Israel’s use of brutal force on unarmed civilian Palestinians, in violation of the Geneva Convention, has continued unabated despite several United Nations resolutions which the United States of America (USA) has made a full-time job of impeding by vetoing in line with its Negroponte Doctrine.
Since March 30, 2018, unarmed Palestinians have lost their lives in scores and thousands have been maimed protesting Israel’s 11-year siege on Gaza, with the worst casualties recorded on May 14 while commemorating the 1948 An-Nakba and objecting the US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Israel’s repeated use of brutal force on Palestinian demonstrators who pose no imminent threat to life may amount to war crimes.
“Israel’s use of lethal force when there was no imminent threat to life has taken a heavy toll in life and limbs. The International Community needs to rip up the old playbook where Israel conducts investigations that mainly whitewash the conduct of its troops and the US blocks international accountability with its Security Council veto, and instead impose real costs for such blatant disregard for Palestinian lives” – Sarah Leah Whitson, Director, HRW Middle East.
The many UN resolutions and the US’ Negroponte Doctrine
The UN Security Council’s (UNSC) five permanent members – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States of America are endowed with the power to veto its Resolutions, a privilege the US made a condition for joining the UN in 1945.
From 1946 till date, the US has used its veto on over 80 resolutions, with more than half bordering on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and since 1972 has used more vetoes than the other P5.
In 2002, the then US Ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte affirmed the US willingness to veto any resolution against Israel which does not condemn other terrorist groups.
United Kingdom’s complicity in the Israel-Palestine
While the UK is responsible for the Israeli occupation in Palestine with its Balfour Declaration, its neutrality in the crisis rocking the region is perceived as a smoke-screened alignment with Israel, the latest being its abstention in a UNSC resolution drafted by Kuwait against Israel on its continuous use of live ammunition on civilians and children.
Senior Campaigns Officer for War on Want, Ryvka Barnard, told The Independent that “In abstaining from this vote, the UK Government has yet again refused to commit to the protection of Palestinians’ human rights as they are targeted with the brutal and unlawful use of force by the Israeli military.
“But make no mistake, the UK is not sitting aside and remaining neutral. While the World calls for violent attacks on Palestinians to end, the UK Government continues to approve arms exports to Israel, making it complicit in the violence”.
Between civilians and military targets
While the International community’s condemnation of Israel’s use of lethal force on unarmed civilians lingers, the US maintains that Israel has a right to defend itself against enemies, as Israel insists that many of the dead Palestinians were militants and its army was repelling attacks on the border fence between Israel and Gaza.
But one and many incidents show what Israel considers militants to be any and every Palestinian and whoever dares to support them even on a peaceful protest or treating injured civilians.
An Israeli officer during a civil lawsuit brought against the Israeli Government by the family of Rachel Corrie, the American solidarity activist murdered by an Israeli bulldozer driver, said in contradiction to the Geneva Conventions and surprise to all present that “there are no civilians in a war zone”.
In this spirit of this, when Palestinians were on a peaceful protest in June, Israel killed over a hundred of them and shot to death a 21 years old Nurse, Razan al-Najjar, who was clearly a volunteer medic with her uniform, as she attended to a patient.
United Nations officials and agencies complained over Razan as not even in the worst of wars are medical volunteers targeted and killed, but that was it. A medical volunteer was murdered by Israel and the country said nothing and refused to as much as apologise.
“she raised her hands high in a clear way, but Israeli soldiers fired and she was hit in the chest,” a witness told Reuters.
On her part, Rachel Corrie was protesting Israeli occupation and destruction of Palestinian homes. Unarmed, Israeli military ran a bulldozer over her.
Criticizing Israel; between anti-Semitism, politicking, and religiosity
Criticism of Israeli’s decade of murder and oppression of the Palestinian people is often rebuffed with claimed that the Jews were killed during the Holocaust. A crime so unconnected to the issue as the Holocaust took place in Europe not anywhere close to the Palestinians, who welcomed the jews in their land when they had the chance.
While the International community empathized with the Jews for the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler’s oppression, it is feared that Israel may be meting out same treatment on Palestinians, a situation further complicated by Israelis’ nonchalance as were the Germans during the Nazi regime.
Anti-Semitism, a term used to describe Nazis and its sympathizers is being rebranded to demonize those critical of Israel, deterring many from speaking out against the Israeli oppression of Palestinians, the few who do have become synonyms with the word.
Activists say the US’ international influence makes it more difficult for the International community to condemn Israel’s apparent disregard for Palestinian lives, as most Countries’ hands are in US’s pudding and fear loss should it go against US interest.
Another reason many are divided in Criticizing Israel is the widely spread belief that the Israeli-Palestine crisis is a Christians Vs. Muslims situation, as many are oblivious of the fact that Palestine has more Christian population than Israel (6:2).
There is also an argument for a level of complicity in the need to compensate for all the sufferings the Jewish community had suffered from the ancient days of the Pharaohs to Hitler’s World War 2.
“It is difficult to criticize a people that have gone through so much”- wrote Alex Kaliannan on Quora.
Yet not much is said of what they have, afterward, put others through.
“Whether it’s a child imprisoned by a military court or shot unjustifiably, or a house demolished for lack of an elusive permit, or checkpoints where only (Jewish) settlers are allowed to pass, few Palestinians have escaped serious rights abuses during this 50-year occupation,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Israel today maintains an entrenched system of institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians in the occupied territory – repression that extends far beyond any security rationale.”