The Guardian • Issue #2103

Palestine: the genocide continues

Perth rally for Palestine on Saturday 8 June.

Perth rally for Palestine on Saturday 8 June.

The killing in Gaza goes on. The only difference in the past weeks has been the intensity of Israeli attacks and the indiscriminate killing of innocent people. Each crime is either denied, downplayed or described as a “precision” strike to eliminate terrorists. The world continues to watch and the people bear witness to the crime of genocide. The United Nations has included Israel on its annual blacklist of states that commit violations against children. It is an historical first for a country that is hailed by Western states, including Australia, as a democracy.

US SUPPORT

It has been verified that the bombs that struck the UN school in Gaza, killing as many as 40 people were badged ‘made in the USA.’ The bombs killed displaced Palestinians seeking shelter in a United Nations facility.

Asked whether American weapons were used in the strike, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller, passed the buck by saying that this “was a question for the Israeli government.” No, Mr Miller. Israel committed the crime with US assistance. It is the same assistance that equips the Israeli army, supplies the planes, bombs, shells, and which provides diplomatic cover in the UN Security Council.

The airstrike on the UN school was described by Israel as a “precision strike.” Israel claimed that no civilians were targeted. Just days after that crime, another UN-run school compound was hit in northern Gaza.

Israeli forces conducted a series of strikes on the Nuseirat refugee camp. Israelis celebrated the ‘rescue’ of four hostages in the action. Palestinians mourn the deaths of more than 200 people.

So far Israel’s assault on Gaza has killed nearly 37,000 people. The survivors have little by way of food, water, medical supplies, or shelter. UN agencies are now saying that over one million people in Gaza could experience the “highest level of starvation” by mid-July.

BLACKLIST

The United Nations, in response to the ongoing slaughter of the innocents, has taken the step of adding Israel to a list of states that commit violations against children. The annual list, announced by the UN Secretary-General, singles out regimes and terrorist organisations that kill children in conflict, deny them access to aid and that deliberately target schools and hospitals.

The UN decision has been welcomed by the Palestinian state. A spokesman for the Palestinian president described it as a step closer to holding Israel accountable for its crimes. Thousands of children have been killed. Thousands have been maimed. Thousands face starvation. Thousands more are traumatised by the nightmare that Israel has unleashed.

The UN report points out that Israel has carried out war crimes that specifically harmed children. It also accuses Israel of using large-scale bombs in densely populated areas, of placing Gaza under siege, of preventing aid from reaching children and targeting critical infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and refuge areas that deliberately affect children.

The report also takes into account the repeated attacks on Palestinian civilians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, conducted with impunity and within sight of Israeli armed forces.

The report simply states the facts. The crimes, the genocide, have been committed in plain sight. Despite the deaths of many journalists, the news is there before the eyes of the world and has been visible for over eight terrible months.

FURY AND DENIAL

Israel has responded with fury.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the charge, with the astonishing assertion that “the UN has put itself on the blacklist of history today when it joined the supporters of the Hamas murderers.” He repeated the claim that the Israeli Defence Force is “the most moral army in the world,” and called the UN decision “delusional.”

The lack of reality surrounding the Israeli regime’s response to the UN report has been consistent since the invasion of Gaza. Even so, the approach from Netanyahu was spectacular.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan called the decision “immoral,” adding that it would “reward Hamas.”

THREATS

Israeli Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, went so far as to declare that the decision “will have consequences for Israel’s relations with the UN,” and that it was “an act of villainy.”

Just what these “consequences” for Israel’s relations with the UN might be remain a mystery. Israel’s relations with the world, since launching the genocide are clearer.

South Africa’s genocide case which it brought to the ICC has just won another ally. Spain has announced that it will be joining the case. At the last count, 143 UN member states have voted to support Palestinian’s bid to become a full member of the United Nations. Only nine countries, including the USA and Israel voted against that resolution. Only the USA, through its power of veto, bars Palestine from membership. What then are these negative “consequences” Mr Katz?

‘Jerusalem Day,’ which marks the seizure of East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967, was observed just days before the UN announcement. It is traditionally a day when ultranationalist Zionists rally. Thousands of right-wing Israelis marched through the predominantly Palestinian part of the city, chanting “death to Arabs,” and “may your villages burn.” Journalists were beaten and spat on.

This year’s rally and march had special significance. It has never been separate from Israeli politics but this year it became an expression, not merely of extremist anti-Palestinian sentiment, but of the broader political movement. Israel’s far-right National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, took a central role in the march. His message was a brutal one. “Jerusalem is ours …With the help of God, the full victory is ours.”

For the far right, that victory goes beyond Jerusalem. It means ethnic cleansing. It means forever denying the Palestinians a home, a state. The significance of his remarks was noted. When a Palestinian state becomes an eventuality, East Jerusalem will be its capital. The stakes are high.

Netanyahu has stated that this ‘war’ will, in all likelihood continue at least until the end of the year. Meanwhile, a political struggle is underway. Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s rival for the leadership of the country stands on one side. The extreme right-wing coalition members, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, stand on the other. Some observers inside Israel consider that Netanyahu can survive the loss of Gantz but not the departure of the far-right ministers.

Whatever happens to Netanyahu, the essence of the apartheid state and the international condemnation it deserves will remain.

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