By: Ali Fatty, student at Ahmadiyya International University of Theology and Scholastic Sciences Ghana
We have witnessed the distressing escalation of one of the world’s longest-standing conflicts between Palestine and Israel, leading to an unprecedented tragic series of civilian deaths both in Israel and now, to a larger extent, in Palestine.
It is understandable that the recent attack of Hamas must be rejected and condemned but it would be unjust to believe the injustice in this conflict started from Hamas’ attack. Israel has been persecuting Palestinians for decades in plain sight. World leaders know this, yet they choose to ignore the relentless occupation and control of Gaza by Israeli forces. As a result, sympathy for Palestinians amongst world leaders is a rarity, instead, they choose to fan the flames of war and destruction.
An Israeli lawmaker Ofer Cassif, speaks on the unjust occupation of Palestine by Israel:
“The Israeli government, which is a fascist government, supports, encourages, and leads pogroms against the Palestinians. There is an ethnic cleansing going on. It was obvious the writing was on the wall, written in the blood of the Palestinians – and unfortunately now Israelis as well,” (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/10/8/israeli-lawmaker-blames-pogroms-against-palestinians-for-terrible-attacks)
Are Palestinians to be blamed?
Since the start of the war, the Israeli leaders unfortunately have been constantly hellbent on pointing fingers that all the Palestinians are to be blamed in justification for their bombardment of innocent civilians in Palestine.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement:
“Our enemy will pay a price the type of which it has never known,” (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/10/15/palestinian-american-boy-stabbed-to-death-in-gaza-war-related-killing-in-us)
However, Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK told the BBC that Hamas is not a Palestine government. The Ambassador said:
“Hamas is a militant group, you are talking to a Palestinian representative – and our policy is very clear. This is not about support or not support (Hamas). I am here to represent the Palestinian people, and what they are going through.”
“Hamas is not the Palestine government. The Israeli government is giving orders to its organised army. Don’t throw any symmetry here. Don’t equate the occupied and occupier. This doesn’t serve justice.” (https://www.businesstoday.in/latest/world/story/hamas-is-not-palestinian-diplomat-confronts-bbc-journalist-over-do-you-condemn-attack-on-israel-question-401455-2023-10-10)
Global leaders double standard proliferating war
Regrettably, high-profile leaders occupying high positions in global multilateral governmental institutions, that are expected to be the preachers of peace and building bridges of reconciliation between the two parties are instead busy forming allies and making reckless comments that are proliferating the intensity of the war and persecution against Palestinians.
Even though the Palestinian authorities have disassociated themselves from the Hamas Militant group, Western leaders and media chooses to ignore the hard fact but continue to push the narrative that Israel is defending itself.
For example, the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the United States in a joint statement condemned Hamas’s attacks, calling them “acts of terrorism” that had “no justification.” The statement reads: “Our countries will support Israel in its efforts to defend itself and its people against such atrocities,” (www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/10/10/israel-Hamas-war-global-reaction/)
Since when did carpet bombing civilians and cutting essential human supplies to them become “defence”?
The UK government has also expressed its plan to deploy its Royal Navy ship to support Israel in the war against Hamas. (www.bbc.com/news/uk-67095846)
Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said “Israel has an absolute right to defend itself,” (https://twitter.com/RishiSunak/status/1710583360756625872)
According to the Israeli authorities, an aircraft with highly advanced ammunition deployed by the United States government has landed at Nevatim airbase in southern Israel. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/liveblog/2023/10/10/israel-hamas-war-live-appeals-for-safe-corridor-gaza-toll-goes-past-700)
The President of France Immanuel Macron said on X:
“France stands in solidarity with Israel and the Israelis, committed to their security and their right to defend themselves.” (https://twitter.com/EmmanuelMacron/status/1710642794509787518)
The Chancelor of Germany Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz said:
“Israel has every right to defend and to protect itself and its citizens.” (https://twitter.com/Bundeskanzler/status/1711452547561431248)
The US continues to supply munitions and other military aid to Israel amidst the latest developments. The President of the United of America, Joe Biden said:
“Over the coming days, the Department of Defense will work to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself and protect civilians from indiscriminate violence and terrorism.” (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/10/7/we-are-at-war-reactions-to-palestinian-hamas-surprise-attack-in-israel)
Social media influencers, the likes of Jordan Peterson with staggering followers also chooses to take a side in supporting Israel to create hell on earth for Palestinians, he wrote on X whilst tagging the prime minister of Israel:
“Give ‘em hell @netanyahu enough is enough” (https://twitter.com/jordanbpeterson/status/1710622315816337454?)
The president of the European Union, Ursula von der Leyen also reiterated the same message of support for Israel. She wrote on X “I unequivocally condemn the attack carried out by Hamas terrorists against Israel. It is terrorism in its most despicable form. Israel has the right to defend itself against such heinous attacks.” (https://twitter.com/vonderleyen/status/1710568998197178680)
Israel Minister of energy Israel Katz wrote on social media that no “electrical switch will be turned on, no water hydrant will be opened and no fuel truck will enter” (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/oct/12/no-power-water-or-fuel-to-gaza-until-hostages-freed-says-israeli-minister)
Facts disproves Israel’s self-defence propaganda
Ironically, most of these leaders condemned Russia for cutting off power to Ukraine, labelling it a war crime, yet did not have the moral backbone to condemn Israel for cutting off water, food, electricity and fuel to innocent civilians in Gaza.
The dire and catastrophic results of the Israeli authorities shelling and killings of innocent Palestinians due to the support and endorsement from world leaders is very terrible and only worth to be called the right name it deserves ‘genocidal crimes.’
