Following an agreement between Israel and Hamas, a new ceasefire has been set for August 11 in Gaza, and still accusations and anti-Semitism surge. Just prior to the ceasefire, set for another three days, rockets were fired at Israel and Israel responded with an airstrike.
Over the past month, nearly 2,000 people have died in the conflict. At least 90 percent of these are unarmed Palestinian civilians. Airstrikes have been conducted towards the targets established by Hamas, which does so knowing that it is endangering its own civilians with its “human shield” program. Hamas’ strategy is to deliberately fire its missiles into Israel from places of residence, education, healthcare, refuge, and prayer for Palestinian citizens.
Hamas has accused Israel of racism when it identifies the “human shield” program by name. However, new evidence has surfaced that this program is, in fact, reality. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have discovered Hamas’ “urban warfare” manual.
The booklet clearly points to the desire by Hamas for destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure. The goal is to increase hatred for the IDF and support for Hamas militants. This finding would make Hamas’ actions against its own people subject to trial for war crimes.
Israel responds in defense to attacks by targeting the sources of the rockets and closing the tunnels that Hamas is digging within Israel’s borders. The IDF makes phone calls in advance of its attacks. However, the proportion of death and destruction within Gaza borders is overwhelming, and there is tremendous suffering, fear, and grief among the Palestinian people living in the region.
This is causing a wellspring of sympathy from the world for the chaos reigning within Gaza’s borders. Even Israel’s closest ally, the U.S., called the bombing of a U.N.-run school in Gaza “disgraceful.” Israel responded that its use of force was “proportional.”
However, for any who have seen images, it is hard to deny that the devastation is overwhelming and unequal. At the same time, Israel informs of the great care it takes to adhere to the laws of war, and to uphold its military to rules of conduct and morality.
Despite the current ceasefire in Gaza, accusations continue on both sides, and there has been a recent strong surge in anti-Semitism across Europe. Ongoing with military action is the potentially imminent admittance of Palestine into the International Criminal Court (ICC), the world’s permanent war crimes court in The Hague. If Palestine is admitted into the ICC, it could accuse Israel of war crimes against Palestinian citizens.
If that were to happen, the court could take a retrospective back to 2002, when the court established the possibility of trying individuals for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. What is at question are the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, captured during the 1967 Middle East war.
The fear for Jews in Israel is that, while there is a ceasefire currently in Gaza, the continued accusations lead to anti-Semitism in Europe. This provides additional fuel for the threat to Israel’s very existence. The fear for Palestinians living in Gaza is based on the daily reality of threats of airstrikes that may hit their homes. Both sides have much at stake and the world is watching to see the results of this latest ceasefire.
Opinion by Fern Remedi-Brown
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