October 18, 2023 Editor

Agonizing: U.S. Vetoes Security Council Resolution on ‘Humanitarian Pause’ in Gaza

WAIT AND SEE

The Security Council votes on a draft resolution on the situation in the Middle East. 

The resolution, submitted by Brazil,  called for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver lifesaving aid to millions in Gaza. The resolution received 12 votes in favour, 2 abstentions (Russian Federation, United Kingdom), and 1 vote against (United States). The Resolution was not adopted due to a veto by the United States.

A view of Council members signaling their abstention.

AJ McDougall

Breaking News Reporter

Oct. 18, 2023

image above: Security Council Meets on Situation in Middle East, Including Palestinian Question–10/18/2023

NOTE: Please see as well my post:

Language used by Israeli political and military figures appears to reproduce rhetoric and tropes associated with genocide and incitement to genocide. Dehumanising descriptions of Palestinians have been prevalent.
WN: The United States veto is execrable! As the U.N. “waits,” multiple numbers of Gazans (half are children!) continue to be slaughtered. Nero fiddled while Rome burned. President Biden, decrying civilian loss of life in Gaza, fiddles around making defining-Presidential-moments speeches and reassurances that Israeli ethnic cleansing is OK, with full American military backing. . . Gazan children be damned; Gaza be damned; Netanyahu, an incredibly hateful man, who has become what he hates, consumed with murder in his heart, and the evil Israeli empire be praised. . .

Where is Biden’s God-damned humanity? Where is his God-damned “Christian faith,” for God’s sake!–not in Jesus who teaches: “Love your enemies.” We read in Matthew 18:6 – 9:

6But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

7Woe to the world for the causes of sin. These stumbling blocks must come, but woe to the man [President Biden!] through whom they come!

8If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than to have two hands and two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

Biden’s claim of legitimate self-defence is blown apart on the sacrificial altar of Gaza’s children. Biden’s claim to follow Jesus utterly falters under the gaze of Saint Paul in Romans 12:14 – 21:

14Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but enjoy the company of the lowly. Do not be conceited.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Carefully consider what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible on your part, live at peace with everyone.

19Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.”

20On the contrary,

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

if he is thirsty, give him a drink.

For in so doing,

you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Where is Biden’s God-damned humanity? Where is his God-damned “Christian faith,” for God’s sake!–not in Jesus who teaches: “Love your enemies.”

Where is your vaunted Christian faith, President Biden? Where is your humanity? It all seems to miss any kind of adult supervision! My under-10 grandkids have more mature ethical sense by far than you! Though this is nothing new with all former U.S. administrations!

“We will do everything in our power to demand an end to U.S. support for genocide and apartheid,” said Jewish Voice for Peace.

Please see, by , Common Dreams: Biden Is a Genocide Denier and the ‘Enabler in Chief’ for Israel’s Ongoing War Crimes. We read on in the subtitle:

His unconditional support for Israel’s assault on Gaza makes Biden and the vast majority of Congress directly complicit with mass murder and genocide, defined as “the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.”

It goes on:

For three weeks, President Biden has played a key role in backing Israel’s war crimes while touting himself as a compassionate advocate of restraint. That pretense is lethal nonsense as Israel persists with mass killing of civilians in Gaza.

The same crucial standards that fully condemned Hamas’s murders of Israeli civilians on Oct. 7 should apply to Israel’s ongoing murders that have already taken the lives of at least several times as many Palestinian civilians. And Israel is just getting started.

“We need an immediate ceasefire,” Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib wrote in an email Saturday evening, “but the White House and Congress continue to unconditionally support the Israeli government’s genocidal actions.”

That unconditional support makes Biden and the vast majority of Congress directly complicit with mass murder and genocide, defined as “the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.” The definition clearly fits the words and deeds of Israel’s leaders.

“Israel has dropped approximately 12,000 tons of explosives on Gaza so far and has reportedly killed multiple senior Hamas commanders, but the majority of the casualties have been women and children,” Time magazine summed up at the end of last week. Israel’s military has been shamelessly slaughtering civilians in homes, stores, markets, mosques, refugee camps and healthcare facilities. Imagine what can be expected now that communications between Gaza and the outside world are even less possible.

