by Raffaele Crocco

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani’s words highlighted the world’s ambivalence towards the Gaza tragedy. He suggested that Israel should respond proportionately to the Hamas attack on 7 October, stressing the need to minimise civilian casualties. That implies a certain tolerance for military action.

It is a war without quarters and mercy. It is important to remember that this is not a defensive war, fought to protect Israel’s right to exist, despite the fierce Israeli propaganda supported by many European mass media. No neighbouring country now questions this right, which was confirmed in the four bloody Arab-Israeli wars between 1948 and 1973.

Since then, through peace treaties and agreements, Israel’s existence has been accepted and guaranteed. Not by Hamas, that is true. But Hamas is not Palestine and it is not the Islamic world. That is why this massacre, now four months old, has its antecedents not in the wars fought for its existence, but in the military actions that have periodically struck Gaza since it became fully Palestinian again in 2006.

In March 2008, it was ‘Operation Hot Winter’, in which Israeli ground troops invaded the territory. On 27 December of the same year, ‘Cast Lead’ was launched, with air strikes targeting Hamas positions. In 2014, it was ‘Operation Protective Edge’, a military campaign that lasted from 8 July to 26 August and left at least 2,220 Palestinians dead, including 551 children and 299 women.

If we’re telling the truth, we shouldn’t start the conflict from the actions of Hamas on October 7, 2023, but from the desire of some Israelis, a parliamentary majority that may have formed over time, but which doesn’t represent the majority of the population. This faction aimed to expel the Palestinians from the territory and erase all traces of their presence. The assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, carried out by an ultra-orthodox Jew who opposed the ‘two states, two peoples’ agreement with Yasser Arafat, is evidence of this intention.

If we want to avoid an escalation of the war, as Italian Foreign Minister Tajani and other European ministers have said, we must tell it like it is, in full respect of international law. Otherwise, how can we explain our support for Ukraine, which is defending its territories illegally occupied by Russia? This question is at the heart of the global clash between ‘pro-American’ and emerging ‘alternative’ countries, led by China and supported by the BRICS nations.

Amidst a lack of law and order and coherence, the conflict in Ukraine, an important arena in the global struggle, persists more than two years after the Russian invasion. Despite a virtual stalemate on the front line, the victims continue to be mostly civilians. They include Russians targeted by Ukrainian drones in a shopping centre in Belgorod. The verified death toll stands at six, adding to the extensive list of casualties in this war, which is likely to exceed 600,000 deaths, including both military and civilian losses.

A bloodbath with no end in sight, and an economic disaster that will create endless injustice. The World Bank has calculated that rebuilding the country will cost at least 453 billion euros – a bloodletting that will enrich a few, but for which we will all pay.