by Teo Kueh Liang
I refer to the Straits Times’ editorial, ‘Gaza Protests Risk Getting Radicalised‘ (9 Nov).
Since 7 October, Israel has waged a bombing campaign to destroy the enclave’s Hamas rulers. This Israel-Hamas war has lasted for about five weeks, and the following situations are indeed exacerbating and worrisome:
The Israeli army has intensified its retaliatory bombardments of the Gaza Strip, targeting schools (for example, the al-Fakhoora school run by the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in the Jabalia refugee camp, and the Osama bin Zaid school), mosques, and 18 out of a total of 35 hospitals (e.g., Al-Shifa, al-Nasser Children’s Hospital, Rumah Sakit Indonesia, al-Wafa Hospital).
These tragic military actions have killed at least 11,000 Palestinian civilians, including 4,500 innocent children, over two thousand women, and more than fifty UN medical staff. The number of deaths and casualties among Palestinian civilians will likely rapidly increase in subsequent Israeli military operations.
Israeli airstrikes have severely damaged the health system in the Gaza Strip and destroyed the hope of survival for all Palestinian casualties.
Israeli authorities have repeatedly obstructed UN humanitarian relief efforts. These include delaying the opening of more humanitarian corridors and allowing more assistance to enter the Gaza Strip (such as water, food, medical care facilities/equipment, medicines, and power supply).
In the latest news, Israel has formalized daily humanitarian pauses in Gaza, the first since the war’s outbreak. However, a permanent ceasefire, repeatedly urged by the UN and the international community, is still not in sight.
Around 250 hostages abducted by Hamas militants since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war remain a key concern for the families of these hostages.
Hamas is a Palestinian militant group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007. What disturbs and annoys Israel is that Hamas is sworn to Israel’s destruction and aims to replace it with an Islamic state.
Even if Hamas is ‘totally eradicated’ by Israeli forces within a foreseeable timeframe, it will still be viewed as an ideological organization. Another group similar to Hamas could likely be ‘replicated and revived or resurrected’ in the future, possibly because many Palestinians have been displaced and brutally treated by Israel’s deadly attacks.
When this occurs, it will create nightmares for Israel and the international community as a whole.
The only way to ensure permanent peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine is to follow the suggestions of countries such as China and the consensus of the United Nations to promote talks and cooperation and realize the goal of the two-state solution at an early date.
In conclusion, for the long-term prospects of peace and the benefit of the people of Israel, Palestine, and the Middle Eastern countries, the authority of Israel needs to consider and work towards this two-state solution seriously.