There is this too about Biden The Genocide Denier, November 4, 2023, : Rashida Tlaib Posts Video Accusing Biden of Supporting ‘Genocide’. In it:

Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan and an outspoken voice for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, released a video on Friday that accused President Biden of supporting the genocide of Palestinians.

“Mr. President, the American people are not with you on this one,” Ms. Tlaib says in the video. “We will remember in 2024.”

After she speaks, the screen goes dark and a message appears in white lettering stating: “Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people. The American people won’t forget. Biden, support a cease-fire now. Or don’t count on us in 2024.”

Ms. Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, has been on the leading edge of a group of progressive lawmakers criticizing Mr. Biden’s embrace of Israel since the attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, saying his actions have helped enable the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Israel’s response. She already beat back an attempt to censure her in the House this week over her comments on the war and is facing attack ads from a Democratic pro-Israel group.

But accusing Mr. Biden of supporting genocide marks an extraordinary broadside against the president by a lawmaker from his own party.

She calls it like it is! Amen.

And more, by Biden’s Israel-Gaza Approach Sidelines State Department, And Officials Fear The Worst

Nearly one month into Israel’s U.S.-backed military assault on the Gaza Strip, some State Department officials say their agency is being sidelined in a way that risks hurting American foreign policy, demoralizing valuable personnel and worsening the humanitarian toll of the war.

Many diplomats are alarmed by Washington’s largely unrestricted approval of Israel’s conduct in the war against Hamas, which began on Oct. 7 after the Gaza-based militant group launched a brutal shock attack. So far, more than 9,000 Gazans and more than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, according to officials.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged the broad discontent within his department in a message to staff on Oct. 19, and some of his lieutenants have since held listening sessions and town hall meetings to discuss the war with department officials at both State’s headquarters in Washington and its facilities worldwide.

But during some of those conversations, managers have told staffers they should not expect to influence U.S. policy on Israel-Palestine regardless of their national security chops, according to five current and one recently departed State Department officials who talked to HuffPost.

At a meeting on Oct. 26 for the 1,000-plus department employees focused on human rights, for example, leaders of the branch said they were unsure if even they were having any impact and offered no details on how the branch’s work affected U.S. policy, two attendees said. One recalled a top official advising staff to shift their focus away from Israel-Palestine and seek to make a difference in other parts of the world.

The outreach has done little to allay the chief concern of many U.S. officials at State and other internationally focused branches of the government: that expertise and standard decision-making processes are being treated as largely irrelevant to President Joe Biden’s strategy on the war, which prioritizes support for Israel.

excerpt:

The United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution on Wednesday that would have called for “humanitarian pauses” in the bloody conflict between Israel and the Hamas militant group to allow aid to reach besieged Gaza. The popular Brazil-drafted measure would also have condemned all violence against civilians, including the “heinous” terror attacks by Hamas. Of the 15 members of the Security Council, 12 voted in favor of the resolution on Wednesday, while Russia and Britain abstained. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the American ambassador to the United Nations, told the council after the vote that the U.S. wants more time to allow on-the-ground diplomacy, including President Joe Biden’s ongoing visit to the region, to “play out.” Thomas-Greenfield also criticized the draft for failing to mention Israel’s right to self defense, a note echoed by British Ambassador Barbara Woodward. Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, who had unsuccessfully tried to introduce an amendment to the draft calling for a “humanitarian cease-fire,” slammed the U.S. over the veto, accusing it of “hypocrisy.”

Read it at CNN

Please see as well: UN expert warns of new instance of mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, calls for immediate ceasefire. In it:

GENEVA (14 October 2023) – A UN human rights expert warned today that Palestinians are in grave danger of mass ethnic cleansing and called on the international community to urgently mediate a ceasefire between warring Hamas and Israeli occupation forces.

“The situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel has reached fever pitch,” said Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967.

“The United Nations and its Member States must intensify efforts to mediate an immediate ceasefire between the parties, before we reach a point of no return,” said Albanese. “The international community has the responsibility to prevent and protect populations from atrocity crimes. Accountability for international crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces and Hamas must also be immediately pursued,” she said.

Since 7 October 2023, more than 1,900 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 600 children, more than 7,600 injured, and over 423,000 people have been displaced as a result of the Israeli strikes. This fate befell a population which has already experienced five major wars since 2008 in the context of an unlawful blockade imposed by Israel since 2007, which Albanese said has been widely condemned by the international community as collective punishment.

On 12 October, Israeli forces issued an order for 1.1 million Palestinians in north Gaza to move to the south within 24 hours, amidst ongoing airstrikes. The next day, Israeli forces reportedly began to enter Gaza in order to “clear” the area. Palestinians have no safe zone anywhere in Gaza, with Israel having imposed a “complete siege” on the tiny enclave, with water, food, fuel and electricity unlawfully cut off. Rafah, the only border crossing that remained partially open to the Gaza strip, was closed after damage caused by Israeli airstrikes.

“There is a grave danger that what we are witnessing may be a repeat of the 1948 Nakba, and the 1967 Naksa, yet on a larger scale. The international community must do everything to stop this from happening again,” the UN expert said. She noted that Israeli public officials have openly advocated for another Nakba, the term for the events of 1947-1949 when over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes and lands during the hostilities that led to the establishment of the State of Israel. The Naksa, which led to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, displaced 350,000 Palestinians.

“Israel has already carried out mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians under the fog of war,” the expert said. “Again, in the name of self-defence, Israel is seeking to justify what would amount to ethnic cleansing.

“Any continued military operations by Israel have gone well beyond the limits of international law. The international community must stop these egregious violations of international law now, before tragic history is repeated. Time is of the essence. Palestinians and Israelis both deserve to live in peace, equality of rights, dignity and freedom,” Albanese said.

ENDS

Francesca Albanese is the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, since 1 May 2022. Ms. Albanese is an Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University, as well as a Senior Advisor on Migration and Forced Displacement for a think-tank, Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD). She has widely published on the legal situation in Israel and the State of Palestine and regularly teaches and lectures on international law and forced displacement at universities in Europe and the Arab region. Ms. Albanese has also worked as a human rights expert for the United Nations, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

The popular Brazil-drafted measure would also have condemned all violence against civilians, including the “heinous” terror attacks by Hamas. Of the 15 members of the Security Council, 12 voted in favor of the resolution on Wednesday, while Russia and Britain abstained. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the American ambassador to the United Nations, told the council after the vote that the U.S. wants more time to allow on-the-ground diplomacy. . .
UN Human Rights, Country Pages: Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel

Then there is this appeal from Avaaz: Gaza: emergency appeal for humanitarian catastrophe. We read:

Gaza is essentially a walled kindergarten — and it’s being bombed to dust. Half of Gaza’s population are children.

When Israel drops phosphorus bombs, it’s kids running from the deadly white plumes that would burn them to the bone. There are no bomb shelters in Gaza, Israel has cut off food and water supplies, and hospitals will soon have no electricity.

The horror perpetrated by Hamas is unthinkable. But Gaza’s children are innocent. We have the same responsibility to all children — no matter which side of the barbed-wire fence they’re standing on. Gaza’s children need help. OUR help.

Avaaz is in contact with Palestinian doctors and nurses still working as the bombs fall.

Injuries are catastrophic, and they need urgent funding for medical supplies when and if humanitarian corridors open. We’ll also fund emergency shelters, refugee camps, and medical care as violence spreads in other parts of Palestine. Together we’ll empower emergency teams to keep saving lives in the ever-shifting chaos.

Gaza is essentially a walled kindergarten — and it’s being bombed to dust. Half of Gaza’s population are children.

