WHEN you push people into a corner by oppressing and besieging them, occupying their country, and desecrating their holy places, they will fight back hard with a deep sense of vengeance. This is reflected in the Hamas attacks on Israel, which was caught off guard.
Israel might be the superpower of the region, but it is proven that it is impotent when it comes to wiping out the Palestinians. Otherwise the conflict would not have dragged on for more than 70 years.
Israel alone cannot wipe out the Palestinians.
It can only do so with the assistance of its patrons – the US and the collective West.
In the 48 hours after Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, the US, UK, France and Germany condemned the Hamas movement and declared support for Israel, saying the latter has the right to defend itself.
Of course Israel has the right to defend itself. But what about the right of Hamas to defend itself?
The West has forgotten how worshippers in the Al-Aqsa mosque were beaten and shot to death by the Israeli security forces.
The mosque is also often desecrated when Israeli security forces barge in, sometimes with grenades.
Compare the West’s response to that of China and Russia. Beijing said it was “deeply concerned” by the weekend’s dramatic escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians, urging all sides to show “calm”.
Russia said it is in contact with Israel, the Palestinians and Arab countries in connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov calling for restraint.
This sort of statesman-like response is why China and Russia will always have social capital with countries in the Middle East and the global south.
It is important to note that the anti-Hamas narrative from the Western leaders is reflective of the governments’ stance and not the people’s.
There seems to be a disconnect between the government and the people, judging by the strong support for Hamas during pro-Palestinian protests in Western countries each time Israel attacks Palestinians.
This is because the atrocities and barbaric acts of the Israeli security forces on unarmed Palestinian civilians are well-documented.
The citizens of the West can see for themselves how their governments have turned a blind eye to the atrocities seen on social media.
The West’s response to the Hamas incursion is akin to its response to the Ukraine war, in which it perceives democracy to be under threat.
Israel as a democracy! Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has himself assaulted democracy with his attack on the country’s judiciary just to prevent himself from going to jail for his corruption scandals.
And like its response to the Ukraine war, the US has sent a warship and ammunition to Israel.
The US is acting as though Hamas is a superpower like Russia and bent on destroying Israel – a regional superpower.
Could the West’s response to the current conflagration in the Middle East be to distract from the fact that it is losing the Ukraine war to a real superpower like Russia?
The US interference in the Middle East could also be seen as an attempt to prove wrong the perception that its influence is waning in the region. – October 12, 2023.
* Jamari Mohtar reads The Malaysian Insight.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.