Friday

23rd Feb 2024

Opinion

Hamas' crimes against humanity 'evoke those of Islamic State'

  • 'As we stand at this crossroads, the support and unity between Israel and Europe are more critical than ever'
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Last Saturday (7 October), the people of Israel were confronted with an unimaginable horror. In the stillness of the night, under the cover of darkness, more than 1,500 terrorists infiltrated Israel's borders at multiple points, launching a coordinated and brutal attack on Israeli communities.

Simultaneously, rockets rained down from the skies, targeting innocent civilians from the south of the country to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

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  • The flag of Israel flies in solidarity from a town hall in Berlin on Wednesday (Photo: Matt Tempest)

This was not just an act of terror; it was an act of war, a cowardly and criminal war.

The terrorists had no regard to basic human values, they slaughtered babies, the elderly, mothers who were protecting their children with their bodies and youngsters at a rave party festival.

The terrorists left behind carnage, whole families erased, murdered in their beds, burned in their houses, decapitated and ravaged. Women were raped brutally and bleeding children were dragged by the terrorists to Gaza, to be held as hostages. The horror is unimaginable. They also had the audacity to film these horrors, and post them online — this is how many families found out about their loved ones.

These dreadful events are clearly war crimes and crimes against humanity.

They evoke for many the tragic pictures of the Islamic State's eradication of the Yazidis in the Sinjar area of northern Iraq in 2014. Isis and Hamas share indeed the same radical Islamic ideology, the same despise for human life and the same extremely violent and barbarous means to achieve their goals.

The magnitude of this attack cannot be overstated. More than 1,300 people have lost their lives, and over 3,000 have been wounded to varying degrees. Heart-wrenchingly, over 130 individuals are classified as missing or captives, kidnapped and taken to Gaza. These numbers continue to climb, leaving families in a state of unbearable uncertainty.

What makes this act of terror particularly chilling is that it did not arise in response to any legitimate grievances or provocations from Israel. It was an assault that came without warning, without reason. It is a stark reminder of the true nature of the terrorist organisations involved, chief among them, Hamas.

Hamas's actions reveal an alarming indifference to the well-being of its own people in Gaza.

In the pursuit of its objectives, it knowingly and deliberately used civilians as human shields, placing them in harm's way to further its brutal agenda. It is a stark contrast to the values of compassion, humanity, and respect for human life that we hold dear.

The terror attack also serves as a stark reminder that in the face of hatred and violence, Israel remains a nation committed to protecting its citizens. The nation's security forces are working tirelessly to regain control over its communities and borders, free hostages kidnapped to Gaza, and dismantle the infrastructure that enables such acts of terror.

This is not merely an Israeli struggle; it is a battle against the forces of terror that seek to undermine peace and stability in the region and indeed all over the world. The international community must stand united in condemning this terrorist attack and affirming Israel's right to self-defence. The message to those who enable and support terror must be unequivocal: such actions will not be tolerated.

West Bank and Lebanon

As we confront the shadow of terror, we call on the international community to make it unequivocally clear to states and terrorist organisations in the region that opening another front against Israel will be met with a severe response. The expansion of the arena of combat against Israel will not be tolerated.

Furthermore, Israel expects the international community to condemn this terrorist attack on its citizens and to affirm its right and obligation to defend its citizens and territory. Standing united against terror is not just a matter of principle; it is a necessity if we are to preserve the values of peace, security, and human dignity.

The world cannot let terrorism win.

Israel needs all the solidarity and moral support that it can get from Europe. These are not easy times, and this war will take time. The legitimacy to act in order to protect our citizen and territory is crucial as we fight for our right to live in security and peace. We urge the EU leadership employ every available means to facilitate the safe return of our hostages home.

Furthermore, we turn to our friends in the European Union to convey a resounding message to Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, urging them to abstain from further involvement in this war.

As we stand at this crossroads, the support and unity between Israel and Europe are more critical than ever. Ultimately, it is in moments of adversity that a nation's true character shines through.

The measure of a nation is not solely defined by the darkness it faces but also by the resilience it displays amidst the shadows, and Israel will prevail.

Author bio

Haim Regev is the ambassador of the Israeli Mission to the EU and Nato.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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