My Take

Why the brutal war in Gaza can have no long-term winner

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 July, 2014, 5:24am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 July, 2014, 5:24am

As millions of Muslims celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday, a pall of gloom hangs over a world that has been witnessing the killing of innocent civilians in Gaza by the Israeli army.

Harrowing pictures of children with shattered limbs and images of homes reduced to rubble have clearly conveyed the unequal battle that is going on between the Israeli Defence Force and Hamas militants.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear Israel will not cease its operations even though it is clearly losing the PR battle. Even by military figures, the civilian casualties are very high - of the more than 1,000 people dead, only 240 were militants.

As the number of dead piles up, Hamas also has to share the blame. Its rockets have had very little effect, as most of them get neutralised by Israel's Iron Dome defence. But it keeps firing, inviting more and more hardship on their own people.

However compelling your motivations, as your own children and mothers keep suffering, shouldn't Hamas also take a look at its tactics? What achievement can justify the means which is killing hundreds of civilians?

No one is going to win this war. Despite Israel's destruction of suspected militant hideouts, it is unlikely that the country is going to be any safer. The children who grow up in Gaza, witnessing this destruction and killing, will only morph into hardened militants in future as they grow up filled with desperation and devoid of a sense of justice. Even worse, the current killings will add to the claim of some jihadist groups that Muslims are facing persecution everywhere.

The complete helplessness of the United Nations in the face of this carnage and the periodic statements coming out of Washington reiterating Israel's right to defend itself will only strengthen their claims.

The rise of Islamic fundamentalism was initially rooted in the plight of Palestinians. Now it is sprouting up in different parts of the world with different agendas.

Israel's latest attacks on Gaza may end the feeble rocket attacks of the Hamas militants. But they may well end up sowing the seeds for much more dangerous groups to spring up elsewhere in the world.

Alex Lo is on leave