NEW YORK, Oct 17 (IPS) – Israel will recuperate over time from its colossal intelligence failure and its tardiness in responding militarily to Hamas’ bloodbath. But it surely can’t accomplish that until it upholds its ethical values and makes each effort to spare the lives of harmless Palestinians because it pursues Hamas’ destruction
The unfathomable bloodbath of Israeli Jews by Hamas and its insatiable thirst for Jewish blood has rightfully evoked probably the most virulent condemnation from many corners of the world, together with many Arab states. The decision for revenge and retribution by many Israelis was an instinctive human response that may be justified in a second of incomparable rage and devastation.
The Israeli choice to crush Hamas and decapitate its leaders should certainly be pursued with willpower and vigor by the Israeli military. That stated, the pursuit of destroying Hamas and stopping it from being reconstituted in order that it could actually by no means threaten Israel once more ought to certainly not justify any acts of revenge in opposition to harmless Palestinian males, girls, and youngsters who don’t have anything to do with Hamas’ evil act.
The truth is, many of the Palestinians in Gaza have been victimized by Hamas itself, which has subjected them to a lifetime of destitute and despair whereas they’re steadily imperiled on account of an absence of primary requirements like gasoline, electrical energy, drugs, and ingesting water.
In the meantime, Hamas has been concentrating on battling Israel and utilizing the individuals of Gaza as human shields because it invested a lot of its monetary sources in shopping for and manufacturing weapons, coaching its warriors, constructing tunnels, and making ready to waging one more damaging battle in opposition to Israel.
Hamas blames the plight of its individuals on Israel, utilizing the 17-year-old blockade as a justification, which permits it to sow hatred and unrelenting enmity among the many individuals in opposition to the Jewish state.
That stated, Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of Gaza that has already leveled total neighborhoods, killed, as of this writing, in extra of two,300 Gazans, one-quarter of whom are kids, and injured practically 10,000 with little or no entry to medical care, solely affirms relatively than refutes Hamas’ claims in opposition to Israel.
Not one of the lifeless or injured have been requested by Hamas’s leaders whether or not they need to go and bloodbath harmless Israelis at an unprecedented scale, however Hamas knew full nicely the unimaginable value these strange Palestinians, who simply need to reside, would find yourself paying.
Hamas’ unprecedent onslaught in opposition to Israeli civilians and troopers put a big dent in Israel’s navy invincibility that might have hardly been imagined solely two weeks in the past. And whereby the colossal failure of Israeli intelligence to detect what Hamas was planning could be rectified over time, the carnage that Israel is inflicting on Gazans severely damages the excessive ethical floor the Israeli military has proudly claimed.
Because the demise toll and destruction rise in Gaza by the minute, the preliminary overwhelming sympathy towards Israel’s tragic losses is waning even amongst lots of its associates. Certainly, as soon as Israel loses its ethical compass in coping with the disaster, it can now not be seen because the sufferer who rose from the ashes of the Holocaust and has each proper to defend itself, however the victimizer whose survival rests on the ashes of its actual or perceived enemies.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has been busy making an attempt to dismantle Israel’s democracy, will cease in need of nothing to attempt to redeem himself by exploiting these tragic occasions, hoping to emerge as a “conflict hero” and save his political pores and skin.
How adversely his public name for revenge would possibly influence Israel’s standing and its future relationship with the Palestinians is of no concern to him. Imposing a complete siege on Gaza and depriving greater than two million Palestinians of receiving primary requirements and demanding that over 1,000,000 Gazans evacuate their houses and go south whereas bombing them to smithereens is a collective punishment that defies morality (and legality) by any measure.
Netanyahu is justifying this collective punishment by dehumanizing the Palestinians, deeming them unworthy of humane remedy. Whereas he rightfully condemned the unimaginable evil act of Hamas that killed over 1,400 harmless Israelis, he’s waging a cruel marketing campaign in opposition to harmless Palestinians who had nothing to do with Hamas’ acts of terror.
For Netanyahu, there’s merely no ethical equivalence. For him and plenty of of his followers, the Palestinians are sub-humans and their lives are unequal to these of Israeli Jews.
The dehumanization of Palestinians will come again to hang-out the Israelis just because the Palestinians don’t have any different place to go. And whether or not they’re strange human beings with hopes and aspirations, or subhuman, Israel is caught with them. And no matter how the conflict will finish, Israel must handle the battle with the Palestinians. The depth of the scars of the conflict will outline the connection for years to come back.
Former Protection Minister and Chief of Workers of the Israel Protection Forces, Benny Gantz, who has simply joined the federal government together with the present Protection Minister Yoav Galant, should resist Netanyahu’s name for vengeance. Sure, they may combat with their navy would possibly to crush Hamas, however they need to additionally combat to safeguard Israel’s democracy and Jewish values, which forbid the indiscriminate killing of harmless individuals.
Israel will win this conflict; the query is, will it win it whereas adhering to those ethical values, or win it by forsaking deep ethical wounds that can be etched in reminiscence and in historical past books as one among Israel’s darkest chapters?
They need to keep in mind that virtually each Arab nation will quietly (and a few even overtly) cheer the demise of Hamas, however they are going to be loud and clear about their objection to the killing of harmless Palestinians, particularly girls and youngsters, and scuttle additional any prospect of normalization of relations with different Arab nations.
The upcoming invasion of Gaza will end result within the destruction of this enclave, the likes of which we now have by no means seen earlier than. Nevertheless, so long as the invasion just isn’t pushed by revenge and retribution and as an alternative seeks, because the conflict involves an finish, to create a brand new paradigm to convey an finish to the Israeli-Palestinian battle, then all of the sacrifices made by all sides is not going to have been in useless.
This unprecedented breakdown within the Israeli-Palestinian battle might result in a historic breakthrough, if solely the reasonable Israeli, Arab, and Palestinian leaders grasp the unparalleled second this disaster presents.
Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of worldwide relations on the Middle for World Affairs at New York College (NYU). He teaches programs on worldwide negotiation and Center Jap research.
IPS UN Bureau
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