Avaaz can have funds on the ground asap. If we raise enough, we could:

  • Provide funding for emergency, life-saving supplies for civilians, including medicines, trauma kits, fuel, and ambulances;
  • Support Palestinian doctors, nurses, and volunteers, helping to ensure they have food and shelter as horrors unfold;
  • As violence and instability spreads into other areas of Palestine, we’ll also support emergency teams in those areas as needed;
  • Accelerate a rapid response campaign to save Palestinian and Israeli children from all out war — starting with freeing the children held hostage by Israel and Hamas; and,
  • Supercharge our Human Rights Action Team to fight for justice for the victims of war, genocide, and apartheid across the world, and power Avaaz’s work to make it all possible.

Wherever you are right now, this is a chance to help the children of Gaza directly. The more we raise, the more doctors, shelters, and aid we can provide. Donate what you can now.

I’LL DONATE $8

I’LL DONATE $12

I’LL DONATE $20

I’LL DONATE $30

I’LL DONATE $50

OTHER AMOUNT

Posted: 16 October 2023

The scholars noted that Israel’s yearslong blockade on Gaza—which has left much of the territory’s population impoverished and without access to basic necessities—had previously been described as “slow-motion genocide” and cited a United Nations warning about Israelis’ use of dehumanizing language, which is often a prelude to mass atrocities.

But the new statement contends that Israel’s current assault on Gaza, launched in the wake of a deadly Hamas attack on October 7, is “unprecedented in scale and severity.”

“The Gaza Strip has been subjected to incessant and indiscriminate bombardment by Israeli forces,” the scholars wrote. “Israel’s defense minister ordered a ‘complete siege’ of the Gaza Strip prohibiting the supply of fuel, electricity, water, and other essential necessities. This terminology itself indicates an intensification of an already illegal, potentially genocidal siege to an outright destructive assault.”

The scholars also pointed to Israel’s evacuation order aimed at the entire population of northern Gaza—roughly 1.1 million people—and subsequent Israeli attacks on civilian convoys fleeing to the south.

“Statements of Israeli officials since 7 October 2023 suggest that beyond the killings and restriction of basic conditions for life perpetrated against Palestinians in Gaza, there are also indications that the ongoing and imminent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip are being conducted with potentially genocidal intent,” the scholars wrote.

They continued:

Language used by Israeli political and military figures appears to reproduce rhetoric and tropes associated with genocide and incitement to genocide. Dehumanising descriptions of Palestinians have been prevalent. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declared on 9 October that “we are fighting human animals and we act accordingly.” He subsequently announced that Israel was moving to “a full-scale response” and that he had “removed every restriction” on Israeli forces, as well as stating: “Gaza won’t return to what it was before. We will eliminate everything.”

On 10 October, the head of the Israeli army’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, addressed a message directly to Gaza residents: “Human animals must be treated as such. There will be no electricity and no water, there will only be destruction. You wanted hell, you will get hell.” The same day, Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari acknowledged the wanton and intentionally destructive nature of Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza: “The emphasis is on damage and not on accuracy.”

Under international law, a party is guilty of genocide if it kills or severely harms members of a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group with the “intent to destroy” that group.

See  too, by : ‘Not In Our Name!’ Hundreds Arrested at US Capitol as Jewish-Led Protest Demands Gaza Cease-Fire. We read:

Hundreds of Jewish Americans and allies were arrested at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday during a protest demanding members of Congress push Israel for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, where nearly 3,500 Palestinians have been killed over 12 days of relentless Israeli bombardment.

Thousands of protesters led by members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), IfNotNow, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ), and other groups rallied on the Capitol grounds and inside the building, where hundreds of people took part in a sit-in.

Their chanted slogans—including “not in our name” and “cease-fire now”—resounded thunderously under the Capitol Rotunda, while at other times they clapped their hands and sang with solemn determination in Hebrew.

“We’re here to say: not in our names, and never again,” JVP declared. “And we’ll continue our civil disobedience until Congress calls for a cease-fire in Gaza, or until they force us to leave.”

