Pakistan, much like the rest of the Muslim world, is greatly pained by the ongoing Israeli bombardment of Palestinians, with anger mounting over America and Europe’s clear support for the aggression and refusal to work toward a ceasefire. Unfortunately, the media scrutiny on the global fault-lines has largely sidelined the human tragedy of the thousands, mostly women and children, who have been killed in Gaza and the West Bank, even as Israel continues to threaten ever more airstrikes in the days and weeks to come.
The Western press, a so-called bastion for human rights, has especially adopted the role of a facilitator, with reportage primarily focusing on the Hamas assault in Israel that kicked off the latest conflict, while all-but-ignoring the indiscriminate manner in which Israel is killing Palestinians. The conflict has also put a damper on U.S.-led efforts to “normalize” ties between Arab states, with Saudi Arabia withdrawing from negotiations that were reportedly nearing conclusion prior to the events of this month. The U.A.E.—one of four regional states with Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan to recognize Israel—has also called for an immediate ceasefire, warning Israel’s “continuous escalation” poses threats to the entire region. The U.S., meanwhile, has warned Iran against any interference, potentially roping in China, laying bare the superpower polarity in the Gulf.
The fact remains that the current conflict dates back decades, with Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and blatant discrimination against its peoples creating a powder keg that faced an inevitable explosion. Examining the past 3 years alone, an Israeli court ordered the eviction of several Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah in October 2020, triggering protests that Israeli forces attempts to counter through brutal force. In May 2021, violence broke out at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, with Israeli police using stun grenades, rubber bullets, and water cannons against protestors, injuring hundreds of Palestinians. Amidst this, Israeli aggression of Gaza, essentially an open-air prison, continued, angering Palestinians even further. It is unfortunate that the world, rather than working to address this anger and work toward peace, is more concerned with defending Israel’s “right to self-defense,” and willfully ignoring the atrocities that have brought us to this point.