BEIRUT

Editorial

Murder with impunity

Israeli army flares illuminate the sky above the Gaza strip on July 18, 2014. At least three people, including two children aged four and seven, were killed by Israeli tank fire in Gaza, medics said. AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS

Israel has been successful at portraying its actions in the Gaza strip as a war against the Hamas movement; the simple fact is that it is a war against Palestinians.

The Israelis have expended considerable effort, as they always do, in generating a wall of propaganda about their actions, aided in large part by media outlets and supporters around the world.

The world’s politicians will get nowhere if they approach the violence as a case of Israel versus Hamas, since it is clearly – based on the depressing figures – a war in which the overwhelming majority of victims are unarmed Palestinian civilians. They are men, women, children and elderly who have nothing to do with Hamas; their only concern under the stifling siege of Gaza is making it to tomorrow.

Meanwhile, countries such as Syria, Qatar and Turkey, are busy politicizing the conflict, putting their own spin on the hostilities in a way that serves their interests, and not those of the victims.

But a minority of voices are deflecting the spin control efforts and describing the situation as it really is. Israel has long complained that the Palestinians are divided politically between Hamas and Fatah, and there is no “partner for peace.” When the two sides recently hammered out a unity government plan, Israeli leaders were aghast, and it didn’t take long for a violent response to emerge, in what people are seeing today: an all-out offensive against Palestinian civilians, to push back a durable solution to the conflict by months, or years, or possibly decades.

The international community will be wasting its time if it treats what is going on as a conflict between two sides. It is cold-blooded murder.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 19, 2014, on page 7.

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Summary

Israel has been successful at portraying its actions in the Gaza strip as a war against the Hamas movement; the simple fact is that it is a war against Palestinians.

The Israelis have expended considerable effort, as they always do, in generating a wall of propaganda about their actions, aided in large part by media outlets and supporters around the world.

The world's politicians will get nowhere if they approach the violence as a case of Israel versus Hamas, since it is clearly – based on the depressing figures – a war in which the overwhelming majority of victims are unarmed Palestinian civilians.


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