The silence of the leaders of the global north on the horrifying and unending blood-spilling of Palestinians can hardly be deemed as naïve, much less innocent. With bombings piling up bodies every hour and neighbourhoods inside Gaza being turned into specks of dust, the silence and inaction is pure evil. It is a mocking endorsement of what Israel is doing in its vindictiveness and arrogance – devouring human lives including children, bombing the sick and ailing in hospitals and depriving the besieged Palestinian people of basic humanitarian aid – in the name of punishing Hamas.
The US and several other countries that openly declared they stand by Israel after the Hamas attacks on October 7 have yet to even squeak about the brutal and tyrannical scale of the military warfare that Israel has unleashed against innocent civilians.
The world leaders have yet to clarify what they meant when they offered unequivocal support to Israel. Was it about solidarity? Was it active support against Hamas? Or, was it unquestioned support for all of Israel’s actions? The blind eye to Israel’s tyranny suggests the latter – that is, they have given a free license to Israel to exercise unbridled repression in Gaza and the West Bank.
Israel’s disproportionate actions were fully on display when the United States vetoed the UN General Assembly resolution signed by 145 countries. The stoic silence continues even as the chilling accounts of people caught in the grip of the killing fields of Gaza multiply. This silence comes from a part of the world that takes the high moral ground and boasts of its democratic credentials. Hypocrisy shouldn’t be surprising. For decades, USA used the narrative of democracy and justice as a cover for its all-out aggression in various parts of the world – Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan – without even a feeble word of remorse. Israel partly borrows the legitimacy for its indefensible actions from this US legacy of showcasing disproportionate aggression and civilian casualties as ‘justice’.
The United States is not the only country that has turned its back on the hapless millions gasping for breath in Palestine. Shockingly several democratic countries have done the same. India, unfortunately, has chosen to count itself among this lot for reasons that are simply guided by petty strategic interests, military and economic co-operation with Israel.
Whose interests will this unstoppable war eventually serve? Those who defend it are wrong to presume that this will destroy Hamas, whose October 7 attacks are indeed reprehensible. But at what cost must the Hamas be avenged? Is it by killing vast swarths of thousands of innocent people including children? With such a monumental scale of brutalities in Palestine, Israel in fact is sowing the seeds of rejuvenating Hamas, perhaps even giving birth to a more virulent version of it.
The global leaders who are patting Israel on the back for doing so are sowing the seeds of similar perils in their own countries – of importing the hate and virulence that will be ignited from the ashes of Gaza.
Few incidents of hate crimes and tensions in the US and other parts of the world may just be a curtain raiser. The spill over impact of the Gaza war is already drawing the Arab world into the conflict – though this is yet to fully explode. Rest of the world is on the edge with sympathies and loyalties to Zionists and Palestinians further polarizing an already divisive world. The silence is, thus, not just evil. It is perilous.
The moral compass of the world, which could have ensured a equilibrium to guard against such perils, is collapsing because foreign policy is simply determined by petty and short-term interests. Strategic interests and economic co-operation would naturally be prioritised by all countries while framing their respective foreign policies and diplomatic actions. But by riding rough-shod over moral global concerns and not giving any salience to values of democracy, freedom, equality and liberty in foreign policy, the global leaders are guilty of pushing the world into a dangerous cesspool of hatred, divisiveness, wars and tyranny.
We will be condemned to witness Gaza, and many more Gazas to come unless world leaders learn to leverage their mutual interests to encourage and promote democracy and peace in the world. This war will not stop unless we learn to deepen shared and convergent strategic and economic engagements by underpinning foreign diplomatic ties to basic human values and liberties of all people?
Insulated narratives must be discarded to pave way for open minds and drastic actions. To begin with, it should be an unequivocal global call for ceasefire in Gaza. Now.