Don’t just take one side, make an effort to see the complexity of the situation, underscored Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari in an exclusive interview to NDTV, adding that Hamas doesn’t care about human suffering at all whether they are Israelis or Palestinians as an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza looms.
Israel declared war on the Islamist group after waves of its fighters broke through the heavily fortified border on October 7, shooting, stabbing, and burning to death more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians. The country has likened the attack to its 9/11.
“This competition of suffering is not doing anybody any good but Hamas…Hamas just doesn’t care about human suffering at all whether Israelis or Palestinians. They don’t care about this world; they are willing to consign this world into flames. They believe that by doing that they will get everlasting bliss in another world,” the bestselling author told NDTV.
“This kind of religious fanaticism that we see with ISIS and now with Hamas is terrible for humanity,” he stressed.
Israel has responded with relentless bombing, killing around 2,750 people, the majority ordinary Palestinians, in the long-blockaded and impoverished Gaza Strip.
“There can’t be a victor in this competition of violence. All the horrible images that are circulating online, I would recommend you not to watch such horror. By watching, you’re doing what the terrorist wants. You are just feeding your mind with terrible hatred and fear. So, instead do something practical – by donating, by joining some peace initiatives,” said Mr Harari.
Talking about de-escalating the tensions and India’s role in it, the bestselling author of Sapiens said, “India is one of the most important world powers – it is a democracy; it is committed to democratic ideals but it has a good relation with these countries and Iran. So it can leverage this to de-escalate the conflict.”
“Anybody who has any ability, should rebuild order. The first step is to release all hostages. This is important not only in itself but because this will give hope and will perhaps be the first step towards peace,” he added.
The Israeli military on Monday raised the figure to 199 people confirmed to have been kidnapped by Hamas, adding it would refrain from striking two roads in the Gaza Strip marked for residents to move south and out of the way of a possible ground offensive.
Iran, which is accused of supporting Hamas, on Sunday warned that any Israeli ground offensive in the Gaza Strip could expand the scope of the conflict elsewhere in the Middle East. Western countries that support Israel have warned against a regional spillover of the conflict.
“It’s difficult but not impossible to wage war against Hamas while preserving the rights of civilians. Hamas has kept hostage not only Israelis but also many Palestinians. It is preventing civilians to leave, so that they can use them,” he said.
Some 9,700 people have also been injured as Israel continued its withering air campaign on targets in the Palestinian coastal enclave, the Hamas-controlled ministry added.