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Genocide in Gaza not compulsive for the right to self-defence

US and Western powers should connect the missing links

Editorials 2024-04-25, 4:21pm


Mostafa Kamal Majumder

Mostafa Kamal Majumder

The discovery of mass graves with the victims hands tied in the premises of Al-Shifa and the Al-Nasser hospitals which stand in ruins after Israel’s senseless assaults despite calls from  humanitarian agencies for not targeting these institutions, may just be the tips of an iceberg whose body remains mostly submerged in an ocean of hypocritical propaganda.

That killings with impunity were practiced all along the six-month war are more than obvious in the innumerable still photos and videos that have been posted in the social media by various international news agencies and the people of Gaza. One important lesson of this one-sided and senseless war backed by three of the world’s five powers having the right to veto UN Security Council decisions is that the barbarous hostilities could not be done beyond the knowledge of the rest of the world simply because those were carried out in front of millions of smart-phone camera-eyes carried by all people in this era of Information and Communication Technology.

The United Nations has demanded a thorough investigation into the mass graves to assess the crimes against humanity committed. Israel on its part has said that its forces just exhumed bodies to determine if bodies of hostages held by the Hamas were among those. UN officials in response have said that the hands of the victims were tied – a proof of killing people who were already under detention or arrest who did not have the scope to escape.

The United States, Israel’s key ally, has on April 25 demanded an explanation from Israel about the mass graves, according to a news item wired by the French news agency AFP.  

In fact during the early months of the conflict some videos showing graphic details of victims’ hands tied and blindfolded being led and thrown into trenches before being shot. Some such victims were pushed down the trenches before being shot, some of them fell into the trenches unawares while walking as dictated by their captors and were shot in flight before they fell down to the bottom of the trenches. Some blind-folded victims were pulled towards trenches with their bottoms naked and their backs bruised by pebbles, crying out in pain.

The hospitals were targeted during the very early days of the conflict beginning on October 7 last and were subsequently occupied and assaulted at will. Videos described above were aired through the social media much before the declared assaults on the hospitals. The early social media videos also included details like Israeli tanks that took positions at cross-sections of Gaza being blown up with firing from anti-tank guns by Hamas fighters.

South Africa has lodged a case in the International Court of Justice against the genocide and the court has already given some directions. Israel challenged the jurisdiction of South Africa in the matter but its challenge failed and the case got the go ahead.

President Joe Biden of the United States has from the very beginning said that the remedy to the conflict lay in a two-state solution which was signaled by two Camp David accords brokered by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 between Egypt and Israel and by President Bill Clinton in the year 2000 between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The key question now is whether both the parties to the conflict look forward to this solution. A senior Hamas official has told US news agency AP that they are ready to lay down weapons and function as a political party if an independent Palestine state based on the 1967 borders was ensured while Israel’s is openly advocating the creation of settlements in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the last September session of the UN did show a new map of what he called ‘Greater Israel’ covering both Gaza and West Bank. The ferocity with which Palestinians, mostly women and children, were killed demonstrates the ‘Greater Israel’ instinct and potential elimination of the Palestinians from their last remaining lands.

One of my university friends told us that his Palestinian daughter-in-law heard accounts from elders who said each time there was a conflict with Israel, Palestinians experiences the flow of knee-deep blood of their brethren. In the past it was possible to hide mass killings from people’s eyes, but this time it was not possible because of the ICT revolution. The US and other Westerns power can easily find the truth by rewinding their satellite imagery records or piecing together their intelligence agency reports from Gaza. It’s not a Herculean task for them to prove the atrocities. This is needed for them to have clear vision of whether their target of securing the defence of Israel and that of the Israeli government are identical of not. Is Israel, emboldened with their almost unconditional support has set a target which goes beyond defending itself. There is clearly a mismatch. Otherwise a half of the West Bank would not have been filled with Israeli settlements. Settlers there have increased attacks on the Palestinians during the current conflict. Israel itself has launched several attacks there during this period. These actions do not lead one to believe that peace is being pursued by the party having the decisive edge in the balance of power in the Middle East. 

The big powers would not be able to continue to influence the world only with their brute military force and without strengthening a moral ground based on justice, equality and fair play. If Hamas can make a declaration of willingness to give up weapons in case of a lasting settlement of the crisis, why should they not respond positively and carry a peace initiative forward. They should realize that the Middle East time bomb is yet to explode despite the 34,000 plus killings and turning of entire Gaza into a land of man-made disasters with its people taken to the brink of mere existence.