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Token Advance

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The UN Security Council was finally able to adopt a resolution on Wednesday calling for humanitarian pauses in the Israel-Hamas conflict so that corridors could be opened up for aid to go through to patients in Gaza hospitals, and civilians. It has also asked for release of all the hostages held by Hamas. This became possible after the US did not use its veto and abstained, even as it criticised the failure to condemn Hamas. This has been described as a move forward because it is some kind of an international consensus on resolving the ongoing conflict.

Israel is unlikely to accept any such diktats, although it has, on its own, announced four hour pauses to allow aid to get through and evacuation of civilians. This is because its basic requirement is the return of the hostages and destruction of the Hamas military structure. As in the past, negotiations are being attempted for an ‘exchange’ of prisoners, aimed at obtaining the release of Palestinians in Israeli jails. Qatar is taking a lead in this but nothing has come of it, as yet.

All this is happening in the background of the Israelis successfully advancing into Gaza and taking over Hamas strongholds with greater ease than was earlier considered possible. This is undoubtedly the result of the blitzkrieg that has been underway in the aftermath of the 7 October Hamas attack. It will be noted by militaries across the world that the IDF has taken fewer casualties due to this strategy. That does not augur well for civilians in future conflicts.

It is clear that the concessions being made by Israel sync with its military strategy and are not so much being shaped by international pressure. The UNSC, itself, has become mostly a toothless institution because of its unrepresentative nature. The world has changed a lot since the ‘victors’ of the Second World War could enforce their will on others. This becomes all the more evident from a number of calls from various quarters asking India to play a role in resolving such conflicts, as it has good relations with most countries. It must be noted that India’s approach requires that a joint approach be evolved on recognising and working against terrorism in all its forms, rather than picking and choosing based on convenience. If such an approach is adopted, it would become possible to resolve issues through dialogue and an intelligent application of human rights. But, there is still some way to go before realisation strikes that this is ‘not an era for war’.