Special report by Israel Defence forces (IDF) on Operation Protective Edge, for details logon to: http://www.idfblog.com/operationgaza2014/#Shujaiya
On July 8, 2014, the IDF initiated Operation Protective Edge in Gaza strip, following persistent rocket attacks by Hamas. Besides rocket attacks, Hamas also adopted tactics of infiltration inside Israel through vast underground tunnel network in Gaza to ambush civilians and IDF soldiers. Eliminating these threats was a primary objective of Operation Protective Edge. During this operation, the IDF found that Hamas fires rockets, hides weapons, digs tunnels, and operates from residential areas in Gaza and had turned the Gaza Strip into a fortress for terror activity. Hamas has deliberately put its population and infrastructure in Gaza in danger, by exploiting them as human shields for its terrorist activity.
World’s reaction to this operation has been evidently divided. US and Canada supported Israel and were critical of Hamas, Muslim world condemned and denounced Israel for its repressive and vengeful policies, EU strongly condemned the indiscriminate rockets attacks by Hamas while recognizing Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself, but underlined that the Israeli response must be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law. Russia supported Israel but urged it to stop the operation, and offered to facilitate reconciliation between Palestine and Israel. The BRICS countries called for restraint on both sides and to return to peace talks based on the Arab Peace Initiative. India expressed concern on the violence, called both sides to exercise maximum restraint and urged them to resume direct talks, which could effectively address the issues. Pakistan blamed Israel and urged that world must stop Israel from this naked and brutal aggression. The Security Council called for de-escalation, restoration of the 2012 ceasefire, respect for international law, and resumption of direct negotiations between both parties. The United Nations Human Rights Council announced a panel to investigate the accusations of war crimes by both sides. Major human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also condemned the violations by both sides and called for an arms embargo on the region.
It is a tragedy, caused by an unprovoked Hamas missile/rocket attacks on Israel, and Israeli reactions in self-defence; while media, academia and politicians have been critical about the quantum of the force used by Israel. One is disappointed at the lack of significant international intervention to Israeli assault which has left behind massive destruction in the Gaza Strip. The inability / unwillingness of world community to act logically, seems to be an acceptance of the Israeli narrative which further argumentation the crisis in Gaza.
For a better understanding of the issue and its resolution; besides historical view, an analytical approach to connect between Israel’s immunity and the horrifying developments elsewhere in the world is also required. The dehumanisation in Iraq and Syria by ISIS, by Hamas in Israel and by Israel in Gaza; is widespread and terrifying. But there is one crucial difference between these: ISIS has been condemned as barbarous and inhuman worldwide and airstrikes launched against it, Hamas is targeted as terrorist, while Israeli actions have been publicly accepted by Israel’s friends.
ISIS, Hamas or Israel; who is committing atrocities on subjugated minorities and helpless communities, should all be judged by the same moral and ethical standards. They all need to be considered as war criminals and their religious identity should not matter. Whether they call themselves jihadists, Arabs, Judaists or Zionists, they should all be treated in the same way.