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WORLD VIEW: It’s time the UN Security Council acts to stop the killing in Gaza

Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen wrecked by an Israeli airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip,Tuesday, April 2, 2024.The Israeli military’s killing of seven aid workers in Gaza has triggered unprecedented criticism from European leaders, who are stepping up calls for a cease-fire and in some cases halting arms sales to Israel as the war’s toll mounts. Photo: Ismael Abu Dayyah/AP

Palestinians inspect a vehicle with the logo of the World Central Kitchen wrecked by an Israeli airstrike in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip,Tuesday, April 2, 2024.The Israeli military’s killing of seven aid workers in Gaza has triggered unprecedented criticism from European leaders, who are stepping up calls for a cease-fire and in some cases halting arms sales to Israel as the war’s toll mounts. Photo: Ismael Abu Dayyah/AP

By SIR RONALD SANDERS

THE escalation of violence in Gaza by Israel has prompted a global outcry, marking a rising disgust, particularly among the young, of what is widely regarded as a hugely disproportionate response to the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023.

Now, the outrage has grown beyond young people to include solid representatives of the tra- ditional establishment, at least in Britain. With over 600 British legal experts, including retired judges from the Supreme Court, demanding a halt to the British government’s arms sales to Israel, the urgency of a re-evaluation by the UN Security Council of its stance on the conflict should be obvious.

The concerns of the British legal fraternity are linked to their fear of the possibility of complicity by the British government in grave breaches of international law by Israel, using arms that are supplied, in part, by Britain. If the Israeli government, particularly its globally unpopular Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, continues to dismiss all urgings to de- escalate attacks on Gaza, the current crisis will enter the realm of global ethical responsibility.

Genocide or defence?

The courage of the South African government to take the allegation of genocide by the Israeli government to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and the Court’s decision in January 2024 to order provisional measures against Israel, has strengthened the growing view that the government of Israel is committing genocide.

The detailed accounts by the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, of civilian targeting, destruction of vital infrastructure, and the systematic denial of essential supplies, give credence to the fears about genocide. In her report to the UN Security Council, she said that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that Israel is “committing the crime of genocide against the Palestinians as a group in Gaza.”

Israel has adamantly rejected these accusations. However, the killing of aid workers from the World Central Kitchen, illustrates to many that Israeli forces may not be as careful, as they claim, to ensure that non-combatants are not targeted in their attack.

Excessive actions test traditional alliances

These incidents not only fuel the debate but also test the historical alliances that have, until now, shaped the geopolitical landscape including in the US administration, which has begun to realize that it could be tainted by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s firm resolve to pursue military actions in Rafah that could result in the deaths of thousands of civilians.

Rafah is a city of 25 square miles in the South- ern part of Gaza. Prior to the present conflict, Rafah had a population of less than 200,000 people. On the orders of Israel, an estimated 1.4 million people have been pushed into Rafah. They are all vulnerable to an Israeli military attack. This is why the US government has been insisting on proper arrangements for civilian safety and humanitarian consequences of any attack.

Global Impact of Regional Wars

In today’s interconnected world, there is no longer any such thing as an isolated conflict. The repercussions of warfare ripple across the globe, affecting food prices, shipping costs, and economic stability. The conflict in Ukraine and the Houthis’ attacks on shipping lanes have already demonstrated how wars can impact global economies and individual lives far removed from the battleground.

Calls for a Humanitarian Approach

The call from British jurists to suspend arms sales to Israel is not an isolated sentiment but part of a growing international chorus demanding account- ability and a re-evaluation of the policies that enable the continuation of the conflict.

This movement, gaining momentum amid the rising deaths of civilians not only from military action but also due to lack of medicine and hunger, challenges the UN Security Council, especially its five veto-nations, to fulfill their responsibilities. This means that each of them must move to align their international policy with the principles of human rights and justice.

The five veto-nations cannot wait for an unredeemable plight in Gaza simply to make pious statements or to point fingers of blame at each other. Human lives are at stake.

A Call to Action

This critical juncture calls for a collective reimagining of the approach by all nations to international conflicts and the mechanisms of support that sustain them.

The resolution passed by the UN Security Council, demanding an immediate ceasefire and the expansion of humanitarian assistance, though a step in the right direction, was not enough.

Sadly, it highlighted the limitations of international governance in enforcing peace and ensuring the protection of civilian lives, when big power countries play the game of seeking advantage over each other.

Conclusion

As the crisis in Gaza unfolds, the international community, led by the UN Security Council, must seize this moment to advocate for peace and justice. This is not merely a call for a ceasefire, but a demand for a profound policy shift towards upholding human dignity and preventing further loss of life.

The time for decisive action is now. The global community stands at a crossroad, and the response to the crisis in Gaza will be remembered either as a testament to international commitment to these ideals or to the abandonment of them. The consequences of the latter — abandoning the principles of peace and justice — would be too grave for the world to bear.

That is why even the smallest and least powerful nations of the world must not be silent; they must speak up loudly and together, in all regional and international fora, without exception.

The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the US and the OAS. The views expressed are entirely

his own.

• Responses and previous commentaries: www. sirronaldsanders.com

Comments

ThisIsOurs 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I never understood why Biden sanctioned this broad based military offensive against Gaza, it could never have ended well and was always guaranteed to kill innocent people. But who could imagine it would be on the level of 30,000 of them with no end in sight? This appears to be on the same level of planning of the Afghan pullout that predictably descended into absolute chaos. The Gazans who committed the atrocities in Israel should have been identified and targeted, it would have taken time and it would have been hard, but it would have been appropriate. this, this is barbaric potentially turning Israel into worse than the evil that triggered the response. They cant take this back. It will probably lead to the rise of a new terror out of Gaza. from a new generation fed a diet of hate. They have hurt the heart of my daughter saying peace peace when there is no peace"

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Porcupine 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Please understand ThisisOurs, that the diet of hate started decades ago. The hate started as the Zionists started ethnically cleansing Palestine. You have to read things other than what the media puts forth for you to read. The State of Israel should not be in the Middle East. If anywhere, it should be in Europe, where most Israelis come from. Do your homework. The Palestinians were in Palestine. for 4000 years. How long have Bahamians been in The Bahamas? So, if an Arawak comes to your door and says, This is Ours, what would you say? Let's be intelligent and fair-minded here. The hate has been unleashed by the Zionists since before Israel was created in 1948. The world is finally waking up to what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank. Some, it seems, take longer to see the truth.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month, 2 weeks ago

It's likely you believe I believe Israel was justified in this.

But I said the exact opposite. I said the military offensive never had the possibility of a good outcome. I also wholeheartedly believe men who went on a shooting and raping rampage should receive fitting punishment. Their nationality is irrelevant. As Israeli soldiers have also been accused of rape.

It's also fairy tales to believe Israel will pick up and move.

Israel was motivated by hate and the Palestinians were motivated by hate. They're both stuck on a neverending diet of hate. I dont see how this obliteration of the Gaza strip doesnt intensify the hate level among the innocent civilians. Then Israel will respond with more hate. And it never ends.

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