Hamas — Israel War: Who is Right and  Who is Not?

It is surprising that the leadership of Hamas did not have the intelligence to understand that such efforts to enter and occupy Israel would never be successful.

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People carry their belongings on the street after the Israeli army's withdrawal from the Jenin camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on July 5, 2023 [Ammar Awad/Reuters]

Now that a truce has been reached between Israel and Hamas for a four-day period, and with the release of hostages from both sides, there is hope that the truce will be extended, and the intensity of the war will decrease significantly. This likely “truce period” provides an opportunity for the sworn supporters, bitter opponents of Hamas, as well as Israel, and observers worldwide to reflect on the events and consider whether this war could have been avoided.

There has been a prolonged debate for the last several decades regarding to whom the present region, provided to Jews after World War II, belongs. Some argue that Jews were occupants earlier, and therefore, the region should belong to Jews only. However, Christians and those belonging to Islam have also lived in this region for a long period. While Christians make no claim, the dispute is between Jews and those who identify as Palestinians.

In any case, after the end of World War II, the victorious countries, including Russia, believed that Jews had suffered enormously in Hitler’s Germany, were stateless, and deserved sympathy and support. Thus, the decision was made to hand over the region to Jews—a unanimous decision of the victorious countries in World War II.

Now, the ground reality is that Israel will remain a Jewish country for all time to come, and any attempt to expel Jews from the region will be fiercely resisted in a do-or-die war. This was evident when Hamas made a surprise attack on Israel, killing hundreds of innocent Israeli citizens, with the apparent intention of occupying Israel.

It is surprising that the leadership of Hamas did not have the intelligence to understand that such efforts to enter and occupy Israel would never be successful. Unfortunately, the hard-headed leadership of Hamas did not grasp this ground reality. The result is what we see today—an intense attack on Gaza by Israeli troops, with the leadership of Hamas remaining helpless and unable to face the onslaught. The net result is that innocent people in Israel and Gaza are suffering enormously, with neither side gaining anything in the process but only experiencing suffering.

Many observers think that Hamas was wrong in attacking Israel without any immediate provocation, and many also believe that Israel was wrong in counter-attacking Gaza with such a severe force, termed a disproportional attack, resulting in the deaths of many more people in Gaza than in Israel.

Ultimately, it appears that the judgment should be that Hamas should not have launched the attack and provoked Israel, regardless of their grievances. So, Hamas was wrong, and Israel attacked in anger. Now that Gaza has been virtually disabled by Israeli forces, Israel would be deemed wrong if it does not stop further attacks immediately and fully cooperate in extending the truce.

The overwhelming world view is that, respecting Israel’s sovereignty, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict should be resolved by envisioning an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, west of the Jordan River. The boundary between the two states is still subject to dispute and can be negotiated with the cooperation of other Arab countries interested in ensuring a peaceful Middle East region.

N.S.Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause and to promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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