***NOTE: Several footnotes supply additional commentary/information***
Julian Borger Global affairs editor
Thu 1 Feb 2024
image above: hosnysalah 221 followers
Palestinian photographer currently living in Palestine Gaza Strip
“The U.S.-funded genocide in Gaza has really left us unable to be moral leaders on climate change and all the other pressing development and humanitarian issues those of us who work at USAID care so much about,” [employee, Hannah Funk] told [Samantha Power, head of USAID and a world-renowned scholar on genocide–see her Pulitzer-Prize-winning “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide] during the question-and-answer session. “How are you leading us to reckon with and overcome this hypocrisy in U.S. foreign policy?” — USAID’s Samantha Power, confronted by staff on Gaza
WN: If not “genocide,” what? And Biden and Congress are complicit in same. In that light, this is hopeful in The New York Times, February 2, 2024: “More than 800 officials in the United States, the United Kingdom and the E.U. released a public letter of dissent against their governments’ support of Israel in the war in Gaza.”
As well, on February 9, 2024, we read: A new directive by President Joe Biden appeared to ease a split among Democrats over his military support for Israel’s war in Gaza, with lawmakers on Friday praising the order authorizing a swift cutoff of military aid to countries that violate international protections of civilians.
One must wonder though: Why was there not instantly a “swift cutoff”–and none yet, as of this writing? In what does “violate international protections of civilians” consist, that is not Israeli violation in Gaza?
Don’t get me wrong: The Hamas slaughter and rape of innocents October 7, 2023 was utterly despicable and execrable! One can only imagine the horror, terror, and sheer violation of the obscene assaults by Hamas! Surviving victims and their families experienced in fact unimaginable terror, hurt, pain and loss.
One must ask: Is not what Israel is doing/has been doing to Gaza also “despicable and execrable”?! I do accept Ruth Marcus’ statement (see below), as far as it goes
If there is a party guilty of genocidal intent and acts in this war, it is Hamas. . .
Are Palestinians the New Jews?.” gives an affirmative answer. See: Abstractions and Mass Murder: Mowing the Lawn Means People,1 February 4, 2024. We read:however asks: “
There is nothing new under the sun in terms of incitement to war methods or the dehumanization techniques necessary to create compliant and bloodthirsty populations.2 The only thing that is new are the shifting and doomed populations who find themselves in the way of empire. Students of history, generally without a shred of self-examination, congratulate themselves for being born to a more enlightened time knowing that even if they were transported to those historical events, they would never have participated. They would have been the principled objectors. It’s a comforting thought with absolutely no skin in the game. But when given present-day examples of such horror, and an opportunity to, if nothing else, be on the right side of history, they fall prey to the techniques that always worked in the past. They believe the current troubles are simply too complicated to unravel; that it’s all completely different from historical precedents.
Yet we cannot say that [being in deep mourning and grieving your people] while existing in this traumatized Israeli society, where the vast majority are simply in this state of hate and revenge, almost like an ecstasy of destruction.–Palestinian Israeli citizen Sally Abed
27Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of impurity. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to be righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
29Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous. 30And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31So you testify against yourselves that you are the sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your fathers. 33You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape the sentence of hell?
For all that, please do see this contrary opinion, by Ruth Marcus, January 26, 2024: Opinion–A top U.N. court’s ruling on Israel and Gaza is a perversion of justice. In it:
This is a gross misreading of genocide; indeed, it is a perversion of the term. It would be appalling applied against any state, but it is especially offensive wielded against Israel — a country that was forged in the ashes of the worst genocide in human history, that was one of the early signatories to the genocide convention and that is now responding to the greatest slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust.
If there is a party guilty of genocidal intent and acts in this war, it is Hamas — although, because it is not a state, the terrorist group cannot be brought before the ICJ. Hamas speaks in its founding charter of “the Jews’ usurpation” of the land and “our struggle against the Jews.” It proclaims that “the day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight Jews and kill them.”
