By Vishwamithra –
“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
All wars are evil. To paraphrase Leonard Wolf as he wrote in his celebrated novel ‘The Village in the Jungle’, no war has been more evil than the ones that had been fought between Jews and their adversaries, be it Arabs, Palestinians, Hamas or Hezbollah. In that long line of wars between Israel and her adversaries from ancient times until now, on October 7, 2023, the pristine image of Israel’s so-called ‘invincibility’ was shattered beyond recognition. And it happened under the watch of an Israeli warmonger named Benjamin Netanyahu.
More than a fortnight after Hamas terrorists rained thousands of rockets down on Israel and infiltrated the country by air, sea and land in an unmatched surprise attack, the region has gone beyond the brink of war — with fears of even wider conflict and thousands lay dead on both sides of the Israel-Gaza border.
The conflict was triggered by the aforementioned Oct. 7 surprise attack, which included thousands of armed Hamas fighters rupturing a border security fence and arbitrarily gunning down Israeli civilians and soldiers taken off guard. Other militants stormed beaches in Israel in motorboats and some brought death from the sky. Benjamin Netanyahu, the self-acclaimed strong man of Israel is literally under fire from his own domestic quarters. This ‘strong man’ seems to be the wrong man at the wrong place at the wrong time.
As per reports dated October 30, 2023, more than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, including children, and more than 4,500 people have been injured, Israeli officials said. At least 32 of those killed in Israel are Americans, according to the U.S. State Department. At least 9000 people have been killed in Gaza and more than 12,000 have been injured, according to the Palestinian Health Authority. The Israel Defense Forces said 203 people have been taken hostage by Hamas and it’s believed they are being held in Gaza. Now the numbers have gone up to 240. Living men, women and children; whether they are Jewish, American, Arabic and Palestinian or of any other origin, they all hail from one human family.
Israel has a long and storied history. From Biblical times, self-proclaimed as the ‘Chosen People’, the history of Jews has been painted as one with a most painstakingly and subliminally crafted tale of victimhood of man’s inhumanity to man. Scholars of Jewish story have penetrated deeply into the dead corridors of global libraries and found many an incredible story after another in order to put on a historic pedestal a very ordinarily born and bred community bonded together by a faith embedded in the Old Testament, the five Books of the Torah. Moses, the founder of Judaism is supposed to have written the ‘Torah’ given by ‘God’ into five books, namely, Genesis (Bereshit), Exodus (Shemot), Leviticus (Vayikra), Numbers (Bemidbar) and Deuteronomy (Devarim). These books contain all the commandments and ideas central to Judaism and Jewish thought. Jews regard these books as very ‘holy’.
Nevertheless, it is not my intention to explore the rights and wrongs or ‘credibles’ and the ‘incredibles’ of the contents of the Five Books. I would rather leave it to more erudite scholars. Yet one cannot refrain from exploring the events and post-event occurrences with each explosion of that which is lighting up the darkened skies over the Gaza region today. Adolf Hitler and his murderous Nazi henchmen sent nearly six million European Jews to the gas chambers. He called them sub-human; unspeakable atrocities were committed against the then Jewish men, women and children. Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau and Mauthausen were amongst the infamous death camps that were erected and run to military precision by the Nazis. There can be no denial of the gruesome torture and death brought unto an innocent population of the ‘Chosen People’. The attempted elimination of European Jewry was brought to a close and one of the most appalling chapters in human history came to an end. Yet contemplating on this sordid chapter in human history, as someone said, was ‘homage to the dead and a warning to the living’.
The Holocaust, Yad Vashem of Jerusalem, Israel says is thus: ‘The Holocaust was unprecedented genocide, total and systematic, perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, with the aim of annihilating the Jewish people. The primary motivation was the Nazis’ anti-Semitic racist ideology. Between 1933 and 1941, Nazi Germany pursued a policy that dispossessed the Jews of their rights and their property, followed by the branding and concentration of the Jewish population. This policy gained broad support in Germany and much of occupied Europe. In 1941, following the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis and their collaborators launched the systematic mass murder of the Jews. By 1945, nearly six million Jews had been murdered’.
