Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sharma
This might be the first instance in human history when a hospital has become a battlefield. This is what is happening in the Israel-Hamas war. Today Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza Strip has become a battlefield. It is not right in any way to blame Israel alone for this, while making the hospital a battlefield also cannot be considered appropriate in any way. The circumstances that are unfolding have made the situation like this. Israel is claiming that there are signs of infrastructure for terrorist activities in the hospital complex. Israel claims that below the hospital is the headquarters and command center of Hamas and terrorist activities are being conducted from here. A huge cache of weapons was also found there. On the other hand, innocent civilians are losing their lives. Israel faces a double crisis. On the one hand, we have to save innocent civilians and on the other hand, we have to take effective action against terrorist activities. The countries of the world have been divided into two camps. On one hand Israel is being blamed for the military action in the hospital area and on the other hand the terrorist activities of Hamas are being blamed.
In fact, the way Hamas fired more than five thousand rockets at Israel in just 20 minutes on October 7, it shocked the entire world including Israel. The way Hamas attacked, not only Israel but the whole world was shocked. There is a reason for this also. The whole world has praised Israel’s security system, information system, defense and military system. The situation of Hamas suddenly firing five thousand rockets simultaneously and then continuing the war with each other has emerged as a big challenge for Israel. If Israel is directly considering this as an insult, then its reputation has been affected in front of the countries of the world. According to experts, Iran has a hand in this attack by Hamas. Iran does not want mutual reconciliation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, whereas America wants reconciliation or rather agreement between the two countries. In a way, Iran is trying to thwart American efforts.
Actually, Hamas is a Palestinian political and military organization. It can also be said that it is an extremist military organization of Palestine. This organization came into existence after 1987 and has developed into a powerful extremist organization in itself. According to Gaza Strip experts, Hamas has laid a network of tunnels in this area. It is not easy to find out which main hole or door is the path to which tunnel. This network of tunnels is spread across the entire area. Entering here unknowingly is dangerous in the sense that one cannot predict when and where an explosion will occur. According to experts, there is a network of tunnels spread all around the Gajapatti area and from here the network of extremist activities as well as planning and executing the strategy is being operated.
It was believed that Hamas would not be able to fight against Israel for long, but on the contrary, even after more than 40 days, the war is showing no sign of abating. The mistake of underestimating the strength of Hamas cannot be made in the sense that it is not ready to retreat after fighting for 40 days, while on the other hand, Israel has now made up its mind to completely destroy Hamas. One swift action is being taken one after the other. There are reports of deaths of more than 13 thousand people from both sides in 40 days. There are reports of deaths of innocent people and even children.
The transformation of the hospital into a war zone is serious in itself. This cannot be justified under any circumstances. According to the Geneva Convention of 1949, educational institutions i.e. schools, hospitals and religious places have been declared war-safe areas. While the countries of the world are criticizing Israel citing this, Israel says that Hamas is carrying out terrorist activities by using the hospital as a security shield. Israel also claims that even after giving 12 hours notice to the area to free it from terrorist activities, there is no impact. Israel also says that the use of the hospital area by Hamas to conduct terrorist activities is a flagrant violation of international law. He also claims that necessary equipment, medicines etc. are being made available in the hospital so that the activities of the hospital can be conducted smoothly.
The question is not who is wrong or who is right? The question is simply whether any country or organization can be allowed to disregard general principles of morality and international standards. One thing should be clear to the countries of the world that mutual conflict is no longer going to end in a few hours or days. The war between powerful Russia and Ukraine is an example of this, while the Hamas-Israel conflict is also moving in the same direction. There was a time when it was believed that future wars would last for a few hours, that myth has been completely broken.
One more thing has become clear from the international situation that UNO is losing its dominance and identity. There is a need to brainstorm on both the condition and direction of UNO. When areas like hospitals are becoming centers of terrorist activities and military response, international law and consensus and its words will be meaningless. Apart from who is guilty or who is innocent, the countries of the world, intellectuals, pacifist forces and non-governmental organizations will have to come forward and think seriously on this issue.
(The author is an independent commentator.)