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Rule of law and law-breaking nations

Rule of law and law-breaking nations

It is two weeks since the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling for action against Israel for war crimes and atrocities against humanity in Gaza. Various human rights agencies have already raised this demand several times. Complaints against Israel were submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) last November. Petitions are also being considered for non-compliance with the court's orders served to Israel, granting interim relief in South Africa's complaint to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). There are reports that the International Criminal Court may issue an arrest warrant against Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders for serious violations of the law. The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention, in the US, has issued a warning that Israel is committing genocide in the West Bank following its acts in Gaza. A comprehensive report submitted by Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese to the UN Human Rights Committee demonstrates that the actions of Israel constitutes genocide. The UN report found that all criteria for genocide were met in Gaza. The International Committee of the Red Cross assessed that Israel had violated the humanitarian decency and international norms of war. Trita Parsi of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft reports that Israel has thrown to the winds all the etiquette of war. Food security organizations and voluntary groups including Oxfam point out that Israel is not ready to deliver essential aid, including food, to Gaza despite requests from the UN Security Council and the World Court. Israel is also a culprit in the UNICEF report that enumerates the inhumane paths.

It is nothing new that Israel started to defy the world by violating international norms and laws. Israel has been blamed in countless resolutions of the UN General Assembly, Security Council and Human Rights Council. The country has ignored recent UN Security Council and ICJ orders for a cease-fire in Gaza. Not only that, that country has started extending the genocide to Rafah too. What purpose is served by law if it cannot rein in a rogue nation that acts by its own write and scorning the systems, including the UN, which are said to be governed by laws? The bombing of the Iranian embassy in Damascus was an act of open defiance of the laws and the nations of the world. Yet the 'international law' did not move. On the other hand, America is complicit in the crimes as a co-defendant. It exercised veto against granting Palestine full membership in the UN. Throughout the three-quarter century of occupation, Israel has a history of defying the UN, which in fact gave the green-light for the occupation.

Israel has honured only by violation the terms of the Geneva Convention, which contain rules that occupying countries must abide by. The security and resources of the occupied population are the responsibility of the occupying power. The people should not be denied their freedom of movement, displaced, driven out, or their land encroached upon. The Zionist state has violated all this many times and still continues to do so. The Geneva Convention states that occupied population has the right to fight against occupation including armed struggle. But when the Western powers, who often call themselves the international community, count even the stoning of Palestine as terrorism, the UN and other agencies become spectators. Israel is defying the whole world by upending international law. The ICJ and numerous UN resolutions have condemned Israeli settlements as a violation of Article 49 of the Geneva Conventions. The use of force against civilians, the imposition of 'mass punishment' on the population, the restriction of freedom of movement and the destruction of homes have all been repeatedly criticized. A new crude justice has taken over the the world's legal system by oppressing a people and calling it terrorism when they respond.

That is why those who are not even ready to condemn the bombing of the Iranian embassy which killed 16 people, are tightening the sanctions against Iran, which fired missiles only at military bases. International justice has come to be synonymous with the unjust judgments of a few nations. World peace cannot be restored without defeating this terrorist coalition. The life-and-death struggle waged by the freedom fighters of Palestine is one that defines the overall course of the world. To win that fight, it is necessary for people who believe in humanity and the rule of law. It may be recalled that at one time, when apartheid was at its peak in South Africa, people including Nelson Mandela, who launched their freedom struggle, were tortured and imprisoned labelling them as terrorists. Those who supported the apartheid regime like Israel, Britain and the United States, are now suppressing Palestine with worse brutality. In South Africa, the oppressive regime was eventually brought down by the fighters there and the anti-apartheid majority led by the UN. It is time for that history to repeat itself. The global community must intervene to drive out the oppressors and restore world justice.

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