Islamabad (Imran Y. CHOUDHRY) :- Former Press Secretary to the President, Former Press Minister to the Embassy of Pakistan to France, Former MD, SRBC Mr. Qamar Bashir analysis :
Hamas’s unprecedented and lethal surprise attacks deep inside Israel, was surprising to everyone, given the potential for a strong response from Israel, backed by the USA and the West. It was the concern that I highlighted in my article titled “How Hamas Stunned Israel.”
I’ve been seeking an answer to this question since, and that answer came from none other than United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres. His insights shed light on the intricate dynamics of this conflict, emphasizing the need for continued understanding and efforts to promote a peaceful resolution.
UNSG, appalled by the killing of innocent Palestinian women elderly and children by the Israeli war machine sans mercy with heartless cruelty and brutality, said, “Hamas attacks did not take place in vacuum but they were the result of subjecting the Palestinian people to 56 years of suffocating occupation”.
He added, ‘They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing.”
The answer, while welcomed by many, simultaneously stirred deep unease within the entire Western community, most notably in the USA and Israel. The UNSG’s just and apt stance on this contentious and potentially explosive issue should have been received with openness and positivity. However, Israeli officials reacted with anger, vehemently rejecting this wise statement and labeling it as a justification for terrorism.
In retaliation, Israel canceled the scheduled meeting of Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen with Guterres while Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, said the U.N. chief “failed the test.” The Israeli Foreign minister said “I will not meet with the UNSG as after the October 7 massacre, there is no place for a balanced approach. Hamas must be erased off the face of the planet!” Israel went to the extent of refusing issuance of visa to the UNSG and its representative to Israel.
Israel, true to its statement, has publicly conveyed its intentions to annihilate Hamas, destroy its war machine and reduce its capacity of launching any attack on Israel in future and to rescue over 200 Israeli hostages.
The official statement added that Hamas only knows one language, the language of military might therefore it said that coupled with diplomatic pressure, all out air, land and naval attacks have been ongoing on the Gaza strip, whereas, joint US-Israeli military rescue mission by using sophisticated and state of the art technology has been conceived and will be launched very soon.
The principle stand taken by the UNSG, in the meantime, has started reverberating in many societies around the world. These societies unfettered by their governments’ reactions are reacting and protesting angrily in large numbers to the brutality and barbarism of Israel’s retaliation which as if today have killed around 9000 civilians and 3800 children and fatally injured over 21,000 civilians.
Israel war machines have reduced the Palestinian Urban centers in rubbles and underneath these rubbles humanity is crushed, dead and is rotting while the attacks continue unabated without any end in sight.
While responding to the question of Israel’s brutal attacks on hospitals in Gaza Strip, Israel Spokesperson said that Hamas is maintaining its command and control center under the hospitals and other such civilian facilities therefore, all such facilities will be destroyed and raised to the ground.
They once again warned and gave an ultimatum to the Hospitals and the patients, some of them on life support systems, many babies in incubators and many more crippled due to constant and uninterrupted Israel bombardments to evacuate immediately to the South of Gaza and while those who had the strength and means to evacuate, their caravans were attacked Israel fighter jets without any mercy.
The statement of the UNSG was deeply rooted in the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict, a protracted and multifaceted dispute having historical, political, and territorial factors. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Jewish immigration to Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire, increased, leading to tensions with the Arab population. The conflict was further fueled by the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which expressed British support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.
After World War II and the Holocaust, led to international support for the creation of a Jewish state and led to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. This event triggered a series of Arab-Israeli wars and further territorial disputes, particularly in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and gave birth to two organizations Hamas and Hezbollah deeply supporting and promoting palestinian cause.
The recent escalation of conflict between Hamas and Israel can be attributed to several factors. Hamas launched its attack in response to a culmination of long-standing grievances, including Israeli policies, violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, treatment of Palestinians, and the expansion of Israeli settlements. While Hamas justifies its actions as a response to these issues, Israel and the U.S. have rejected any moral equivalence between Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians and Israel’s efforts to defend itself.
Hamas anticipated that its actions would draw Israel into a protracted conflict, potentially undermining the diplomatic normalization efforts and generating international sympathy for the Palestinian cause. The timing of the attack took advantage of domestic distractions in the Israeli government, allowing Hamas to act while Israel was internally preoccupied
Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement, was founded in 1987 during the First Intifada (Palestinian uprising) against Israeli occupation. Hamas’s core objectives include the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, resistance against Israeli occupation, and the assertion of its Islamist ideology.
Hezbollah, on the other hand, is a Shiite militant and political organization based in Lebanon. It was formed in the early 1980s with the backing of Iran as a response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Hezbollah is considered more powerful than the Lebanese army, and has engaged in conflicts with Israel, notably the 2006 Lebanon War.
While the USA, UK and rest of the western governments are standing astutely and resolutely with Israel, Russia stands with Hamas. This prompted the West to draw comparisons between Hamas’s onslaught and Russia’s war against Ukraine arguing that one was “a terrorist organization that attacked Israel” and the other “a terrorist state that attacked Ukraine.”
The United States has historically been a strong ally of Israel and has often supported Israel in the Israel-Palestine conflict. This support includes financial aid, military assistance, and diplomatic backing.
But on the other hand, Russia has long maintained close relations with Hamas and has never declared either wing of Hamas to be a terrorist group. Rather, eager to carve out a niche in the Middle East peace process, Russian diplomats have tried to unify different Palestinian factions, including Hamas, into a single political force in order to restart the peace process and promote a two-state solution.
Unlike the west, USA and Russia, China has towed a neutral line since the war began and continues to call for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. In an official statement issued on October 8, the day after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, China’s foreign ministry called for a de-escalation in hostilities and for “relevant parties to remain calm, exercise restraint and immediately end the hostilities to protect civilians and avoid further deterioration of the situation”.
Iran plays a crucial role in supporting Hamas financially and politically, although Iran has denied any direct involvement in the recent attack. However, Iran in an intimidating strong statement warmed Israel of crossing the redline and threatened Israel of dire consequence if the war expand to other parts of Middle East especially Lebanon.
Western states, such as Australia and New Zealand, have only declared the military wing of Hamas—the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades—to be a terrorist organization. Others, such as the United States, have not made this distinction.
The support of Iran, Russia, and Turkey for Palestine, contrasting with the backing of Israel by the USA and Western nations, has indeed starkly divided the world into clear-cut positions, painting many shades of gray within the conflict. This division intensifies the complexities of the situation.
The deployment of two U.S. aircraft carriers in Middle Eastern waters sends a clear message, serving as a warning against any misadventures. This stern posture raises the stakes, particularly with Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, creating an environment of heightened tension.
Yet, amidst these developments, Russia and Iran remain resolute and undeterred by such deployments. This scenario underscores the intricate global dynamics at play and the fragility of peace in the region.
Certainly, conflicts, especially those involving powerful nations, can be brutal, causing immense suffering. The world often witnesses self-proclaimed champions of human rights backing their interests. In this ongoing conflict, some powerful nations support Israel while others stand by Palestinian civilians.
Yet, history shows that even the bloodiest wars ultimately find resolution at the negotiating table. It’s in the interest of all parties involved to put aside entrenched positions, attribute blame to the culprits, ensure justice for victims, and, most crucially, address the root causes, as underscored by the United Nations Secretary-General.
Failure to do so could escalate this weeping conflict into a global conflagration, reminding us that the path to peace is always more desirable than the ravages of war.