Political pundits and analyst lament that these leaders are blindly following Israel’s acts of terror on the so-called pretext of self-defensive, yet what is seen in these days is the frequent bombardment of Israel on Palestine.
According to the UNICEF spokeswoman Sara Al Hattab at least more than 700 children have been killed by the Israel shelling on Palestine.
“According to the latest reports by local health authorities and media, at least 2,215 Palestinians were reportedly killed, including over 700 children, and more than 8,714 people wounded, including more than 2,450 children,” (https://edition.cnn.com/middleeast/live-news/israel-news-hamas-war-10-14-23/h_8dea4914b4178c1507b3dabb55c51d33)
Yesterday Monday evening, the Palestinian authorities reported that at least more than 500 people were killed by Israel air raid on al-Ahali Arab Hospital in Gaza. (https://news.sky.com/story/israel-hamas-war-at-least-500-people-killed-in-hospital-bombing-in-gaza-palestinian-officials-claim-12986454)
The African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat condemned the Monday attack of Israel on Palestinian hospital and further referred to the attack as act of “War crime”. He said:
“There are no words to fully express our condemnation of Israel’s bombing of a #Gaza hospital today, killing hundreds of people. Targeting a hospital, considered a safe haven under International Humanitarian Law, is a war crime. The International Community must act now”. (https://twitter.com/AUC_MoussaFaki/status/1714383757371670743?t=KN0BT1Eo3CwGefmA10r5Jw&s=19)
UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian Territory, Francesca Albanese, has warned that Israel is carrying out ethnic cleansing in the name of self-defence.
“Israel has already carried out mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians under the fog of war. “Again, in the name of self-defence, Israel is seeking to justify what would amount to ethnic cleansing.” (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/ethnic-cleansing-israel-gaza-palestine-un-b2430296.html)
Social media dissent
Recently, X has been flooded with a barrage of protest tweets from users who accuse Western leaders of showing blatant double standards in the conflict. They express their discontent over the unequal levels of support offered to Israel and Palestine.
Irish lawmaker Richard Boyd Barrett took to X expressing shock at the double standards of Western leaders. He said:
“Palestinians hostage in criminal siege of Gaza for 17 yrs. Since 1948 Palestinians victims of ethnic cleansing, murderous occupation & apartheid. They have every right to resist. Shocking double standards of western leaders supporting Ukraine resistance but condemning Palestinian.”
Many users on social media have voiced that diplomats and the media have expressed support to Ukraine for defending itself and condemned Russia for its invasion. However, many commentators argue that the same cannot be said with Israel’s annexation of Gaza and the West Bank.
Aaron Bastani, a British journalist, said:
“There’s clear double standard in endorsing terrorism against civilian targets by Ukraine (which one can obviously argue is justified – they face occupation) & condemning it by Palestinians. Those fighting our enemies = war of liberation Those fighting our allies = terrorism” (https://twitter.com/AaronBastani/status/1710602978124546312?)
Agnes Callamard, Amnesty’s secretary-general, told Al Jazeera
“Without making any comparison between Russia’s aggression and Israel […] it is clear the Palestinian people are under a regime of oppression. A regime of occupation and a regime of apartheid,”(www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/28/ukraine-war-excerbated-human-rights-double-standards-amnesty)
Calls for ceasefire and peace talks should be top priority
Nevertheless, other leaders also commented that peace talks should be the priority at the moment, rather than leaders of countries supporting aggression for one country.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told TASS on 7 October while calling for ceasefire as the conflict spiral that:
“This is a relapse of a 75-year-old conflict. Moscow is in contact with all parties, including the Arab states. We call for an immediate ceasefire and peace,”
“We urge to immediately start a peace process on the basis of existing internationally recognized agreements. UN Security Council decisions have not been implemented, the work of the Middle East Quartet has been hampered, talks have not been held, and this is the result,” (https://new.thecradle.co/articles/russia-china-call-for-hamas-israel-ceasefire-peace-talks)
The government of China has also urged both parties to engage in peace talks. “We call on relevant parties to remain calm, exercise restraint and immediately end the hostilities to protect civilians and avoid further deterioration of the situation,” (ibid)
The recent press release of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the compendium of everything in addressing both parties to hold a ceasefire for the safety of the civilian population. Its reads:
“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community extends its deepest sympathies and prayers to all those who have been left bereaved or affected in any way. Our hearts go out to them all.
We pray and urge for an immediate end to hostilities and for peace to prevail so that no more lives are lost. For that, it is necessary that the channels of communication between relevant parties and nations remain open.
Until a ceasefire occurs, any military action taken must ensure that civilians do not come to any harm.” (www.pressahmadiyya.com/press-releases/2023/10/statement-of-the-ahmadiyya-muslim-community-on-recent-escalations-in-the-israeli-and-palestinian-conflict/)
His Holiness the worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad V, for more than a decade, has urged Muslims to put aside their differences and unite, which is necessary for the protection and safety of Muslims around the world. In his Friday Sermon after the war broke out, he noted:
“[…] at least the Muslim nations should pay heed and erase their own disagreements in order to establish unity. If Muslims have been told in the Quran to improve relations with the People of the Book, then Muslims, who share the same kalima, why can they not place their problems aside and come together. This is the only way to rid the world of the disorder we see today. Then, as one, they must raise a voice against those who are oppressed.
“If there is unity, there will be power in the voice that is raised. Otherwise, these Muslim nations will be responsible for the loss of innocent lives. We should keep the teaching of the Holy Prophetsa in front of us, to aid both the oppressed and the oppressor (by stopping them from oppression).” (www.alhakam.org/palestine-israel-gaza-peace/)