All of this is a far cry, however, from deeming Israel’s actions genocidal. Let’s go to the text of the genocide convention, which requires both acts and intent. The acts include killing members of a “national, ethnical, racial or religious group”; causing them “serious bodily or mental harm”; and “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” Those acts must be accompanied by intent: “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
One-sided support for Israel’s atrocities in Gaza, and a blindness to Palestinian humanity, is both a moral failure and, for the harm it does to Western interests around the globe, a policy failure.–Josh Paul, who resigned from the State Department in October over the Biden administration’s support of Israel’s military campaign.
Does not being Zionist (Marcus’ self-designation) already by historical and current precedent incorporate genocidal inclination? 3
CBC ran a story today (02-02-2024) in my own province of British Columbia, Canada, about Selina Robinson, Minister of Higher Education and Future Skills, who demonstrated what must be dubbed a classic “terra nullius“4, colonial mindset (“There were several hundred thousand people but, other than that. . .”), saying,
. . . the region on which the state of Israel was created decades ago was previously “a crappy piece of land with nothing on it.”
“There were several hundred thousand people but, other than that, it didn’t produce an economy. It couldn’t grow things. It didn’t have anything on it,” she said during a public Zoom meeting.5
Sadly, so it appears, we read this Zionist response:
It’s an election year in British Columbia and [Premier] Eby no doubt wanted a swift end to a controversy involving the painfully divisive Israel-Hamas war. He’s not likely to get it: By Tuesday, angry Jewish groups were pointing to gaffes made by Eby’s own office and promising they would “remember this day the next time you ask for our trust and support.”–Western Canada: Selina Robinson steps down as B.C. minister after ‘crappy’ land comment, February 7, 2024.
For more on some of this from a Christian perspective, please see Ron Dart’s: Canadian Christian Zionism: A Tangled Tale. Of it:
There has been considerable research and writing done on English, American, and German Christian Zionism, but there is a paucity of serious and substantive writing and research on Canadian Christian Zionism. This primer of sorts on Canadian Christian Zionism touches on the 19th-century origins, 20th-century development, and 21st-century expressions of Canadian Christian Zionism. Canadian Christian Zionism: A Tangled Tale also reflects on the relationship between Canadian Christian Zionism, politics, the Canadian Conservative Party, and the impact on the Palestinians.
When translated to Turtle Island idiom, do not Ms. Robinson’s words go something like?:
. . . the region on which the state of Canada was created decades ago was previously “a crappy piece of land with nothing on it.”
“There were several hundred thousand people but, other than that, it didn’t produce an economy. It couldn’t grow things. It didn’t have anything on it. . .6
Even a cursory look at what Palestinians refer to as Nakba 7–fully endorsed at the time by the Western powers–immediately gives the lie to the cavalier way Ms. Robinson referred to the violent, colonial displacement en masse of Palestinians, and betrays embrace of a primary tenant of Zionism. She did subsequently apologize, and one hopes it was genuine. But her words were right out of the European powers’ playbook over many centuries, much of which is enshrined in worldwide colonized countries’ laws, including in North America, to justify and perpetuate the atrocities and their beneficiaries downstream . . .8
A classic text from a Palestinian Christian perspective is Mitri Raheb‘s Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible through Palestinian Eyes. (He has authored many other books.) Following is an excellent video of his presentation about the book:
As to the political fallout for Ms. Robinson, there is this today (02-06-2024), by Robinson Out of Cabinet over Palestine Comments::
Robinson’s comments were factually inaccurate and it is telling that she felt emboldened to say them, [Aysha Jameel, a Palestinian organizer in B.C.] said. “She really promoted terra nullius, the idea that Indigenous land is free for taking. That’s essentially what she was saying and that’s really concerning.”
It’s a view with significant consequences for Palestine but also for “so-called Canada,” which was founded on land declared “empty” and stolen from Indigenous Peoples, she said. “Robinson needs to go back to college herself to better understand how settler colonialism is justified and perpetuated.”
