Israel’s missed chance to be human

THE US-backed Israeli military resumed bombing Gaza after the ceasefire agreement with Palestine resistance Hamas ended at 7am last Friday. 

The resumption of Israeli violence on a civilian population, continuing where it left off after two months of bombing on Gaza that has left more than 15,000 Palestinian men, women and children killed, was shocking but not surprising. 

It is not surprising because Israel has never been subtle about its intentions to depopulate Gaza and the West Bank of Palestinians, the better to build a beach resort and more apartments for Jews befitting a Jewish state promised by their God. 

The current Israeli aggression against Palestine was never about getting back Israeli hostages who were taken by Hamas in its well-planned and executed military raid on Israeli targets last Oct 7. 

Military observers have pointed out that Israel’s much-vaunted artificial intelligence (AI)-powered military defence system failed to anticipate and respond appropriately to the raid. 

According to witnesses and even Israel’s own newspaper, many of the 1,200 Israelis who died in the raid were killed by the Israeli occupation force when its tanks and an Apache attack helicopter fired indiscriminately into the area. 

The level of violence in which Israel reacted to that raid was fuelled in no small measure by shame at being caught by surprise and the incompetence it displayed in response to the raid. 

However, some will see Israel’s resumption of hostilities as a step closer to the destruction of the Zionist ambition. It should have stopped the killings while there is still some goodwill left for Israel, but now whatever forces surrounded the country when the ceasefire was agreed to last week is in play again. 

It is surprising that, militarily Israel is not doing too well in its war against Hamas, on top of the unprecedented PR losses it suffered on the Internet. 

According to reports, Israel is conducting an unsustainable violent spree, despite the billions promised by its patron, the US. 

They point out to the array of potential new enemies that Israel has jolted into action in the form of Hezbollah, Iran and Turkey. Even Yemen has declared war on Israel and has seized several Israeli-linked ships. There are even reports that 10,000 Houthis are marching on foot towards Israel to fight alongside Palestinians. 

It must also be pointed out that Hamas guerillas are nowhere near being wiped out. In fact, they have fought the 21st-century Israeli occupation forces to a standstill. 

All that Israel has achieved in its aggression over the last two months, at the tremendous cost of Palestinian lives lost, is showing the world how evil it is. 

It is apartheid and the cruel occupation of Gaza is on display to anyone who has a phone. Not only has the whole world warned Israel not to continue its vengeful spree in Gaza, but even Israel’s benefactors, notably the Europeans and America, are secretly telling the Zionist state to take a break.

Not least because Israel’s stubbornness to continue its plan to level Gaza as part of its plan to get rid of Palestinians is making America and the West look bad in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Having publicly given their word to stand by Israel no matter what it does, they are now being associated with a murderous regime that is perpetrating genocide openly. 

Even the Western trope of Hamas being brutal and evil terrorists has taken a beating as the world gets almost live views of what’s really happening in Palestine. 

Even the powerful Western media propaganda machines can’t help them this time around as their power to spin is severely hampered when people realise the stories they spin are different from what brave reporters inside Gaza are presenting. 

As a result, it would have been prudent for Israel to have continued the ceasefire and worked out a way to extricate itself from this colossal blunder intact. 

As it stands now, Israel is on a trajectory that will take it to a costly war with its neighbours. 

Closer to home, however, the resumption of hostilities is causing some to fidget at the thought of a long-drawn. 

So far, the violence in Gaza has had little effect on day-to-day life for the ordinary Malaysians. Apart from a few rallies and refraining from buying brands that support Israel, it is hard for us to manifest our support for Palestine thousands of kilometres away. 

While I was sitting here waiting for Armageddon to break out in the Middle East, some friends, more like acquaintances really, asked how much longer would they have to drink non-boycott coffee and eat non-boycott food. 

Some of them are also emotionally drained from seeing the effects of Israel’s cruelty against men, women and especially children. 

When will this end? They asked. 

I don’t know the answer, but one thing I am sure is that Israel had the chance to be human, but it chose violence. 

  • ZB Othman is an editor at The Malaysian Reserve. 

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition