Sunday, 3 August 2014

Impounding GAZA

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."- Martin Luther King

The Parliament of India and powerful African-European nations may be hesitant to debate on Gaza and pick sides between Israel and Palestine; pensive minds would not keep their itchy fingers simply crossed. Millions of people have come forward on social networking sites and many have staged public protests all over the world to demand complete ceasefire and indefinite truce in the land of Gaza.

Preaching "Save Gaza" does not mean taking side of the Hamas and justifying their actions. Acts of violence should be condemned irrespective of the religious beliefs and the country one belongs to. While over 1600 Palestinian lives are lost in Gaza as compared to a handful in Israel, global sympathy is bound to swing in Gaza's direction. And these lives are not of the so called militants of Hamas, they are civilian casualties. Israel may accuse Hamas of operating in densely populated areas and using Human shields but that is no excuse for mass slaughter of women and children. I am reminded of a famous quote by Bertrand Russell, British philosopher and political activist, "War does not determine who is right - only who is left."

My opinion is largely based on the content international news media provides. But the Gaza civilian death toll raises severe questions about Israeli tactics and military training. Whilst their aim is to cleanse out the bunkers and tunnels allegedly made by Hamas militants, firing air to land missiles over residential areas is highly questionable and scorn-worthy. Thousands of rockets launched from the pro-Palestine militants have caused minimal damage thanks to Iron Domes and bomb shelters in Israel. On the contrary, when Israeli missiles head towards Gaza, Hamas tells civilians to stay in their homes and face them.

The popular explanation for this is that Hamas is poor and lacks the resources to protect its people like Israel does. The real reason, however, seems to have more to do with disordered priorities than deficient resources. This is about will, not ability. All those rockets, missiles, and tunnels aren't cheap to build or acquire. But they are priorities. And it's not like Palestinians don't have a handful of oil-rich neighbors to help them the way Israel has the US.

The problem is, if civilian casualties in Gaza drop, Hamas loses the only weapon it has in its incredibly effective PR war. It is in Israel's national interest to protect its civilians and minimize the deaths of those in Gaza. It is in Hamas' interest to do exactly the opposite on both fronts.

It is highly irrational that Jews must support Israel and Muslims must support Palestine. To write it off by terming it as a tribal conflict would mean taking a step back in a free thinking world. 

So you really don't have to choose between being "pro-Israel" or "pro-Palestine." If you support secularism, democracy, and a two-state solution -- and you oppose Hamas, settlement expansion, and the occupation -- you can be both.

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