Leading global powers – aka Israel’s sponsors: the US, UK, EU, Canada – who are also the self-proclaimed champions of universal values and who Netanyahu described as “forces of civilisation”, have normalized genocidal violence against the Palestinians.
The Abraham Accords are part of the same erasing of Palestinian pain and injustice; the favours and profits that accrue from such normalization are built on the mounting graves of Palestinian children. In the present round of violence, reportedly, every eight minutes a Palestinian child is killed, many more are orphaned, widowed and maimed permanently.
The Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917 provided the licence to rob Palestinian lands. Since then, Palestinians have been surviving under a brutal occupation variously condemned by the UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem for crimes against humanity. In the background of a chimeric peace process, dispossessed of over 80 per cent of historical Palestine, Palestinians are imprisoned in small ‘enclaves’ such as Gaza, described by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as “hell on earth”, with no recognition of any meaningful dignity or right to self-defence.
Evidently, Palestinian lives and suffering are not the same as Israeli or Ukrainian lives. And since there is no equivalence between Palestinian and Israeli lives, there are no human rights and no need for proportionality when dealing with “human animals” as described by Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant. In the same vein, Netanyahu described Palestinian children as the “children of darkness”.
Supported by its allies, Israel is ensured complete impunity to perpetrate war crimes at will to contain these subhuman “savages” as they put it. Writing in the Guardian Chris McGreal, ‘The language being used to describe Palestinians is genocidal’ (October 16), cites the prominent Israeli journalist and radio presenter, David Mizrahy Verthaim: “We need a disproportionate response … Violate any norm, on the way to victory”.
For those at the receiving end of this dehumanizing and genocidal language, the intent and consequences are fatal.
As of November 8, 2023, over 10,492 Palestinians – more than half of them women and children – have been killed and over 26,000 civilians injured. Hospitals, schools, places of worship and ambulances have been bombed – veritable war crimes. Preventing aid getting to the 2.3 million Palestinians, starving them of food, water and power is again a war crime. As Daniel Levy, the former Israeli peace negotiator, decried, Israel’s deliberate targeting of innocent Palestinian civilians is also a war crime. By ‘endorsing’ the collective punishment and these other crimes, Biden and his allies ‘veto’ Israel from international law requirements and restraints – effectively, delivering a “warrant for genocide” as put by Israeli-British historian Avi Shlaim.
During 2008-2020, Israel killed and injured 120,286 Palestinians as against 5,887 Israelis killed or injured (Statistica). There is no equivalence or equality of arms; as Gideon Levy observed, “there is no symmetry … there is no Israeli-Palestinian conflict … there is a brutal Israeli occupation …” (June 2016). During the same period, supported by Western terror financing, conveniently ignored by the FATF, the number of illegal settlers has mushroomed from about 200,000 in 2008 to over 700,000 in 2023 (UN) rendering the two-state solution an unlikely option.
Whilst enduring ethnic cleansing from their ancestral lands, the hasbara-informed media narratives propagate Palestinian resistance as cruel ‘unprovoked’ aggression against Jews rather than occupying Zionists, disingenuously conflating religion and political ideology as antisemitism. By erasing the essential history and context, and silencing people long resisting to survive the Zionist occupation and its violence, official narratives systematically dehumanize and delegitimize Palestinian pain and resistance, manufacturing narratives that ‘privilege’ Israel as a perpetual victim whilst whitewashing its atrocities.
Israel has unmasked the West’s precious pretence to global moral leadership, laying bare the hypocrisy when it comes to universal values including human rights, international rule of law, democracy and fairness. The double standards are stark – occupation in Ukraine is a war crime but not in Palestine or Kashmir. Israeli supporters are hemorrhaging goodwill and credibility in the international community, and at home, they are having to quell growing protests confronting the blatant double standards.
Global outrage has also exposed the Muslim world’s posturing. While the Muslim Street is united and deeply agitated, with a few exceptions, Muslim leaders and governments’ response has been embarrassingly disappointing, lacking moral courage to confront Israeli criminality and stand with the Palestinians meaningfully. Many rightly question why, if Biden, Blinken, Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen and others can rush to declare their unshakeable solidarity with Israeli aggression, providing massive military aid, can’t Muslim leaders empathise equally with Palestinian killings and pain? Are there no moral or legal red lines for Palestinian pain and suffering?
At the very least, the Muslim bloc could resist the West’s efforts to delegitimize Palestinian grievances, representatives, and their legal right to defend and resist. It took a blogger, Muhammad Hijab, interviewed on British television, to insist that, as a matter of international law, an occupier is an aggressor, and as such, does not have a right to self-defence. And only recently did Erdogan challenge the pro-Israel narrative by insisting that Palestinian resistance is legitimate.
Why can Muslim countries not match the actions of other governments such as South Africa, Bolivia, Chile and Columbia, which have suspended relations with Israel? Or support Spain’s call for bringing Netanyahu before the International Criminal Court on war crime charges? Why can economic and financial sanctions not be imposed on genocide perpetrators and collaborators? Why can the OIC bloc not ditch the dollar and trade in their local currencies? Support the BDS movement? There must be political accountability for this failure to act.
Had such actions been taken in time, Israel may not have been able to consolidate its brutal occupation and inflict such vicious aggression, and the peace process may have been more promising.
With the UN struggling and some governments unwilling, ultimately society must assert its humanity and compassion and take responsibility for doing what is right and just. The last refuge is the conscience of the global citizenry. Just as protests in the West are challenging their government policies, the ummah must also confront the ambivalence in its ranks. The OIC and the Arab League are not fit for purpose – they have not been able to provide any meaningful collective response to incidents of grotesque violence over the last many decades. Inconsequential criticism without a demand for accountability alongside some countries strengthening ties with Israel reveal a complicity in the slaughter and destruction happening before our very eyes.
To uphold international rule of law, there must be legal and political accountability for genocide perpetrators and sympathizers. Global and local civil society and personalities must speak out much louder and connect across borders and boundaries with those calling for genuine international law-based solutions such as the International Centre of Justice for Palestinians that has sent legal notices to UK government officials warning them against aiding and abetting crimes against humanity.
Similar efforts must be prioritized at home, to compel leaders to meaningfully stand up to halt the holocaust and end the occupation immediately. Governments and leaders must be held to universal values, and moral and legal red lines.
Mohammed Sarwar Khan, "The Palestinian Holocaust," The News. 2023-11-11.Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Human rights , Violence , Zionists , PM Netanyahu , Antonio Guterres , Israel , Palestine , BDS , OIC