UN as neutrals.

The UN as well as Israel have promised to probe the incident, but the fact remains that an excess of war has been witnessed in a never-ending response from Israel that is now defying US advice and international opinion by scaling up operations in Rafah as well.

A missile attack on the staff of the World Central Kitchen providing meals to starving citizens in the conflict zone, which triggered international opprobrium, was the first instance of a crazed attack killing innocent people who were serving a noble cause.

Of course, matters have gone way beyond collateral deaths as Israeli pounding of Gaza has led to more than 35,000 civilian casualties, most of them women and children. More than half a million people have fled Rafah in the past week even as the count of Palestinians who have been driven out of their homes in Gaza is over two and over a million are on the brink of starvation.

Israel, under Prime Minister Netanyahu, has brazenly ignored US President Joe Biden’s warning not to go on an offensive in Rafah and, in fact, is intensifying operations there now. Even so, more than $1 billion in weapons and ammunition is heading to Israel while the world mutely witnesses what is currently its greatest humanitarian tragedy.

Read more...