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Shocking silence

Nov 19, 2012, 22:47 IST

Israels assault on Gaza is illegitimate.

Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza is unconscionable. Its justification for the shelling is that Hamas has been firing rockets into Israel. Tel Aviv claims that its current military operations are aimed at ‘taking out’ buildings owned by Hamas militants, their weapons storage facilities. It killed more than 90 people on Monday. Israel is being parsimonious with the truth. Many of those killed in the Israeli bombardment are Palestinian civilians. At least nine children were killed in one attack, a mother and her four children were killed in another. And these are just two of the dozens of horror stories involving massacre of civilians that are coming out of Gaza over the past week. Its argument that Hamas is a legitimate target as it is a ‘terrorist’ group is shallow as Hamas is a political party that was voted to power by the Gazans. Thus Israel’s assault on Gaza is an illegitimate and brutal operation. Its pulverizing of Gaza and its people is aimed at punishing them for electing Hamas and terrorising them into silence and total submission.

Israel is contemplating expanding the operation. This could mean the use of ground troops and an all-out invasion of Gaza. Although the scale of the fighting so far indicates that the military capacity of the Israeli security forces as well as the Palestinian militants has grown significantly since Israel’s invasion of Gaza four years ago, there is no doubt that as in previous Israeli invasions, this is a one-sided war.The US has said it is “fully supportive” of Israel’s action, describing it as a “right to self-defence”. This will further embolden Israel. As reprehensible is the neutral stance of the pro-US, authoritarian Arab monarchies as they have not condemned Tel Aviv’s excessive use of force. India has called for de-escalation in the violence and for talks.

However, it too has taken a neutral position in the war, failing to condemn Israel’s brutal assault. The MEA statement on the fighting is bland and cowardly. Reluctant to irk the Israelis and put in jeopardy the enormous defence co-operation with the Israelis, India has chosen an opportunistic approach. However, by abandoning principles Delhi has undermined its international stature and failed the Indian people. It has denied itself a role in resolving the crisis by becoming a pathetic camp follower of the US and
Israel.

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