The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has finally stated the obvious on Tuesday 24 October that, “It is important to also recognise the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing. But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
Hamas have said that the attack was driven by what it called escalated Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem and against Palestinians in Israeli prisons as well as the desecration of Muslim holy places in the West Banks, in particular Masjid Al-Aqsa.
Its spokespersons contend that while Palestinians are made to live under brutal military occupation in West Bank and and under siege in an open-air prison in Gaza, Israeli settlers live in leafy suburban settlements armed to the teeth, enjoying life and partying under the protection of Israeli military and police.
Hamas disputes Israel to be a legitimate nation state, rather a racist and apartheid state with discriminatory laws incorporated to promote the settlement of foreign jews while denying indigenous people of Palestine to live peacefully on their own ancestral land.
It believes in its right to defend Palestinians, resist foreign occupation and colonisation of their land in spite of great asymmetry of power where it is pitted against the Israeli military machine, the strongest in Middle East backed by Wester countries with only inaccurate rockets against missiles, pick up trucks against tanks and gliders against fighter jets.
Meanwhile according to UN, almost 50% of all housing units in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged in Gaza by increasingly relentless Israeli attacks during the last three weeks with two third of the 2.3 millions of Gaza’s residents of the besieged tiny enclave rendered homeless while waiting in fear of the Israel ground assault anytime soon.
Critical of atrocities being committed currently by the Israeli military in Gaza, Mr Guterres said that even war has rules.
“We must demand that all parties uphold and respect their obligations under international humanitarian law; take constant care in the conduct of military operations to spare civilians; and respect and protect hospitals and respect the inviolability of UN facilities which today are sheltering more than 600,000 Palestinians.”
“The relentless bombardment of Gaza by Israeli forces, the level of civilian casualties, and the wholesale destruction of neighborhoods continue to mount and are deeply alarming.”
“Protecting civilians does not mean ordering more than one million people to evacuate to the south, where there is no shelter, no food, no water, no medicine and no fuel, and then continuing to bomb the south itself.”
I am deeply concerned about the clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza.
“Let me be clear: No party to an armed conflict is above international humanitarian law,” he concluded.