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Gaza atrocities make Christmas sombre

Published : Wednesday, 27 December, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 340

Jesus Christ had sacrificed his life for peace but now it has been shattered by the Israeli forces even in his birth place of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, breaking all norms of war ethics in the face of global criticisms and pressure.

This year the city of Bethlehem wears a sombre look where the normally jubilant Christmas celebrations have turned solemn at best and shocking at worse.

Instead, in the centre of the city, a huge Palestinian flag was unfolded with a banner declaring that "The bells of Bethlehem ring for a ceasefire in Gaza" as the town has done away with its giant Christmas tree, marching bands and flamboyant nativity scene that normally draw tons of tourists from across the world.

Even though in his Christmas remarks, Pope Francis dubbed Palestinian children being killed in Gaza "little Jesuses of today," the Gaza city was marked by some of the most intense bombardments in the current round of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian armed group of Hamas with Israeli strikes demolishing buildings and leaving families trapped beneath piles of rubble.

As a result of Israels intensified assault on the Gaza Strip, more than 100 people were killed at the Maghazi refugee camp alone on Monday. But Palestinian authorities claimed that over 250 people died in a wave of Israeli strikes over the past 24 hours.

After all the hell broke loose in Gaza, West Bank and other cities, at least 20,400 Palestinians have lost their lives and over 60,000 been maimed and defaced so far by Israeli relentless air strikes that have displaced nearly 2.3 million people too.

On the Israeli side, more than 156 soldiers have been killed since the ground offensive began which was prompted when Hamas-led militants stormed southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing over 1,200 Israelis and taking around 240 hostages.

Despite massive casualties on both sides, nothing has made the Israeli government budge from its inhuman aggression. It is as though the world community has been impelled to watch the innocent Palestinians die mercilessly at the hands of barbaric Israelis with its hands folded.

Amidst on-going escalation of Israeli offensive, Egypt has put forward an ambitious proposal to end the Gaza war with a cease-fire. It underscores a phased hostage release and the creation of a Palestinian government of experts who would administer the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank.

The proposal that calls for an initial truce of up to two weeks during which Palestinian militants would free 40 to 50 hostages in return for the release of 120-150 Palestinians from Israeli prisons has been presented to Israel, Hamas, the United States and European governments.

We are hopeful that the latest Egyptian attempt for an armistice in Palestine would take effect as soon as possible.  

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