Recurring nightmare

Smoke and a ball of fire rises after an Israeli missile strike in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

As Israel appears wont to do every couple of years, it is bombarding the Gaza Strip, sentencing a population already under siege to brutal collective punishment.

And until the international community makes some decisions unpopular with Israel, attacks will only continue for years to come, likely increasing each time.

With 40,000 reservists now called up, and a ground offensive not being ruled out, this conflict, Operation Protective Edge – following Operation Cast Lead in 2008, a deadly attack on a Gaza bound flotilla in 2010, and Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 – doesn’t look to be dying down soon.

And while the June kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers is ostensibly the reason behind this current operation, Israel will find its own catalysts when it wants to. Underlying tension is always there, thanks to the horrific conditions in Gaza, one of the most densely populated places on earth, and the ongoing hypocrisy of the international community, and the pervasive nonchalance of neighboring Arab states, currently all preoccupied with their own domestic problems.

The Arab League has called for an urgent U.N. Security Council meeting on the crisis, but this is an attempt to divert attention from its own impotence. And the last thing Gaza, and all of Palestine, needs is more toothless resolutions and statements. After 60 years of such meaningless words, Palestine deserves action from those countries which helped create Israel.

For unless Israel’s patrons face up to some uncomfortable truths about the Jewish state, these recurring humanitarian crises are not going away. The reality on the ground might be a humanitarian nightmare, but it requires a political response.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 09, 2014, on page 7.




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