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THINK TALK: The Need for Immediate, Unconditional Ceasefire in Gaza

think talk column mindaviews maugan mosaid

MATALAM, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 26 October)—Civilian lives are lost by the minute in Gaza in body counts unprecedented after World War II. Certainly, there are lives too that are wasted around the Israeli-Lebanese border, and deep into Israel, as a result of the Hezbollah joining the war against Israel.

Never mind whose right or wrong, for the moment, because there is no justification for massive loss of human lives. Regardless of creed and color one life lost is still one too many.

The UN has passed the International Humanitarian Law to establish the rules of engagement in war, but more than that, the law was crafted in recognition of the fact that human lives shall be held sacred, and the right to life shall be enjoyed by all nations of the world. This law also mandated every nation to be held responsible for excesses in war or armed conflict. Thus, “war crimes” became indictable and punishable.

When Netanyahu gave the warning that “Hamas should pay a high price for attacking Israel” on October 7, the net effect has been Palestinian civilians, half of them women and children, paying the price for Hamas. This has been happening since Israel undertook with impunity her bombing spree on Gaza, sparing no one, hitting civilians right into their homes, including those scampering for safety if there is such a place now in Gaza.

Compared with other areas, Gaza’s population is relatively young at 47 percent (below 35 years old and its ratio to the population); West Bank, 42 percent; Israel, 33 percent; and the US, 22 percent.

We have seen speeches delivered at the UN session hall in New York, all of them condemning Israel’s human carnage in the Gaza and calling for immediate and unconditional ceasefire. The primary objective was to stop the mass murder.

More killings is not the solution to the Israel-Palestine issue. While most nations of the world recognized Israel’s right to defend itself, killing with impunity is no longer defense. Unfortunately, this recognition of Israel’s right to self-defense is now being used to justify more and more killings and on the pretext of making Hamas pay the price.

Must the world keep watching in silence and inaction? Or worst, enjoy the sight of seeing bombs explode, maiming and dismembering bodies?

NO. The United Nations can do something through the UN Security Council (UNSC). The UNSC is the only UN body clothed with the authority to issue binding resolutions on member states. As outlined in the UN Charter, this power includes establishment of peace-keeping operations in troubled areas, enactment of international sanctions against erring member/s, and can even authorize military action whenever necessary.

The UN Security Council was created to address all kinds of threats to international security and order. It is composed of 15 members, 5 permanent (France, China, Russia, United Kingdom, United States) and 10 non-permanent members elected by the UN General Assembly with proportionate representations from the 5 continents of the world.

The five permanent members with veto powers were selected on the basis of their significant roles and influence on global issues after the second world war.

The world must act now, and act fast, as its inaction could mean more lives lost by the minute. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council must set aside political and ideological differences and agree on one thing: that is, the urgency of implementing immediate and unconditional ceasefire between the Israel Defense Forces on one hand and the Hamas and Hezbollah militant groups on the other hand. This is not only to stop the killings but also to prevent the situation from escalating into a regional conflict, which certainly, would be more difficult to handle.

The cessation of hostilities in Gaza and the Israeli-Lebanese border must take place as soon as the hat drops.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Maugan P. Mosaid holds a doctorate degree in rural development. He is a planning consultant and teaches Statistics and Methods of Research in the graduate school. He can be contacted at mauganmosaid6@gmail.com.)

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