Rajat Sharma


AKB30 The death of more than 600 people in the deadly attack on Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday evening is shocking, outrageous and saddening. None can pardon the perpetrators who caused loss of so many civilians in the ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict. Israeli and Hamas are blaming each other for the attack. While Hamas says it was “a deliberate attack” by Israeli armed forces, US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have said that it was the result of a misfired rocket fired by a “terrorist group” (read Hamas). A US National Security Council spokesperson said that its current assessment, based on analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts and open source information, clearly shows Israel is not responsible for the explosion. Hamas is yet to come out with any evidence to support its charge. The dean of the hospital, owned and run by the Anglican Church of Jerusalem, said there were nearly 1,000 displaced people sheltering in the courtyard of the hospital when it was hit. There were nearly 600 patients and staff inside the building. Live footage from Al-Jazeera TV network showed two bright flashes of light in the sky above Gaza, before suddenly changing direction and exploding. Ballistic experts say, as per available evidence, it cannot be described as an Israeli air strike, and it could be a failed rocket section hitting the car park of the hospital causing the blast. One big question that is being raised is about the timing of the attack. It took place hours before US President Joe Biden was to land in Israel, and he was scheduled to meet Arab leaders at a key summit in neighbouring Jourdan. Such a summit of the US President with the Egyptian President, King of Jordan and Palestinian Authority President could have made Hamas’ position weaker. It had the desired impact. Some experts have raised the question whether the rocket attack on the hospital was carried out to abort the scheduled summit. Jordan immediately cancelled the summit after the hospital attack. There was protest by thousands of demonstrators outside the US embassy in Amman. Hamas terror outfit and its supporters have described this as an attack on Muslims across the world. There were protests in capitals of Islamic countries. In US, Franch, South Korea and Netherlands, protesters came out on the streets demanding a halt to the conflict. At the end of his brief visit to Israel, US President Biden said, Egypt has agreed to reopen the Rafah crossing for sending humanitarian assistance to Gaza. Chinese President Xi Jinping has also urged Egypt to open a humanitarian corridor for civilians fleeing Gaza. On the other hand, Israel has already amassed its artillery and tanks near the Gaza fence to launch a ground offensive. Road repairing machinery have been sent through Rafah crossing to repair roads in Gaza to facilitate delivery of Red Cross humanitarian aid from Egypt. One point to note is that neither Egypt, nor Jordan are willing to give shelter to several million Palestinians fleeing Gaza, though they are expressing sympathy for the Palestinian cause. The issue has now become much complicated despite efforts by US, European Union, UK and other Arab regional powers to halt the conflict. Gaza is now sitting on a keg of gunpowder, ready to explode anytime, unless better sense prevails.

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