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Monday, April 15, 2024

The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict: A descent into darkness

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By Abdulrauf Aliyu

On the morning of October 7th, the world was once again thrust into the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, witnessing a horrifying escalation of violence that shook the Middle East and beyond. The Palestinian militant group Hamas carried out an attack on Israel of unprecedented scale and scope, resulting in a devastating toll on both sides. As the death toll continues to rise, we are left grappling with the complexities of this conflict, questioning the motives behind such atrocities, and searching for a path towards a more peaceful future.

Hamas, the group responsible for the recent onslaught, fired rockets from Gaza and infiltrated operatives across the border into southern Israel, engaging in firefights at multiple locations. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported at least 250 Israelis killed, with over 1,400 more wounded, some critically, and Hamas claimed to have taken dozens of Israelis hostage. Such actions are reprehensible and indefensible, causing unimaginable pain and suffering to innocent civilians.

However, we must also strive to understand the motivations behind Hamas’s actions. Why would they commit such heinous acts when they undoubtedly know the consequences? Hamas sees Israel as illegitimate and hostile, believing that attacking Israel is a justified means to an end. They hope that these actions will lead to a political settlement that favors their cause, despite the inevitable suffering of ordinary Gazans. This is a disturbing perspective, but it is essential to acknowledge the underlying beliefs that fuel this cycle of violence.

The scale of the recent attack is staggering. The IDF reported that approximately 2,200 rockets were launched in the initial barrages, marking the largest rocket attack against Israel since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007. This surpasses the level of violence seen in the early stages of the 2014 and 2021 crises. Hamas also employed innovative tactics, including the use of paragliders to infiltrate Israel, catching Israeli security forces by surprise. This infiltration not only resulted in lives lost but also led to the taking of hostages, deepening the chaos and despair.

In response to the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, “We are at war,” and initiated Operation Iron Swords, conducting airstrikes in Gaza and calling up reservists. The Israeli response has already claimed hundreds of lives in Gaza, with the number expected to rise. The ongoing fighting has created a humanitarian crisis of colossal proportions.

Amidst the chaos and confusion, several crucial observations emerge. First, the human toll on both sides is staggering, and this ongoing violence threatens to escalate further. Second, the situation is highly fluid, with conflicting reports and an uncertain outlook for the region. Third, the international community must play a more proactive role in facilitating a peaceful resolution to this enduring conflict.

The loss of innocent lives, whether Palestinian or Israeli, is a tragedy that demands urgent attention. Every casualty is a human being with dreams, hopes, and loved ones left behind. We must recognize the value of each life and mourn the senseless loss of it.

It is crucial to emphasize that violence and terror cannot be justified under any circumstances. Acts of terror do not bring about lasting solutions or promote justice. Instead, they perpetuate a cycle of hatred, suffering, and destruction, leaving generations scarred by trauma and animosity.

Hamas’s belief that attacking Israel will lead to a favorable political settlement is deeply flawed. Violence only deepens the divisions and mistrust between the two sides, making a peaceful resolution even more elusive. To achieve lasting peace, both sides must engage in constructive dialogue guided by a genuine commitment to coexistence, reconciliation, and mutual respect.

The international community also bears a significant responsibility for resolving this conflict. It cannot remain a passive bystander, offering occasional condemnations and expressions of concern. Diplomatic efforts should be intensified, with a focus on facilitating negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The long-standing issues that underlie this conflict, including borders, refugees, and Jerusalem, must be addressed through diplomatic channels, with an emphasis on a two-state solution.

Moreover, humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, who have endured immense suffering, is paramount. The international community should coordinate efforts to provide aid, rebuild infrastructure, and alleviate the dire living conditions in Gaza. This can help alleviate some of the desperation that contributes to violence and extremism.

It is crucial to remember that peace is not a one-sided endeavor. Both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in security, dignity, and peace. Achieving this requires the commitment of all parties involved, as well as the support and encouragement of the international community.

The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a grim reminder of the urgent need for a comprehensive and just resolution. It is a tragedy that has persisted for far too long, costing countless lives and perpetuating suffering. While the recent escalation is deeply troubling, it also presents an opportunity for renewed diplomatic efforts and international engagement.

In conclusion, the recent escalation of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a stark reminder of the urgent need for a peaceful resolution. The loss of innocent lives and the suffering inflicted on both sides are heartbreaking. While we cannot justify violence and terror, it is essential to understand the underlying beliefs and motivations that drive such actions. Moving forward, a renewed commitment to diplomacy, dialogue, and humanitarian assistance is imperative. The international community must play an active role in facilitating a just and lasting resolution to this enduring conflict. Only through collective efforts and a commitment to peace can we hope to break the cycle of violence and create a brighter future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Abdulrauf Aliyu
An economist and Policy Analyst writes from
45 Ashiru Road, U/Dosa New Extension
Kaduna

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