EXCLUSIVE | Hamas raping, burning children alive: Israeli envoy

| Updated: 26 October, 2023 3:18 pm IST
Hamas' heinous acts are difficult to fathom in the 21st-century, says Israeli envoy.

The Israel-Palestine war commenced on October 7, with a surprise assault by Hamas-led militant groups. The attack included the launch of over 5,000 rockets from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the breach of a border security fence by thousands of armed Hamas fighters, indiscriminate gunfire targeting Israeli civilians and soldiers, and a coordinated land, sea, and air assault. In response, Israel conducted airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. The conflict has resulted in more than 1,400 casualties and the seizure of over 200 hostages. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Israel’s bombings in Gaza have claimed the lives of over 5,000 people.

In an exclusive interview with The New Indian, Hagar Spiro-Tal, a Senior Diplomat, currently serving as the Political Advisor at the Israeli embassy in Delhi, shared insights on how Hamas is responsible for the suffering of innocent people, including children, through actions such as burning, raping, and killing, while using the Palestinian population as human shields to spread war crime. She also delved into the global security implications of the conflict, India’s diplomatic strategies in the region, and the potential roles of the US and the European Union (EU) in resolving the crisis.

Impact of Israel-Hamas War On Global Security:

Describing the Israel-Hamas war as a “murderous terrorist attack”, Spiro-Tal said, “This is not something new. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been attracting attention for many years. This is a brutal attack that Israel has never experienced before.”

She went on to characterise the Hamas-induced assault as a barbaric attack in which heinous acts were committed that are difficult to fathom in the 21st-century.

“The world is shocked by the cruelty and barbarism of terrorists that are burning children alive in front of their parents’ eyes, raping, and murdering innocent people. And these crimes committed were done in the name of an extreme and fanatical ideology that can endanger the entire world,” she said.

Highlighting its impact on global security and stability, she claimed that the terrorists are receiving support from Iran, a country seeking regional dominance and instability. The Western world, according to her, recognises the potential for this group, backed by external nations, to spark broader conflicts affecting various global regions.

Hamas Does Not Care About Palestine:

Since Hamas’s devastating attacks on October 7, Israel’s response has taken a significant toll on Gaza’s population. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, over 6,000 Gazans have lost their lives, and more than 17,000 have been injured due to Israel’s airstrikes.

This number may rise further if Israel proceeds with its anticipated ground invasion. Prominent Israeli officials, including President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset member Ariel Kallner, have advocated for a military campaign that encompasses all of Gaza.

However, while discussing the steps necessary to de-escalate the conflict and reach a lasting ceasefire agreement, Spiro-Tal said that Gaza is separate from the Palestinian Authority, and Israel has not been in Gaza since 2005.

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“There is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and there is Hamas. Gaza is currently a separate entity from the Palestinian Authority. They, by the way, barely speak to one another. Israel has not been to Gaza since 2005 and is not responsible for what is happening there.”

Highlighting that Hamas is responsible for the situation, she added, “Hamas is the party that bears responsibility for the place and should be held accountable for all the things going on there. And there have been several rounds of negotiations in the past with the Palestinians. Also, you know, this war was imposed on Israel. We thought we were doing the right thing before the attack.

The Israel-Palestine war commenced on October 7.

“We tried to help the Palestinians improve their economic situation, but Hamas does not care about the Palestinian citizens. It cynically uses them as a human shield and commits war crimes to gain more power and spread this dangerous ideology. Hamas calls for the annihilation of the state of Israel. We must remember that. Of course, there is no possibility of peace with this organisation and it is currently the one in charge of Gaza right now. Therefore, we are busy eliminating Hamas and we are doing everything in our power to prevent harm to innocent civilians.”

During the interview, she further highlighted that generous offers were rejected by the Palestinian side in the past and the UN partition plan was vetoed by Arab countries. Israel, according to her, desires peace and is willing to make sacrifices for it when conditions allow.

India, US’ Role In Finding Peaceful Resolution:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first world leaders to convey his backing for Israel on October 7, tweeting, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.”

US President Joe Biden also conveyed robust backing for Israel on Wednesday and cautioned that the nation should take all possible measures to safeguard civilians. Nevertheless, he mentioned that the casualties among civilians were ultimately the consequence of engaging in a conflict.

Speaking of the international support received by Israelis, she said, “The arrival of the US President shows that they understand the danger of terrorism and are interested in working together to fight it. Also, the Indian Prime Minister immediately condemned the atrocities and called to continue the common fight against terrorism. Therefore, we are grateful. Right now, what is needed is to eliminate Hamas, which continues to harm innocent people and escalate the situation.”

EU’s Stance:

European Union leaders plan to endorse a United Nations (UN) proposal for a “humanitarian pause” in the Israel-Hamas conflict. This pause aims to facilitate aid distribution in Gaza. While the EU grapples with how to support Israel’s efforts against the militant Hamas group while safeguarding civilians in the midst of the conflict, the 27 EU leaders are also expected to commit to collaborating closely with regional partners to enhance humanitarian relief initiatives. These details are based on draft conclusions for an upcoming leaders’ summit in Brussels.

Underscoring the European Union’s potential influence on resolving the crisis, she said that the EU has heavily criticised the abduction of babies, disabled people, the sick, and the elderly.  Efforts are being made to determine the most suitable and expedient method for the return of these abductees. Therefore, Israel is engaged in discussions with multiple European nations on this matter.

India-Israel Diplomatic Ties:

PM Modi’s response to the Israel-Hamas crisis was unequivocal. His statement of “expressing solidarity with Israel during this difficult time” was promptly endorsed and shared by Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar. This swift and supportive reaction was notably remarkable, considering that India, as recently as 1992, had no diplomatic relations with Israel. Modi’s statement underscores the significant progress in the India-Israel relationship. After gaining independence from British rule in 1947, Israel had expressed a strong desire to establish a close partnership with India for many years.

Deliberating the two country’s relationship, she said, “India and Israel are better than ever. The relations are very strong based strong, based on closeness, understanding, and cooperation in many fields that are only expanding. There are various initiatives that connect India with the Middle East to continue to strengthen special relations between our countries that also involve other parts of the world.

“Right now, Israel is concentrating on winning the war, but once things stabilise, we will be happy to continue promoting various initiatives related to the region to bring more stability. Israel seeks stability and makes efforts to strengthen it. The Abrahamic Courts, for example, is a right step towards this direction that shows the desire of countries to work together for a better region for us and for our future generations.”

Watch Full Interview Here:

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