In order to right that historical wrong, a permanent land for all Jews was founded amidst a vast and abjectly poor Arabs in the Middle-East. The promised land that was promised to Moses by their ‘God’, over the Jordan River, ultimately became the ‘Land of Israel’ providing shelter, prosperity and promise and of course of ‘milk and honey’. Rest of the world by attempting to ensure peace and coexistence between Arabs and Jews gave birth to another phase of chaos, endless enmity and perpetual conflict in the human tale.
The Jewish Holocaust occurred in the late nineteen thirties and early nineteen forties. With the end of the Second World War, the Jewish question was given an answer that all Jews could be comfortable with; they have their ‘historical land’; a solitary democracy amongst Arab dictatorships and authoritarian rules, Israel became, as some say, the fifty first state of the United States of America. Arabs, in the fifties and the sixties had an almost adolescent flirtation with the then Soviet Union. The cold war contributed to the false superiority of all Arabs. Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Hafez al Assad of Syria and King Hussein of Jordan were hallucinating about Pan Arab hegemony. Defeat in the ‘Six Day War’ in June 1967 put to rest those Arabic delusions.
Ever since the end of the Six Day War, Israel continued to build their reputation as one bordering on invincible. The victimhood image of Israel vanished and she became the perpetrator of many a skirmish and land-grabbing excursion. Palestinians who were occupying the ancient land of Palestine became virtual refugees on their own land. The Soviet Union dissolved itself; the chief spokesman for and on behalf of the Palestinian cause at international fora did not have time nor the resources to sustain a continuing campaign for the cause of the Palestinians. Surrounding Arab states chose to use and abuse the Palestinian cause to their own ends. A grave and fertile soil of hatred, distress, frustration and unsurpassed anger enveloped the Palestinian psyche. Firstly led by Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian freedom movement has disintegrated into a mindless phenomenon; yet crafty political leaders of Palestinian origin formed their own versions of Palestinian State. Hamas and Hezbollah are the direct harvest of this unholy reaping.
Suicide killers, aircraft hijackers and paid and voluntary protesters buttressed the movement which had no all-congruent battle plan. In a chaotic world of power politics, Palestinians became the perennial refugees of uncaring superpowers. Europe, Russia and China kept themselves outside the circle of the Arab cum Palestinian question. Apathy and snail-paced approaches to a burning issue whose roots run into Biblical times have not helped any party to this issue. Not Israel, not Palestine nor the United States of America.
In the midst of the current Israel-Hamas war, the great dilemma that is confronting America today is no knot that is easy to untangle. Two hundred and forty men, women and children have been kidnapped; they may be anywhere in the labyrinth of Gaza’s caves; a constant barrage of missiles and related gunfire from a well-armed and better-trained Israeli Army have left the Gaza strip as a disorderly land of destruction, distress and death. Netanyahu is not agreeing to a ceasefire. The Palestinian Authority maintains administrative control, and Israel maintains security control of Area B in the West Bank. Israel retains full security control of Area C and has designated most Area C land as either closed military zones or settlement zoning areas. Palestinians in Gaza have nowhere to go. In their own State, they have become the stateless!
There can be no moral equivalence between the Jewish Holocaust and the current plight of Palestinians. Yet how can one ignore the extreme hardships, unspeakable suffering and cruel Israeli apathy be condoned? The Jewish Holocaust was committed by Adolf Hitler, one of the cruelest, if not the cruelest, leaders of history. But that was more than seventy five years ago. The Holocaust that visited the Jewish people in the nineteen forties may have found a new and profane abode in the twenty first century. Palestinians, forsaken by their own leaders and barricaded within unseen barriers of Israel are confronted with an unkind dilemma. Do they listen to their own leaders or would they choose another way outside the proverbial box? In the midst of utter political buffoonery and insatiable arms race, a manifestation of a reverse Holocaust vicariously engineered by merchants of arms and weaponry is not an impossibility.
*The writer can be contacted at email@example.com