This too, by Amnesty Probe Finds ‘Damning Evidence of War Crimes’ by Israel in Gaza. There is this:

Amnesty interviewed survivors and eyewitnesses, analyzed satellite imagery, and verified photos and videos to investigate the Israeli aerial bombardments of Gaza, documenting “unlawful Israeli attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, which caused mass civilian casualties and must be investigated as war crimes.”

Agnès Callamard, Amnesty’s secretary-general, said in a statement: “In their stated intent to use all means to destroy Hamas, Israeli forces have shown a shocking disregard for civilian lives. They have pulverized street after street of residential buildings killing civilians on a mass scale and destroying essential infrastructure, while new restrictions mean Gaza is fast running out of water, medicine, fuel, and electricity.”

“Testimonies from eyewitnesses and survivors highlighted, again and again, how Israeli attacks decimated Palestinian families, causing such destruction that surviving relatives have little but rubble to remember their loved ones by,” she added.

Please view, by : ‘Totally Insufficient’: Groups Say Trickle of Gaza Aid No Match for Ongoing ‘Mass Atrocities’.

Emergency aid groups and relief experts denounced the tiny “trickle” of humanitarian supplies that were finally allowed to pass through the Rafah crossing into Gaza on Saturday, especially as what was described by human rights watchdogs as a “loss of civilian life at a scale we have not seen in the modern history of Israel and Palestine” continues inside the besieged territory.

The 20 trucks authorized to deliver aid into Gaza through border with Egypt, said Médecins Sans Frontières/MSF in a statement, is “totally insufficient compared to the desperate needs of the people, who have been under complete siege and relentless bombing for two weeks.”

“Prior to the siege,” the group said, “hundreds of trucks with supplies entered Gaza every day as the Strip is crucially reliant on external aid. Food, water, and medicine are still desperately needed.”

“Gaza was a desperate humanitarian situation before the most recent hostilities. It is now catastrophic. The world must do more.” —UN Agencies

Guillemette Thomas, MSF’s medical coordinator for Gaza, said Saturday that inside Gaza “we have an extremely high number of injured people arriving in hospitals, very serious patients requiring complex care. According to our colleagues who still work at Shifa hospital, the hospital will soon run out of fuel and therefore electricity. This means that all the patients currently in intensive care units connected to ventilators and babies in incubators will die because of the lack of electricity. Operating theaters will no longer be able to function, patients will no longer be able to be operated on and the number of victims will increase significantly in the coming hours.”

Thomas warned that those in the intensive care were “just the tip of the iceberg,” warning that all injured and sick people Gaza remain at severe risk.

Another tragedy is this article, by , Business: Palestinians Claim Social Media ‘Censorship’ Is Endangering Lives.

With the situation on the ground constantly in flux, social media is a lifeline. People stay informed via a patchwork of videos, text posts, and voice notes, along with official statements from government agencies. But getting information within Gaza, and getting information out of Gaza, has become increasingly difficult. Internet and electricity services have been disrupted by attacks. Last Friday, Israel vowed to cut Gaza’s access to the internet. Since then, services have been intermittent. Exacerbating this, Palestinians and their supporters allege that social media platforms—particularly Instagram, which is a critical communications tool in Gaza—are “shadow-banning” their content—algorithmically deprioritizing it so it’s harder to find, or actively over-moderating it. Instagram’s owner, Meta, denies this is happening, calling the issues “a glitch,” but this alleged phenomenon has been documented for years. These information blackouts could deepen the suffering of those fleeing the fighting, or in the firing line.

“It makes it even hard to get in touch with loved ones, to get critical information about where to find medicine, food, safe passage, which are all critically limited,” says Deborah Brown, a senior researcher and advocate on digital rights at campaign group Human Rights Watch. “It also seriously hinders the ability of journalists and human rights monitors to document mounting abuses.”

Mona Shtaya, a fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy specializing in digital rights, who is based in the West Bank, says that while this phenomenon isn’t new, it becomes a particularly acute issue during moments of increased tension. “This ‘technical glitch’ is only happening when there are escalations in Palestine,” she says. “There is a huge censorship of Palestinian content.”

