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GAZA: “VALLEY OF THE DEAD”

In Turkish they have a proverb which goes like this “ A weapon is an enemy, even to its own master” By breaking and simplifying this text, the only meaning one can extract is that your security can easily become the source of insecurity for the other. I had no reservation regarding the implication of this theory, but what I witnessed in Gaza simply left me a bit confused. The source of insecurity for one of the most modern and efficient army i.e Israel Defence Force, was none other than simple engineered home made rockets. The best they were capable of achieving was to cause panic, while seldom it lead to one or two casualities. In this era of military advancement, this gadget even lacks the basic feature of guiding system. In other words it is a gamble on behalf of Hamas, as it can strike both ways. On the other hand I am unable to find any clear justification that how a nuclear state(though undeclared) like Israel can get so scared, that it forgoes all the ethics constituted in today’s civilized world, and launches a holocaust on 1.5 million helpless and defend less Palestinians, of Gaza. But for a reminder, this cruel and inhuman episode did not start on 27th December, 2008. It was started two years back in 2006 when Israel along with its allies in Europe and America, declared the government of Hamas as illegitimate, based on the theory that they support violence. Of course even Aristotle would have found himself an illiterate in front of there definition of democracy, and so did most of us. But once again by there action they reminded us that they hold the power to convert your democracy into a pure autocracy, while if they desire they also hold the right to reverse this process. For well over two years, Israel was slow poisoning Palestinians in Gaza by the blockade they had erected. A democratically elected government was denied recognition, an entire human race was denied the right of existence, while an entire nation was simply thrown in stone ages through isolation. On the other hand they were pushed to the wall by blocking any foreign aid, freezing there accounts and targeted killings against there members. The recent offensive launched by Israel has been seen through different paradigms. Some have called it a clear act of aggression; some have termed it a response to 2006 defeat, while in West there are many sections which have blamed Hamas activities for this episode. From my side I maintain that this offensive was only due to the frustration covering the establishment in Tel Aviv. Now naturally it must be answered that why at the first place Israeli’s have become so frustrated. To answer this questions, three arguments are given below a) Israel’s worst nightmare has come true especially in the last 5 years. They have always feared being encircled by there foes. With Hezbollah on one side, Hamas on the other while Iran staring from not that far, they are in a tough position. b) Memories of 2006 Lebanon invasion is still haunting them, where the “invincibility” of IDF was shattered to pieces by the Hezbollah. c) A down slide in the fortune of the ruling party and a growing mistrust on them. d) With US withdrawal from Iraq imminent and Iranian nuclear issue still pending, the window of opportunity is closing fast on Israel e) US faced by the worst recession and somewhat lenient outlook of Obama, Israel might find its natural shelter shifting. With these facts in mind, one can get in the real mind frame of the Israelis. The way Israelis managed this offensive, keeping in mind the civilian casualities, clearly reveals the desperation of the aggressor. The timing was also important, as Washington was going through the transition period. Obama was somehow inclined toward the Jewish forces during his campaign, and it is believed that we will not witness any real change in US policy toward Israel under him. But for that some facts have to be kept in mind. An Afro-American black candidate can not dare to reveal his policies toward such a sensitive matter during his campaign. He needed the blessings of the Zionist lobby, but once in power he can execute many options for his so called “change”. He has already hinted that dialogue will be the new policy in Washington. Secondly with US resources shrinking quickly, many fingers will be raised on Israel, as US has shouldered this dead weight for well over 60 years, only to add more miseries to its own path. Poor Bush lost his last chance to rise from the ashes of humiliation, by siding again for a wrong cause. Another war crime has been added to his list, as his silence killed so many again. But in his last month, what more can you expect from a defeated person like him, who has left White House with a) US economy on the verge of collapse b) Over $12 trillion budget deficit c) War in Iraq and Afghanistan totally out of order d) Up to 2 million Americans jobless e) A world opinion totally oppose to there policies Israel’s foreign policy is no different from that of the barbarian Genghis Khan. He use to justify his brutal and bloody campaigns through this argument “I make wars, in order to gain peace for my people” One will not find Israel’s PM Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni much different from his shadows. But one thing which makes the case of Israel intresting is that, where nearly every living soul on the planet Eartth was shaken by the images coming out of Gaza, the entire Israeli public was rallying around there government. One can only find this in Israel, where masses contribute completely to mass killing. IDF campaign was so mismanaged that they even did not spare UN compounds and media centres, though they were given GPS coordinated in advance. One can easily imagine what they did with the natives of Gaza. On the other hand numerous incidents took place where ambulances and there