In the ongoing atrocities between Israel and Hamas, an old question has once again come to the fore: can you right a wrong with another wrong? Hamas was wrong in stealthily attacking Israel and killing a few hundred civilians but is it kosher for Israel to openly bomb the Gaza Strip which is controlled by Hamas, kill a few thousand civilians and destroy their city?

If UN resolutions are anything to go by, most of the world thinks it’s not okay. However, a small minority with muscle and money and a huge guilty conscience over the European atrocities against Jews over several centuries, thinks it is quite okay. The problem is that there appears to be none to stop either Israel or Hamas from trying to completely annihilate each other. Both sides say it’s a matter of survival, and therefore all means are justified. Into this visceral fight have stepped others with their own little axes to grind. No one seems to care about ordinary people in Gaza who are being subjected to inhuman bombing. India’s absention at the UN General Assembly vote calling for a ceasefire in Israel-Palestine, should not be interpreted to mean that it is indifferent to the situation in Gaza. However, it can play a proactive role in arresting the violence, while ensuring condemnation of terror.

The tragedy is that a solution has existed for three decades, namely, the creation of two countries, Israel and Palestine. But Israel is refusing to agree even though the others have. So without putting too fine a point on it, the time has come for the world to actually force Israel to accept the two state solution. Israel is in an uncontrollable rage and behaving without regard to human life. Such behaviour requires the self-styled “international community” to compel it to immediately stop bombing civilians in Gaza and then accept the two state solution. Successive American governments are as culpable as Israel. True, they have tried to bring peace to the Middle East, but with Israel they have been very indulgent. It’s high time that the US read out the riot book to Israel. Defending your country against insane acts of terror is one thing. Bombing civilians mercilessly is another.

The US is itself on very weak moral ground, as the world has seen in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s and in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s. Nor is any other western country much better. From Russia in the east to the US in the west, they have behaved exactly like Israel. It was England that set the precedent 200 years ago! In 1847, the house of a diplomat Don Pacifico, a Portuguese who was a British subject, was burned down in Greece. Lord Palmerston, Britain’s foreign secretary at that time, actually sent a naval fleet in 1850 to blockade Greece and teach it a lesson that “it would never forget”. For the West since then, that’s been the template: military muscle is what counts and morality is for the weak.