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Conflict of Lack of Conscience

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How can the mind process seeing images or reading about acts that are so heinous beyond imagination? It happened on October 7 when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel and attacked the civilian population while being armed with body cameras so that they could record their barbarism. After their spree of torture and murder, they kidnapped survivors including children whose parents were slaughtered in the rampage.

Government and civic leaders have seen a 45-minute video documenting the atrocities committed by Hamas, much of it recorded by the terrorists. There has been mostly silence from UN members and other world leaders. International women’s groups have also been passive after the brutal violence against Israeli women.

To the contrary, the reaction by many has been demonstrations supporting Hamas, as seen on our college campuses, and in cities throughout the world, along with an increase of 400% in antisemitic incidents in the U.S. alone, since the October 7 invasion. Support for Hamas has permeated our local institutions that are unrelated to the conflict, such as city council and schoolboard meetings. Anyone with a moral compass should be appalled by the attack and reaction. Either people refuse to view the evidence, believe it is doctored, condone these actions, or all of the above. There is no possible justification for these unimaginable acts in a civil society and after almost eight months there has been no unified condemnation of the diabolic attack by Hamas. To add to the apathy, the world wants to put Israel on trial for defending itself.

Over 12,000 rockets have been launched by Hamas against the civilian population of Israel with thousands displaced from their homes. Where is the public outcry? There are still over 100 hostages being held captive in Gaza. Interviews with freed hostages have revealed their inhumane treatment in captivity. Israeli psychiatrists who have treated the hostages tell of women being sexually abused, children being given ketamine to keep them quiet, lack of food, psychological torture by keeping them in darkness and forcing children to watch videos of the October 7 slaughter. One psychiatrist said they will need to rewrite the textbooks after this.

The International Red Cross, whose primary mission is to assist victims of armed conflict and promote respect for international humanitarian law, has not been able to visit the hostages or deliver needed medications. There has been no resolution in the United Nations condemning the Hamas attack or the taking and treatment of hostages. Will high school students still aspire to participate in the Model UN, or should they? Both of these international bodies have failed in their mission of protecting human rights.

Hamas also tried to destroy the robust Israeli agricultural industry by destroying farm property, and equipment and causing a shortage of labor through a lack of local workers gone to serve in the reserves and a lack of foreign workers. The result was tons of produce gone to waste depriving exports to other countries in need of fruits and vegetables indirectly affecting populations around the world.

Leket, an Israeli food bank has stepped in to help provide needed labor assistance by coordinating the help of thousands of volunteers locally and from other countries to pick, prune, and plant crops. They coordinate scheduling and provide transportation to farms in need among other services that they provide. Their vital work has preserved tons of produce that would have gone to waste.

Gazans have suffered because of Hamas. In addition to using civilians as human shields, Hamas prevents human rights such as freedom of speech, denies basic human needs by siphoning off supplies for their own use, and puts Gazans’ lives in jeopardy by hiding weapons and military installations within the population. Their leaders have promised similar attacks leaving Israel no choice but to try and prevent future catastrophes and bring the hostages home.

Israel takes more precautions to protect the civilian population than other military in the world by distributing leaflets, phone calls, warnings by non-lethal knocking on rooftops and providing mapping of evacuation routes. John Kirby, U.S. National Security Council Coordinator, has said that he is not sure if the United States would take such precautionary measures.

In 2013, during the Civil War in Syria, chemical weapons were used against the civilian population killing over 1,000 people. That was supposed to be a red line set by the United States and allies for military action, yet there were no repercussions after the deaths of innocent civilians. The international community must condemn the barbaric actions of Hamas. Several countries have citizens that were slaughtered or held hostage by Hamas, and have been diplomatically engaged in the conflict, but every country with any sense of morality should be involved because of the atrocities committed against humanity. There is no magic solution, but unity among people who value human life will overcome evil.

Israel is at war with Hamas, not the people of Gaza. I hope the Palestinian people break free from their captors and seek peaceful coexistence with Israel. The nations of the world that make up the UN need to develop their collective conscience. I look forward to a time when the world wakes up from this nightmare with moral clarity.

About the Author
Israel volunteer and retired pension consultant and course writer from Chicago
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