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UN lets down Palestinians.

The UN Security Council's resolution last Thursday calling for an "immediate" and "durable" ceasefire in the Gaza Strip leading to the withdrawal of Israeli forces, smacks right in the face of justice and the cause of Palestinian rights.

The Security Council has stepped into the fray belatedly, once again demonstrating the UN as almost a toothless body. The US abstained in the end on this particular resolution, but the latest Israeli onslaught into Gaza had already confirmed Washington's continuing sympathy, support and indeed overt backing for the state of Israel.

The ongoing conflict in Gaza, which by the time the Security Council resolution came, had claimed more than 750 Palestinian lives. The toll is now approaching 800. It has once again demonstrated Israel's penchant for an overkill when it comes to dealing with Palestinians.

A United Nations, for whom and with what purpose? Indeed, such a question posed to an unarmed Palestinian, standing in the line of Israeli fire, will only produce the inevitable answer which is probably that of a UN that serves the interests of the already powerful of the world rather than the powerless ones.

This latest Israeli incursion into Gaza has amply demonstrated that the UN is hardly a body that can deliver the cause of justice in global affairs. The history of conflict situations ranging from the case of Palestine to that of Kashmir has proven time and again that states, especially those armed with military might, will pay lip service to international opinion, but only as long as it serves their own purpose.

With many in the world now clearly aware of the Israeli aggression in Gaza, it is possible that pressure will mount with the passage of time to bring an end to this fighting. It is also possible that Israel may well withdraw its forces from Gaza in the end, without being made to account for those who have lost their lives in this conflict. But has this latest of many Israeli battles against Palestinians been a futile engagement for the latter?

The answer to that pertinent question is, simply not. The Palestinians have for long been at the receiving end of Israel's US-supplied military might. It is possible that more Palestinian blood will be spilt at Israeli hands.


Military engagement

But it is also true that every new Israeli military engagement versus the Palestinians will indeed only have a counter effect on the Palestinian community.

Every 'intifida' bears testimony to young and unarmed Palestinian men and women being determined to change history to their advantage, emerging from the ashes of conflict and bloodshed.

Over the years, many Palestinians and their supporters have argued convincingly against the apathy of global opinion, including governments of Islamic countries, that have simply failed to live up to their expectations.

But their own resistance has in fact taken the case for the Palestinians much beyond the scope of a government or governments to make a difference. Where the Palestinians have built up their activism is far more about unarmed civilians emerging strong against one of the most powerful military mights known so far in history.

History bears evidence to military might eventually being overtaken by popular resistance. That lesson of history is unlikely to change just because Israel has US backing and powerful military resources.

For global opinion, including US opinion, dealing with Palestinians in all forms including through bodies such as Hamas is far more advisable than being engaged in endless confrontation. The Israeli incursion into Gaza took place on the pretext of neutralising the Hamas movement whose fighters allegedly kept on firing a barrage of rockets into Israeli territory.

For the sake of argument, even in the unlikely event of Hamas being defeated militarily, another movement of Palestinians will surely take its place and build itself up as a force against Israel. Besides, the elimination of Hamas to begin with in itself is an unlikely outcome.

In 2006 when Israeli troops marched into Lebanon to destroy the Hezbollah movement, the outcome of that war presented what could serve as a potent lesson for all. Today, Hezbollah is back on its feet, with the apparent determination to fight back if exposed to yet another powerful military incursion.

The bottom line is obvious. What is happening in Gaza today is the outcome of a fundamental political divide, for which, a military solution is being imposed. What is necessary is indeed to intensify efforts to finally bring forth the reality of a Palestinian homeland where the Palestinians can not only live in peace, but indeed free from a continuing military threat.

Otherwise, the instability surrounding the Palestinians will continue to pose a growing threat to global security in ways that are difficult to imagine as the body count continues in the aftermath of the war in Gaza.


Farhan Bokhari is a Pakistan-based commentator who writes on political and economic matters.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jan 11, 2009
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