Gaza: The second wave of genocide

By Dr Aqel Taqaz

After several days of ceasefire, Israel again embarked upon its campaign of wanton killing and destruction.  This followed yet the latest visit to the region by US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, underlining for anyone somehow still under doubt that the US is most certainly an accomplice to this genocide being perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces against the wholly innocent people of Gaza, undertaken of course with an arsenal of US state-of-the-art weaponry, military technology, and intelligence.

The second wave of this onslaught is bloodier than the one already unleashed upon the Gazan people, particularly in the north of the Gaza Strip, but has the same objective – to kill as many Palestinians as possible and corral them into the south of the territory.  At the same time as giving their “assurances” that these areas will be safe, the Israelis nevertheless pulverise them and even target those fleeing while they are en route, ratcheting up the pressure on neighbouring Egypt to open its borders.  Israel continues to insist that Palestinians leave their homes for what are, at best, the crowded makeshift camps of the south where potable water, food, and basic amenities are severely lacking – and where the inhabitants are still vulnerable to the unrelenting bombardment by the Israeli occupation forces.

Israel now talks about creating a “buffer” or “security” zone in the north of the Gaza Strip, which if successful could be replicated in the occupied West Bank which has also continuously been the target of aggression and brutality from out of control and armed to the teeth illegal settlers openly backed by the Israeli occupation forces.  This has resulted in the arbitrary arrest and murder of scores of innocent Palestinian civilians, the intensification of the blockade which now covers the entirety of the occupied territories, the destruction of businesses and livelihoods, and the demolishing of homes throughout the occupied West Bank as well as occupied East Jerusalem. 

Of course, this bloody wave and the intensity of the current violence largely represents the overboiling frustration on the part of Israel, and its backers in Washington, at its resounding failure after 50 days of relentless aggression to achieve any of the objectives announced at the beginning of its campaign before embarking upon one of genocide, not to mention the huge losses suffered by the supposedly infallible Israeli occupation forces and war machine – over which Israel, the West, and the mainstream media remain mostly silent.  Israel has succeeded only in raining death upon an already destitute and beleaguered civilian population, the majority of them women and children, and destruction upon their homes and basic civic infrastructure – including schools, hospitals, medical facilities, and public service providers.    

Silence is a crime!

From the other side, we behold the bizarre position adopted by the so-called “international community” especially in the UN Security Council, which has remained unable to issue any resolution or demand that would bring about a ceasefire and an end to this murderous aggression that is not only a flagrant violation of international law, norms, and protocols, but which seriously threatens the peace and stability of the wider region and world.

Of course, we do not labour under any mis-illusion that Israel, backed by the US, NATO, EU, and others would respect let alone implement any resolution or measure that somehow gets passed – just as it has not throughout the past 75 years since its foundation or that of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

However, the “international community”, particularly in the West, should not delude itself with the pretense that it is the upholder of supreme moral standards and a rules-based order.  For it is deeply complicit in the crimes being committed against the Palestinian people before the eyes of the world.  In fact, there is a growing danger that its [the UN] standing and mandate is being consciously and fatally undermined – with unilateralism and unaccountability being the orders of the day instead.

It is surely not lost on any seasoned observer the double standards explicit in the differing positions adopted by the majority of international organisations, dominated by the US, towards the cases of Gaza and Ukraine.  And recently, we have even witnessed the spectacle of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres being denounced and told to step down by Israel merely for expressing his concern about the unfolding situation in Gaza and insistence upon the upholding of international law.

The other partner in this crime is the official positions and stances of several Arab governments who refuse to heed the demands of the populations in the countries they rule for aid and assistance to the people of Palestine in the form of water, food, medicine, and fuel – who in fact go as far as preventing their populations from expressing solidarity with their counterparts in Palestine who are instead left to await their fate in the coming hours and days.  US pressure on these governments is also a major factor in this regard.

Both Israel and the US have a deserved notoriety for their crimes against humanity in the course of contemporary history – the US from its nuclear attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, through Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon, and Syria; and Israel from its massacre in Deir Yassin in 1948, through Qibya, Kafr Qasim, Sabra and Shatila, Jenin, Qana, and now Gaza.  It is clear that the lives lost in the course of these crimes are of little concern or consequence to Washington or Tel Aviv.

NATO and the EU countries confound this problem through their unfettered support of Israel, politically through their insistence on Israel’s right to “self-defence”, and economically and materially through billions’ worth of assistance and modern weaponry.  This is despite the millions of people that have taken to the streets in these countries demanding an immediate end to the genocide in Palestine.

What Now?

We still believe that the UN Security Council, the big powers (especially the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation), as well as certain Arab governments (such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia) can and must deliver on their obligation to bring an end to this criminal massacre of the Palestinian people and immediately work to set in motion an international conference, with the participation of all sides, to bring about a binding and comprehensive political settlement of the Palestinian issue based upon the implementation of the various relevant UN resolutions – and not their renegotiation – pursuant to the end of the criminal occupation of Palestinian territory and the establishing of an independent and fully sovereign Palestinian state governing within the borders as they stood on 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, the right of return for all Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN Resolution 194, and the release of all Palestinian political prisoners from Israeli gaols.

It must be re-emphasised that the continuation of the current state of affairs threatens the peace and stability not only of the whole Middle East region, but beyond it as well. It is no exaggeration to state that this could not only lead to a disastrous much wider conflagration, but another World War.

We applaud and warmly welcome the principled campaign of international solidarity with the Palestinian people and the pressure brought to bear on the US to rein in Israel and stop this genocide. Indeed, we call for the continuation and intensification of this campaign of solidarity and pressure.

Dr Aqel Taqaz is Secretary of the Palestinian Council for Peace and Solidarity, and co-ordinator for international relations of the Palestinian People’s Party and a member of the secretariat of the World Peace Council.

Join Liberation’s webinar on December 11 at 5.30pm “End the war on Palestine! Living in peace is a human right!” With Ben Chacko, Morning Star editor, Dr Aqel Taqaz, secretary of Palestinian Committee for Peace and Solidarity, Dr Ofer Cassif, Hadash Knesset member, Louise Regan, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and chair of international committee of the NEU, and Jeremy Corbyn MP. Baroness Christine Blower will chair. Register

Photo: Creative Commons

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap