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The four horsemen of Apocalypse in Gaza

A Palestinian is pictured on the debris in Gaza City, April 13, 2024.
A Palestinian is pictured on the debris in Gaza City, April 13, 2024. Photo : Xinhua

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As if in obeisance to the prophecy of the Old Testament, the murderous regime in Israel has allowed the four horsemen of Apocalypse to run amok in Gaza, over the last six months and counting. To be precise, of the four horsemen viz. war, pestilence (epidemics), famine and flood, only the last has been absent. But that, too, has been taken care of by the Israeli warlords through their ingenious tactic of flooding the tunnels in the subterranean world of Gaza, contaminating the aquifer for sweet water perhaps for good.

Nothing that has happened in Gaza since October 7 has been fortuitous or random. All actions by Israeli defence forces (IDF) since they declared war have been calculated and planned in cool deliberations to cause deaths of thousands by bombs, epidemics and famine. In implementing the blue print of the war (Apocalypse) there has been no deviation from what has been intended to achieve by the high command: kill as many Palestinians as possible and make conditions on the ground so dire as to make it impossible for the survivors to survive after the guns are silent.

There is no definition or legalese required to see that it is the total  annihilation of an ethnic group or a nation that is at the heart of the agenda behind  the war unleashed by Israel against the Palestinians whose majority land they forcibly occupied in 1947 and incrementally thereafter. There have been umpteen number of resolutions by the world community represented by the UN to return the occupied land to the Palestinians and an accord  was reached in Oslo  in 1995 to create a state of Palestine to live side by side with Israel .These attempts at a peaceful settlement of conflict that has claimed the lives of so many innocents have been brushed aside by successive Israeli governments with contempt because it is bent on making the illegal occupation in Palestine  a fait accompli. In the process, the Palestinians have been made to live under occupation in modern day ghettos marked by concrete walls and barbed wire fencing without the right for movement.

In their diabolical plan, the Israelis have reprised from history the life of their predecessors in Europe under the Nazis who were made to live in concentration camps. Since they could not finish the Palestinians off en masse because of adverse international reaction, a policy of gradual aggrandisement through encroachment of their land by settlers has been followed. When the messianic elements, always keen to extend the state of Israel from the ' river to the sea', came to power in a coalition government last year, the time was ripe for ethnic cleansing at one go. It may not be a wild case of figment of imagination at work to think that they beguiled some elements of Hamas to launch the attack on 7 October to provide them the casus belli for launching a military campaign to exterminate and expel the Palestinians for good. Netanyahu's policy of propping up Hamas to counter Al Fatah as a political force lends credence to this conspiracy theory. Furthermore, the puzzle as to why the ever vigilant and wary IDF  or the border security elements were absent at the border with Gaza when it was breached on 7th October cannot  be resolved without  such  a conspiracy theory.

Be that as it may, the onus for the Hamas blitzkrieg on October 7 can by no means be laid at the door of Hamas militants. It lies squarely on the Israeli government of Netanyahu.

Firstly, it failed to prevent or overpower the attack when it took place with its security forces. For this failure to protect the lives and property of its citizens it cannot shift the blame on to others, far less to Hamas. It is the basic responsibility of any elected government to be prepared and be able to repulse any attack on its citizens, particularly when so much is being spent under security and defence heads in budgets year after year.

Secondly, the policy of subjugating the Palestinians and keeping them under a permanent state of siege is the cause for the armed attacks by Hamas on October 7. After making them hostile through a deliberate policy of de-humanisation did the Israeli government expect them to be civil and friendly to them, extending olive branch and warm greetings? As the UN Secretary General said early in the war in Gaza, the attacks by Hamas did not take place in a vacuum. Israel created an enemy and the enemy availed of the opportunity to launch an armed invasion to kill and take hostages for future bargaining. Moral principles and humane considerations did have any scope to intervene in the massacre of civilians that took place. There is a long history of oppression, random killings and displacement by Israeli governments that lies behind the radicalisation and militancy by groups like Hamas.

