Gaza massacre and the Westerners humanity

Rayhan Ahmed Topader :

The war in Gaza has killed more than 20,000 Palestinians, health officials in the Hamas-run territory, a new reflection of the staggering cost of Israel’s military offensive as pressure grows to scale it back.

Israeli military operations have created an untenable humanitarian crisis, which will only worsen over time. But are Israel’s actions as the nation’s opponents argue verging on ethnic cleansing or, most explosively, genocide.

Two months after fighting escalated, and Gaza is in the grip of a human catastrophe. Resources have dwindled away, and 1.8 million people fled their homes. Now the fighting has resumed, we fear the civilian population will suffer even further.

As the cold sets in, people living in the shadow of conflict will see the nights get even darker. Damage to homes and other infrastructure, and a lack of electricity and fuel, makes hypothermia a real threat.?This is a critical time. Winter makes things harder in every emergency.

Poor weather can make roads treacherous-so it’s harder to reach people in crisis. Men, women and children are bearing the brunt of the conflict as tragedies unfold at hospitals, supplies run out and a cold winter looms. There is heartbreak on all sides of this conflict.

The belligerence with which the Israeli occupation regime is pressing ahead with the attacks on Gaza, despite multiple red flags raised about the disproportionate civilian casualties and indiscriminate bombardment of key civilian infrastructures based on fake claims, suggests that Israel is not targeting Hamas resistance fighters. Rather, the real targets are the civilians, with the depopulation of Gaza being the endgame of this atrocious, bloody war.

Israel has been trying to push the Palestinian civilians into various pockets of the Gaza Strip. First, they forced them to abandon their homes in the north saying it is concentrated with Hamas fighters.

Then they proceeded to coerce the civilians to rush towards the Rafah crossing only to be bombed by Israel. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a ‘moral failure’ of the international community, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said, as the UN Security Council was due to vote on another ceasefire demand.

Israel kept pounding the shattered Gaza Strip killing dozens, a day after its defence minister promised to gradually wind down the intensity of operations in Gaza. Meanwhile, Yemen’s pro-Palestinian Houthi movement vowed to defy a US-led naval mission and keep hitting Israeli targets in the Red Sea as concern mounted over the conflict’s impact on global shipping.

UN officials also voiced anger and disbelief about the situation in Gaza hospitals, where injured people do not have basic supplies and children recovering from amputations are being. Most of Gaza’s hospitals are no longer operating due to damage in attacks, Israeli raids and lack of fuel and staff.

Those still open are under growing pressure due to both strikes and growing numbers of sick and injured patients arriving. So where do children and families go? They’re not safe in hospitals, they’re not safe in shelters, and they’re certainly not safe in so-called safe zones.

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Also heavy winter rains have lashed Gaza, washing out tents and flooding some areas, as the head of the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees described deteriorating conditions in the coastal strip as a living hell.

Amid escalating shortages of food, spreading waves of communicable disease and the near collapse of Gaza’s health system, the winter storm turned large areas to mud and drenched many of those sleeping in makeshift plastic tents. Separately, Israel announced it had lost nine soldiers including two senior commanders and several other officers in a Hamas ambush in the Gaza City neighbourhood of Shejaiya amid continued heavy fighting across Gaza.

The rapidly worsening humanitarian situation comes as Israel’s air and ground war after the attack by Hamas on 7 October has pushed nearly 85% of Gaza’s population from their homes. Among those caught in the open was Ameen Edwan, camped with thousands of others in the grounds of al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in central Gaza.

At a tent camp in Rafah, located on sandy terrain strewn with rubbish, people were trying to recover from a horrible night, carrying buckets of sand to cover puddles inside or just outside their tents, and hanging up soggy clothes.

Some families have proper tents but others are making do with tarpaulins or thin, see-through plastic made to protect goods rather than to provide shelter for people. Many tents have no groundsheets, so people spent the night huddling on wet sand. People in the Palestinian territory were facing the darkest chapter of their history since 1948, and it has been a painful history.

Most of Gaza’s population has been forcibly displaced, largely into the southern part of the strip. Rafah is now hosting well over a million people. People halting an aid truck and eating the food found inside in desperation as they stood in the street. The spaces around UNRWA buildings are congested with shelters and desperate, hungry people. Aid can no longer reach those who could not move to the south. There is no more food to buy, even for those who can pay. In the shops, the shelves are empty.

As the health ministry in Gaza said deaths in the two-month-long war had topped 18,000, including civilians and Hamas fighters. Even Israel’s closest ally, the US is insisting on a two-state solution, and has laid down five principles for the future of Gaza, as the US Vice President said: No forcible displacement of the Palestinian people, no reoccupation of Gaza, no siege or blockade, no reduction in territory, and no use of Gaza as a platform for terrorism.

Backed by the US, Netanyahu is ready and willing to pay the price. It remains to be seen how much longer the Israeli people will allow Netanyahu to drag the war, and how much longer the US who vetoed a recent UN Security Council resolution calling for ceasefire in Gaza can sustain the pressure from the international community in enabling this genocide. The World Health Organization has called the situation catastrophic and beyond improvement.

The UN fears that the humanitarian situation has collapsed in the besieged strip under bombardment. An obvious question arises, if Israel’s target is Hamas resistance fighters, then why is it punishing the civilians in Gaza, and forcing them further towards the sea, in a barren land, where they will probably die of starvation.

As a historian of genocide, I believe that there is no proof that genocide is currently taking place in Gaza, although it is very likely that war crimes, and even crimes against humanity, are happening. There is still time to stop Israel from letting its actions become a big genocide.

(The writer is a researcher and columnist: [email protected])

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