It is distressing to think of the many lives that would not have been unjustly taken as a result of Israel's hostage rescue operation if cease-fire negotiations had been on track.

On June 8, Israeli forces conducted a military operation in the central Gaza Strip town of Nuseirat, rescuing four Israeli hostages held by the Islamic organization Hamas.

The operation involved airstrikes on a refugee camp, resulting in 274 deaths and about 700 injuries, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.

However, the Israeli military claims its bombardments only targeted “terrorists and terrorist infrastructure,” causing fewer than 100 fatalities.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the military's “remarkable” hostage extraction operation, saying “our soldiers performed in an unmatched way.”

He also vowed to continue the fighting until all the hostages held by Hamas are released, saying, ”We will do whatever it takes to get them all back home.”

For the families of the freed hostages, it must have been a long-awaited moment filled with joy and relief. Yet, the overwhelming number of Palestinians sacrificed for the return of these four individuals is deeply unsettling.

Such heavy-handed missions, no matter how carefully planned, could also easily put hostages’ lives at further risk, to speak nothing of the inevitable high collateral damage.

With nearly 100 Israeli hostages still believed to be held, continuing this aggressive strategy could only lead to more bloodshed.

War has rules that must be followed. International humanitarian law requires the military to always distinguish between military facilities and civilian homes, limit attacks to military targets and minimize the collateral damage.

It is obvious that refugee camps, where civilians reside to escape violence, should not be considered military targets.

The Israeli military also bombed a United Nations-run school packed with displaced Palestinians in the same town of Nuseirat on June 6, killing about 40 people, including women and children.

The United Nations has added Israel to its so-called list of shame, a blacklist of nations and groups that violate the rights of children in armed conflicts. The decision is apparently due to the perception that the country’s disregard for international humanitarian law cannot be overlooked.

Regarding the stalled cease-fire negotiations, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a new proposal at the end of May and urged Hamas to accept it.

The proposal reportedly presented by the Israeli side included the release of all hostages and a permanent cease-fire. Israel apparently had options other than military operations to secure the release of the hostages through negotiations.

However, as two far-right Israeli ministers threatened to resign and collapse the governing coalition if Netanyahu agreed to the Gaza cease-fire proposal unveiled by Biden, the prime minister is reluctant to engage in talks over the proposal.

Netanyahu should be criticized for acting in an irresponsible way that prioritizes self-preservation. He should not be swayed by the radical claims of the far-right parties and should respond to the domestic and international calls for a cease-fire.

This week, the Group of Seven summit is being held in Italy. Leaders from major developed countries, including Japan and the United States, should unite with a strong resolve to protect civilian lives in Gaza and exert their influence accordingly.

--The Asahi Shimbun, June 11

QOSHE - EDITORIAL: Israel’s hostage rescue shows callous lack of respect for lives - The Asahi Shimbun
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EDITORIAL: Israel’s hostage rescue shows callous lack of respect for lives

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11.06.2024

It is distressing to think of the many lives that would not have been unjustly taken as a result of Israel's hostage rescue operation if cease-fire negotiations had been on track.

On June 8, Israeli forces conducted a military operation in the central Gaza Strip town of Nuseirat, rescuing four Israeli hostages held by the Islamic organization Hamas.

The operation involved airstrikes on a refugee camp, resulting in 274 deaths and about 700 injuries, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza.

However, the Israeli military claims its bombardments only targeted “terrorists and terrorist infrastructure,” causing fewer than 100 fatalities.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the military's “remarkable” hostage extraction operation, saying “our soldiers performed in an unmatched way.”

He also vowed to continue the fighting until all........

© The Asahi Shimbun


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