Protests around the world against the retaliatory Israeli bombardment of Gaza, which has taken more than 10,000 lives now, reveal the agony and anger felt by thousands over the heavy price being paid by Palestinian civilians for the terrorist attack on Israel that was carried out by the militant group Hamas on Oct 7. Rampaging Hamas attackers had killed 1,400 people and taken around 200 hostages. Israel responded by launching an air offensive, which continues, and then a ground offensive, which has just begun, against the heavily populated Palestinian enclave. As the number of Palestinian fatalities continues to keep far outstripping the number of Israeli innocents who were slaughtered, public opinion in many parts of the world is calling for an end to the deaths and suffering of Palestinians. Protests in the Middle East have spread to demonstrations and solidarity marches in New York, London, Berlin, Paris, Istanbul, Lahore, New Delhi, Dhaka, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, among many other cities.
Clearly, the Israel-Hamas war is no longer a Middle Eastern problem. It has turned into a global issue, one in which many Muslims and other supporters of the Palestinian cause are voicing their opposition to Israel’s actions. To the extent that they wish to further the humanitarian interests of besieged Gazans, and so long as protests do not threaten public order, this opposition attests to the need for a proportionate Israeli response even to the enormity of the Hamas attack. Humans cannot but respond instinctively when innocent Palestinian civilians, particularly children, die in air strikes that flatten entire neighbourhoods into anonymous rubble.
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