Gaza tragedy is about to get worse: A call for peace – Bobby Ghosh

In the midst of ongoing conflict and despair in the Gaza Strip, the situation has taken a distressing turn, with violence escalating and civilian lives hanging in the balance. As Israel calls for a massive evacuation of Gaza City residents, the world grapples with the need for a swift end to the hostilities. Bobby Ghosh advocates for a balanced approach that supports Israel while emphasising a swift resolution leading to lasting peace. The consequences of an extended conflict are dire, serving the interests of few, and fuelling global tensions. In the face of mounting challenges, unity and wisdom are imperative.

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The Tragedy of Gaza Is About to Deepen: Bobby Ghosh

By Bobby Ghosh

(Bloomberg Opinion) —

New Horrors on Gaza’s Horizons

This newsletter prides itself on levity as well as brevity. I apologize in advance for failing on the first count, but I hope to abide by our standards on the second.

When I first visited the Gaza Strip during the so-called Second Intifada nearly a quarter of a century ago, it was already a grim place: Some 1.2 million Palestinians living cheek by jowl in an urban landscape blighted by bad planning and shoddy construction. Even more miserable was the landscape of the mind, stalked by hopelessness and violence. I would have not thought it possible then, but things have got worse — incalculably worse — since then. Even as the population has swelled by over a million, frequent wars between Israel and Hamas have reduced the strip to ruins and deepened the desperation of those who are obliged to live in it.

It beggars belief that things can get worse, but they are about to. Since Hamas’ gruesome terrorist attack on Israel last weekend, which killed over 1,300, mostly civilians, Gaza has been pounded by rockets. Neighborhoods have been flattened, and the body count has already passed 1,500. Now, apparently in preparation for a ground offensive, Israel has called for the evacuation of 1.1 million residents of Gaza City within 24 hours, a task the United Nations has declared impossible

As the world braces for new horrors, what role should Israel’s friends play now? My boss, Michael Bloomberg, lauds President Joe Biden for vowing to stand by IsraelBut he also argues that all those who have the best interests of either side at heart should work to ensure the war is as short as possible, and that it leads to a long-lasting peace. To this end, the US should provide Israel with the military supplies it needs, ward off the evil intentions of Iran and other Hamas enablers, and press the Arab nations to play a more constructive role.

Michael adds: “For its part, Israel should remember that a mounting civilian toll in Gaza will only serve Hamas’ interests, and that the longer the conflict lasts, the less international support it will have. Maintaining discipline, minimizing casualties and upholding the laws of war will buy the Israeli military more time to act and preserve the possibility of better relations with Israel’s neighbors in the future.”

For its part, Hamas would probably welcome an Israeli incursion â€” the more devastating, the better. As Marc Champion points out, it would inflame Arab opinion and risk widening the conflict. The only winners, he says, would be “the Iranian regime, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (he’d enjoy the distraction of Western attention from Ukraine) and Islamist terror organizations across the Middle East.”

That is also the view of Pankaj Mishra, who reckons Moscow and Beijing â€śare clearly hoping for another victory in their global propaganda war that presents Western countries to the rest of the world as arrogant hypocrites.”

In some parts of the world, the grim videos and photos of destruction in Gaza are already erasing images of Hamas’ attack on Israel. In Europe, as Lionel Laurent observes, solidarity with Israel has not matched the universal sympathy shown to Ukraine after the Russian invasion. “Tensions are appearing in public opinion and across the political spectrum; Israeli flags have been torn down in Germany and the UK. Antisemitic incidents are on the rise in France, where pro-Palestinian demonstrations have been banned,” Lionel says.

Meanwhile, Hal Brands examines the events of the past week and tallies the lessons for Israel — and for US strategy in the wider Middle East. His four takeaways: Technology isn’t the solution for all security problems; our enemies don’t think like us; Iran isn’t interested in peace; and pivoting away from the Middle East is a fool’s errand.

And finally, Stephen L. Carter examines how the conflict is playing out on American campuses, where there is a backlash against pro-Palestinian statements by student groups. Universities are being pressured to condemn these declarations and to take stronger pro-Israel positions. Stephen argues that, as a rule, university officials should refrain from commenting on positions taken by students. “The reason isn’t that students are usually (or even often) right. They’re young, they’re by definition immature, so when they issue statements in haste, they’ll tend to make mistakes. But so what? We all went through that phase. (Well, I did anyway.) Testing ideas, including through public pronouncements, is how the curious mind improves itself.”

For myself, I fear none of this will make a jot of difference to the people of Gaza, for whom the hours ahead will bring yet more tragedy.

Telltale Charts

In the middle of what will probably be the hottest year in human history — wracked with deadly floods, droughts, heat waves and wildfire — it may come as a surprise that young people care more about inflation than about climate change. As Mark Gongloff explains, it is “tough to focus on the future of the climate when your stomach is grumbling and you’re not sure you can cover the rent.”

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