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International Affairs - US Politics

Each day of Netanyahu in office prolongs suffering of 2 million people

What is happening in Gaza is entirely predictable. It was not inevitable, however. As far back as 11th October last, I wrote here of the need to avoid the destruction of Gaza and its people. The dangers of letting Netanyahu pursue his unforgiveable plan to match the Hamas-led atrocities of 7th October with his own atrocities must have been equally obvious in Washington, London, Paris and Berlin.

The governments of the US, UK, France, and Germany utterly failed to prevent what is now happening, mostly for their own internal political reasons. They embarked on a campaign of irresponsible rhetoric and military support calculated to bolster the position and intentions of Netanyahu, instead of imagining what he would do and stopping it.

By doing so, they must now accept the responsibility and the blame for the outcome. Tens of thousands of innocent people – men, women and children – have already died. No one can count the casualties – mental and physical – who have survived until now. Disease, starvation, and famine have been unleashed on more than two million people by Israel. There was another way.

Handwringing is now the common reaction of those who never cried stop. But it is not good enough from Biden, Blinken, Sunak, Cameron, Macron or Scholz. What does Biden mean when he now says that a military assault on Rafah by Netanyahu’s army would cross a “red line”?

Destruction of Hamas, the movement that Netanyahu deliberately nurtured to weaken the Palestinian Authority and its aim of a two-state solution, means in reality what we have already see happen in northern and central Gaza. There we have witnessed all males of military age who fall into the hands of the IDF being stripped, handcuffed, blind-folded, and trucked away to interrogation centres where they are abused like the “Hooded Men” were in Northern Ireland.

And if there are at the end of such a winnowing process, say, 5000 captured identified Hamas fighters, what will happen to them? We are not going to see a formal court process such as was done in the case of the Holocaust architect, Adolf Eichmann. Will they be summarily executed or detained in prison camps back in Israel for the rest of their natural lives?

The accidental killing by the IDF of the hostages who tried to escape under a white flag suggests that summary execution is probably the preferred way of dealing with Hama prisoners.

Netanyahu chose the course which he is following with the support of his allies - domestic and foreign. I agree with Senator Chuck Shumer, the most senior US Jewish political figure, that the continuation in office of Netanyahu is an obstacle to peace. Many, many Israelis know he is right and many any others must suspect that it is so. I would go further than Schumer. Every day that Netanyahu remains in office conducting his war of extermination against the odious Hamas movement and ideology is a prolongation of the inhumane and barbarous treatment of more than two million innocent people.

Cynically choking off food, water, and medical supplies for those two million defenceless, vulnerable and suffering people is utterly unforgiveable. If the people of Israel continue to countenance such barbarity, they will leave an indelible stain on the character of an enlightened and civilised state that their parents sought to create and defend. It must stop. And Joe Biden must stop it –given that he helped start it and failed to avert it.

An all-out military assault on Rafah using US provided weapons and materiel of war is now planned. Can the western states not even now indicate that Israel has seen the last veto card played at the UN Security Council? Can the western states not even now defend UNRWA from the gross defamation unleashed on it by Israel and restore its full funding? Is there a whit of moral courage in their diplomacy to match the destructive military might which they have created and deployed to be used against innocent Palestinians?

The Israelis are sending a delegation to Washington to argue for their plan to smash Rafah and its swollen number of inhabitants whom they have herded there from the other killing zones in Gaza. The matter should not now be one for debate, argumentation or persuasion either way. They should bring that message home.

The US government has handled the Hamas atrocity of 7th October very, very badly. Now it must show steely determination to do the right thing for two million other innocent people. Israel’s government must be told “Enough is enough” in no uncertain terms.  The people of Israel must hear that message and bring Netanyahu’s atrocious campaign to an immediate end.

The fate of the surviving hostages should not be forgotten either. Total destructive war in their name seems like madness.


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