President Biden’s Blatant Disregard of Humanitarian Law

In his opening remarks to the Oct. 24 UN Security Council session, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres decried the horrific Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel and the loss of life, hostage-taking, and violence that ensued. But, he added, “it is important to also recognize that the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation…. But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.” He also expressed his concern about “clear violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza”.

Although carefully balanced, his remarks set off a storm of protest among Israeli officials. The reality on the ground was presented in much starker terms by Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA). In an Oct. 26 opinion column in the Guardian, he charged that Gaza is being transformed from an “open-air prison” into a “graveyard”. If the world does not find the courage to impose a ceasefire to stop this, no one will be able to say “we did not know,” and history will judge us accordingly, he warned the world.

“On 7 October, Hamas committed unspeakable massacres of Israeli civilians that may amount to war crimes…. But let there be no shadow of a doubt—this does not justify the ongoing crimes against the civilian population of Gaza, including its 1 million children…. Atrocities should not be followed by more atrocities. The response to war crimes is not more war crimes.”

U.S. President Biden does not have the same qualms, it seems. He was asked at a press conference on Oct. 25 about the 7,000 Palestinians killed, of whom nearly 3,000 children. His response echoed the incredible cynicism touted by then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1996, when confronted with the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of the sanctions on Iraq ordered by Washington. “The price, we think, the price is worth it”, she answered coldly.

Joe Biden, after saying he could not trust any statistics given by the Palestinians, added: “I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war.” He did say that he hoped the Israelis will only kill combatants, for what that’s worth…

In an interview with CNN’s Kaitlin Collins, renowned surgeon Dr. Abu-Sittah, who is working in Gaza, expressed the utter disgust of people in the region to the comment of the U.S. President: “I think President Biden is telling Israelis they haven’t killed enough Palestinians yet and that there is more room for more slaughter.”

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