How West Asia situation was allowed to fester for years

There ought to be a complete halt to on-going Israel-Hamas violence immediately. Also, finding a permanent and lasting solution of the Palestinian issue is imperative, so that the  masses can survive!

Could this war-like situation have been avoidable in West Asia? Could these killings of hundreds of civilians, whether Palestinians or Israelis, have been avoidable? Could the hounding and pounding in Gaza and also along the Israeli borders have been avoidable?  Couldn’t the so-called super powers of the world step in almost immediately to stop the violence and the bloody aftermath?  Couldn’t this alarming situation be halted by America and allies?

Yes, if only there had been focus on a permanent solution to the Palestinian crisis. Talks after talks with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities have never really brought forth any solution to the long existing vital and core issue faced by the Palestinians.

It is an alarming and depressing situation. For years and decades there have been complete disasters taking place in that region. What, with human beings killed or made to sit uprooted, refugees in their own territory. To quote the New Delhi-based academic-author, Professor VK Tripathi on this current disaster taking place: “I am deeply pained by the escalation of the Palestine-Israel conflict. The surprise attack by Hamas forces into Israel and killing of 600 people was a matter of condemnation. So is the much fiercer counter offensive by Israel, that has already killed over two thousand people in the last two days and put Gaza under seige. However, passive condemnation of violence is not non-violence or humanism. Look at the ground reality of the people indulged and affected by the conflict. Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank have been in a state of continued repression and occupation by the Israeli regime for years. The people of Israel have been living in suspicion of a surprise attack by Palestinian militants. The Israeli regime is immensely more powerful and backed by the USA, hence, life for Israelis has been much better off than for Palestinians. Both the people have the right to live in peace and earn their livelihood with dignity. The Israeli regime has to understand this. Hamas must repent for its outburst. You can’t play the game of occupiers, putting the lives of Israeli and Palestinian citizens in peril.  …I have been bothered by Israel-Palestinian question since1982 when Israel carried a war on Lebanon and killed 20 thousand Palestinians. I decided to leave USA and returned to India in January 1982 as Professor of Physics at IIT Delhi, hoping that I will be able to inculcate non-violent activism in India and Third World countries. However, I have not been able to do anything beyond superficial talking. I am pained that our PM can’t see the folly of continued oppression.”

There ought to be a complete halt to violence. Now and immediately. Also, a permanent and lasting solution of the Palestinian issue, so that the   masses can survive! It’s been so very unfortunate that the earlier Peace accords failed even before they could be implemented. I recall one of the former Palestinian envoys to India, Osama Musa, telling me during the course of an interview,

“I’ve earlier served as Commander of my country’s Air Force and then when the Oslo Agreement was signed in 1994, I was appointed Chairman of the Regional Security Committee which was meant to oversee the implementation of the Agreement on the Palestinian side, but that Agreement failed …today the situation in Palestine is so bad that it is Israel which decides everything, including the mass killings of our children! Today America -backed Israel controls our lands, our lives! Can’t America see the disasters taking place! And I can tell you that without America’s support, Israel is zero. Israel cannot survive a single day if America didn’t support it!”

And when I had  interviewed the well-known Arab academic, Clovis Maksoud – who was then Professor of  International Relations and director of the  Centre for Global South at the American  University in Washington and  before that he  had served as the  Arab League  ambassador  to India  from 1961- 66  and later  ambassador to the United  Nations and  the  US – he’d dwelt  on the significant fact that people of the  Arab countries had come to  realize that  there was vested interests of  “outsiders”,  to  destroy their lands. During our conversations, Clovis detailed why the Arab world  was not taking on foreign intrusions, “There is a broad  strategic  dependence of the  Arab States on the  US, based on the false assumption that the  US  is the  only  power that can make Israel respond to the Palestinian issue. This dependence is flawed because Israel has flouted all international norms. Israel is the  only country in the world that has  never  declared its  boundaries  since  1967…It  has  not  acknowledged the  fact  that it’s an occupying  power and given itself the license to  expand its settlements. This has  meant violating the U.N  resolution of the  4th Geneva  Convention that does not allow any occupying  power to alter the  boundaries of the country it occupies…At the  same time  the  US  has  chosen to make Israel its principal ally and this has  given Israel the  license to defy the  UN convention with  impunity.”

 Where are the so-called world leaders?

Tension had been mounting in the region right from the spring of this year (2023), when  even worshipers in the AL-AQSA mosque were not spared by the Israeli forces, yet seemingly little efforts were made to contain the  violent attacks and killings.

Relevant queries come up:  Where are the so-called world leaders? Where is the United Nations?  Where are all the forums and platforms set up for peace? Where are the politicians of the day who come up with speeches after speeches with those lofty promises! All seems such a farce …sheer synthetic stuff in today’s synthetic setup!

I have attended Press Conferences of fiery Palestinian envoys to India and the emotions they generated amongst the Indian masses. I do recall rather too vividly that warm hug that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat gave Indira Gandhi when she had hosted an elaborate reception for him here in New Delhi. Indira Gandhi’s office had sent invites to even middle rung Muslim families besides the usual list of the who’s who. Of course, those were the days when there were no security phobias. No hyped statements. That was the phase of Government of India’s close bonding with Palestine.

Today, of course, political slants and the political build-ups on every possible front stare in the face. Compounding the situation is the Indian  government’s apparent slant towards Israel and Allies. This pro-Israel tilt more than obvious right from 2014, peaking in the  summer/July of  2017,  when Indian  Prime Minister Narendra  Modi made a trip to Israel, equipped with a  long  shopping list, to buy or order the  latest military equipment.

 What a contrast to India’s stand under Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. In fact, Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision and  policies vis–a-vis West  Asia  made  the  entire  region tilt  towards India. He was clear and forthright about his firm stand on the Palestine territory and the genuine rights of the Palestinians. And  with that, had  made the Palestinians and the Arabs strong allies of  India. Today there’s no Nehru and  there’s  little trace of the connect with the  Palestinian masses.