Tuesday, January 13, 2009

End the war first, argue anti-Jewish sentiments later!

-A commentary-

Israel has confirmed sending thousands of army reservists into Gaza, raising concerns that a deadly "third stage" of its offensive - targeting urban centres - could soon begin.[Al-Jazeera.net,12/1/09]

he United Nations, a body supposedly mandated to maintain world peace continues to remain indecisive under Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and we could well expect the usual reluctance of the United States to put a stop to the bloodshed.

While many argue over the justification of Israel's aggression, there are some who say that Israel has the right to retaliate, given the fact that it was Hamas who not only refused to renew the 6-month truce but drew the first blood when they launch Qassam rockets into Israeli territory a week after the peace agreement had ended. What came after that soon escalated into what we see today in the news.

The reality is this: Israel say that they are acting in defence of its territories against terrorism. But that cannot justify the magnitude of military force it is unleashing over Gaza; punishing the civilians for the crimes of a political cum militant party they are targeting. Quite recently, international watchdogs reported that Israel are using white phosphorus in their artillery shells (image). White phosphorus is a controversial chemical which sticks to human flesh and burns it to the bones. International law permits the use of white phosphorus in order to cover troop movements and prevent enemies from using certain guided weapons - not over the skies of civilian homes. Israel is literally trying to kill ants with cannons. [link]

On the other hand, Hamas said in an interview with Al-Jazeera that they want Israel to stop the onslaught immediately but they cannot guarantee they will stop firing rockets into Israel in the future. This kind of statement is absurd! How do they expect a peace agreement to be brokered when the root cause of this latest Israeli incursion was sparked by Qassam rocket fires? What chance is there for peace when both sides refuse to back down?

Nonetheless, I must say that while Israel and Hamas have their own perceived reasons to champion their causes, at the end of the day it takes two hands to clap. Israel should be held accountable for the literal slaughter of innocent civilians. But the world must also do its part to pressure Hamas to drop its arms and stop future rocket fires; ensuring Israel has no other reason to launch another invasion.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has called for the United Nations to establish an international tribunal to prosecute Israel for war crimes against Gaza. But is it also fair to include Hamas on the list too?

Our government is doing all it can to call for an end to the war. And for that, the Malaysian public should stand behind our leaders if we truly love peace, regardless of whether we believe Israel is right or wrong. We must stand up against any form of violence i.e war.

And yes, some devoutly argue that the state of Israel is illegal and some protesters are even seen carrying banners written 'Israel does not exist.' Whether we agree to that or not, their guns and bombs are real enough to the people who lost their loved ones in this conflict. The lives and the safety of the people of Gaza should take top priority - not who out-argues who over religion or anti-Semitic sentiments.

So let us, the world, focus on ending this conflict first and save the debate of the legitimacy of Israel for another time for the longer we occupy ourselves with rhetorical religious and racial debates, more innocent lives are lost by the day, if not the hour.


  1. Anonymous said...

    I feel sorry for the civilians. Its hard to determine normal civilians and terrorist in a war afterall there are ladies suicide bombers nowadays. I think all properly trained elite soldiers would have the mind set of better kill than sorry later.

    I strongly agree with innocent bloodshed in war should be stop. Not to forget that Hamas should guarantee that they don't trigger any war with that kinda stupid act. Its not acceptable to start launching rockets after warnings are given out and now begging for the war to stop. I hope they learned their lesson.