Gaza: Israeli Barbarism With US Support

Image by Mohammed Ibrahim.

Its two months since Israel began its vicious assault on the people of Gaza. The relentless bombings, combined with a ground assault and siege – the strangulation of the civilian population, have left people without food, water, medicine and fuel.

It is modern-day barbarism in the full light of day; genocide wrapped up as self-defense. Backing the slaughter is to be complicit, not just in war crimes, but in a coordinated, systematic act of evil, one long in the planning of the warped minds of far-right Israel fanatics.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry (GHM) 17,487 Palestinians have been killed – over 40% of whom are children. This figure, however, is little more than a guide because, as the UN human rights office makes clear, GHM “do not include fatalities who did not reach hospitals or may be lost under the rubble.” The total killed therefore will be a great deal higher. The slaughter is indiscriminate, nowhere is safe, the aim is to empty Gaza of Palestinians totally; by any legal definition it is genocide.

“We are witnessing a killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented in any conflict since I have been Secretary-General [2017]”, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres relates.

Guterres, who stands out among world leaders as a man of principle and courage, said, somewhat optimistically, that “After the war” it is essential that, “We move in a determined, irreversible way to a two-state solution.” This is clearly not what the hard-liners of Israel have in mind, far from it. A single state is the objective, where Palestinians either bow down and accept life as third-class citizens or leave.

In addition to the staggering civilian death toll 80% of the 2.2 million population have been displaced; over 1.1 million people have sought refuge with the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency Palestine), creating “Overcrowded, undignified, and unhygienic conditions”, the agency reports. Others with nowhere to shelter are on the streets; over half of all homes have been bombed and destroyed.

Hospitals are sheltering thousands of displaced, homeless people. Of the 36 hospitals, only 14 remain even partially operational; in Northern Gaza, only six out of 24 have basic services. The two major hospitals in Southern Gaza are running out of fuel and basic supplies and are operating at “three times their capacity.” As a result, many, having reached the hospital, will die.

In a desperate effort to stop the killing of Palestinian civilians, on 6 December the UN Secretary General invoked Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations, something that has only happened 4 times in 75 years. He hoped to force the 15 members of the Security Council (SC) to acknowledge the consequences of Israel’s relentless violence on Palestinians and do something to stop it.

Guterres told the SC, that there is “a high risk of the total collapse of the humanitarian support system in Gaza, which would have devastating consequences. We anticipate that it would result in a complete breakdown in public order, and increased pressure for mass displacement into Egypt. I fear the consequences could be devastating for the security of the entire region.”

A resolution was proposed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which, would have “demanded an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza”, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, and unrestricted humanitarian access. Had it passed the resolution would have been legally binding on all member states, including Israel, which acts as if it is above international law.

But to the surprise of nobody the US (one of the five permanent members of the SC), to its utter shame, vetoed it, and the resolution was blocked.

The US was the only country to vote against the proposal. The UK (another permanent member) abstained — pathetic. It was the 44th occasion (in UN history) when America has vetoed resolutions to protect Israel. Apparently, the UK abstained because the resolution didn’t condemn the attack by Hamas on 7 October. We are truly living in a time of madness; times of destruction, deceit, duplicity and denial.

After the vote a dismayed UAE representative pointed out how isolated the SC has become and said, “In the face of untold misery, this Council [SC] is unable to demand a ceasefire…what is the message we are sending the Palestinians if we cannot unite?”

But , much like the world at large, the majority of the Council were united and remain united – 13 of the 15 supported the text. The insanity, the utter cruelty of such a perverse unconscionable action by the US, how do these politicians live with themselves.

It is time the Security Council was scrapped; it is an outdated, unrepresentative body that needs to go, and the UN needs the power to act, democratically given to it via the General Assembly.

No single nation should have the right to obstruct the will of the overwhelming majority and to deny a people, in this case Palestinians, the opportunity of peace. Proposals for peace and humanitarian access should be beyond geo-political alliances and perceived national interest: Humanity First; Peace, Freedom and Social Justice First; Compassion First. These, if humanity is to survive at all, need to become the slogans of the age.

This latest US action will cost the lives of more Palestinians, potentially thousands more. And whilst the US Administration may be increasingly tetchy with Israel for killing quite so many civilians, it doesn’t care enough to act; to support a ceasefire, to stop supplying arms and to withdraw diplomatic cover from Israel. The hypocrisy and double standards or these people know no limits.

As for the fanatical Israeli government and the IDF chiefs that are carrying out the slaughter, they are beyond rational engagement. These men, and from what I can see that are all men, are driven by one thing only, its not revenge or some perverted sense of justice, it’s hate. Hate so dense that no light, no compassion and certainly no love can penetrate. Hate so dark it cuts the perpetrator off from their own humanity and allows them to commit unimaginable atrocities again and again and again.

Graham Peebles is a British freelance writer and charity worker. He set up The Create Trust in 2005 and has run education projects in Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and India.  E:  W: