Peace in Gaza now! India should take a strong position

Gaza 4

The self-immolation of an active-duty member of the U.S Air Force Aaron Bushnell outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C on 25th  February has sent shock waves around the world. He did this as a protest amidst the barbaric aggression by Israel on Gaza and its latest offensive on Rafah. This extreme step is a reflection of sensitivity towards the helpless innocent children and women and anger that is growing against the war mongering policies of his own country. The death of 30000 Palestinians, 70% of which are women and children has moved saner people around the world. However there is also sharp division in the approach of the global south and many developed countries of the north.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, while speaking to reporters in Addis Ababa, where he was attending an African Union summit, has accused Israel of committing “genocide” against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and compared its actions to Adolf Hitler’s campaign to exterminate Jews. “It’s not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It’s a war between a highly prepared Army and women and children,” he remarked. This is a repeat of what Hitler did to the Jews during the 2nd world war, he said. He had previously condemned Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel as a “terrorist” act.   So he is not being partisan in his utterance. His views are confirmed by the latest rhetoric by the Israeli officials who are Justifying the killings of children in Gaza. 

Similar statement has been given by Republican Representative Andy Ogles of Tennessee in the US, who responded to an activist’s question about the deaths of Palestinian children in Gaza by asserting that “we should kill ‘them all”. Double standards of the US administration are obvious. Whereas they talk of humanitarian ceasefire and advise Israel to be cautious in bombing, they are supplying billions of US$ worth arms to them. The US has vetoed Algerian resolution in the Security Council for ceasefire in Gaza. All these are a pointer to serious situation likely to develop in the Middle East which can have global ramifications.

After four months of unprecedented aggression on Gaza the Israel has not been able to find the Hamas or the hostages. Starting from North of Gaza to the center, South, tunnels, the hospitals, schools, every building they have destroyed and evacuated. Now they are saying that the Hamas is hiding in Rafah. Palestinians are being pushed to the sea as they have nowhere to go.  These happenings are reminiscent of the barbaric era of colonialism and apartheid.

It is now crystal clear that the sole aim of Israel is to eliminate the Palestinians and establish a Zionist regime in that region with the explicit support of the US administration. Israel’s demand for stoppage of aid to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees and its accusations that some of its employees were involved in the October 7 attack is totally unjustified as there is no evidence in it. There is already spread of disease and hunger among the Palestinians with serious impact on children. 

It is most unfortunate and condemnable what happened during the Holocaust. But what the Zionist regime is doing is a repeat of the Holocaust. Anyone who questions the Israel’s actions is dubbed as being anti-semitic by Netanyahu government. The Nazis killed most mercilessly 6 million Jews and a similar number of Non-Jews in the concentration camps. These included Soviet prisoners of war, Non-Jewish (ethnic) Poles, Romani men, women, and children and several other. This however does not give anyone right to kill. It is high time that global community rises to the occasion and stops the genocide otherwise the war is likely to escalate to countries of the Middle East. Other countries of the world could enter in it in the same manner as various nations joined the 2nd world war slowly during 1939 to 1945.

It is in this backdrop that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on Jan 26 ordered Israel to take action to prevent acts of genocide as it wages war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. The top United Nations court for handling disputes between states was ruling in a case brought by South Africa. The court ordered Israel to refrain from any acts that could fall under the Genocide Convention and to ensure its troops commit no genocidal acts in Gaza. A majority of at least 15 out of 17 judges voted in favour of imposing the so-called provisional measures, including the court’s president, Joan Donoghue of the United States. Israel however has not made public the action taken in this regard till date.

The UN Secretary General has expressed anguish over Israel’s decision to attack Rafah and condemned collective punishment of Palestinians. But despite his several efforts the UN has failed to contain Israel. The multilateral institutions are not properly equipped to deal with the current challenges, as has been demonstrated by the Security Council’s inability to act on the on-going conflicts. Will the G20 group whose chair is now with Brazil be able to take a position?

There have been many peace keeping forces around the world the under the UNO, but this is missing now. India as a big country could have played tangible role in bringing peace in the region. India’s non participation in the presentations at the ICJ has raised several questions. Indian government has been the harbinger of peace and disarmament as a leader of the Non aligned Movement (NAM) and always stood with Palestinian cause. The Delhi Declaration of the Seventh NAM summit from 7th to 11th March, 1983, carried the conclusions and recommendations for total unconditional withdrawal  of  Israel  from  all  Palestinian  and  other occupied  territories including  Jerusalem;  A War crimes tribunal to try Israel for committing crimes against the Palestinian people. Alas India changed its position on the relationship with Israel and has developed strong defence relations with them and has now supplied Israel with drones made by the Adani group to carry out operations. Modi government has cleared the recruitment of several thousand Indian workers to work in Israeli companies after the Palestinians were expelled by them. India’s actions are in contrast to the stand taken by several countries of global south. India should come forward to re-emerge as leader of the peace loving developing countries for a peaceful just global order.

Dr Arun Mitra is a Practicing ENT Surgeon in Ludhiana, Punjab. He is also the President of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) 

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