A moral victory

Published May 12, 2024

AS the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted on Friday in favour of granting Palestine greater rights at the multilateral body, and eventually paving the way for Palestine’s admission to the UN, thousands of miles away, in the killing fields of Gaza, the people of Palestine continued to face the brutality of the Israeli war machine. Only nine states voted against granting Palestine greater rights, amongst them the US. America’s ambassador to the UN said the vote against the resolution should “not reflect its opposition to Palestinian statehood”. This is doublespeak at its finest. Israel’s other staunch Western allies Germany and the UK abstained, while France voted in favour of the resolution along with 142 other members of the UN. The message from the global majority is clear: Palestine must join the comity of nations and take its rightful place at the UN. However, the Security Council’s recommendation is essential for full UN membership. Here, the US can be expected to torpedo the move, as it has in the past.

However, while Palestine may have scored a moral victory in the hallowed halls of the UN, in the hellscape that Gaza has been turned into, its people have no protection from Israel’s campaign of genocidal violence. Despite global calls for Tel Aviv to refrain from attacking Rafah, Israel has refused to listen, and hostilities continue in Gaza’s southernmost area. Even a feeble warning from the US to cut off weapons bound for Tel Aviv has failed to dampen Israel’s lust for Palestinian blood. Despatches from those in Gaza are heart-breaking. A Unicef official reports witnessing a mass exodus, with “people … exhausted, terrified”. He particularly points to the challenges faced by pregnant women and children, many of whom have lost limbs and suffered “horrific burns”. Moreover, famine has spread in Gaza, while Israel has blocked all aid for the last few days. In fact, along with Tel Aviv’s military machine, many civilians in the Zionist state have displayed blood-curdling cruelty towards the Palestinians, with protesters blocking aid shipments to Gaza. Many Israelis, as a society, want to treat Palestinians as untermensch, not worthy of human dignity, just as their forefathers were treated by Nazi Germany. And thanks to Israel’s powerful foreign patrons, they are succeeding, as Gaza’s hungry, bloodied and terrorised people cry out for an end to the nightmare.

Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2024

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