After more than 12,000 deaths, more than 5,000 being children and 3,000 women, with 3,700 missing, there is no end in sight to the Gaza slaughter. Israel’s war on Gaza’s dwellings, more than forty percent of which is now rubble, now extended to its hospitals where surgeries are carried out without anesthetic, and premature children are dying because of non-functioning incubators, Israel’s war on Gaza has no end in sight. Having displaced 1.6 million Gazans by bombing and ordering northern Gazans to move to south Gaza, Israel says that it will now extend its bombing campaign in southern Gaza. Racing to the south to avoid bombs, the fate of both northern and southern Gazans is now dismal. And as if the bombs were not enough, Gazans now face starvation, according to the United Nations. Part of the headline of a New York Times article describes northern as “Ruins, Wreckage and Darkness.” It would have been more accurate if the description was “Ruins, Wreckage, Death and Darkness.”
This level of mindless death and destruction visited upon Gaza by Israel cannot have as its declared objective merely the destruction of Hamas which carried out the massacre of 1,200 Israelis on October 7 and the kidnapping of 240, among whom are young children and old people. There has to be more to it. Even if one believes the dubious Israeli and American narrative that Hamas hides behind civilians as human shields, not a single Hamas fighter or fighter’s body, or fighter’s name has been produced who has been released. No human shields have been produced and no command centre has yet been exposed anywhere, including from underneath the Al Shifa Hospital, as claimed.
The objective of the Israeli war on Gazans appears to be mass murder in an extension of the periodic pogroms referred to by Israelis as “mowing the lawn” – the killing of thousands of Gazan men, women and children every few years in bombings to keep them in line. It appears that collective punishment by the vengeful slaughter of 50,000 or so Gazans is the price being exacted by Israel against the innocent population of Gaza for Hamas’s brutal and horrifying massacre of 1,200 Israelis. Maybe there are other objectives such as the depopulation of northern Gaza to create a buffer zone. Israel’s apparent initial objective of driving Gazans into Egypt, making them refugees once again, appears to have failed.
Hamas won elections in Palestine – Gaza and the West Bank – in 2006, which were pronounced as free and fair by former President Carter. The democratic choice of the Palestinian people was rejected by the United States and Israel, even as Hamas was preparing to accept the existence of Israel and a two-state solution. Hamas was in effect deposed and a blockade imposed around Gaza in 2007. Nothing can get in, or get out, of Gaza, without Israel’s permission. In this concentration camp there is 46 percent unemployment, and a poverty rate of 61 percent. With this sentence of life imprisonment, with the end of the possibility of a two-state solution, with the Abraham Accords under which the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain recognized Israel, with the pending agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel whereby Saudi Arabia would recognize Israel, with the election to office of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history many members of whom are dedicated to the liquidation of Palestinians, it was clear that Hamas came to the view that Palestinian aspirations are flickering into darkness. (Most observers believe that despite Hamas’s declared objective of the destruction of Israel, it would accept and recognize Israel’s existence in an overall peace agreement as it was prepared to do in 2006). In the circumstances, it is not difficult to understand Hamas’s invasion of Israel. The monstrous acts committed have been rightly condemned and can have no justification for any reason whatsoever. But Israel’s war crimes, use of white phosphorous and other cruel villainies, repeated every few years, seem to have been forgotten. Hamas’s actions seem to have had the intended effect. The oppression of the Palestinians, with apartheid conditions imposed on them by Israel, appear to have returned to centre stage. The Biden’s Administration’s slumber over the Palestinian question has been rudely awakened. How long it will remain awake in the face of Israeli’s intransigence is anyone’s guess.
That Israel has committed many war crimes in Gaza on this occasion is not in doubt. It has done so before but is protected by the United States which has issued over 40 vetoes in the UN Security Council to allow Israel’s deadly rampages against the Palestinians. Just as the United States supports and funds Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinians and protects it from international sanction, the United States can stop Israel’s devastation of Gaza and the liquidation of its people by demanding a ceasefire. The Guyana Government can no longer remain silent, which it is in effect doing by vague statements supporting a ceasefire, without naming anyone. The Guyana Government must boldly call on the Israeli government to end the slaughter in Gaza and declare a ceasefire. It must call on the United States government to support such a position.