Unending genocidal war

Published May 15, 2024
The writer is an author and journalist.
The writer is an author and journalist.

DEFYING international pressure, Israel has begun its long-threatened military assault in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. It is speeding up the ongoing genocide of the occupied population. Israel’s latest military offensive has forced hundreds and thousands of people to flee the city. In the words of a UN official, there is “no safe place in the enclave”.

A full-blown famine has already begun in the territory, with Zionist forces closing all access to relief supplies. According to the UN, “a staggering 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza — 1.9 million civilians — have been forcibly displaced amid Israel’s military operations.” The genocide that has entered its eighth month has so far left more than 35,000 people dead — most of them women and children.

Such savagery is unparalleled in modern history. Yet the world has failed to stop the catastrophe. The latest Israeli offensive and the relentless bombardment of the civilian population has alarmed even Israel’s Western patrons. But still, they are not willing to act effectively to stop the genocide of a hapless population. The latest evacuation has affected close to a million people in Rafah.

US President Joe Biden’s decision to pause the supply of some of the most lethal bombs to Israel is mere hogwash. While withholding the delivery of 3,500 high-payload bombs, which Israel has been using to kill thousands of Palestinians, the US remains the biggest supplier of weapons to the Zionist state. This makes it an accomplice in the genocide. It is not surprising that the right-wing Israeli government is going ahead with the ground invasion of Rafah, ignoring the US warning.

Israel’s extension of the war to Rafah has intensified public outrage the world over.

In fact, the US president’s pledge to continue with his administration’s “ironclad” support for Israel renders his decision to suspend the supply of some weapons irrelevant. The Israeli leadership has vowed to continue the military assault on Rafah notwithstanding the US warning, and perhaps knowing that it would not cause relations with Tel Aviv’s staunchest ally to rupture.

Nothing could expose America’s hypocrisy more than the statement by White House National Security Council coordinator John Kirby, who said that the “operation along the Gaza-Egypt border in eastern Rafah was not a full-on invasion of the city that President Joe Biden has repeatedly warned against on humanitarian grounds”. Israel, according to him, had described it as “an operation of limited scale and duration”.

Such a statement in the midst of the relentless bombardment of the city and Israeli tanks rumbling on the outskirts, forcing the eviction of some 300,000 people, is an attempt to provide justification for the invasion. Israeli tanks and planes have attacked several areas and homes in Rafah in the past one week. The American defence of Israeli action comes as the UN and aid agencies are warning of a “full-blown famine” because of the closure of two main crossings near Rafah.

According to some media reports, Israel sent its ground forces into Rafah and took control of the Palestinian side of the crossing hours after Hamas said it had accepted a ceasefire proposal put forward by Qatari and Egyptian mediators. Israel said the proposal fell short of its requirements. Whatever leverage the US claims to have doesn’t seem to be working as Israel continues with its genocidal war.

Meanwhile, Israel’s extension of the war to Rafah has intensified public outrage the world over, including in the US. Campus protests against the Gaza war are spreading despite police actions against student encampments. In many cases, the faculty has joined protesting students — reminiscent of the anti-war protests of the 1960s. The rising anti-war sentiment, particularly among the young voters, will hugely affect President Biden’s bid for a second term in the November presidential elections. The Gaza war has changed America’s political landscape.

The protests have also spread to Western Europe, increasing pressure on governments there to call for a ceasefire. Israel’s refusal to ease hostilities and its latest military offensive in Rafah has increased Tel Aviv’s international isolation. Many of its Western European allies have now openly condemned Israel’s killing of the civilian population, though Germany and Britain have not halted weapons’ supply to Tel Aviv.

Israel’s growing international isolation was demonstrated in the overwhelming support at the UN General Assembly for Palestine’s bid to become a full member of the UN, with 143 countries voting in favour and nine (including the US and Israel amongst others) against. Twenty-five countries abstained. The UNGA wants the Security Council to “reconsider the matter favourably”.

Those who voted in favour included France and many other European countries, demonstrating the widening breach in the pro-Israel bloc amid the growing public backlash against Israel’s genocidal policy. The overwhelming support for Palestine has been a rebuke for the Zionist state as well as the US. The resolution was put before the UNGA after the US had vetoed a similar motion for granting Palestine full member status in the Security Council.

The Security Council’s approval is still needed for the resolution to come into effect that would lead to Palestine sitting among the member states and participating in discussions on all matters. It seems certain that the US will again use its power of veto to block it. Nevertheless, it has been a huge moral victory for the Palestinian cause.

Despite relentless bombing and ground action that has killed thousands of people and turned most of Gaza into rubble, Tel Aviv has still not been able to achieve its objectives. Israeli forces are back in northern Gaza, which it had earlier claimed to have cleared of resistance. They are now engaged in an intense battle with Palestinian fighters. Israel is paying a huge cost for invading Gaza.

It’s a no-win war for the Zionist state despite American backing and its military superiority. The prolonged war and increasing international isolation have worsened Israel’s predicament. But there is still no sign of Israel ending hostilities. The international community must act to stop the genocidal war before Israel turns the entire occupied enclave into a graveyard.

The writer is an author and journalist.

zhussain100@yahoo.com

X: @hidhussain

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2024

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