With access to information patchy and unreliable, misinformation spreads and people are liable to moments of panic, Shtaya says. A few days ago, rumors spread of an impending total blackout, leaving many fearing they’d be unable to reach family abroad, or to make appeals for help, making an already exhausting, intensely stressful situation even worse.

While the blackouts and alleged blocking of accounts hampers humanitarian work in Gaza, they are also preventing Gazans from showing the world what’s happening on the ground. The death toll in Gaza has now surpassed 4,200 people, with over 1 million people displaced, according to the UN Office of High Commissioner. The NGOs Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International allege that Israel has deployed white phosphorus, whose use is forbidden in heavily populated areas under international humanitarian law. But with the information flow disrupted, it’s hard for people outside of Gaza to document potential war crimes and human rights violations.

And this article is devastationg to Biden’s and the U.S.’ hypocritical moralism about defending Israel, by Ishaan Tharoor with Sammy Westfall: Israel’s bombing of Gaza undercuts the West’s Ukraine moralism. We read:

Politicians and diplomats elsewhere also recognize the fraught state of world affairs, but they aren’t all drawing the same conclusions as the White House. Some see an American greenlight in Israel’s pounding of Gaza, and call into question an apparent double standard that Biden’s rhetoric can’t mask.

Today, Western governments are paying for their inability to find, or even to seek, a solution to the Palestinian question,” noted an editorial in French daily Le Monde. “In the current tense climate, their support for Israel — which is perceived as exclusive by the rest of the world — risks jeopardizing their efforts to convince Southern countries that international security is at stake in Ukraine.”– (WN: It totally jeopardizes faith in the U.S. high moralism about Ukraine.)
There was universal revulsion and outrage in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 strike on southern Israel, which saw the brutal slaughter of some 1,400 Israelis and marked the bloodiest single day in the Jewish state’s history. But sixteen days of Israel’s campaign of reprisal in Gaza has already killed 4,651 Palestinians, according to local authorities, including close to 2,000 children. Whole neighborhoods in the crowded territory have been flattened, more than a million people are homeless and a humanitarian crisis veers from bad to worse with fuel stores close to running out. Israeli demands for the mass evacuation of parts of Gaza have raised the specter of ethnic cleansing.

Yet on Wednesday, a day before Biden’s speech, the United States deployed its veto at the United Nations Security Council to shoot down a mildly worded draft resolution put forward by Brazil calling for a humanitarian pause. It was the sole “no” vote on the table, with even allies including France voting in favor. The United States has long shielded Israel from censure at the United Nations, but the recent precedent of its scolding of Russia in the same forum makes the current moment more conspicuous.

Many governments in the Middle East and elsewhere in the so-called “Global South” have also condemned Russia’s aggression, but been more cautious to see Ukraine’s plight in the same moral frame as their Western counterparts. They point to the legacy of the United States’ 2003 “preemptive” invasion of Iraq, the West’s comparative indifference to hideous conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere and the hypocrisy of abetting the decades-long Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories while cheering for the freedom of peoples elsewhere.

On Friday, Jordan’s King Abdullah II described Israel’s actions in Gaza as “a war crime.” He said Israel was carrying out “collective punishment of a besieged and helpless people,” which ought to be seen as “a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.”

That may not trouble an Israeli leadership bent on retribution, argued Marc Lynch, professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, but it’s a problem for the United States. “It is difficult to reconcile the United States’ promotion of international norms and the laws of war in defense of Ukraine from Russia’s brutal invasion with its cavalier disregard for the same norms in Gaza,” he wrote in Foreign Affairs.

While it seems the Biden administration is working behind the scenes to attempt to restrain Israel’s war cabinet, Gaza’s more-than 2 million people are living in a nightmare of airstrikes and explosions and are running out of food, water and places for safe sanctuary. In his speech, Biden stressed the gap between Hamas and the ordinary Palestinians in their midst. “We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace and have an opportunity,” he said, pointing to the U.S. efforts to bring in humanitarian assistance — deliveries which aid groups say are staggeringly short of what’s required.