Israelis and their allies, including America, branded Hamas long ago as 'terrorists' and have justified the present war declared by Israel as being within their 'right to defend'. It is a flawed and hypocritical stand, running counter to historical facts and is based on a fallacy. The Americans, when they fought for their independence from the British did not consider themselves as terrorists. In recent times, the Irish Revolutionary Army (IRA), once branded by the British government as terrorists , was recognised as a political organisation and meetings were  held with them that led to the Good Friday Agreement for their participation in governance. Why should Hamas be seen and treated differently? They are freedom fighters and fighting the occupying power in a guerrilla war. History is replete with narratives of militant groups like Hamas.

Thirdly, Hamas is not a standing army, belonging to a country. It is an armed militant group trying to get back their land from the Israelis through guerrilla attacks. Many such groups operated against the Nazi army during second world war in Europe. Granted the Israeli government has the right to hunt them down for reprisal and prevention of future attacks. But legally speaking, they cannot declare war against them and launch a full scale war with army, navy and air force. War is declared only against a legally recognised government and not an entity or population under occupation by an internationally recognised national government. Declaration of war by Israeli government is by this definition an illegal act and constitutes a war crime. Its culpability for war crime becomes all the more evident when the war targets civilian population as a whole. The standard excuse given for large-scale killings of civilians in Gaza has been that Hamas uses civilians as human shield. This is a blatant lie because if it were so Hamas would not have constructed such an extensive network of tunnels in Gaza. Even pro-Israeli Western media has not corroborated such claims by Israeli government as Hamas using hospitals and schools as command and control centres. It is shocking that America has accepted this fictitious excuse given by IDF for very high number of civilian casualties and has exonerated Israel from the accusation of war crime.

Soon after the Hamas attack on 7 October, leaders from the major Western powers made a beeline for Israeli to meet the Israeli prime minister to sympathise for the killings of 1200 civilians. There was nothing wrong with that, though it was overdone, given the fact of the failure of Israeli government to protect its citizens as argued above. But to declare that Israel has the 'right to defend itself' was over the top, because no one disputed that basic right in the first place. Besides, 'defend' implies pre-emptive action to prevent or action during an attack. Declaring war after the attack is over is by no means 'defence'. It is blind vengeance, pure and simple, and should be described as such and not given the legitimacy of defending a nation. The damage done by this declaration about the 'right to defend' by visiting leaders from America, Britain, France, Germany and EU has been the emboldening of Netanyahu's government to embark on a no holds barred war against the Palestinians in Gaza. To enable Israel to continue with this brutal and horrific war the Western allies of Israel have sent planeloads of arms and ammunition even when civilian death toll rose exponentially.

For over six months Israel has waged war against a population which has no standing army, navy and air force except a militant group armed with light arms and able only to mount guerrilla attacks. But this ground reality has not moderated Israeli military  operations  because the objective has been, as  mentioned  earlier in this write-up, to kill as many Palestinians  as possible  and destroy Gaza's infrastructures  so comprehensively  that the strip of  land becomes  uninhabitable for the survivors.

The ultimate goal being the occupation of the whole of Palestine for settlement of Israelis in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, all the horsemen of Apocalypse have been pressed into service by the Israeli government. The last of the horsemen now riding high, famine, has unnerved the allies of Israel because it causes deaths of hundreds of thousands in slow motion. It is live streamed on hourly basis in every home with television and other devices for everyone's watch. In the face of such hard evidence of deaths occurring because of manmade famine the crime of genocide has become palpable enough for everyone to see. A case of committing genocide by Israel in Gaza filed by South Africa is already pending before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) where Nicaragua has now added the name of Germany as being complicit. Before long, America will also be in the dock as another accomplice of Israel complicit in its crime of genocide. So, it is not surprising that all these allies of Israel have started chiding their protégé for the excessively high number of deaths and for causing famine. But it is too late for them to salvage their image of moral rectitude and to prove their commitment to safeguard international laws on human rights. The horsemen of Apocalypse let loose by Israel with their moral and material support have exposed them for what they really are: opportunistic, hypocritical and enemy of humanity.

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