The Middle East crisis – a blot on humanity

Sensitive but pertinent questions can’t stop being raised about an ‘unbelievable’ attack by Hamas on a practically impregnable State of Israel on 7 October 2023, and the timing thereof. Undoubtedly, Hamas’ gruesome killings of innocent Israeli civilians within the Israeli controlled territory, after crossing a seemingly unassailable wall around a fortified Gaza, deserves the highest condemnation that there could ever be. In retaliation, however, can the siege, snapping all lines of sustenance for life – fuel, water, electricity, medicines and food – followed by relentless bombing of a ‘land and sea-locked’ Gaza strip be justified in this age of globalisation that we some of us call civil and humane? Israel’s bombing did not even spare the hospitals, ambulances, schools and UN Refugee camps. More than 9,000 Palestinian civilians, including up to 4,000 children, lost their lives within the first four weeks of the Hamas’ attack, with a child dying every 10 minutes. The casualties included scores of UN aid workers and journalists (and their families). Humanity must feel ashamed of itself for letting this bloodbath happen on either side.

Millions of Palestinians are currently hanging to life by a thin thread of hope that an angel of God, in the form a human, will suddenly emerge from nowhere and save them. The flame of their hope may be fading in the face of major powers adding more fuel to the fire, instead of using their influence to extinguish it.

Why did the massacre of innocent Israelis happen on 7 October 2023? What happened in Gaza in years and decades leading to the attack? How could Hamas dare to attack a country that prides itself as the smartest – technologically and militarily – in the world, one that receives billions of dollars in aid annually from the United States, including advanced military gear, and an all-weather support– implicit, explicit and complicit? How could the American and Israeli surveillance systems and intelligence miss the Hamas preparatory drills across an impenetrable wall, given the kind of land, air and sea attacks that Hamas is reported to have undertaken on 7 October 2023 could not have been practiced inside the underground tunnels in Gaza? In a nutshell, how did Hamas find the Israeli defence infrastructure so incompetent, inadequate, flawed or napping on that day? Was it possible for anyone on Earth to imagine such an attack coming from a people who live within an area likened to an open camp, constantly under intrusive military surveillance by both Israel and the US?

These are some uncomfortable questions, which will be asked continually till they are not answered.  

Not only the bombs, but the powers also that gave a tacit approval to raining those bombs in Gaza incessantly, without exercising any humanitarian restraint, must bear the prime responsibility for the senseless deaths of thousands of Palestinian children, women, elderly and the sick. Paradoxically, these powers call themselves liberal democracies and audacious champions of human liberty.

Palestinians are stateless. Gaza and West Bank are not autonomous countries, they have been under siege for decades. Therefore, whatever happens in these occupied territories is the ultimate responsibility of the State of Israel and its allies. Regardless of the Israeli government’s questionable claims that the attacks on hospitals, ambulances, schools and refugee camps within Gaza are self-inflicted by the Palestinians, the State of Israel bears the ultimate material and moral responsibility for their outcome.

‘The tyrant is a child of Pride, Who drinks from his sickening cup, Recklessness and vanity, Until from his high crest headlong, He plummets to the dust of hope.’ … Sophocles (497-406 BCE)

An emerging new world order?

Gaza is being pulverised and razed to the ground with relentless sheeling day and night. Wisdom demanded an immediate ceasefire in the conflict, so that the barbaric loss of innocent lives could be stopped. However, politicians who claim to be ‘world leaders’ and preach peace and democracy to the world, abysmally either voted ‘no’ or abstained from a recent UNGA vote for the ceasefire, exposing their true colours.

We were all living a lie, knowing that it could not be true, perhaps, because the lie did not seem to be malignant. When the lies were presented as divine truth, they vanished with smoke. Lies should have remained undisturbed and undiscovered, and not raked up and presented as gospel truth.

The ruins and rubble of Gaza reflect a spectacular failure of international diplomacy and years of neglect of people of Gaza. Diplomacy may be likened to the game of chess, but its core purpose is to promote an environment of peace and create win-win situations for all stakeholders, so that wars can be averted without a bullet being fired. Unfortunately, in this case, diplomacy was made to fail deliberately.

An obliterated destroyed Gaza will be a great ugly blot on a fast regressive human civilisation. Such brazen use of unrestrained, disproportionate use of merciless retaliatory force against a civilian population in Gaza, including hospitals, sets a new low in human civilisation and surely a benchmark for similar conflicts around the world in the future.

The conflict has resulted in the emergence of a new world order in which the wealthier and militarily powerful countries will act without restraint, whatsoever, to settle their old scores and fulfil longstanding strategic ambitions, with impunity and a total disregard to International Laws or the Geneva Convention. The UN and UNSC will be manipulated to legitimise genuine war crimes against humanity.

The conflict has proved once again that no one is listening to anyone in this world, all look after their own economic and strategic interests. There are several bosses, some colluding with others, to expand their individual dominance in their parts of the world. As such, no one country or person in the world can claim to be the ‘world leader’. Interest-based geopolitical relationships, driven by material greed and thirst for power, have ruined the world cohesion. At the present, there is no one in the world who can bring peace to the planet and justify being called a true world leader. We are our own greatest threat, and not the Climate Change.

The new Jungle Raj will see the small and the weak being devoured mercilessly, without shame or legitimacy. In regressively authoritarian countries, minorities will be oppressed without morality or human considerations. Thanks to our seemingly inept and inadequate global leadership, peace won’t exist in a seemingly dystopian new world order.

Abominably, Israel and its allies have just taught the following lessons to our children, which will make them warriors of a new medieval world:

  • Not all human lives are equal.
  • Fight till you finish your opponent.
  • Morals and ethics don’t exist in a fight.

Understandably, a dystopian new world order will potentially mirror a distant world that we thought we had left behind a thousand years ago. If we are lucky, however, such a dystopian scenario can be prevented but only by people if and when they vote wisely in their respective countries.

Out of life’s school of war – what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.’ …  Friedrich Nietzsche

Bill K Koul [6 November 2023, Perth, Western Australia]

Copyright © Bill K Koul

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