A TRUCE to last some 72 hours has started in Gaza and the Israeli army is being pulled back to the borders. Brokered by Egypt, the ceasefire should allow some breathing space for Gazans to bury their dead — if they can find space for them — salvage whatever they can and stock up on supplies in case talks break down and they are back to square one. According to the latest reports, Gazans remain nervous; fearing the worst. However, after declaring that they have achieved their objective of destroying the tunnels, Zionist Israel has begun pulling back their army, but not before perpetrating a long list of war crimes, including the latest attack on the United Nations (UN) school-cum-shelter, which drew condemnation even from their allies, especially the French.
After four weeks of ceaselessly pounding Gaza and killing more than 1,800 Palestinians, mainly civilians, the world leaders have suddenly woken up to the grizzly reality of Tel Aviv’s “defensive” action against the defenceless. Not that the Israeli-friendly governments and the UN have stopped blaming Hamas, firstly, for triggering this latest assault by the occupying power and, secondly, for raining rockets on an Iron Dome-protected Israel. Against such blatant bias, how can there be a lasting peace? Instead, if the statement of the French foreign minister is anything to go by, the intransigence of both parties has become an excuse for calls for the international community to impose peace. There are even suggestions that it revert to some form of mandated territory administered by the UN, which is not the solution desired by Palestinians surely, who expect self-determination in a sovereign Palestine.
Not too many days ago, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister called for supranational organisations, including the UN Security Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, to act or lose their legitimacy. The Security Council has voiced its support for an immediate halt on attacks that have taken a high civilian toll, especially on Gaza’s children. This, however, did not take the form of binding resolutions. The UN General Assembly will also be convening to figure out a solution. Meanwhile in Teheran, the foreign ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement’s Palestinian Committee are meeting. The committee, consisting of Algeria, Bangladesh, Cuba, Iran, Egypt, India, Senegal, South Africa, Palestine, Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been urged by the Iranian president to focus on working out practical ways of helping the people of Gaza whom he says are “caught in a web of colonial plots”.
In short, while the world has awoken to the need to pressure Israel to stop the bloodbath, the voice is not homogenous. Rather, the agendas being pursued may not match the aspirations of the Palestinians, in both Gaza and the West Bank. Israel, however, has managed to exact its extreme and indiscriminate punishment on Palestine with impunity once again.
Every morning when I listen to the news update about Gaza I stop breathing. I couldn’t breathe last Wednesday when I read that four Palestinian children were killed while playing soccer on the beach; I couldn’t breathe two days later when I heard that three Palestinian children were killed while feeding their ducks on the roof; and I couldn’t breathe yesterday when a strike hit the building of the Abu Jameh family killing 26 people—19 of them children ages 4 months to 14 years—while they were gathered for breaking the Ramadan fast. I often weep and wonder how fellow Palestinians living under the most brutal military occupation imaginable can endure these horrors over and over and over again. Do Palestinians have a right to life?......................Click here to Read More