The aerial blitz by Israeli defence forces (IDF) which began on December 27 against hapless Palestinians continues unabated. In a week-long savage attack, more than 400 Palestinians, including 113 women and 42 children, have died. Those injured are in the thousands. The world remains a silent spectator to this savagery. Some Western leaders have issued pro forma appeals for a ceasefire to be rejected by Israel with disdain. In pursuance of its vicious policy of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert has maintained that these attacks are "the first of several stages approved by the security cabinet." Israel's brutal policies of genocide have received direct endorsement and encouragement by the US and EU. US President Bush, in a blatant show of uncritical support to Israel, has held Hamas responsible - "Hamas's continued rocket attacks into Israel must cease if the violence is to stop. Hamas must end its terrorist activities if it wishes to play a role in the future of the Palestinian people." The official EU statement also merely expressed "concern at the events in Gaza." The statement did not carry any condemnation and reference to Israeli brutality to Palestinians. Neither of these statements referred to Israel by name nor condemned the carnage unleashed by IDF and the continued spree of killings and mayhem. The UNSC meeting on December 28 also refrained from blaming Israel for the massacre of Palestinians in its joint statement. Two days later, the Security Council met in a formal session, at the insistence of some members. As expected, the resolution was vetoed by the US and UK. Israel, since its creation, has defied 69 UNSC resolutions and another 30 have been vetoed by the US. Besides the obvious tilt and bias in favour of Tel Aviv, the US media, as also the West, seldom go into the origin of the violence. In the situation under reference, unilateral decree has been issued. The current attacks are interpreted as Israel's right of self-defence. Some rockets fired from Gaza killed one Israeli and provided IDF the justification for its collective punishment and destruction of Palestinian homes. Gaza is a tiny strip of land, between Egypt and Israel, with 1.5 million inhabitants. Hamas, after its overwhelming victory in the general elections held in early 2006, took over the reigns of government in Gaza. Israel and the US declined to acknowledge Hamas' mandate, dubbing it a terrorist organisation and hence, not a negotiating partner for the settlement of the Palestinian issue. Both also manoeuvred a civil war among the Palestinian factions. Finally, PLO, led by its president, Mahmoud Abbas, lost to Hamas and withdrew from Gaza. Egypt eventually succeeded in brokering a ceasefire between Hamas and the PLO. Later, it also arranged a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel last year, expiring on December 19. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but has retained complete control of Gaza by sea, air and land. During the ceasefire period, Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza. The Palestinians were not allowed to cross into the West Bank or Egypt through the Rafah exit. The blockade had a debilitating effect on the daily life of Gazans. Essential food supplies, fuel, electricity and water have been periodically denied to the population of 1.5 million, seriously impoverishing their precarious existence. A recent UNWRA report mentions that as a result of Israel's comprehensive economic siege, Palestinians have been forced to scavenge from rubbish dumps. These inhuman policies of economic strangulation have rendered the ceasefire meaningless. Gaza represented a kind of concentration camp, with all restrictions on movements and denial of contact with the outside world. The truce of June 2008 included provisions for ending the embargo. Israel did not observe these terms either. In view of this situation, Hamas decided not to renew the ceasefire on its expiry and decided to retaliate IDF forays in Gaza with firing rockets into Israeli towns, killing one Israeli. This episode was considered grave enough for Israel to retaliate in full measure. Till date, more than 400 Palestinians have been killed in IDF attacks as against 4 Israelis killed by homemade Hamas rockets. The current Israeli offensive began after a visit by Foreign Minister Livni to Cairo on December 25 where she met President Mubarak. In a press conference in Cairo, Livni vowed to strike at Hamas, declaring that Israel "will not take this situation any longer," creating the impression that the Israeli onslaught has Egyptian approval. Egypt's refusal to open the Rafah border for the Gazans, even for medical reasons, made them bitter and hostile. Mubarak has been accused of complicity with Israel. Israeli attacks against Gaza have led to anger and outrage across the Arab world. The protests and demonstrations in Cairo have been particularly emotionally-charged. Mubarak, during the thirty years of his autocratic rule, has not allowed any opposition to, or criticism of, his policies, domestic or external. According to a State Department Human Rights report, Egypt has more than 10,000 political prisoners and human rights activists languishing in prison for years, without any charge or trial. It is, therefore, highly significant that Cairo protestors were carrying banners declaring that "Mubarak and Livni have agreed on the genocide of the Palestinian people." The protestors also raised anti-Mubarak slogans - an unprecedented scene. The ongoing massacre and criminal silence of the world and the OIC in the face of such savagery is bound to radicalise the Arab masses. Hamas leader Khalid Mashal has already spoken of the possibility of an Intifada-III. A Saudi cleric, Sheikh Awad Al-Qarni, has issued a fatwa declaring Israelis everywhere a legitimate target for killing. The OIC, as spokesperson of the Muslim world, has remained quiet and moribund, and its Jeddah Declaration of January 3 will only evoke derision, for its banal text. President-elect Obama has maintained studious silence but his "unshakeable commitment to Israel's security" inspires little hope of any significant change in the US position. In the present crisis, Hamas may be facing Israel alone but as the Palestinians have demonstrated, their spirit of resistance shall not break and eventually, will prevail over all odds. Pakistan during Musharraf's reign kept itself aloof from the Palestine problem, and much to the disappointment of Arabs, made contacts with Jewish leaders in America. Foreign Minister Kasuri also met with his Israeli counterpart in Istanbul. Consistent and substantive support to the Palestinian cause has been the cardinal principle of Pakistan's foreign policy. The Zardari government must correct the course and direction of our policy to regain our coveted niche in Arab hearts. Palestinians should not be left alone in this critical moment of their national crisis. In this regard, Zardari must join the initiative by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan for an immediate ceasefire and end to the blockade of Gaza. The writer is a former ambassador