Massacre of innocents and hypocrisy of West

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By Dr Upul Wijayawardhana

I, too, have been watching, like many millions with a conscience around the world, with a sense of helplessness, hopelessness and frustration, the indiscriminate massacre of thousands of innocent civilians, including children and the sick in Gaza by Israel Defence Forces (IDF) with the help of the West. I find it very difficult to comprehend what is worse: the persecution of a hapless group of innocents by another group which faced persecution in the past or the excuses given by leaders of the West who seem to be turning a blind eye, interrupted at times by vain gestures to indicate their disapproval! Excuses given by some of them reminds one of the well-known Sinhala saying Kanna hitunama Kabaragoyath Thlagoya venavalu which translates roughly as “When you want to eat, even a Water Monitor becomes a Land Monitor”

True, it all started with 07 October Hamas terrorist attack on Israel killed 1,139. About 300 Israelis were taken hostage. Whilst it deserved outright condemnation and a response from Israel, what is worrying is the haphazard nature of the response with glaring excesses giving the impression that Israel is hell-bent on obliterating the Gaza strip. In this venture, it is supported by USA, which seems to work on the dictum that Israel can do no wrong! Israel’s covert, and not-so-covert, plans of illegal expansion in to Palestinian territories have been legitimised by the use of its power of veto by USA, at every UN Security Council resolution.

Things started changing somewhat after the April 1st IDF drone attack on three SVU vehicles of World Central Kitchen (WCK) which killed 7 aid workers (3 British and one each of Australian, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian citizens) attached to the charity WCK, based in USA and run by Jose Andres, a Spanish-American chef and restaurateur. President Biden condemned the attack but the very next day USA announced further arms shipments to Israel!

Jose Andres, in addition to setting up WCK, is a professor and the founder of the Global Food Institute at George Washington University and was awarded the National Humanities Medal at a ceremony in White House in 2016. Speaking to Reuters, Andres had stated that the seven workers were “targeted deliberately” and killed “systematically, car by car” and added that the war in Gaza is “not a war against terrorism anymore” but a “war against humanity itself.” Very strong words, indeed!

Not being able to disregard this strong reaction by a respected American, President Biden had ‘strong words’ with the PM of Israel, in a telephone conversation but left it for the IDF itself to investigate the incident! IDF issued a report admitting that mistakes were made and that 2 officers were dismissed and some others warned. In response, WCK issued a statement which stated: “We demand the creation of an independent commission to investigate the killings of our WCK colleagues. The IDF cannot credibly investigate its own failure in Gaza.

It’s not enough to simply try to avoid further humanitarian deaths, which have now approached close to 200. All civilians need to be protected, and all innocent people in Gaza need to be fed and safe. And all hostages must be released”. Worryingly, the statement ends by saying that operations remain suspended.

Perhaps, this is what Israel wants; to starve the population to death! The West has remained silent, unmoved by the death over 30,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children. Hospitals have been targeted and many health care workers have been killed. As mentioned in the WCK statement, almost 200 aid-workers have sacrificed their lives in their selfless attempts to serve the oppressed which has not moved the cold stone hearts of Western leaders to any action, till the killing of the seven WCK workers as their chief has a voice!

In spite of three British aid-workers being killed, the largest number from any one country, condemnation from the British PM has been very mild, to say the least. It was reported that David Cameron, the Foreign Secretary wanted a strong response but was prevented from doing so by No.10 Downing Street! It was also reported that more than 600 lawyers, including former justices of Supreme Court had written to the government stating that weapon exports to Israel must end because the UK risks breaking international law over a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza. Interestingly, the British government is refusing to release the legal advice received! Of course, Israel denies genocide. It is genocide or holocaust only when it happens to them!

It was hilarious watching a news programme where one of the ministers was giving the lame excuses that stopping weapon exports to Israel serves no purpose as British sales amounted to less than a percent of Israeli arm imports. He overlooks the principle involved and it is heartening note that it is not only Sri Lankan politicians who are bereft of principles! The disgraced former PM Boris Johnson has gone a step further by stating that it is shameful to call for UK to end arm sales to Israel. Rich, coming from a man who knew no shame during the pandemic, getting fined for having parties in No. 10 Downing Street!

In fact, many lost confidence in Rishi Sunak on the day after the Rochdale by-election which was held on 29th February, won by the pro-Palestinian candidate George Galloway, which was no surprise as nearly a third of Rochdale population is Muslim. Sunak made a statement outside No. 10 waning about the rise of Islamic extremism but did not care even to mention the catastrophe in Gaza despite it being the same day that 112 died and more than 750 people were injured when IDF fired at a crowd of starving Gaza citizens chasing for morsels of food from an aid-convoy.

IDF claimed that it only fired warning shots and deaths were due to trampling but medics reported that deaths were due to gunshot injuries. Why could not he say that he would make inquiries from Israel, at least? No inquiry seems to have been held regarding this barbaric act. Subsequently, a Canadian doctor working in Gaza declared that she had seen many children shot in the head and accused IDF of targeting children. Mans inhumanity to man seems to have no bounds!

How the West deals with Israel is diametrically opposite to how they dealt with us when we fought terrorism! I do not have to go in to details of their hypocrisy, as much has been written on the subject, except to remind how UK and France sent their Foreign Ministers to rescue the Tiger leader. They were sent off with a rebuff so that the job of eradicating terrorism could be completed. Of course, we had a few traitors of our own who belittled!

I am afraid that the massacre of the innocents and the hypocrisy of the West will continue as long as it suits their purpose. Unfortunately, we live in a world devoid of fairness!

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Disclaimer: Massacre of innocents and hypocrisy of West - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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