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regular-article-logo Sunday, 23 June 2024

Many views: Editorial on disconnect between sections of the West over Israel’s war on Gaza

The Israeli government’s refusal to follow international law is more in keeping with the actions of pariah nation states than a democratic nation with a culture of debate and self-reflection

The Editorial Board Published 27.05.24, 07:44 AM
Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu File Photo

A series of developments last week points to Israel’s growing isolation over its devastating war on Gaza in which more than 35,000 people, mostly women and children, have been killed. Norway, Spain and Ireland announced that they would recognise Palestinian statehood. Then, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, stated that he was seeking arrest warrants against Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the defence minister, Yoav Gallant, along with senior Hamas leaders, accusing them of war crimes. Finally, on Friday, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to immediately stop its offensive in Rafah, the southern Gaza city, where a majority of the enclave’s population has been forced to relocate after being displaced by Israel’s bombing and shelling in other parts of the besieged Palestinian territory. Israel has recalled its ambassadors to Norway, Ireland and Spain in protest against those nations and has refused to abide by the ICJ ruling on ending the assault on Rafah. Meanwhile, Israel’s staunchest ally, the United States of America, is debating potential sanctions against the ICC prosecutor. The US is also expected to oppose the ICJ ruling on Rafah.

All of this suggests that the disconnect between sections of the West — especially in the US — and the rest of the world over the war on Gaza is mounting. Salman Rushdie, for instance, suggested in a recent interview that a Palestinian State, were it to be created today, might resemble Taliban-ruled Afghanistan — in essence, a nation ruled by an extremist, medieval set of policies. Yet, today, even Afghanistan has more functioning hospitals, schools and universities than Gaza, and its women — brutally discriminated against by the Taliban — at least have privacy at home, something denied to their counterparts in the Palestinian enclave where women, men and children are forced to relocate every few days, their homes destroyed. Starvation levels in Gaza today are worse than in Afghanistan. All of that is the result of Israel’s relentless bombing and invasion in the past seven months, coupled with its restrictions on aid entering the Palestinian enclave. The Israeli government’s refusal to follow international law is more in keeping with the actions of pariah nation states than a democratic nation with a culture of debate and self-reflection. Unless Israel rethinks its approach, and unless its truest friends pressure it to do so, it will find the ranks of those who admire and respect it shrinking.

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