Don't bury crux of the matter under rubble of Israel and Hamas war

Violence is not a solution. It will only beget more violence. [VOA]

The world continues to watch with horror as the war between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate. Hamas has come under heavy criticism for igniting this round of bloodletting, particularly over its murder and abduction of revellers attending a festival in Israel. No doubt, the attack on innocent festival-goers was devious and uncalled for. Unfortunately, an enraged Israel has embarked on similar heartless attacks by killing hundreds of civilians in the Gaza Strip in the guise of targeting the militants' enclaves.

While Israel has a right to defend itself, it has no right to kill civilians and cause widespread suffering as it has in Gaza. The Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Saturday that more than 2,000 civilians had been killed by Israel in Gaza.

The decision by Israel to cut off electricity, water and fuel supply following the Hamas attack has aggravated suffering in Gaza and could cause more deaths. Israel has also ordered more than one million people to leave northern Gaza ahead of its planned ground offensive against Hamas and has failed to heed pleas, including by WHO, which has warned that the evacuations would be a "death sentence" for the more than 2,000 patients in hospitals across the strip.

When Israel, deliberately or otherwise, kills hundreds of civilians, it becomes hard to tell the difference between the two sides in this conflict. None of them can take the moral high ground.

Yet, what we hear every day are allies of each side promising to stand with them as this conflict unfolds. They conveniently choose to see the evils committed by only one side and largely ignore the others'.

Such grandstanding will do little to end this conflict that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned will be long-drawn. World leaders must stop taking sides and do what is right - use this conflict to goad Israel and Palestine back on the road to peace.

Israel has superior firepower and will obviously prevail in the current standoff. However, from the long history of this conflict, one thing is clear: Violence is not a solution. It will only beget more violence.

Peace will only return when Israel and Palestine agree to live side by side with respect. But that cannot happen under the Israeli occupation, which has led to land confiscation, illegal settlements and deprivation of Palestinians' basic rights. Let's not bury our heads in the sand - this occupation and oppression for the unending violence is a perfect breeding ground for resistance, including Hamas-type.

Peace will remain elusive as long as the status quo persists. That was the case in Kenya when the British rode roughshod over our grandparents. They fought until we gained independence. In the same vein, violence is likely to be a recurrent theme in Israel-Palestine relations, as it has been for decades, until a solution is found.

Though it looks unlikely under the ongoing fighting, a two-state solution is still the best way out of this protracted conflict. It is not too late to revisit the Oslo Accords, which proposed that an independent Palestinian state be established alongside Israel. That prospect for peace can only be actualised at a round-table, not the battlefront.