Editorial: Untenable aggression
Total fatalities involving Palestinians have now breached 11,000, including 4,506 children and 3,027 women
GAZA: In the aftermath of the October 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas, the Israeli Defence Forces resorted to bombing civilian locations across the Gaza Strip. Total fatalities involving Palestinians have now breached 11,000, including 4,506 children and 3,027 women. Despite calls for a ceasefire, put forth by the United Nations, endorsed by leaders of 128 countries, Israel continues its bombardments as it seeks out a command centre of Hamas, supposedly hidden in tunnels beneath Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital, where thousands of patients, civilians and staff are sheltering.
Last month, India had abstained from voting on the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly calling for a humanitarian truce and ceasefire in Gaza. India’s abstention took observers by surprise as Prime Minister Modi had previously advised Russian President Putin that ‘today’s era is not an era of war’, when Moscow declared war on Ukraine. India’s decision puts it in the category of veto nations that are not in favour of restoration of peace on a war footing.
It might be unfair to single out India for its abstention, when the UN as an organisation has failed to resolve global conflicts time and again – whether it’s the Israel-Hamas war, or the protracted Russia-Ukraine military engagement. Unfortunately, the UN today is affected by divergence of views among major powers. Over the past three decades, the role of the global organisation has been reduced to that of a toothless spectator. The UN Security Council cannot hope to address any international issue today, thanks to the power of vetoing, employed by its permanent five members (China, the US, France, the UK, and the Russian Federation), whose national interests are constantly in conflict.
What we are also witnessing is the dismantling of that illusory western construct referred to as the liberal international rules-based order. For all practical purposes, this was a western order led by the US, with very little to qualify it as an international movement. The world witnessed the American invasion of Afghanistan completely backed by the international community. We also saw its horrific debacle in Iraq, which was left in tatters by the end of the global war on terror.
Both Baghdad and Kabul were left to fend for themselves when their generous benefactors chose to abandon their posts. What the occupiers left behind was a trail of death, destruction and political bankruptcy. Both ISIS and the Taliban made inroads into these war-torn geographies to make hay while the sun shone. Let’s not forget, there were no UN sanctions imposed on the aggressor during these aforementioned conflicts. Now, we are in a multipolar world where chaos reigns supreme and the UN is left shell shocked, cowering under the sabre rattling of military superpowers.
With regard to this latest conflict in the Middle East, it seems there is little that the UN can do to bring things back to normal. Political analysts have put forth proposals that Israel’s closest ally, Washington must help Jerusalem see reason, and begin conceiving a post-war solution. The two-state solution has obviously gone out the window. Even if Hamas is flushed out of Gaza, the question of reinstating leadership in the region will loom large on Israel’s radar. Reoccupying Gaza will only send the region into a tailspin of vicious attacks and counter-attacks.