An Israeli tank facing the Gaza strip
An Israeli tank facing the Gaza strip

Israeli-Hamas conflict: Impact 2

Despite the atrocities by Hamas, Israel must continue to allow aid for Palestinians to enter Gaza.

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Israel should avoid striking civilian sites, since such indiscriminate strikes disrupt lives and the functioning of essential services, such as electricity and water, as well as health facilities.

There is a need for a humanitarian truce to allow hostages to leave Gaza and allow aid workers to support refugees, the internally displaced and the injured. Israel has heeded this request.

Israeli intelligence would have to do a thorough search to distinguish between objects related to Hamas activities and those objects which have no relation with Hamas.

A humanitarian pause prescribed by the United States and the United Kingdom was the best option. Despite the extreme provocation and the brutal act of Hamas on October 7, Israel must be mindful of the St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868, the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907, the Geneva Convention of 1949, the Protocol of 1977 and the Geneva Convention on human rights of 1966.

The St Petersburg Declaration speaks of the need to “fix the technical limits at which the necessities of war ought to yield to the requirements of humanity”, emphasising that “progress of civilisation should have the effect of alleviating, as much as possible, the calamities of war”. 

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Israeli forces, nevertheless, must explore the hospitals’ environments and search for terrorist objects so they can differentiate between patients who need support and terrorist objects that are meant to perpetrate terrorism.

Israeli forces should not leave any stone unturned in this exercise.

 Attention should still be drawn to the Geneva Convention of 1949, which has made provisions for concretising the principles of humanity.

For example, Article 13 of the Convention, relative to the protection of civilians in times of war, states that its provisions “are intended to alleviate the sufferings caused by war”.

Article 13 of the Convention, relative to the treatment of prisoners of war, states that “prisoners of war must, at all times, be humanely treated”, “that they must, at all times, be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation and against insults and public curiosity” and “that measures of reprisal against prisoners of war are prohibited”.

The two sides, Israel and Hamas forces must adhere to these international legal instruments in the current and future circumstances. 

 Difficulty

The current Israeli-Hamas war is seen as the greatest political and diplomatic challenge in recent times.

 The war is dangerous for both Israel and Hamas.

 But Hamas is currently suffering the rough brunt edges of the conflict.

There must be an appeal to the Israeli government to limit bombardment and lessen humanitarian crisis rather than any coercive diplomacy.

The scale of Israeli bombardment continues to cause humanitarian disaster in the region. 

This is a worrisome spectacle, but that is a response to a terrorist attack.

 Israel can employ any mechanism to defend itself.

The call to Israel to be cautious in its ground operation is in order.

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Still, they must utilise all the intelligence available to dismantle and destroy the terrorist schemes of Hamas to prevent another sudden attack like that of October 7.  

Israeli forces must protect the UN and other aid workers.

 It is unacceptable to kill the UN and other aid workers in the name of eliminating Hamas.

Israeli forces must correct their anomalies. 

They must respect the sacrifices and toil of aid workers.

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 Israel must carefully carve out a methodology to retaliate.

It can take any form, but Israeli forces must do their best to protect the UN and other aid workers.

They must protect refugee camps, schools and facilities meant for children. 

The world is sceptical about what terrorists present as truth; nevertheless, Israeli forces should protect the lives of innocent civilians.

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That is an appeal. The international community must develop an impressive diplomatic language for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

The international community should be careful and balanced in dealing with both parties.

The UN, European Union, US, Russia and other concerned states should step up diplomatic efforts to bring Israel and Hamas to the negotiating table.

The writer is the Initiator, International Forum on the Status of Refugees in the World.

Senior Lecturer, Russian section
University of Ghana.

[email protected]/ [email protected]

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