There need not be any shred of doubt to compare Benjamin Netanyahu Prime Minister of Israel and President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka as their hands are bloodied with the blood of their victims, innocent women, children, infants, young and old alike.
Their total disregard, disrespect and defiance of all international norms of conduct, humanism and United Nations conventions, human rights, laws relating to war is shocking and disgraceful to the World community at large.
Israel is a state created in 1948 by the UN for the Jews who were made refugees during the second World War. Palestinians who were also inhabiting the present Israel were displaced but allowed to function as a State in the partitioned lands adjacent to Israel. The Palestinians and the Arab countries rejected this UN Plan and vowed to liberate Palestine form Israel and also refused to recognize Israel as an Independent State. Since then Arabs and Palestinians waged wars against Israel and lost while Israel annexed the West Bank and Gaza territories, even the Sinai peninsula belonging to Egypt during the 1967 war. However, various peace talks and conferences between the parties in conflict under UN and US mediation led to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from West Bank, Sinai and Gaza while controlling the security and allowing the Palestinians to administer the territories
However Palestinians have not jet got an independent Sovereign State. Israel is also still not recognized by some Arab States. Elections in Gaza strip in 2007 brought Hamas an extreme militant group to administer the Gaza territory which has a population of 1.7 million. Hamas still believes in violent struggle against Israel and does not accept Israel as a State. It’s goal is to liberate the whole occupied lands from Israel’s control and even the present Israeli territory. Hamas is not an ally of P.L.O or the Fatah movement founded by Yasser Arafat. Hamas does not get along well with the P.L.O leadership ruling in West Bank under Abbas, though efforts are being made to form a unified front between Hamas and P.L.O’s Abbas. Hamas is considered as terrorist organization believing in violence to achieve their goal of an Independent Palestinian State. As such International Community has almost isolated it and does not extend political or economical support and assistance to their administration in Gaza Strip. Israel is maintaining a Naval blockade virtually cutting off all supplies, exports or imports helped by Egypt which has also closed its borders with Gaza to prevent arms smuggling and infiltration by Hamas militants.
In effect Gaza is under a siege deprived of economic or political contacts with outside World. The present conflict started with the killing of three Israeli students in West Bank by Palestinians. This provided Israel with a chance to decimate the Hamas. Hamas is fighting the Israel with rockets targeting Israeli villages in the border even inside Israeli areas like airport etc. This has resulted in occasional Civilian casualties and damage to Israeli houses and properties. Besides Hamas has built a network of underground tunnels reaching Israeli border posts. Hamas militants use these tunnels to launch surprise attacks on Israeli border posts killing soldiers and sometimes civilians. For Israel one death of an Israeli civilian or soldier is compensated and valued with more than one hundred deaths of opponent lives. Viewing this scenario, Sri Lankan and Israeli’s actions against civilians and properties are no different from each other.
Both Sri Lanka and Israel have indulged in indiscriminate, reckless and deliberate killings of innocent civilians, women, children. Both have targeted schools, UN Offices, Refugee Centers where hundreds of civilians have sought safety from artillery shells. In this respect Sri Lanka outclassed by killing the Tamil Civilians by luring them into their territories promising security and safety. More than 70,000 Tamil Civilians perished in the so called ‘No Fire and Security Zones’ in April and May 2009. Both Israel and Sri Lanka denied basic Humanitarian needs – food, water, electricity and medicine to the helpless civilians. While U.S.A backs and assists Israel in this inhuman war, India assisted Sri Lanka and also encouraged Sri Lanka to finish the LTTE, never bothering about the innocents trapped in the war.
Israel has contemptuously disregarded the Un Security Council resolutions which also failed to follow up with enforcement measures like sanctions against Israel. Hamas like the LTTE is branded as a terrorist organization whose aim is to liberate the Israeli occupied territories and establish an Independent Sovereign State. In this struggle the Conservative Arab Kings, Sheiks and other Muslim rulers are shunning and not extending any support for the Hamas, fearing risks for their own dictatorial rules excepting Qatar and Turkey. Both Sri Lanka and Israel have committed war crimes and crime against humanity qualifying to face criminal trials before International Criminal Court. It is a long process but it is hoped Justice and truth will triumph while the guilty are made accountable for their crimes.
Rajapaksas, as expected are supporting Israel on the advice of de facto President Gothabaya. Muslims and Arabs plagued by divisions, hostilities propelled by selfish interests to ensure their own survivals and safeguard their rules and power are only weakening their voices and strength in the world forum allowing Israel to continue the slaughter in Gaza Strip and sustaining its dominance over Arabs.
While Sri Lankan Governments have followed the genocidal agenda against the Tamils since 1958, Israel is intent to wipe out any Arab opposition emanating from any Arab Government, Militant Groups or otherwise adopting the tactics of end justifies the means ‘whether legal illegal’.
*M.K. Eelaventhan – Former Member of Parliament – Sri Lanka and Member of Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam Representing Canada