“It is difficult to reconcile the United States’ promotion of international norms and the laws of war in defense of Ukraine from Russia’s brutal invasion with its cavalier disregard for the same norms in Gaza,” [Marc Lynch, professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University] wrote in Foreign Affairs. (WN: Strike out the word “difficult,” and replace with “impossible!“)

It is also a reminder of the failure of the international community — but chiefly, the United States — to revive the dormant peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. “Today, Western governments are paying for their inability to find, or even to seek, a solution to the Palestinian question,” noted an editorial in French daily Le Monde. “In the current tense climate, their support for Israel — which is perceived as exclusive by the rest of the world — risks jeopardizing their efforts to convince Southern countries that international security is at stake in Ukraine.”

The diplomat speaking to the FT gloomily summed up the latest Gaza war’s impact: “All the work we have done with the Global South [over Ukraine] has been lost … Forget about rules, forget about world order. They won’t ever listen to us again.”

Then, wrote An Open Letter to President Joe Biden about Gaza, October 23, 2023. We read:

In light of the reality that the “enemy” is one of the most impoverished populations on the planet, without access to medical supplies or clean drinking water, who scrap together their weapons from the unexploded ordnance the Israelis leave behind, arms are the LAST thing Israel needs.

Things they actually DO need: Negotiators, mediators, peace-makers, diplomats, humanitarian aid (in Gaza). For us to be an honest broker who can see both sides of the dispute, and mediate accordingly, rather than holding to our position of unilateral, unconditional support for Israel.

It shouldn’t be that hard to insist on withdrawal from the West Bank in compliance with the Oslo Accords as a condition of continued aid, and yet the U.S. has enabled Israel to menace, rob, and murder Palestinians there for decades.

When war broke out in 2014, President Obama said the Israelis “had the right to defend themselves” against Hamas rockets, even though the Iron Dome defense technology already did that. As Israel killed 2,251 Gazans, including 551 children, while the casualties on the Israeli side totaled 71 (practically all soldiers), Obama continued saying it. In view of the lack of threat, it sounded like he was giving Israelis license to bomb and kill Palestinians at will.

And you’re doing the same thing now, Mr. President.

But Israel isn’t used to experiencing losses on their side. Unlike the “savagery” of the Hamas operation, whose perpetrators are all dead, when the Israeli bombers kill, burn, and maim, they do so with impunity. To my mind, this lop-sided warfare and absence of valor, like the drone wars waged by the U.S., are more grotesque than the “savagery” of last Saturday’s attack, which can rightly be seen as payback for decades of brutal oppression.

Demand a ceasefire in Gaza now, Mr. President. Take back your weapons and military aid. Tell Bibi and Ganz that unless they comply, the 13 million a day will be called off. That’s how the game is played and peace is achieved, and has been since time immemorial.

But Israel isn’t used to experiencing losses on their side. Unlike the “savagery” of the Hamas operation, whose perpetrators are all dead, when the Israeli bombers kill, burn, and maim, they do so with impunity.
Were you heedless of this or is that the reason you chose your Secretary of State Antony Blinken from Raytheon, one of the biggest military contractors?

Blinken’s understanding of Hamas’ motivation for the attacks as an expression of “pure evil” is scary and imbecilic for a man in his position. Parallels to history abound. The situation directly recalls the Warsaw Uprising. The uprisings of the Rohingya in Myanmar and the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China, also come to mind.

They have also been compared to the 9/11 attacks, which were an act of revenge from a militant Islamic group for our brutal military campaign against Iraq in the first Gulf War. Rather than minimize, assimilate, and accept the attacks, the U.S. waged an all-out campaign of revenge in the Middle East, destroying country after country, killing millions, creating the biggest migration crisis in the history of the world, in what is viewed as the worst foreign policy blunder in our nation’s history.

Can we please learn from this history?

Please click on: U.S. Vetoes Security Council Resolution

 

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Editor

Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.