Gazan children: Victims of global geopolitics

Seema Sengupta

India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is a prolific tweeter and hardly misses any opportunity to convey her sentiments eloquently on various issues. Did she have the opportunity to browse through Farah Baker’s twitter account? The 16-year-old Farah, who lives in the heart of a tormented Gaza city, has documented the agony that she and her six years old sister endured due to Israel’s no-holds-barred onslaught on the Palestinian territory. Standing beside US Secretary of State John Kerry, Swaraj obliquely reiterated India’s support for Israel’s violent attacks on the Gaza Strip during a joint press conference in New Delhi held after the 5th Indo-US strategic dialogue.
True, any sovereign nation has the right to protect itself from external aggression. But does this right to security justify indiscriminate targeting of civilian lives and properties? Would Swaraj advocate a similar military strategy for Kashmir?
The fact of the matter is that any response to non-conventional asymmetric warfare, that Israel is confronting, must be measured and judicious. Clearly, by ordering the carpet bombing of civilian areas, the military strategists in Tel Aviv have displayed their deficiencies in no uncertain ways.
Undoubtedly, Israel has no effective political counter-vision to neutralize the guerilla strategy employed by Hamas. In fact, Tel Aviv never had a far-sighted strategic outlook as the beginning of armed insurgency in Gaza is in itself a result of Israeli myopia. Can Israel ever deny that the decision to pamper fundamentalist forces in Gaza, for countering the liberal Palestinian leadership, after defeating Egypt in 1967 was their biggest strategic blunder?
It also seems that the Israeli Special Forces are incapable of handling shadow warfare or else these mobile commandos would have been aggressively used to locate, pursue and fix armed rebels instead of indiscriminately shelling congested residential areas. Do the Israeli Generals not know that in counter-insurgency context, ‘boots on the ground strategy” far outweigh technological prowess?
Most importantly, an effective counter-insurgency regime will unfailingly exercise restraint without compromising national sovereignty. As rightly pointed out by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, nothing could be more beastly and shameful than attacking sleeping children. It seems targeting of UN schools, sheltering hapless and completely unarmed Palestinian families, perfectly fit into the definition of an Israeli soldier’s “act of valor.”
Ironically, the State of Israel was created to provide a safe haven to those who wanted to practice their religion free from any persecution. But, the saddest part of the story is now the same people are persecuting innocent Palestinians in the name of protecting their independence. So much is the intensity of vengeful Israeli fury that young Farah and her sister cannot even complete their meal without a bomb dropping nearby and shattering the window panes.
Like the Jewish holocaust victim Anne Frank’s World War II diary, hopefully the grim testimony in Farah’s twitter handle will arouse the sleeping conscience of the world leaders who have done precious little to prevent an endless oppression of Palestinian people.
How can a civilized society leave a 16 years old survivor of Israel’s mindless massacre to her fate, contemplating about her mortality every passing second? Since, Egypt’s neutrality as an arbiter is questioned by many and India is reluctant to utilize the good office of veteran soldier JFR Jacob to broker a lasting solution in Palestine, perhaps it is time that the nonagenarian General himself take up the responsibility of taming his Israeli disciples.
After all, he is the brightest of the “Lions of Judah” — the Jewish military heroes. Surely a proud and upright Jack Jacob, as he is popularly known in the military circle, would no longer relish the sight of his uniform hanging in a military museum in Latrun especially after the Israeli military displayed sadistic pleasure in tormenting innocent Palestinian children.
Many believe the real motive behind Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza Strip is also linked to the tussle over the marine-gas fields off the Gaza coastline with a reserve of 1.4 trillion cubic foot, the market value of which is pegged at $4 billion. But whatever the reasons for this madness, there is no denying that the children are the worst sufferers. Neither party, unfortunately, have spared a thought for those 43 percent of the population in Gaza who are under the age of 12.
One Palestinian child has been killed every hour in Gaza during the conflict and approximately 70,000 forced to flee from their homes along with their families. As per UNICEF figures, 200,000 children are in dire need of immediate psychosocial support. Indeed, a huge number of young people got trapped in the crossfire of the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas as this unending conflict takes an adverse toll on them. And the impact of the devastating war is not just physical but psychological too which encompasses the Israeli children also. At least 92 percent of the young generation in Gaza has developed post-traumatic stress disorder, behavioral changes, anxiety and depression. Traumatized by the violence of war, Gazan children are either experiencing nightmares or suffering from insomnia as they relive the horrific memories repeatedly. Having witnessed the brutal killings of loved ones, many of them might take to drugs and even arms. So who takes the responsibility for this crisis? Palestine has for long been a roofless prison and a testing ground of high-destructive weaponry. A passive world at the end of the day is guilty of turning the hapless Palestinians into experimental guinea pigs of Israeli-American armaments industry.

Courtesy Arabnews


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