We are all aware of the terrible toll of unarmed civilian casualties caused by the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) air strike on Gaza a few days ago. It demonstrates yet again the willingness of those who currently hold power in Israeli to sabotage the chances of a lasting and durable peace with the Palestinian people. There is no other way to describe these air strikes other than as acts of gross state terrorism. Bombing unarmed civilians from the skies, including children is not a solution or an answer to terrorism. It is terrorism.
Of course, Hamas, (which controls the West Bank, and whose origins lie in the cultivation by Israel of an ‘Islamist Opposition’ within the Palestinian ranks in the eighties and earlier ) with its own obduracy has contributed to the ‘blowback’ that holds the peace process in Israel-Palestine hostage to a never ending cycle of competitive retribution.
Militant Zionists, Fundamentalist Islamists and inflexible Palestinian Nationalists have a joint vested interest in the perpetuation of conflict in a manner that should come as no surprise to those familiar with the faultlines and destinies of identity-based conflicts in South Asia.
There are of course, a few stray voices in the Indian ‘blogsphere’ who are already calling for ‘India to Emulate Israel’. Some of them, such as this one, come from Dr. S. Subramaniam, IPS (Retd.)
He says “..A country which did not have a geographical existence before 1948 is continuing to show the way on how to respond to terrorism…They strike at the terrorist bases wherever they are, ignoring standard international conventions and borders…India has to reassess its policy options and think of non traditional measures for tackling this menace.In this, we have a lot to learn from both Israel and USA.”
Dr. Subramaniam has had the distinction of being the former DG of NSG (National Security Guards) CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) and Founder of SPG (Special Protection Group). So he is not exactly an audolescent Hindutva shadow warrior on testosterone who admires a bit of Israeli state muscle flexing (and there are lots of those). He is a former senior ranking officer who has held posts of great responsibility in the security establishment in India. I sincerely hope that his views represent the opinions of an isolated fringe that has no current influence in the corridors of power.
However, especially at times like this, it becomes important to complicate the picture. Just as few Indians and Pakistanis (or so I hope) other than some hyperventilating television anchors and isolated armchair warriors within and without the military-intelligence complexes in India and Pakistan have been recently rooting for war, so too, there is a substantial component within the spectrum of Israeli public opinion and civil society that is outraged (and justly so) by the IDF’s disproportionate and lethal show of force in Gaza.
And just as many of those in India and Pakistan who are committed to combatting war hysteria and the hardening of postures have been condemned as ‘traitors’ by their jingoist peers. So too, many in Israel today are willing to stand up and be called ‘traitors’ because they condemn events like the attacks on Gaza. I think this kind of action that runs the risk of being called ‘treason’ are worthy of being honoured. Right now, I am rooting for all those who are being called, or run the risk of being called ‘traitors’ for opposing militarist options in India, Pakistan, Israel and Palestine by their respective ‘uber-patriotic’ peers.
Please find below, two links to reports and reflections on protests, in Israel, by Israeli people, against the Israeli state’s assault on Gaza. May their tribe increase. Characteristically, these have been reported far less in the international media in comparison to the protests across the Arab and Islamic world.
1. Hundreds of activists in Tel Aviv protest IAF strike in Gaza
By Ofri Ilani, Haaretz Correspondent
2. Onslaught on Gaza – protest on Day 1, in Tel-Aviv
Report by Adam Keller for The Other Israel, December-2008–January-2009 issue