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12° Nicosia,
20 June, 2024
 
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Allies of Israel or igniting the refugee crisis?

Unveiling the hidden agendas in the Middle East

Opinion

Opinion

By Koula Stylianou

Our neighbors in the East are experiencing heightened tensions. They are known for their passionate and argumentative nature. We share a border with them. Although we in the South enjoy some degree of freedom, we look longingly toward the North, which remains under oppression.

The recent attack by the Hamas terrorist organization on October 7th and its brutal actions have significantly challenged the Israeli army's confidence. According to Gideon Levy, a columnist for Israeli Haaretz, during the Hamas attack, 'the Israeli army was notably absent.

It was preoccupied with activities it has been engaged in for several years, like pursuing individuals, including innocent children and civilians, away from checkpoints and protecting illegal settlements. When the army is occupied with such matters, it struggles to confront real threats.'

In Gaza, October brought a torrent of destruction. Hospitals and schools were bombarded with deadly rockets, while evacuation orders and threats of elimination hung in the air. The international community watched closely as an angered Netanyahu and his far-right ministers expressed their willingness to launch a ground assault on Gaza.

Politicians in Greece and Cyprus chanted "Israel's right to self-defense," and the Greek Parliament building was even illuminated in the colors of the Israeli flag. Similarly, in Nicosia, the Israeli flag flew proudly outside the Foreign Ministry as a symbol of solidarity with our "strategic partner" Israel, as stated in an official announcement.

Bloodshed has persisted in Gaza for years. Our Eastern neighbors, however, have their blood boiling. We share borders with them. Partially occupied and refugees in the free South due to the Turkish invasion, we proudly stand by our "strategic partner" Israel, essentially endorsing Israel's right to maintain a siege on two million trapped Palestinians, subjecting them to a dire existence.

It's disheartening how easily we equate all Palestinians with the criminal actions of Hamas. How quickly we rush to support the narrative of the internationally recognized State of Israel, using Hamas's actions to whitewash its own crimes, such as the detention of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners without trial and the rejection of diplomatic solutions that could bring lasting peace to the region.

The Gaza Strip has become a battleground, where human life is as fragile as a piece of bubble gum. As long as the Palestinians are left to their own devices, and the international community looks away, they will cling to their only lifeline, even if it's the criminal Hamas.

It's important to note that Hamas doesn't represent all Palestinians. While it might be comforting to support Israel as a strategic partner and hold the Palestinians accountable, Greece and Cyprus must consider the consequences of this hasty decision.

Are we prepared to handle a new wave of refugees if neighboring Palestinians choose a heroic exit? We know about Mesolongi and sieges. When faced with a slow death, exodus becomes the only option.

It's freedom or death. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to advocate for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state that could offer its people a better quality of life instead of rushing to defend the far-right Netanyahu government that threatens to level Gaza?

Our Eastern neighbors are witnessing bloodshed, and from blood, only instincts and extreme emotions can emerge. Perhaps we are not so different.

Your neighbor can be a reflection of who you are. In a hot-blooded neighborhood, any event, even a minor one, can spark conflict. The unpredictability of war leaves no room for simplistic equations, such as labeling all Palestinians as Hamas or portraying Israel solely as the victim.

The Palestinians in Gaza have the right to not only survive but also to live a life of quality. We cannot turn a blind eye.

As Seferis aptly put it, 'each one separately dreams and does not listen to the noise of others,' but the intense and explosive atmosphere in our neighboring land doesn't bode well for peaceful days.

Ms. Koula Stylianou is a philologist.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Gaza  |  Israel  |  war

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