It’s been a month since war broke out in Israel-Gaza. In 33 days, 4,324 children have been killed in Gaza, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. That is an average of 131 children daily. In comparison, 8,000 children were killed in Afghanistan in 12 years (two a day) and 3,100 in Iraq in 14 years of war, according to various UN agencies. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called Gaza ‘a graveyard for children’.
When Hamas launched its brutal terrorist strike in Israel on October 7, it did not spare children, women, and old people. At least 1,400 Israelis were killed in the Hamas attack. Since then, Israel has bombed the Gaza Strip back to the stone age. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have refused to differentiate between civilians and Hamas activists. Among the buildings destroyed are hospitals, schools, and refugee camps. Over 10,500 Palestinians are dead so far.
Now, even those who buy Tel Aviv’s narrative that it is a victim of terrorism are beginning to ask questions of the magnitude and indiscriminate nature of its response. Across the world, including in Israel, there is opposition to the war: People in many world capitals have marched for Gaza. Yes, some of the marchers may frame the Hamas terrorist attack in the larger context of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian homeland, but that does not make them anti-Semites. In the next few days, the IDF may occupy the whole of Gaza, something that even Israel’s closest ally, the US, has discouraged. Where does Israel want to take this war? And how long should the world continue counting the dead? Nations, maps, and organisations disappear, but memories haunt the living. It’s time Tel Aviv agreed to a ceasefire.s
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