- Israel absolutely has the right to protect its citizens but its unwillingness to address the long-simmering Palestinian issue has led us to this insanity.
There probably will be no one who saw the horrific terrorist attack in Israel by Hamas and didn’t feel the pain and horror along with Israelis that fateful day on October 7th. Terrorism is never the answer. It solves nothing. Rather, it always tends to turn the public pendulum away from whatever cause those terrorists may be fighting for. Make no mistake – Israel has a right to survival and to protect its people from terror. That is never in question and never will be.
What is in question is the colossal failure of the mighty Mossad and its intelligence gathering arm that failed to even warn their civilians of a possible terrorist attack. Hamas is responsible for the act, absolutely no question about it. It is an act of terrorism. My worry is Prime Minister Netanyahu will take this opportunity to gain political mileage by playing on the international sympathies and the rage of the citizens and will pulverize Gaza once and for all – not my words.
Like everyone else, I too have been glued to the TV news – watching the aftermath of the horror unfold by Hamas, and then later by Israel in Gaza. I am watching senior journalists like Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett and the rest bring heart-wrenching images of families ripped apart by murder and kidnapping, the wail of mothers, the sobbing of sisters for their brothers, and vice versa.
As an Indian American, my thoughts immediately go to my Israeli friends who live in the U.S. – I feel their horror and pain – sitting so far away, unable to help but just watch and wait for news of their loved ones. I also remember the time when terrorists stormed the iconic Taj Hotel in Mumbai and for hours the world watched the carnage unfold.
But here’s what I am deeply concerned about. The fact that the Israeli Defense Minister is calling Hamas and people in Gaza “human animals” or that Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has vowed to raze Gaza to the ground — “the kind of retaliation that’ll be remembered by generations.”
The top photo, courtesy of Reuters, is an extraordinary image captured by a Reuters photographer in Gaza that is symbolic of peace struggling for existence amid rubble, much like the hapless children.
Such language and threat of annihilation of “rats” is deeply disturbing and many in the Arab world will see as counterproductive. Talking to a friend here in the U.S. who happens to believe in the two-state Oslo Accord, and who like me probably reminds her kids of what human depravity can achieve – the Holocaust by Hitler’s Third Reich. When I took my then 12-year-old son to Washington D.C., the first museum I made him visit was the Holocaust Museum so he would see the horror of what Jewish people have been through.
“You listen to the verbs the IDF and Netanyahu are using — they no longer view the Palestinians as human. And if your long-term objective was to create a pretext to exterminate the Palestinians without becoming a global pariah, you might do exactly as Netanyahu has done these last several years,” and she is not far from the truth. I also mention that my friend is not an Arab or an Israeli but from a Caucasian background with zero bias towards either side.
There are generations of Palestinian civilians who have been born and have lived in refugee camps in their own country – the world’s largest open-air prison. Over 2 million of them in a tiny strip of land with even the most basic necessities a luxury in their accessibility. Israel has cordoned off the sea access with its naval might.
Palestinians in the West Bank are no better. My Palestinian friend here in the U.S. despairs for her relatives living in Gaza. They have been in ghetto-like living conditions for over 18 years. Successive Israeli regimes have supported and encouraged illegal settlements by hardline Orthodox Israelis. Gaza, just two years back, was massively bombed with heavy civilian casualties. So, while it is awful that Hamas has acted this way, it’s also not surprising that there would be a militant faction that would rather go out in a blaze of glory than die of Israeli-imposed starvation. It’s horrific on all sides.
I have also been following the Indian media and Indian social handles – there is glee at how Israel is dropping bombs on Gaza. I also know that whenever you talk of Israeli policies, you get branded a hater of Israeli people which is far from the truth. Israel has a right to existence, a right to protect its people. But the fact that Netanyahu is getting elected time and time again, representing the extreme militant past of Israeli politics, is what stops moderate Israelis from getting to the drawing board with Palestinians. No cable news or media airs any “face” of the Palestinian tragedy – I find the coverage of this latest tragedy similar to the disparity in how the U.S. media covers Black and White lives.
I wish cable news, politicians, and pundits take a step back and stop this bravado about a war so “big” it will change generations of Palestinians. Lindsay Graham – why is he still relevant is beyond me — said on live TV that the U.S. should bomb Iran, with zero intelligence that Iran had any knowledge of this despicable attack. He calls it a religious war – and asked Israel to go all out in flattening Gaza once and for all. Such irresponsible statements help no one in that region or U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
Israel has nuclear weapons and Iran probably can inflict damage on Israeli cities once this war gets out of hand. Hezbollah in the Golan Heights region may get involved which means Lebanon will get bombed. Russia and Ukraine are already embroiled in an ugly war, Afghanistan lies shattered and so is Iraq after 20-plus years of war after 9/11. Our planet is on the brink of destruction due to climate change. We DO NOT NEED ANOTHER WAR!
Someone needs to think about the humanitarian crisis all this will result in — and not just in that one region. Already reports are pouring in about pregnant Palestinian women with no access to hospital care, the fuel and water shortage is already critical, and all this even before Israel has launched a major ground excursion into Gaza, which is inevitable.
Palestinians in Gaza need the humanitarian corridor into Egypt so innocent civilians are not butchered anymore. Israel’s insistence on stopping any aid into Gaza including water and food is concerning. A Norwegian refugee worker in Gaza just said on TV that the city is already resembling something out of a horror movie. Israel absolutely has the right to protect its citizens but its unwillingness to address the long-simmering Palestinian issue has led us to this insanity, as do the opportunistic terrorists from the Muslim world who butcher and maim in the name of whatever suits them. I just want the kidnapped Israelis to be returned home safe, Hamas punished for what it did, and then please, please all sides go back to the table and find a peaceful solution.
It is wishful thinking though.
Kuhu Singh lives in Eden Prairie, Minn., a suburb of the Twin Cities. Bidding adieu to journalism a decade ago, she nonetheless loves to write and express her very strong opinions on social media and blogs and sometimes in a few Indian publications. She is a Senior Digital Marketing Manager for a broadcast retail company. Race relations, diversity, and social issues fascinate and roil her into action. She volunteers her time with certain political and community organizations.