Bloody tragedy

Palestinian mourners carry the body of 23-year-old Naji Ghonaim during his funeral in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 29, 2018. AFP / SAID KHATIB

Two million dead people walking, including starving children; over 60 percent unemployment among young people; children and the elderly dying due to a lack of medical supplies; a Ramadan population breaking their fast on bread and any meager additions they can afford.

These are the people inhabiting the world’s largest open-air prison, thanks to an Israeli siege and continued attacks.

But the greater tragedy today is that the world is sitting back and watching while U.S. President Donald Trump claims Israel was justified in attacking the strip this week to punish the “terrorists,” and as the U.N. Security Council held an urgent meeting at the U.S.’ request.

To help restore peace? No. Instead, so that the council could express outrage and respond to the largest attacks from Gaza since 2014 on “innocent Israeli civilians,” in the words of Washington’s U.N. envoy Nikki Haley.

Not a word about the damage from shelling and strikes from Israel, or about the over 120 Palestinian protesters killed and thousands wounded by Israeli fire in the past weeks. Casualties on the Israeli side number three lightly wounded soldiers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is getting away with murder while Trump continues to claim that the U.S. is an honest broker in the Israel-Palestine conflict. And as Netanyahu is using U.N. resolutions to wipe his windshield, the Arab world seems to be asleep at the wheel – or perhaps not even behind it in the first place.

Gaza and its people deserve better from the region and the international community, and it’s time for the curtain to come down on this bloody tragedy.

The “civilized world” must act now to prevent further violence and bloodshed in Gaza.

Or is it no longer worthy of that title?

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 31, 2018, on page 1.




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