As the wanton destruction of human lives and property continues in Gaza courtesy of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Israel’s presumptive right to self-defence can no longer hold sway. The Hamas attack of 7 October, 2023 has evoked allegations of genocide but Israel’s activities in Gaza indicate that another genocide of unquantifiable proportions is in the offing. The hypocrisy and reluctance of the international community to confront Israel complicates the incompetence of the United Nations (UN) to mediate the conflict prompting the need for the Arab League to rise to the occasion. Accordingly, this article encourages the Arab nations to rise against Israel with a view to ensuring that its genocidal intentions towards Gaza are not actualized.
On 27 October, 2023, Israel launched an overwhelming offensive against Gaza professing to “destroy” it. The attack was in response to an earlier attack by Hamas militants on 7 October, 2023 in which about 2000 fighters entered Israel through 29 breaches in the Gaza strip and killed over 1,400 people including more than 300 security personnel. Quite a number of people were also injured or abducted. However, in just about 4 weeks of full blown hostilities in Gaza, the death toll has risen to more than 10,000, surpassing that of the Russia-Ukraine war which has lasted for about 20 months. Hezbollah and other Iran-backed militant groups have shown interest to support Hamas in the fight against Israel but as it would appear, the dramas of the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973 are about to be repeated. Incidentally, Israel’s intentions to “destroy” Gaza appear to have gone rogue, eliciting allegations of war crimes with genocidal implications.
Historically, Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza has been relatively subhuman, beginning with the blockade of Gaza which seems to be part of the reasons for the Hamas attack of 7 October, 2023 and others before it. Israeli oppression of Palestinians transverses the Gaza strip and permeates all areas under occupation. According to Doyle (2023), “the levels of Israeli settler violence in the West Bank have soared, with an average of 99 attacks on Palestinians a month.” This is in flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) with respect to the protection of civilians in occupied territories. Unfortunately, at the wake of condemnations for the Hamas attacks which precipitated the current Israeli aggression, commentators appear to be giving very little consideration to the 56-year old Israeli occupation of Gaza, which is the basis for the Palestinian resistance. Under international law, Israel’s blockade of Gaza is unlawful but the hypocrisy of the international community ensures that Israel continues to occupy Gaza, treating the original owners of the land like animals. Secondly, much like the “Nakba” of 1948, Israel continues to forcefully displace Palestinians within Gaza using quite a number of dubious tactics – the latest being the order to over 1 million Palestinians to vacate northern Gaza knowing that with the Rafah crossing closed, the only option for these internally-displaced persons would be to migrate to the homes of their relatives in the already overcrowded southern Gaza thereby aggravating the already squalid humanitarian conditions there. Israel continues to bomb hospitals and refugee camps in Gaza and has deliberately ensured that fuels are scarce in Gaza so that the few hospitals managing to offer services under terrible conditions would no longer be able to work. More importantly, the Al Shifa, Al Qud and Indonesian hospitals have perpetually remained under siege with little humanitarian considerations on the part of Israel. Additionally, Israel continues to bombard internally-displaced persons on transit to southern Gaza and has not made significant effort to protect civilians. As it would appear, Israel considers every Palestinian to be a “terrorist” and does not hesitate to kill women and children at will to get to the so-called terrorists. Similarly, the Jabalia, Maghazi, Al Shati and Al Bureij refugee camps have all witnessed their share of attacks with the Jabalia refugee camp suffering 8 known attacks since the beginning of the conflict with hundreds of casualties. The UN has declared that Israel’s attack on the refugee camps could be considered a war crime but it has not taken urgent steps to hold Israel to account. In this instance, the UN needs to be told that it is fast descending into irrelevance due to its shameful inability to stop the Russia-Ukraine War and now, the Israel-Hamas conflict. The UN must lead the world to say “no” to a situation in which Israel continues to murder harmless women and children under the pretext of self-defence.
In view of these challenges and the apparent abandonment of Palestine by rest of the world, the Arab nations of the Middle East must rise against Israel and subdue it. The countries constituting the Arab League must see Palestine as one of their own and come to her aid. They must not allow the failures of 1948, 1967 and 1973 to discourage them because nothing is ever impossible to achieve even in the wake of successive failures. The League must remember that it is fundamental in the character of bullies to fear defeat; and once defeated, bullies usually never recover. Additionally, in order to have lasting peace in the Middle East, the Arab League must shun a vacillating and hypocritical United States which encourages a two-state solution on the one hand and stands with Israel on the other. Furthermore, the Arab nations must desist from relying on an increasingly incompetent and irrelevant US-controlled UN to solve the problems of the Middle East. In point of fact, the Arab League must not allow Israel to bully an entire region by posing as the tree which constitutes a forest; otherwise, the prospects for peace in that region would remain futile. The Arab League must see Israel as the “point man” of the US’ destabilization game in the Middle East; and must recognize that as long as Israel remains strong, the US would always have a foothold in the Middle East; and therefore, as long as the US continues to have a foothold in the Middle East, the crises in that region would never end.
The ‘Alternative Viewpoint,’ penned by Flight Lieutenant Christopher Uchenna Obasi (Retired), is a sophisticated weekly column that delves into the complex dimensions of socio-political issues. While it concentrates primarily on the African context, the column also casts a wider analytical net to encompass global affairs. Through incisive commentary and in-depth analysis, it aims to offer alternative perspectives that challenge mainstream narratives and provoke thoughtful discourse on critical matters.