The criticism of Israel is about land, not religion, Jameel said. “It is heartbreaking for me as a Palestinian that some folks can’t see this as ethnic cleansing and genocide, but it’s also rich and rewarding when we’re taking action together with our anti-Zionist Jewish comrades who see this for what it is.” (Emphasis added)
In what she said and left unsaid, the respondent, Aysha Jameel, showed great wisdom, restraint and hopefulness, devoid of any bitterness. She was in other words a truth-teller.
And the irony is that Ms. Robinson, a (now former) Minister of Higher Education in BC, when she made her remarks, stated them–rightly no doubt–in the context of bemoaning the lack of education of BC’s youth about the Holocaust, while her apparent lack of education about Israel’s imperialism vis à vis the Palestinians seems identical to a knowledge gap by settlers of colonized lands worldwide.
But the true scale of death and destruction is impossible to grasp, the details hazy and shrouded by internet and cellphone blackouts that obstruct communication, restrictions barring international journalists and the extreme, often life-threatening challenges of reporting as a local journalist from Gaza.—The War the World Can’t See, by Vivian Yee, Abu Bakr Bashir and Gaya Gupta, Jan. 30, 2024.Then, if you can stomach it, please see, bDeclan Walsh and (Samar Abu Elouf, a photojournalist, spent weeks documenting five Palestinians in Gaza whose lives had been shattered by the war. Declan Walsh is an international correspondent for The New York Times.)
Another if-you-can-stomach-it is this, February 15, 2024, by Yasser Khan, who is an ophthalmologist at Trillium Health Centre and William Osler Health Centre, an associate clinical professor at McMaster University, and a lecturer at the University of Toronto: As a doctor in Gaza, I came face-to-face with unimaginable suffering. He writes:
Compounding the crisis is the wholesale destruction of sewage and sanitation facilities, along with water pipes. Sewage contamination has created a perfect breeding ground for water-borne diseases. In addition, rainwater is mixing with the remains of thousands of bodies that are decomposing beneath the rubble of bombed buildings, causing bacteria to leach into sewage and water systems.
The continuing siege of Gaza has choked the flow of basic essential medications, including antibiotics, painkillers and insulin. Chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, among others, are left untreated, while patients with cancer are dying. Preventable diseases are on the rise, while vulnerable populations, including children and the elderly, are increasingly at risk.
Behind the statistics and news headlines lies the harrowing human suffering of the people of Gaza.10
The Intercept just sent out (02-06-2024) commentary on this tragic development:
More than 27,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel’s war on Gaza began. Half of the buildings in the territory have been destroyed, 1.2 million people lack shelter, and 90 percent of the population regularly goes a whole day without food.
Now these dire conditions are likely to get even worse — because the U.S. and at least a dozen other countries have completely shut off funding to the key humanitarian agency still operating in Gaza, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).11
This is a truly catastrophic development. UNRWA has continued to operate throughout the war even as at least 152 U.N. relief workers have been killed. Without it, Gaza could suffer a full-blown famine.
The apparent reason?:
That same day, the U.S. government announced it would suspend funding to UNRWA — whose statements were cited multiple times at The Hague — based on Israeli allegations that 12 of the agency’s 30,000 employees were involved in Hamas’s October 7 attacks.
May we all find our voice to lobby our government leaders to intervene in this horrific turn of events; to plead with the U.S. that they must not further punish an entire population (as Israel has already been doing since October 7, 2023!) now with certain famine if the decision against UNRWA is not reversed.
Yoav Litvin, an Israeli-American doctor of psychology/neuroscience, a writer and photographer, puts it bluntly in: The anatomy of Zionist genocide: What are the motivations behind Israel’s genocidal acts in Gaza, and what is the way forward?:
The pillars of Zionist propaganda
In response to historical trauma, Jewish people have a deep fear of anti-Semitism. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this fear, along with disdain for oppressors, led to the formation of autonomous Jewish self-defence groups in various geographies.Zionism, a European colonial movement, recognised the potential of this dynamic. It syncretised Jewish longing for safety and self-defence with white supremacist, messianic and fascistic ideologies. This synthesis birthed a new, nationalist Jewish identity that equates Jewish safety with the construction of an exclusivist homeland in Palestine through the displacement of the region’s Indigenous populations.
