What A Cruel World We Live In!

GazaIsrael has been pounding Gaza with bombs and artillery, killing
at least 500 Gaza civilians, according to estimates of the casualties.
Israel, for its part, has lost at least 13 soldiers.

The figures do not really matter. The television pictures show what an unequal contest this latest exercise in Israeli-Gaza blood-letting is. Row upon row of houses have been demolished in Gaza. The people who lived in them were supposed to escape from them before Israel bombarded them from the air or fired artillery shells into them. But run to where?

You see, Gaza is composed of such a tiny territory (it used to be called “The Gaza Strip!”) and in any case, according to Israel, the Hamas Government that rules Gaza has dug so many tunnels in different parts of Gaza in which to hide rockets to be fired into Israel that the whole country is basically a Hamas rocket base.

And Israel won’t “permit” Hamas to have any rocket bases from which murderous rockets can be fired into at Israel. Where there are civilians “near” Hamas rocket-launching areas, the civilians are being used as “human shields” – according to the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr Nyetanyahu.

The only trouble with that scenario is that it doesn’t add up. Despite the hundreds, if not thousands, of rockets that Israel says Hamas is firing into Israel, there has been no report that says that the current firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas has caused any considerable casualties, or even mush physical damage to buildings. Israel is, apparently, able to intercept the Hamas rockets before they can do any damage.

So the question arises: is Israel’s response to the firing of rockets that do such little damage, not excessive?

You and I might think so. But then, we do not have the mindset of the current rulers of Israel. They are convinced that not only Hamas but the generality of Palestinians and Gazans would like to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. And Israel will not collaborate its own annihilation by allowing Hamas and other combative Palestinian elements to exist, either.

So what happened to the negotiations that the Americans and others have helped to organise in the past, some of which ended in agreements by which elements of the Palestinian struggle – such as the PLO led by late Yassir Arafat – recognised (at Camp David, in the USA) the right of the Israel state to exist?

Obviously, the Israelis do not believe that Hamas fully accepts the notion that Israel should exist. In the Israeli view, if Hamas believed in the right of Israel to exist, it wouldn’t have dug tunnels, at great cost to Hamas in cash and labour, to harbour rockets which Hamas periodically fires into Israel.

It is an exasperating example of two groups of people chasing each other’s tails. We, the rest of the world, can only watch in dismay and disbelief.

We ask: Does Israel not realise that it is creating hatred for itself in the eyes of the rest of the world, by carrying out this relentless killing of civilians in Gaza, on the pretext that it is Hamas that is being punished? Is Israel not carrying out the same genocide that it rightly accuses the Germans of carrying out against the Jews during the Second World War? The Holocaust is, of course, a national taboo word in Israel, and rightly so. But can a Holocaust occur only in one situation? What will a Gaza child who has lost five or six relatives in the current conflicts think of what he or she saw, in later years? The numbers may be vastly different between what happened in the Holocaust and what the Israelis are doing in Gaza. But in terms of motivation, can a Gaza resident of today see any difference?

It is a question Israel cannot avoid asking itself, and increasingly, it appears that a large section of the Israeli population are beginning to ask it. Some are reaching an answer that is not in line with that of the Nyetanyahu Government. Nyetanyahu may believe that because he and other Israeli spokespersons have a good command of English and can spin their actions flawlessly on robotic Western TV and radio stations whose default position is to allow Israel to “explain” the murders it is committing, so long as they also allow Gaza/Palestinian spokespersons (usually with a very poor command of English) the “right of reply” – Israel is winning the propaganda war. But that is not true.

Many Africans admire Israel for the assiduous and ingenious way in which it has turned a piece of desert land in the Middle East into one of the most prosperous areas of the world. But they do not expect that Israel, having gallantly defeated the attempts of “bullies” in the Middle East, to defeat it, would, turn to the offensive and become a worse bully than its former attackers.

Of course, Israel will take no notice of African opinion. Why, it doesn’t even take notice of the opinion of the US Government, which happens to provide Israel with the most modern weapons, enormous amounts of cash, and intelligence of the highest quality. Israel sometimes thinks that because the US Government is in hock to Jewish interests in the US that are so powerful that the US Government dare not go against the interests of the Israeli Government, lest the US Government loses the support of those powerful interests in the US, it can sometimes ignore the US Government. In fact, about two years or so ago, Prime Minister Nyetanyahu actually appeared to snub President Obama, whilst Nyetanyehu was on a visit to the US. He publicly appeared to go over Obama’s head to appeal directly to the US public that elected Obama! Of course, Nyetanyahu knew that most of the US media would support him against Obama, because of their Jewish connections.

Well, Nyetanyahu would be wise to realise that no condition is permanent. Ha – in 1956, even as conservative a statesman as the late US President, Dwight D Eisenhower, cut the wheels from under the feet of the military juggernaut that Israel, in collusion with Great Britain and France, sent to seize and occupy the Suez Canal in Egypt. When America withdrew its support from those close allies of the US, they all crumbled and withdrew from Suez.

Now, Eisenhower had the same Jewish lobby to contest with, as Obama does. Obama, of course, will be out of office in a year and a half’s time. But his successor will be faced with the same Israeli intransigence that most of the US Presidents who have taken office since Dwight Eisenhower have faced. And one of them might decide to take a leaf from Eisenhower’s book.

It is therefore in Israel’s own educated self-interest to take account of the ill-will it is creating for itself around the world, through its relentless pounding of the civilian population of Gaza with bombs that make mincemeat of little children.

Israel should, in fact, count the cost of this Gaza bombardment. Is it really stopping the Hamas rockets? Is the destruction of buildings supposed to harbour Hamas leaders and operatives – in which, sadly, it is civilians who mostly get killed – stopping Hamas from firing rockets? If it is not, then what in reality is Israel gaining by the bombardment of Gaza?

However, it is not only Israel that needs to learn something from the current conflict. The Hamas leaders also ought to ask themselves this: is our exposure of our civilian population to ruthless Israeli bombardment, through our use of rockets that do not appear to cause any harm to the Israeli military, of any practical use? Will our civilian population be wrong if it comes to hate us for exposing it to risks that do not bring any tangible gains?

In other words, this conflict, like most of those that afflict the world, will create no winners, but only losers.

Both Israel and Hamas come out as being led by insensitive, callous people. Which is a very sad – but not uncommon – situation for the world to find itself in.

Look at Syria.

South Sudan.

Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Al Shabbab in Kenya.

People are just dying in all those conflicts.

For nothing.

Cameron Duodu


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