Gaza may become another Vietnam, writes Justice Katju

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Gaza may become another Vietnam

Gaza may become another Vietnam, writes Justice Katju
Gaza may become another Vietnam, writes Justice Katju
Gaza may become another Vietnam

By Justice Markandey Katju

News has come of a hospital in Gaza being hit by an Israeli missile killing 500 persons, including sick and wounded patients, and hospital staff.
This reminds one of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, of Vietnamese children being burnt by Napalm, use of agent orange, and other horrors in the Vietnam war

It is true that the hostilties began when Hamas fighters crossed over from Gaza into Israel on October 7th, and attacked and killed many Israelis, including civilians.

However, we must go deeper into the issue, and see the background, as mentioned in these articles :
Many people have maligned the people living in Gaza, calling them savages, animals and what not. They forget that Gaza has been imprisoned for 17 years, its people treated like sub humans, often denied food, water and electricity. About 60% of its people are unemployed.

Illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank have added fuel to the fire.

Now we have a situation which reminds one of the Vietnam War. This is because the current hostilities in the region are very different from earlier ones, in which the Israelis beat the hell out of the Palestinians with impunity.

The reason I say this is because people may suffer atrocities and have pent-up grievances for long, but without arms, they can do little resistance or opposition.

The Vietnamese people could fight the French, and then the Americans, because they were getting weapons on a large scale from China and the Soviet Union. Of course the Vietnamese were brave people, but bravery is not enough when confronted by a heavily armed foe. One also needs modern weapons.

It is true that earlier too Hamas had fired rockets on Israel, which means that earlier too Hamas was getting some weapons from some foreign power having modern technology, and these weapons were not locally manufactured. But this supply of weapons to Hamas was on a relatively small scale

But the latest attack by Hamas is on a much larger scale, inflicting much greater casualties on Israel. How does one explain this ? I have tried to explain it in the article below :

So now Hamas is getting modern weapons on a much bigger scale than ever before, since the super powers ( USA and Europe on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other ) have their own scores to settle, and are using proxies.

It must be understood that Hamas, which controls Gaza, is not just a group of fighters. They are also a political and administrative body, which runs social welfare programmes in Gaza, and it has overwhelming support of the people of Gaza, who are fed up of being treated like dogs, and look upon Hamas as their saviours.

Gaza is a tiny strip of land, 25 miles long and 7 miles wide, densely populated with about 2.2 million inhabitants
Israel is much larger, both in size and population, than Gaza. But America was much larger, both in population and territory, than Vietnam, and yet the Vietnamese defeated the Americans. This was for 2 reasons (1) they were fighting for a just cause (2) they were getting weapons from China and the Soviet Union.

Hamas is fighting for a just cause for long. Now it is also getting modern weapons from foreign powers on a large scale.

Israel will not now be fighting a 6 day war as in 1967.It is now in for the long haul, like the Americans in Vietnam.

The Hamas attack on 7th October came like theTet Offensive in Vietnam in January 1968, taking the foe and its intelligence completely by surprise.

Realising the gravity of the situation US President Biden is now headed for Israel

This is because his concern would be that as in Vietnam, America will have to foot the bill of a long war, which it can little afford considering its own economic plight. The belligerent hawk and jingoist Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to get a dressing down, and asked to pipe down.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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