Obama must act

Bikram Vohra

By: Bikram Vohra

Oh great. Now that the UN secretary general has added condemnation to his earlier denunciation of the Israeli rocket attacks on civilians in Gaza where the death toll can cross 130 even as you read this, we can all sleep well at night. Sorry Sir, but mere words will not spark a cease-fire and the minute longer you take to act, the more it is soaked in blood.

To add to the weak protests against the Israeli forces jackboot President Obama has expressed his concern over the unrest spreading. He hasn’t said this current situation is awful and criminal but hey, let it not get out of hand.

It is already out of hand. A fight that started over three students being killed and Palestinian teenage being burned alive has now become a full-scale conflagration. Netanyahu has added more dire warning by announcing that days of fighting lie ahead. What does he mean?

Genocide, the wiping out of a whole people?

The world leaders must understand that we are not talking dented fenders here. We are talking human life, the lives of non-combatants, men, women and children who get up in the morning and go to work, make a living under the most trying circumstances. They do not need the extra fear of bombs falling on them from a far more powerful military enemy.

When does it end? How does it end? It won’t unless the US takes the lead and pushes NATO and the UN to place immense pressure on the Israelis to stop their blitzkrieg and by the same token spike the attacks they say are targeting their civilians from Gaza.

The problem really is that there is a global sense of déjà vu in this equation and always a belief that it will last a few days and fade away to its best position which is an uneasy peace. So, when life is being lost at this reckless pace, the general attitude is ‘oh, well what do you expect, same old, same old Israeli-Palestinian problem’ nothing we can do?

Yes, there is. This time round the texture does not have a temporary nature about it. On the contrary, it is scarily organized and looks as if the total neutralization of Hamas forces is the goal, never mind the killing fields. Also, you get the equally disconcerting feeling that no one is really going to stop it happening.

In all fairness, Obama has said he is ready to broker a deal, either through himself or an emissary is not certain. We have been here before in 2012 when former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Egypt ended eight days of Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets.

The cruel possibility is that neither side may believe in Washington playing a salutary role because Obama told Netanyahu that he understood Israel had a right to defend itself and that he condemned rocket attacks by Hamas and other militant groups launched from Gaza.

Hamas will think that Obama has already loaded the gun against them and Israel will feel, we don’t need to stop half way, let’s get the job done, gory as it is, before we make any move to sit at a negotiating table and make a permanent solution to what has now been a political impasse with a thousand false starts at peace.

In the interim let the blood flow and houses burn.


Email: bikram@asianlite.com



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