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Some Relief

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The Egypt brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, tenuous as it is, brings a ray of hope to the civilian populations of the region. It alsa indicates a growing maturity among ‘Muslim’ nations, whose politics is no longer driven by a fundamentalist worldview. There has been an increasing desire for development of the kind seen in other parts of the world along with an understanding of what has held these countries back. There is awareness that ‘Arab Springs’ are just the beginning of the process and democracies mature over time. It was this that allowed the governments of neighbouring states to exercise restraint even as public sentiment was being whipped up in countries even as distant as Pakistan.

There is no doubt that the US worked on this behind the scenes along with its allies, particularly in persuading Israel to come to the negotiating table. And, yet, the way forward is very difficult as the recent events have only aggravated an already complex situation. The game is much bigger than just the human and political rights of the Palestinians. It is not just part of a regional bid to achieve domination, but also an attempt by the world’s rising powers to shake the pillars of US global strategy. This was clearly seen in the manouevering that took place in the United Nations.

Even in India, where public sentiment generally favours Israel, those belonging to certain political denominations worked hard to disrupt relations between the two countries. Sadly for them, the unwillingness of the Muslims to play into their hands proved a serious dampener. It is part of the community’s desire in most parts of the world to be mainstreamed instead of being ghettoised further.

Hamas miscalculated badly, as is often the case when the actual objectives are a mismatch with what is publicly claimed. All this brief conflict resulted in was to provide Israel an opportunity to go after its infrastructure and its leadership. While leaders will be easily replaced, as all it requires is a certain level of fanaticism and willingness to send others to their deaths, the many years of funding its ‘war machine’ have gone down the drain. It is estimated that the organisation has spent the equal of four times the Marshall Plan in aid, which could have been used to better the quality of life in Gaza, to merely develop its fighting abilities. One can only hope that the changing mindset of the common people will help improve the situation further, rather than take the region into the abyss some have planned for it.