THE Egypt-brokered 72-hour truce between Israel and Hamas seems to have taken effect since Monday. This respite in armed hostilities, the longest-ever since the Israeli campaign in Gaza strip began 29 days back, will at least provide some breathing space for the embattled Gazans to count their dead. With some 1,900 people, 98 per cent of them civilians, already killed in the Israeli air strikes, rockets and artillery fires aimed at houses, UN-shelters and even hospitals, the main challenge before the peacemakers in Egypt will be to see that the ongoing truce is extended indefinitely.
Regrettably, when France, an ally of Israel, and many well-meaning people in the UK and elsewhere in Europe and the world at large are condemning Israeli barbarism in Gaza, the US's silence is shocking.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, in a recent interview with BBC, termed the deaths and destruction in Gaza “horrible collateral damage” with an unmistakable slant. What is more, he laid the entire blame for it at Hamas's door, and not at Israel's. If this is the stance of the USA, the only world power that can hold Israel in check, then what remains of the chance to achieve a lasting peace in the region? Despite Israel's plea for self-defence, one finds it hard to comprehend how Hamas, the group that enjoys 1.8 million Gazans' support, can abdicate its right to defend its people through 'demilitarisation,' as demanded by Israel.
We hope world powers would be more even-handed in their approach to resolve the Gaza crisis.