The criticism of Israel is about land, not religion It is heartbreaking for me as a Palestinian that some folks can’t see this as ethnic cleansing and genocide, but it’s also rich and rewarding when we’re taking action together with our anti-Zionist Jewish comrades who see this for what it is.–Aysha Jameel
Settler colonial endeavours typically depend on depicting the targeted territory as “uninhabited”, and its existing inhabitants as inhuman barbarians unworthy of any land.
This portrayal allowed Zionists to displace the Indigenous population of Palestine without moral qualms, portraying the establishment of Israel not as the destruction of a people but as the construction of a “villa in the jungle”.
Within the Israeli society grounded in land and resource theft, offensive aggression under the guise of “self-defence” (as in “Israel Defence Force”) has been rewarded and reinforced from the very beginning and consequently became a routine part of life. By reinstating fear and hijacking trauma associated with past and present negative experiences of Jewish people, Zionist leaders ensured the settler population’s continued support for aggressive, expansionist, hegemonic, genocidal policies and shielded their corruption and other criminal endeavours from public scrutiny.
To maintain Israel’s violently oppressive status quo and expand the territory of the settler colony, Zionists opportunistically conflated their colonial ideology with Judaism.
Another article to consider12 in contradistinction to Ruth Marcus’ accusations above, is, February 1, 2024, by Michel Chossudovsky: “Fake Justice” at The Hague: The ICJ “Appoints” Netanyahu to “Prevent” and “Punish” “Those Responsible for “Genocidal Acts”. We read:
The ICJ Judgment of January 26, 2024 assigns the Netanyahu government representing the State of Israel –accused by the Republic of South Africa of genocide against the People of Palestine– with a mandate to “take all measures within its power” to “prevent and punish” those responsible for having committed “Genocidal Acts”. (under Article IV of the Genocide Convention)
Sounds contradictory? What the ICJ judgment intimates –from a twisted legal standpoint– is that Netanyahu’s Cabinet “appointed” to implement the “prevent and punish” mandate cannot be accused of having committed “Genocidal Acts”.
In substance, this contradictory mandate –which was intended to protect the people of Gaza–, provides the Netanyahu government with a pretext to “prevent and punish” Palestinians for allegedly having committed genocidal acts against Israelis.
While rhetorical condemnations against Israel prevail, what the peace movement fails to acknowledge is that no legal obstruction or hindrance was formulated by the World Court with a view to curbing the tide of atrocities against Palestinians including an Israeli project to engineer starvation throughout the Gaza Strip.
“Gaza is experiencing mass starvation like no other in recent history. Before the outbreak of fighting in October, food security in Gaza was precarious, but very few children – less than 1% – suffered severe acute malnutrition, the most dangerous kind. Today, almost all Gazans, of any age, anywhere in the territory, are at risk.
There is no instance since the second world war in which an entire population has been reduced to extreme hunger and destitution with such speed. And there’s no case in which the international obligation to stop it has been so clear.”
These facts underpinned South Africa’s recent case against Israel at the international court of justice. The international Genocide Convention, article 2c, prohibits “deliberately inflicting [on a group] conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”. 13
What is at stake is the criminalization of the international judicial process. The ICJ has granted Israel a de facto “green light” to continue and “escalate the genocide.” 14
I circle back to my opening question: If not “genocide,” what?
The figure that recently stunned me and put the Israeli response to October 7th in horrifying context was this: it’s now estimated that, because supplies are so lacking and the Gazan hospital system has been so thoroughly decimated, more than 1,000 children there have had limbs amputated without anesthesia.—Tom Engelhardt, Joshua Frank, Making Gaza UnlivableA federal court in California has ruled that Israel’s military campaign in Gaza “plausibly” amounts to genocide, but dismissed a case aimed at stopping US military support for Israel as being outside the court’s jurisdiction.
