Gaza: Who Will Rise to Stop the Genocide against Palestinians?

Israel’s Western allies, including Denmark, continue to support the genocide in Gaza behind the narrative of defence against terrorism. The alarm bells are ringing louder and louder over the Western allies as the death toll of Palestinians reaches unprecedented levels and the catastrophic conditions, including a severe desperation for food and water face those still alive after 132 days. If we still want confidence in a world order based on universal human rights and our common humanity, Western leaders must find their moral compass now – and face the truth about the genocide in Gaza.

More than 28,000 Palestinian lives have been lost during Israel’s 132-day cold-blooded massacre in Gaza. 70% are women and children. Every 11 minutes a Palestinian child is brutally killed and every hour two mothers are killed. 1,9 million are internally displaced and in severe need of humanitarian assistance, which the UN’s United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA heroically struggles to provide. Despite international law, hospitals, UN schools and refugee camps, religious places continue to be attacked. Journalists continue to be targeted and killed as they bravely fight to get glimpses of the heart-wrenching atrocities out to the eyes of the world. Around 75% of all journalists killed in war zones in 2023, lost their lives in the war on Gaza.

In sum, drawing up a clear case of systematic genocide while the UN alongside other international institutions and people in the streets across the world everywhere continue to call for an immediate and lasting ceasefire.

Complicit in the crimes in Gaza

Israel’s Western allies, including the Danish government, have been disturbingly silent and complicit in the crimes in Gaza and are contributing to the epidemic of impunity unfolding globally as they fail to keep Israel accountable.

We are currently witnessing a moral collapse in the West, where Israeli allies are paving the path for a breakdown in the values and norms that bind us together as a global community – not seen since World War II. Several Western countries led by the US are taking even more extreme measures by defunding UNRWA, turning humanitarian assistance into a weapon of war based on unproven allegations against 12 individual employees of UNRWA out of some 30.000.

This brings the world to a sharp moral crossroads: how can we sustain a global community with confidence in universal human rights in the face of the horrors unleashed on Gaza? The world position on Gaza will set the direction for much more than the future of Palestinians and Israelis. It will become a moral compass for the future of the entire world.

Consequently, the West is losing its credibility with the global south and with their own populations who day in and day out continue to witness “hell on earth” in Gaza. Mogens Lykketoft writes in Jyllands-Posten 13 December 2023 “in the global south, the West’s failure to distance itself from Netanyahu’s war policy is seen as an expression of cynical double standards about human rights. The war creates the risk of more unrest throughout the region and the world. There is a fear of terrorism in Europe. There is a risk that nationalist, xenophobic and semi-authoritarian movements can break down unity in the climate fight and in the war against Russia”.

Truths to offer direction for a new Western course of action

Israel’s Western allies, including the Danish government urgently ought to face a series of truths about Israel and the current escalation of the conflict, placing it at the scale of genocide. The only way to peace is through a new course of action by Western leaders anchored in truth.

One truth is that Israel’s occupation of Palestine the past 75 years is the root of the conflict. The report “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians” in February 2022 by Amnesty International referred to the fact that the occupation actually is illegal according to the international conventions reported by the UN’s independent international commission of inquiry. Hence, it is not only a lasting ceasefire that is needed right now, the systematic oppression, discrimination and violations of the freedom and human rights of the Palestinian people need to end for peace to become possible.

A second truth is that when people live under occupation as in the case of the Palestinians, they have a right to defend themselves under international law, just as an occupying power has an obligation to protect people under its control. Yet the Palestinians in Gaza continue to be dehumanized and starved by the Israeli Government through denial of water, food, health care, electricity, shelter and human dignity at all levels.

Thirdly, it is vital to remember that a deep pain exists across generations among both Israelis and Palestinians. The pain, anger and hatred that naturally arises from being oppressed, possessed, excluded, displaced and unjustly deprived of human dignity and basic human rights. A feeling the Palestinians have lived with since 1948. On the Israeli side, people are born into an “us or them” narrative, brainwashed to see Palestinians as less human and some are fueled with fear to kill, control, oppress and discriminate against Palestinians. It is clear that Israel’s response to the 7 October attack and the unconditional support of its Western allies has not served the welfare of the Israeli people nor the peace process – it has only escalated the pain and created higher walls and more monsters.

Western leaders lack moral global responsibility

A fourth truth is that while the UN Chief continues to loudly call for a return to our common humanity, the position on Gaza by Western leaders continues to fuel polarization across societies. When pro-Palestinians are called anti-Semites, and when calling for a lasting ceasefire and the rights of Palestinians, make us advocates of terrorism and against Jews. When the many legal demonstrations all over the world are being labeled divisive rather than the civic human rights activism that is currently bringing millions of people from Copenhagen to Johannesburg, from Brasilia to Kuala Lumpur to Sydney on the streets to protest against the systematic genocide that is making people’s hearts bleed for the people of Gaza everywhere. The world urgently needs leaders that unite us – not divide us.

A fifth truth is that the International Criminal Court is investigating Israel’s war crimes, with a plausibility of genocide as the scale of Israel’s massacre on Palestinians reaches unprecedented levels. South Africa is demonstrating the moral courage that the Western leaders lack, to do what is right by bringing Israel to justice – offering the world a bright example of the moral global responsibility needed right now.

Time is running out in Gaza

The truth accounts that drive the current course of action by the majority of Western leaders to continue to stand with and be complicit in Israel’s crimes are false and outdated. Time is running out for Gaza and for the trust in the Western leaders. Fortunately, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Spain are so far starting to voice a different stance on Gaza.

How many more Palestinian children have to be killed in Gaza before the West changes its course? The future of Palestinian children is intertwined with the future of the world. Protecting the Palestinians has come to equal protecting a world order based on universal human rights and our common humanity.

Before this day is over and while Western leaders stumble to operate their moral compass, hundreds more Palestinian children will be brutally killed or open their eyes to a traumatizing world with no parents, siblings or grandparents – filled with hunger, hopelessness, death, grief, anxiety, destruction and a world that screams we don’t care enough to protect you.

By Helene Guldborg, Board Member, Crossing Borders & Garba Diallo, Director, Crossing Borders

Illustration Credits:  Omar Al sayed

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