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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 19, May 11, 2024

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, May 11, 2024

Saturday 11 May 2024


Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, May 11, 2024

Israel’s Rafah offensive has huge risks for battered Palestinians, can trigger a wider crisis

Earlier this week there was hope when Hamas announced its acceptance for a ceasefire in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners and in turn for release of Israeli hostages as per the proposal from Egypt and Qatar, the movement by families of hostages in Israel responded by going full steam mobilising to pressure the Netanyahu Govt to accept a ceasefire but all that hasn’t worked. Israel rejected the ceasefire proposal and began instead its Rafah offensive in southern Gaza, despite opposition from a large number of countries including its top ally the US. Israeli tanks have blocked the Israel - Egypt border crossing and are not permitting the much-needed humanitarian aid via trucks [1], [2]. Heavy fighting has led over a hundred thousand hungry and tired refugees to flee towards northern Gaza, to protect themselves. The seven-month war has already destroyed much of Gaza forcing its population to move South in Rafah where some 1.4 million have been sheltering. A sustained military campaign by Israel in Rafah can lead to large civilian casualties given the large density of displaced people living there. The UN fears this situation will lead to a humanitarian disaster; The longer this situation lasts it is likely to inflame anger against Israel. US threat to cut off military supplies to Israel has not worked so far [3]. Negotiations are the only rational way ahead to end this crisis and detente with the states of the Persian Gulf and the Middle east are certainly a must for the long term resolution. [4] [5] On May 10, 2024 the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly (a vote of 143-9 with 25 abstentions) to grant new “rights and privileges” to Palestine and called on the Security Council to reconsider Palestine’s request to become the 194th member of the United Nations. [6] India did very well by voting in favour of the U.N. General Assembly resolution that said Palestine is qualified and should be admitted as full member of the United Nations. India must now use all it leverage to pressure Israel to end the war in Gaza and fund the UN efforts of food and relief for the Palestinians.


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