“There are rare cases in which the preferred outcome is inaccessible to the court. This is one of those cases,” the US district court in the northern district of California ruled. “The court is bound by precedent and the division of our coordinate branches of government to abstain from exercising jurisdiction in this matter.
“Yet, as the ICJ [the international court of justice] has found, it is plausible that Israel’s conduct amounts to genocide,” the judge in the case, Jeffrey White, said in his ruling, in a case brought by Palestinian human rights groups and individual Palestinians against President Joe Biden, Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, and Lloyd Austin, the defence secretary.“This court implores defendants to examine the results of their unflagging support of the military siege against the Palestinians in Gaza,” the ruling said.
But when, only a couple of days later, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that Israel’s response would be to cut off all — yes, all! — electricity, food, fuel, and water to Gaza, I knew something was deeply wrong.—Tom Engelhardt, Joshua Frank, Making Gaza Unlivable
The judge explained his decision that the matter lay outside the jurisdiction of his court, because the Palestinian groups were asking it to interfere with US foreign policy.The Gaza Strip will become a depopulated area, and it will take about 100 years to get rid of the environmental effects of this war.–Abdel-Rahman al-Tamimi, director of the Palestinian Hydrologists Group. . .–the war, the deadliest and most destructive in recent memory, by some estimates [is] at least as bad as the Allied bombing of Germany during World War II, which annihilated 60 German cities and killed an estimated half-million people. —“Because any determination to challenge the decision of the executive branch of government on support of Israel is fraught with serious political questions, the claims presented by plaintiffs here lie outside the court’s limited jurisdiction,” White said.
The Palestinian groups and their lawyers said they might appeal against the dismissal of the case, but welcomed the judge’s judgment on the potential for genocide.
Please click on (for the title’s story): Israel’s campaign in Gaza ‘plausibly’ amounts to genocide
- Mowing the grass (Hebrew: כיסוח דשא) is a metaphor used to describe the strategy of Israel against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.—Wikipedia
- We read in Israelis, Newly Vulnerable, Remain Traumatized and Mistrustful, b , February 17, 2024:
“Imagine being in deep mourning and grieving your people and not being able to express that grief. It’s maddening,” said [Palestinian Israeli citizen] Sally Abed, 32. “It’s almost an impossible reality.”
Jews seem to forget that Palestinians in Israel have relatives in Gaza, she said.
“Yet we cannot say that while existing in this traumatized Israeli society, where the vast majority are simply in this state of hate and revenge, almost like an ecstasy of destruction,” she said.
- Please also see a sustained contrary response, January 31, 2024, by Meet the Washington Post’s Leading Apologist for Israeli Genocide. We read:
Even Marcus acknowledges that the Genocide Convention requires “both acts and intent.” And the acts must cause “serious bodily or mental harm,” and the deliberate “inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” That is exactly what we have been witnessing on a daily basis for the past four months.
The last line of Marcus’s oped is particularly egregious. She argues that Israel is being treated differently for the same reason that “necessitated the existence of a Jewish state to begin with.” In other words, she echoes the standard Israeli response that any criticism of Israel is simply another form of anti-semitism. Sadly, we are witnessing a text book case of genocide.:
- See on this The Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny, and American Exceptionalism 02-07-2018
- The video discussion, hosted by B’nai Brith, an independent Jewish human rights organization, was initially available on YouTube, and I had posted a link to it, but has since been understandably made “Private” on YouTube. “Understandably” in that, a Human Rights organization that posts racist remarks is a living oxymoron.
- Please see The New York Times Magazine, February 1, 2024: The Road to 1948: How the decisions that led to the founding of Israel left the region in a state of eternal conflict.