drivers were also not spared. The scene inside Gaza was horrific, with stockpiles of dead every where, which included children and women in large numbers. One might imagine the scene of a remote village in Central Asia, after it has been looted and plundered by the advancing Mongol army. It only makes one feel that have we really became civilized or inside we are still housing those evil instincts? It has always been said that UN is a bias body, promoting one sided interests. Any one who had some reservations on this statement must have removed them, after what we witnessed in Gaza. UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon was busy in his shuttle diplomacy, but to no avail. I got an impression that he was much like the elders of a locality, who at tender age advise the younger ones to follow the right path. But of course this piece of advice always fall on deaf ears, and same was the case with Mr Ban ki Moon. But as Muslims, I do nont feel we should look that far. The leadership of the 57 Muslim countries is the biggest culprit in this atrocity. None of them even dared to send humanitarian aid to the relief stricken Palestinians, and from my side there non recognition to Hamas also contributed to this episode. Husni Mubarak from Egypt tops this list as his decision to close the Rafah crossing sealed the fate of entire non-combatants of Gaza. This virtually trapped them in the “Valley of the dead”. But going back into history, this is no different from what we did in 2001 during US invasion of Afghanistan. Back then Musharaff closed all the doors on Taliban and paved the way for there slaughter, through the hands of Northern Alliance. Toward the end I believe that the Israel’s frustration has done more harm to themselves rather than Hamas. The stated aim of the campaign was the destruction of missile launching capability of Hamas, or rather Hamas itself. But during the entire course of action, the rockets did reach Israel. Even when Israel had declared cease fire unilaterally, Hamas did manage to fire 3 more rockets. On the other hand there are claims that this war has added more to the popularity of Hamas in West Bank, thanks to the pro-Jewish policy of Mehmood Abbas. But there is much more to this argument. The Israeli’s, much like the Americans, have taken the whole struggle in a wrong way. The decision by Bush to go for war in Iraq and Afghanistan, without going to the root causes of the whole divide, lead to the failure of the entire campaign. This thing is no different if we see the case of Israel. Hamas, founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yasin is not at all a person specific organization. Unfortunately for Israel, it is based on an ideology which is also shared not only by the Palestinians, but the entire Muslim world. The core argument is that if Israel remains in its limits and in peace, only then they can have peace for there citizens. Yasin started his struggle by focusing on the social work in the Gaza, which secured there roots in the Palestinians society. After 1st Inteffada(1987-93), Hamas clearly emerged as the top resistant movement against Israel in Gaza. This rise to power was less in the form of there own effort, but rather more to the policies of late PLO Chief Yasser Arafat. His recognition to Israel during the Oslo Summit in 1993, sealed the fate both for him and his party. After that Hamas was clearly on a roll, gaining success rapidly. Hamas is somehow misinterpreted in most of the West. The only thing they remember is that Hamas does not recognize Israel, which is not entirely true. In reality Hamas has held that negotiations with Israel will only take place, once they are on equal terms. On the other hand Israel’s belief that Hamas is only centered around a few individuals, lead them to the assassination of top leadership like Yasin and Rantisi, back in 2004. But to there astonishment, they rose with more force, by securing land slide victory in Gaza in 2006. But for the foolish minds sitting in Washington and Tel Aviv, it was not enough. For two years against all legal and civilized justifications, they kept the inhabitants of the Gaza in a cage, with no outside access. After this they launched a massive attack, but fortunately they have failed to break the resolute will of the people of Palestine. Hamas survival is no more than a triumph, as was the case with Hezbollah back in 2006. On domestic front, Mehmood Abbas has lost whatever support he had. His acts have clearly made him the culprit in the eyes of the Palestinian people. A sense of insecurity was created that Iran and Hezbollah might jump into the conflict, but this did not happen. In the end it seems that this was pretty much the right decision, for that had surely given US the excuse to jump into the matter. The war has severely crippled the Israeli standing in the world affairs. It is worth mentioning the massive demonstration that took place all over the globe, especially in the Europe. This clearly revealed how the masses have declared Israel as the aggressor. On the diplomatic front also, European leaders were quick to declare Israel as the real culprit. This was evident from the way Brown and Sarkozy lashed Israel for its actions. On the other hand once again it was seen that Europe was totally opposed to US stand. This was also seen during the Georgian conflict, where US failed to take them onboard. Even during the cease fire, US was not present. This aggression from Israel has left Obama in an awkward position. Already US is facing the brunt from the anti US sentiments in Middle East, and this new episode will add more fuel to the burning fire. The cease fire between Hamas and Israel will not withstand long enough, unless world powers involve Hamas and give them there due status. For the time being, we have a peace hanging by the wire in the Middle East.

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