- Posted November 25, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Israel-Gaza conflict: Your stories
Silence of an Uneasy Truce Hides of Cacaphony of Mayhem
Truce that is made to evade the outcome of one's own mischief and to prepare better for another war, truce that is a camaouflage for war preparation, truce that is witness to cry for procuring more arms, truce that does to refer to the opponent not by the real name, but hate filled anti-jew sentiment cannot be enduring. The sounds of impending war should not be discounted. The truce is lull before the real storm. The present skirmish was just testing the water.
After nearly a week of intense hostilities and their resultant casualties, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a sort of truce. Barring the stray act of belligerence from the other side of the fence that separates Israel from Gaza, silence, if not calm, has come to replace the near-constant wailing of air raid sirens. While Gaza counts its dead and Hamas takes stock of its losses, Israel would be reviewing the finer details of Operation Pillar of Defence. The performance of the stunningly effective ‘Iron Dome’, which provided a glimpse of weapons technology of the future during the conflict, will also be under scrutiny. With such an amazing shield against missiles in place, a new deterrent could be forged, this time based on the principle of letting the enemy know that it is wasting its flying fire power. Between now and the next time the ‘Iron Dome’ is activated, we can expect even higher accuracy and ability to sense, track, intercept and destroy a wider range of rockets and missiles. India would do well to grab a place in the queue for this amazing artificial intelligence-based hardware before the queue gets longer.
The latest conflict that adds a page to the sorrowful history of Israel’s rebirth in a tiny sliver of the land that was once controlled by the Kingdom of Judah and from where Jews went into exile, and the Jewish state’s constant struggle to uphold its right to exist. Peace, as we know it elsewhere in the world, has rarely visited Israel and its people, Jews, Arabs and Christians, or allowed the luxury of detaching politics from its awesome military. What next is a question that overwhelms what now; the cycle of violence is non-ending and brutally punishing. Kill or get killed is an option nobody wishes on himself or herself; in Israel, that is the only option to prevent the destruction of what remains of the Jewish nation, a global minority, and its aspirations. Viewed from India, with a population of more than a billion people and where the loss of 166 lives in a single terrorist strike is seen as an incident that merits no more than the execution of one terrorist, Operation Pillar of Defence no doubt appears extraordinarily aggressive and fetches callous, ill-conceived expressions of support for that Palestine which exists in the fetid imagination of Jew-hating Palestinians affiliated to Hamas or Islamic Jihad and their patrons in Arab states and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Indian Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid need not have issued a statement that incorrectly reflects India’s long-held position and reiterates the distortion of history by Arab supremacists. But he is not alone. Before him Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made an equally outrageous statement in the UN General Assembly, disregarding opinion at home and India’s finely nuanced commitment to the existence of both Israel and Palestine without either violating the security of the other. Arabs have never ceased deploring and castigating India on Jammu & Kashmir, nor have they hesitated to back Pakistan over India – their disdain for India predates New Delhi opening its doors to Tel Aviv and vice-versa. Seconding the Arabs, or Hamas or for that matter Abu Mazen’s constant cavil against Israel is not going to change how we are perceived by either the Arab Palace or the Arab Street. Yet we persist with this perversion and more the pity because much of India’s security is now dependent on Israeli technology, supplies and cooperation. A non-existent aircraft carrier for which we continue to pay inflated bills to Russia is not going to bail us out when the next act of treachery happens on our border, committed by either Pakistan or China. For evidence, recall how Israeli supplies, rushed to India virtually overnight, turned the tide against Pakistan’s perfidy in Kargil. Bogus moral posturing and vacuous ideological sentiments have no place in hard world of geo-strategy: They militate against the national interest.
But let’s return to the battlefield where Hamas tried to fulfil Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s desire to see Israel wiped out from the map of the world by firing Iran-supplied rockets into Israel’s civilian areas. After the ceasefire came into effect, a quick assessment shows increasing global realisation that Operation Pillar of Defence was not a unilateral action against Palestinians, but a considered and measured response to the escalation in Hamas’s belligerence. The incessant barrage of rockets (for the first time Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were also targeted) prompted Israel to act in self-defence; not acting would have been downright stupid. No conflict is without collateral damage. Israel suffered fewer casualties and the scale of death and destruction in Gaza Strip was many times more. Yet that’s a consequence of an asymmetrical war which Hamas should have known. This is not the first time that overwhelming force has been used to crush Hamas’s assault on Israel. But that’s a lesson spurned by Hamas, not the least because dead women and children make for good propaganda, especially when photographs are suitably amended using computer software. The extensive use of social media by both Hamas and the Israeli Defence Force contributed to this abomination – the former used social media platforms for propaganda; the latter to showcase transparency in the conduct of retaliatory strikes, a purpose well-served.
That takes us back to where we began – the truce that has been put in place. This is not the first time that Hamas has agreed to a truce and gone on to violate it with impunity. Nor shall it be the first time. Hamas sees such agreements as no more than a hudna, a strategic retreat to recover, regroup, re-arm and strike again. Operation Pillar of Defence has no doubt severely degraded Hamas’s stock of weapons, its command and control structures, and its terror-spewing leadership. But so did Operation Cast Lead. If a solution has to be found, then Egypt has to be made responsible for holding the peace by denying Hamas access to weapons via Sinai. President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt has played a laudable role in getting Hamas to back off and agree to the terms of the cease-fire. Contrary to popular opinion (and expectations of Salafists and Ikhwani clones in other Arab states) Morsi has ensured Egypt’s unique place in determining peace in the region is not usurped by Iran and its radical proxies. This by itself is a reassuring outcome of the conflict, but not sufficient in itself.
Meanwhile, Israel should revive its push for a dialogue with Abu Mazen, even if he is reluctant to participate in peace talks. It would be doing so from a position of strength, which gives Israel the opportunity to set the terms of re-engagement. The silence of an uneasy truce that prevails can’t last for long; what Israel and the Palestinians need is the calm of peace. Jerusalem should never lose sight of that.
Dr. Bikram Lamba, a Political and Business Strategist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.