5 The Balfour Declaration provided no guarantees but said the British would “view with favor” establishing a national home for Jews in Palestine. It was a response to lobbying by leaders like Chaim Weizmann, then president of the British Zionist Federation.
The British mandate was crucial in laying the grounds for the creation of the state of Israel and the prevention of the creation of a Palestinian state. Zionism was only able to take root in Palestine because the mandate recognized Zionist organizations as representative of the Jewish population and as self-governing institutions, basically creating the structure of a quasi state. It did this by incorporating in its text the Balfour Declaration,5 which the British issued in 1917.The mandate did not similarly recognize Palestinian organizations or representation. The majority, the Palestinians, were only mentioned in the negative, as “non-Jewish communities” given civil and religious rights. That meant the Palestinians were trapped, as the Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi says, in an iron cage.6
6 In his book “The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood,” Rashid Khalidi argues that Palestinians felt they could not accept the mandate “without denying their own rights, their own national narrative and the evidence of their own eyes, which told them that Palestine was an Arab country and belonged to them, and to them alone.”
The structure of the mandate prevented them from being able to have national rights or sovereignty. And that set in motion the developments in 1948 and after.
I think there is a need to be very critical of this idea of the world owing Jews, because, yes, the world owed Jews. The Holocaust was a horrible massacre committed by Europeans and witnessed and not responded to by the U.S. and others. But I don’t think the Palestinians figure that they will have to pay for it in 1946 and ’47.
Yet the world sees this as an acceptable equation. Orientalism [In his book Orientalism (1978), cultural critic Edward Said redefines the term Orientalism to describe a pervasive Western tradition—academic and artistic—of prejudiced outsider-interpretations of the Eastern world, which was shaped by the cultural attitudes of European imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries.—Wikipedia] and colonial ideology were very much at the heart of thinking that while we Europeans and the U.S. were part of this massive human tragedy, we are going to fix it at the expense of someone else. And the someone else is not important because they’re Arabs, they’re Palestinians and thus construed as backward, as not important, as people who do not have rights, as people whose catastrophe subsequently becomes insignificant.
It is important to highlight that this narrative is structured precisely by the rejection of Palestinian humanity that continues to be a part of the discourse in some circles today. (Emphasis added.)
WN: The tragedy of this “eternal conflict” is the colonial mindset of the Western powers that indeed treated the land as terra nullius, and thus the Palestinian “society, culture, identity, political rights, and national aspirations” of little account. Please see more about this in the next footnote.
- The Nakba (Arabic: النكبة an-Nakbah, lit. ’The Catastrophe’) is the violent displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people, along with the destruction of their society, culture, identity, political rights, and national aspirations. The term is used to describe the events that took place during the 1948 Palestine war, as well as the ongoing persecution and displacement of Palestinians by Israel throughout the Palestinian territories (the West Bank and the Gaza Strip).
- Please though see this, July 22, 2023, A Story of Arab Loss Comes to Life at a Kibbutz in Israel: A museum founded by pioneering Zionists has been hosting a sweeping retrospective of Palestinian art. We read:
An exhibition at an art museum in the kibbutz features the works of five members of the Abu Shakra family and has struck a chord with Israelis trying to understand the traumas endured by Palestinians when the state was founded, as well as with Arabs from surrounding areas.
The unusual exhibition — titled, “Spirit of Man, Spirit of Place” — has attracted record crowds to the small museum, almost 100,000 people since it opened in November 2022. A program built around the exhibit brings Jewish and Arab children together.
The project was first proposed to the museum by Said Abu Shakra, 67, one of the five artists whose work is featured, during a spasm of Arab-Jewish mob violence that rocked Israel two years ago. He said the aim was to create empathy between Arabs and Jews, while asserting Palestinian identity and pride.
“I refuse to be a victim in Israel. I am strong, I want to be excellent and lead, and speak about my culture,” he said. “I want a dialogue with Jews in Israel, but a dialogue of equals.”
