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Give Peace a Chance

P. A. Chacko P. A. Chacko
06 Nov 2023

Pope Francis prays for peace in the Middle East. He calls for ceasefire in Gaza. So, too, most world nations, except a few.

Hamas is all out to smash Israel. Israel leadership is all out to deny Palestine independent statehood. Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue the war to the finish. Ordinary Palestinians are caught between the military wing of Hamas and the military invasion of Israel.

One child death in ten minutes is the count in Gaza today. So far, those killed in Gaza count close to 8000, among them are fifty percent women and children.

The continued occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and the increasing Israeli settlements, bracketing out the Palestinian population, are indications that Israel wants to take full control of Gaza, the West Bank and the whole of Palestine. Should it not sound alarm bell?

The October 7th Hamas attack on Israel deserves condemnation. Violence and terror havoc are no solutions to peaceful existence of human beings. Equally condemnable is Israel’s ferocious retaliation for more than three weeks on with bombs from the skies and war tanks on the ground. 

Even when the world leaders have called for ceasefire and the UN Resolution has been passed by 120 members, Netanyahu, with the US backing, has ignored it with derision. Israel continues to bombard and pulverize Gaza. Bombing hospitals, churches, and residential areas in Gaza is nothing but nationalist terrorism on the part of Israel.

The Jews under Hitler suffered the terror of the infamous Holocaust. The world stood with them in empathy and solidarity. Their remnants were given asylum in different countries. The Jews should not forget that type of kindness by letting them live and acquire even citizenship in alien lands.

On Israel's formation as a new State under 1947 UN agreement, many Jews returned to Israel. As their population is increasing, they are making settlements in Gaza and the West Bank with the help of Israeli army. Such a situation indicates that the political agenda of Israel is to push out the Palestinians who include Muslims and Christians.

The Jews, who have enjoyed the hospitality of other nations during their diaspora, should show, one would think, openness to let their Palestinian neighbors live in peace in a State of their own.  But, the Israelite regime, under Netanyahu's Zionist leadership, will not let that happen. 

The scenario that 'we want to live and will not let others live’ is not an acceptable proposition in the world today. The Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites were thrown out by the invading Jews who came out of Pharao's Egypt. They justified their action as the command of their almighty God, as if God was telling them that ‘this fertile land with its vineyards and pasture lands, cultivated by others, is yours as the land of milk and honey. Subdue the owners and grab their land and take over.’

It is unacceptable if such a God were to advise a group of people today to subdue their neighbors, smash their borders, chase them out and make settlements there by way of expansion. A God who encourages illegal occupation by throwing out local indigenous populations is not God. Today, many world nations are peddling the notion of their self-made gods of aggrandizement, revenge, violence and even terror.

If any one believes in God, his God should not be a vengeful God, not a land- grabbing God, not a carpet-bombing God. Rather, he should be a benign one, whose fatherhood extends to all, protects all and provides security to all.

It is unfortunate that every religion has its own concept of God and creates its own mold and fold. The leaders, who combine religious communalism and political chauvinism for the sake of expediency and nationalist arrogance, are infesting people and the world with the virus of visceral hatred and horrendous violence. Those who resist their depredations are written off as terrorists while their own terrorist exercises are swept under the carpet as self-defense.

It is sad that there is no strong world body to rein in such tendentious elements with a strong arm. The United Nations as a world body, unfortunately, is hamstrung by power blocks and power politics. It may pass a resolution asking warring parties to stop their violence, but it has no implementing authority. 

The head of the main UN agency operating in Gaza told the UN Security Council that the entire population in Gaza is "being dehumanized," even as multiple UN bodies call for a humanitarian ceasefire to allow aid to reach the enclave. But the Israeli Prime Minister ruled out a pause in fighting, He roared: "This is a time for war."

The 193-member UN body passed the Resolution, drafted by a group of 22 Arab countries, by a margin of 120 to 14, with 45 countries abstaining. The United States and Israel voted against it.  Sadly, India sat on the fence.

The adopted Resolution called for “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities” and “firmly rejects any attempts at the forced transfer of the Palestinian civilian population”.

Looking back, On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted the Plan as Resolution 181 (II). The UN Plan for Palestine recommended partition of Palestine mandatory at the end of the British Mandate. The resolution recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States and a Special International Regime for the city of Jerusalem. The new states were to come into existence no later than  October 1, 1948. 

With 56% of the land allocated to the Jewish state despite the Palestinian Arab population numbering twice the Jewish population, critics pointed out that it was pro-Zionist.  The Zionist leaders viewed the plan as a stepping stone to future territorial expansion over the whole of Palestine. 

In a letter to his son Amos, Ben Gurion, the primary national founder of the State of Israel as well as the country’s first Prime Minister, wrote that "....a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning, ...the partition would be a first step to possession of the land as a whole".

Thus, the stage was set for the Zionist expansion into the proposed Palestine state. The increasing number of illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine is now the stepping stone for Israeli government to dislodge Palestinians from their homeland.

The cauldron stirred continuously by the Israeli government is not a happy environment for peace in the Middle East. The more the Palestinians are pushed to the wall, the more they will kick back in self-defense. Violence begets violence. Israel's excuse of self-defense by bombing Gaza for over three weeks is a weak argument, given its military strength, air power and ground artillery. Even Hamas, whom Israel has condemned as terrorist, was helped by Israel to grow to counter PLO. 

The spiral of violence can have disastrous consequences on innocent civilians. The way Israel is destroying the life and properties of the Palestinian civilian population through its terrorist methods can only accentuate the spiral of violence leading to uncontrollable conflagration.

Should the voice of conscience be buried under the rubble of power loving politicians?

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