While millions of eyes were glued to the World Cup final in Brazil, few turned away from the game to see the ongoing exchange of bombs falling on Israel and Gaza. Yes, there were tears from Brazil’s fans when their team was stunned by the lopsided victory by the Germans, but how many of them shed one tear for the slaughter in the Middle East? And, at the moment, the devastation there is equally lopsided, with some 167 Palestinians victims and not one Israeli death since the conflict began last Tuesday.
This isn’t about the body count or the number of wounded—though, again, the Palestinians have taken the brunt of it—it’s about a situation that has been going on for far too long without any signs of conciliation from either quarter. It’s good to know the United Nation Security Council has called for a cease fire, but the foes are too busy battering each other to hear the call for peace.
Nor is there any concern from Israeli forces about where the bombardments from their airplanes, tanks and other means fall. Not that the Gaza rockets are mindful of where they fall, if they could accomplish their mission.
When hundreds of innocent people are killed and maimed, when hospitals and nursing homes are targeted and hit, it’s time to recalibrate the attacks and take heed of those who are harmless and armless. But this is war, and the collateral damage will increase if one of the two foes doesn’t take a step back and curtail their assaults. It’s less a matter of who will blink first, but which of them will take the high ground and stop the shelling.
A few days ago when the Security Council met, United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon said that Gaza is on a “knife edge.” His frustration was apparent in view of his inability to move an agenda. That frozen position stands in stark contrast to Israel’s aggression, as evidenced in the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who said, “No international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power.”
Elements of that power struck across the border over the weekend, but it was a quick and surgical strike, with tanks destroying a nest of terrorists, it was reported.
Most of the world—particularly those awaiting the outcome of the showdown between Germany and Argentine at the time of this writing—are miles of distance and emotion from the turmoil and tragedy that continues, even as the game is for the moment deadlocked. A deadlock of a different sort prevails in Gaza, and while the world can watch the combatants in Brazil—and perhaps even a few tears for the losers—some of those tears and some of those eyes ought to be on Gaza.