Please also see Ms. Kershner’s The Land of Hope and Fear: Israel’s Battle for Its Inner Soul.
Then I urge you to review these articles written by Palestinian-American Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib. I find them possessed of a rare pathos of hope. (I accept his determination to claim there is such a thing in this eternal conflict.):–(based in Jerusalem, and made several visits to Kibbutz Ein Harod Meuhad, Kibbutz Ein Harod Ihud and Umm al-Fahem to report this article.), and then rejoice with hope:
- سبيل: Way, path, road, route. It is one of the most common words in the Quran, mentioned over 160 times.
- There is this too, February 15, 2024: Trudeau warns Israel of ‘catastrophic’ consequences of pending Rafah offensive. We read:
“The protection of civilians is paramount and a requirement under international humanitarian law. Palestinian civilians cannot be made to pay the price of defeating Hamas.”
The statement follows similar warnings from the United States, other western allies and the United Nations. U.S. President Joe Biden said earlier this week that Israel must not move ahead with a prospective military operation in Rafah without a “credible” plan to keep civilians safe.
The city is located along the border with Egypt, where the only crossing that has allowed limited traffic since the conflict began is heavily controlled.
[Canadian Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau’s statement marked Canada’s strongest language yet on Israel’s conduct in the region, more than four months into its war with Hamas.
- Please see more on this, February 12, 2024, by Attempts to Discredit UNRWA Threatens Its Funding
Aside from the complexity and moving parts of the war, one thing is certain as more facts come out relevant to the matter; the world needs to stand by UNRWA namely because, as foreign minister of Norway, Espen Barth Eide points out:
UNRWA is a lot more than a humanitarian organization. It represents a commitment by the international community to Palestinian refugees. Its operations are also critical for the presence of other humanitarian organizations in Gaza.
- I use this, acknowledging the questionability of other content on the website.
- See too: Unless Israel changes course, it could be legally culpable for mass starvation: Gaza is on the brink of famine. If the US and UK fail to use every possible lever to stop the catastrophe, they will be complicit—The Guardian, January 31, 2024, by Alex de Waal.
- Then there is ecocide! Please see: The Killing of Gaza’s Environment: Or How to Create an Unlivable Hellscape on One Strip of Land, by Joshua Frank, January 11, 2024. We read:
On a picturesque beach in central Gaza, a mile north of the now-flattened Al-Shati refugee camp, long black pipes snake through hills of white sand before disappearing underground. An image released by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) shows dozens of soldiers laying pipelines and what appear to be mobile pumping stations that are to take water from the Mediterranean Sea and hose it into underground tunnels. The plan, according to various reports, is to flood the vast network of underground shafts and tunnels Hamas has reportedly built and used to carry out its operations.
For more than two years, water from the Mediterranean was flushed into the tunnel system, wreaking havoc on Gaza’s environment. Groundwater supplies were quickly polluted with salt brine and, as a result, the dirt became saturated and unstable, causing the ground to collapse and killing numerous people. Once fertile agricultural fields were transformed into salinated pits of mud, and clean drinking water, already in short supply in Gaza, was further degraded.
Israel’s current strategy to drown Hamas’s tunnels will no doubt cause similar, irreparable damage. “It is important to keep in mind,” warns Juliane Schillinger, a researcher at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, “that we are not just talking about water with a high salt content here — seawater along the Mediterranean coast is also polluted with untreated wastewater, which is continuously discharged into the Mediterranean from Gaza’s dysfunctional sewage system.”
This, of course, appears to be part of a broader Israeli objective — not just to dismantle Hamas’s military capabilities but to further degrade and destroy Gaza’s imperiled aquifers (already polluted with sewage that’s leaked from dilapidated pipes). Israeli officials have openly admitted their goal is to ensure that Gaza will be an unlivable place once they end their merciless military campaign.
WN: And we thought the Taliban/Islamic Jihad/etc. did horrific evil! See more about Jewish terrorism and all other kinds, here: Terrorism In The Middle East.