Vinod Mubayi



INSAF Bulletin usually limits itself to South Asian issues. However just as Hitler’s attack on Poland was not simply an European but an international matter so also is the attack of Israel on Gaza Palestinians.


As its name INSAF (International South Asia Forum) suggests, INSAF Bulletin generally focuses its commentary on events and happenings in South Asia.  At times, however, an event of such criminality occurs that it would be an offence for the Bulletin to ignore it.  The wanton Israeli destruction of innocents in Gaza last month is a flagrant example.  This issue of the Bulletin is dedicated to the Palestinian people of Gaza, to the memories of the thousand plus civilians, many of them women and children, killed in the brutal assault, to the many thousands maimed and injured, and to the hundreds of thousands left without shelter, food, water, and medical care.


Israeli peace activist and former member of its parliament Uri Avnery wrote while the assault was ongoing: “Israel has imprinted on world consciousness a terrible image of itself. Billions of people have seen us as a blood-dripping monster.”  With the exception of the mainstream media in America, which is more protective of the actions of the Israeli establishment than the Israeli press itself, this is true by and large.  The world appears to be less and less willing to buy the Israeli version of the conflict and the unending oppression of the Palestinians, and it is now becoming possible to hope, although far too early to predict, that Israel may come to be regarded and dealt with in a manner similar to the apartheid regime in South Africa.


Apart from the massacres of civilians and destruction of property that clearly should be regarded as war crimes and hence prosecuted by an international court with the perpetrators, the political and military leadership of Israeli, subject to penalties on conviction, the Israeli action seems to have achieved nothing.  Hamas is still there and still in control of Gaza.  If Israel continues to treat Gaza as a huge open-air prison, choking off all its contact with the outside world, blocking essential supplies of food, fuel, and medicine from reaching its inhabitants, and killing individuals inside it by means of helicopter gunships, missiles and rockets whenever it wishes to do so without any pretence of a trial or legal proceeding, the chicken and egg situation of attack and counter-attack will continue.  Of course the disparity between the two sides is immense; Israel has one of the world’s most sophisticated militaries while the other side has some crude rockets and light arms.  But, as Avnery writes “The very fact that a guerilla force of a few thousand lightly armed fighters held out for long weeks against one of the world’s mightiest armies with enormous firepower, will look to millions of Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims, and not only to them, like an unqualified victory.” 


Hence the conflict is bound to continue along with the war crimes that Israel is likely to go on committing as long as it is not forced to treat Palestinians as equals.  Columbia University historian Rashid Khalidi put it aptly in an op-ed in the New York Times: “This war on the people of Gaza isn’t really about rockets.  Nor is it about restoring Israel’s deterrence, as the Israeli press might have you believe.  Far more revealing are the words of Moshe Yaalon, then the Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff, in 2002: The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”  For 60 years, the Palestinians have resisted bravely and turned Yaalon’s words into an empty boast.  The world must ensure that Yaalon’s words remain an empty boast until a fair and just solution emerges.

Top - Home