Armed Conflict in Gaza: Achieve Cease-fire, US Must Not Disrupt Unity

The armed conflict between Israel and Palestine will not end. Israel has launched large-scale airstrikes on Gaza and the number of civilian casualties continues to rise. The international community must do everything in its power to achieve a ceasefire as soon as possible.

The U.N. Security Council has held a series of emergency meetings but hasn’t been able to issue a statement calling for a ceasefire. The U.S., a permanent member of the Security Council with veto power, has taken the position to defend Israel and has been opposing the proposed U.N. Security Council resolutions.

U.S. President Joe Biden reportedly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he strongly supports Israel’s right to defend itself in a telephone meeting. This can only be taken as an endorsement of its military action. Netanyahu, who declared the airstrikes would continue, expressed his gratitude in his speech.

I am worried that this will be a repeat of the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2014 when the U.S. supported Israel and its military offensive expanded without being stopped. The fighting lasted for nearly two months, the city was destroyed by bombing and ground troop invasion, killing more than 2200 residents.

Israel is once again looking to invade with ground troops. The death toll on the Palestinian side has already reached 200. In order to prevent the situation from getting worse, it is essential for the U.S. to change its engagement with Israel.

The conflict escalated after the Israeli attempts to evict Palestinian residents from the Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem. The Netanyahu administration then began airstrikes in a so-called self-defense response to the rocket attacks from Gaza.

There have been causalities on the Israeli side as well, but the difference in military power is overwhelming. In Gaza, about 2 million people live in an area about half the size of Nagano City. The border has been closed, and Gaza residents, exposed to air and artillery strikes, have nowhere to run. The U.S. should unite with the international community to force Israel to stop its military offensive.

It has been more than 70 years since the Palestinian people were forced to leave their homeland by the establishment of the State of Israel. More than half a century has passed since the occupation of Gaza and the west bank of the River Jordan. In the West Bank, Israel continues to expand its settlements, which is considered illegal under international law, and Palestinian land is being taken away.

The Biden administration has revised the policy adopted by the Donald Trump administration, which was extremely pro-Israel, and has restored aid to Palestinians. However, there is no sign of active involvement to restore peace in the Middle East. The Biden administration has only expressed concern about the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

If the fundamental issues, the return of refugees and the end of the occupation, are not resolved, the Palestinian people’s dignity and right to live will continue to be compromised. The U.S. must use its influence over Israel to move forward with peace negotiations that have long since been deadlocked.

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