October 2 2022 3:00 PM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Gaza is a catastrophe fueled by indifference to civilian suffering

amjad yamin
Amjad Yamin (Photo: Jordan News)
All fighting parties in Israel and Palestine, politicians, parliaments and officials say, implicitly or explicitly, that they care about the civilian populations in Gaza, and would like to avoid further civilian casualties in a never-ending conflict that is conveniently reanimated to suit politicians on both sides. اضافة اعلان

Both the Gaza and Israel leadership seem to have needed conflict with the other to consolidate their political powers, and conveniently there was a non-political subtext that was created following demonstrations in the West Bank that would allow for this conflict to restart. 

Eventually, there will be a ceasefire, but the question is when? Or better put, how many more people need to die before both parties have achieved their political aspirations and the civilian populations are allowed to return to their daily lives, in what passes for normal in either area. 

About 200 Palestinians, about half of whom are women and children, and 11 residents of Israel have been killed over the last week. Hundreds of others have been injured as well on both ends. 

And while violations of international law will take some time to prove, if at all, we already know enough from previous conflicts to know there is a high likelihood that war crimes were committed in this round as well. We also know that damage to civilian infrastructure continues, with schools, hospitals, homes, and offices flattened to the ground.

While Israel says they are making an effort to limit civilian casualties, it is clearly wanting to demonstrate that it is the stronger side, not letting the damage and destruction it causes stop it. On Sunday, 42 people, including 10 children, were killed in one attack. Israel shrugged it off. 

Hamas, on the other side, wants to demonstrate that it can survive the attack and be a force to be reckoned with, also not stopping at the killing of civilians or the damage of their homes. 

However what both sides are not saying is that it is their decision to start and stop; that civilians are dying as a direct result of decisions and actions made, most possibly, for political gains. It certainly does not seem like there are military gains that can be made, particularly as both sides have been at this since 2008, to say the least about the history of all of it. 

A cessation of hostilities will come. It will come when the political objectives are achieved, or when the civilian death toll becomes too costly. 

What we should be doing is saying one person killed is too many. Civilian suffering should not be used to achieve political objectives. That will only happen when there is no impunity anymore for war crimes. When the world stops funding endless wars for political votes, and when explicitly refuse to support those who inflict suffering on civilians for personal gain.

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