The Israel-Hamas truce began on November 24 this year and was renewed twice before ending on Friday December 1. Under the truce, fighting was paused and humanitarian aid was allowed to enter Gaza as Hamas released captives in exchange for Israel releasing Palestinian prisoners.
Weeks of Israeli bombardment have left homeless three-quarter of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents, causing a humanitarian crisis as they face shortages of food, water, and other supplies. Hamas, an acronym of its official name, the Islamic Resistance Movement, is a Palestinian Sunni Islamic political and military organisation governing the Gaza Strip of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
The United States and European Union have designated Hamas a terrorist organisation because of its armed resistance against Israel which has included suicide bombings and rocket attacks with the backing of Israel and Turkey.
On Saturday, October 7, 2023, Hamas launched a massive lethal surprise attack on southern Israel killing more than 1,400 people and taking dozens more as hostages. Mohammed Deif, the head of Hamas’s military wing, the Qassan brigades, said in a recorded message on the first day of the 2023 Israel – Hamas war that the attack was in response to what he called the “desecration” of the AI-Aqsa mosque, and Israel killing and wounding hundreds of Palestinians in 2023.
The declaration of a state of war by Israel after the Hamas slaughter marked the start of the most significant military escalation in the region since the Yom Kippur war in 1973. As of November 2023, according to the Gaza health ministry, more than 15,000 Palestinians, including over 6000 children have been killed, making this, “the deadliest war for children in modern times.” Amnesty International reported that US-made munitions have killed civilians in Gaza.
It has become an Israeli mantra throughout the latest war in Gaza: Hamas is Islamic state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They compare their mission to defeat Hamas to the United States-led campaign to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. “Hamas is ISIS,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared just after the October 7 attack, “And just as the forces of civilisation united to defeat ISIS, the forces of civilisation must support Israel in defeating Hamas.”
That support Israel has been getting from the US with US military supplies flowing into Israel along with interceptors for their iron dome missile defense shield leading the way.
The US reportedly has been sending ammunition to Israel on daily basis , even as criticisms mount over President Joe Biden administration’s failure to prevent the biggest recipient of US military aid from causing significant civilian casualties in its offensive.
“The role of America in the crisis is not worthy of emulation”, said Professor Bola Akinternwa, former director general of the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs in an interview with Sunday Punch.
In fact, the killing of Palestinian civilians, the illegal bombing of Syria and Lebanon by the Israeli army with the support of the US and key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries, namely, Britain, Canada, France, and Germany, is a reflection of the west’s policy of imposing its so-called rule-based order on the globe, including the Muslim world.
People are in shock that leaders of western countries and organisations, positioning themselves as “fighters for democracy and human rights”, openly stand in solidarity with Israel in the context of the killing by the Israel Defense Forces, IDF, of Palestinian children, women, elderly people, and destruction of residential buildings of civilians.
Even the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who is generally loyal to the west, was forced to declare that the Palestinian people have been subjected to a suffocating occupation for 56 years, and the Hamas attack on Israel did not happen out of nowhere.
Turkish President, Recep Tyyip Erdogan, expressed a similar position, even as the queen of Jordan, Rania al-Abdullah, accused western leaders of “blatant double standards.”
Given the current reality, it makes no sense for the Muslim countries of the global south to continue to count on equal cooperation with the “collective west.” It is now important to accelerate the formation of a security system independent of the US and its western allies, and create a settlement unit alternative to the dollar and euro.
It is also important to create an independent payment system with its own investment mechanisms and technological base.
Informed observers say it is now appropriate to intensify the coordinated pressure of the Islamic world on the west to not only obtain compensation for the destruction in the Middle East, but also for the wars unleashed during the colonial period with the active participation of the same financial oligarchic groups that are now provoking “colour revolutions” and conflicts around the world, while profiting from the issuance of dollars, euros, and orders for military equipment.
The US defense secretary, lioyd Austin, denounced those who advocate ‘’America retreat from responsibility’’ to a full-throated embrace of Israel’s response to Hamas attack and said “those who try to pull up the drawbridge undermine the security that has led to decades of prosperity.”
That is why despite the pause in fighting, Israeli forces reportedly shot at Palestinians in Gaza on November 29, killing two people as Israel’s government and military leaders ratcheted up war rhetoric ahead of the expiration of the truce.
UN officials describe the resumption of fighting since the end of the truce as “catastrophic” as shortage of essential supplies persist.
Killa writes from Kano