Fifty years ago, Saudi Arabia’s Late King Faisal complained about the biased World’s conscience when it comes to the systematic oppression in Palestine. Fast forward half a century and the unrelenting brutality witnessed in Gaza again underscores the troubling reality that his question remains unanswered.
Netanyahu’s ‘war cabinet,’ responsible for the response to Hamas’ ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ operation, has rapidly metamorphosed into a crime machine against humanity, further compounded by the international community’s complicity, endorsement, and silence.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that the number of casualties in Gaza is increasing per minute. Recently, more than 500 innocent civilians were killed in the attack on Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza. Israel, attempting to distort the events with fake video content, conflicting statements, and deleted tweets once again demonstrated its lawlessness.
The harsh truth is that more than 2.3 million Palestinians are being consigned to a fate sealed in the open-air prison they have been subjected to for years. With the cut of electricity and water supply and the lamentable refusal of humanitarian aid, this plight unfolds before the World’s eyes. Even the Rafah Border Crossing that connects Gaza with Egypt, the sole passage for humanitarian assistance, has come under airstrikes by Israel. Israel’s demand for a rapid evacuation of approximately 1.1 million Palestinians to Gaza’s southern parts in just 24 hours is a logistical nightmare. It is hard to ignore the suspicion that this move could be a deliberate attempt to create a mass exodus, a modern-day Nakba.
Amidst all of this, it is essential not to forget other partners in crime: silence, double standards, and prejudice. Rest assured, guilt lies not solely with one actor because this is an organised crime. Let us not forget that the US and its European allies are the ones funding this ongoing genocide and enabling it.
In earnest, while some pundits still sing the praise of international organisations, most observers from the Global South have lost faith in these bodies, as they rarely acknowledge the root causes for what is happening or reference the history of Israel’s oppression and violence against Palestinian people. And when they do, they are toothless, merely designed to recycle complaints and petitions, and rarely walking the talk. The talk of written and unwritten rules marketed as liberal values is nothing but a mirage. Claims have frequently been made that the phosphorus bomb categorised as ‘arms viewed with horror’ in a 1972 UN General Assembly resolution are still being used to target civilians in Gaza today, resulting in hundreds of cases of suffocation. With a history of using illegal weaponry, the Israeli army is not new to such a concept, and it is only the scale and barbarity of Tsahal’s onslaught on Gaza that is different, whose level of mass murder has reached unprecedented heights. Meanwhile, Israeli leaders boast about these war crimes on social media.
We should never forget the double standards of Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission. Last year, she labelled the Russian attacks on Ukraine’s power plants a war crime, describing it as ‘pure terror.’ However, she fully supported Tsahal’s criminal targeting of the electricity and water in Gaza, which affects more than 2 million Palestinians. It was refreshing to see Claire Daly, Member of the European Parliament from Ireland, expressing her opposition to Von der Leyen, showing that she is in no position to make such statements, as she is not elected and has no such remit.
It must not be overlooked how the European leaders fuelled Netanyahu’s confidence and legitimised his crimes, as they proudly decorated public buildings and monuments like Brandenburg Gate and Eiffel Tower with Israeli flags and offered endless expressions of support under the pretext of self-defence. Home Secretary Suella Braverman went to the extent of stating that waving Palestinian flags could be banned if deemed to support terrorism. Braverman, who has been making several preposterous comments about immigration, now equates Hamas with Palestine. This widespread hubris in these capitals has undoubtedly enabled the perpetration of more crimes against humanity. Indifference is already bad, but explicit support takes complicity to an entirely different level.
For the US decision-makers, who like to see themselves as the defenders of freedom and the World’s exporter of values, unconditional support for Israel is a non-negotiable red line.
In the face of all this, one of Washington’s reactions is to deter the alleged Iranian intervention with the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, even though the claims remain unsubstantiated and the US intelligence community was quick to issue preliminary assessments that dispel allegations about Iran’s involvement. The second aircraft carrier has set sail from the big brother, and in a short time, it anchors off the coast of Israel. Besides being a signal of traditional American protection, the fact that British maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft have also set sail raises questions about whether this is in support of the IDF, deterring the non-existent Iranian threat factor, or if it serves an entirely different purpose.
IDF announced that they would target Al Awda Hospital and gave a 24-hour ultimatum for the evacuation of patients. Subsequently, a revised deadline of 6 AM was proposed. What a benevolence! Yet, simultaneously, Mr Blinken visited Tel Aviv, where he bestowed upon Israel the designation of a steadfast friend, a gesture rooted in its standing as a democracy that ardently upholds international law and the principles of humanitarianism. The league of respected democracies…
Meanwhile, the tragic situation in Gaza is undoubtedly depleting the minimal trust that had previously existed among the rational members of the international community towards the United Nations and its bodies. For Western nations that do not hesitate to alter their strategic stance against many countries under the pretext of crimes against humanity when convenient, the gatherings and resolutions of international bodies are nothing more than recommendations. However, these atrocities signal not only the disappearance of even a temporary sense of unity within the international system, particularly around the UN but also a shift in the quest for a just solution towards regional initiatives and individual countries.
While this happens rapidly on the world stage, time in Gaza is excruciatingly slow. For the international community, it is rich to continue advocating a ‘liberal’ ethos while applauding this mass murder.
This article originally appeared in the opinion section of the website Middle East Monitor.