UN Agencies Cry out to Stop the Horrors
The situation on the ground in Southwest Asia has dramatically worsened over the past days. Israeli forces have escalated their operations, bombing innocent Palestinian children and civilians under the protective umbrella provided by the United States, and the West as a whole. At the same time, fighting between Israel and Hezbollah intensified, with Israeli airstrikes deeper into southern Lebanon, and counter-attacks from the Hezbollah, while the United States carried out a third air attack on alleged Iran-backed militia bases in Syria. If and when the conflict spreads to Iran, it will be too late to talk of a ceasefire, and perhaps even too late to stop a global war.
The deliberate targeting of schools and hospitals by the Israelis on top of the ban on deliveries of fuel, food and vital medicine for weeks, has led to an outpouring of protest worldwide and the desperation of international aid agencies struggling to save lives. With 12,000 Palestinians reported dead, nearly half of them are children. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who is certainly not one to be provocative, pointed out to Reuters on Nov. 8, that “every year, the highest number of killings of children by any of the actors in all the conflicts that we witness is the maximum in the hundreds. We have in a few days in Gaza thousands and thousands of children killed.” While condemning the atrocious actions by Hamas, he warned of the need to distinguish Hamas from the Palestinian people. If not, “I think it’s humanity itself that will lose its meaning”, he said.
Meanwhile, the ground and air assaults on Gaza’s hospitals have led the agencies charged with caring for the starving and the injured to cry out in despair. UNICEF stated Nov. 10 that the lives of the 1 million children in Gaza are currently “hanging by a thread…. Over the past 24-hours, medical care at Al-Rantisi and Al-Nasr children’s hospitals has reportedly almost ceased, with only a small generator powering the intensive care and neonatal intensive care units.”
The International Committee for the Red Cross announced on the same day that Gaza’s healthcare system is “overstretched, running on thin supplies and increasingly unsafe”. It “has reached a point of no return risking the lives of thousands of wounded, sick and displaced people.”
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the UN Security Council Nov. 9 that “the health system is on its knees, with no medicine, no fuel”. Since the siege, only 600 trucks with aid have been allowed in, compared to 10,000 there would have been in the past. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk spoke to reporters after visiting Egypt’s Rafah border crossing on Nov. 8, saying “In Rafah I have witnessed the gates to a living nightmare”.
As heart-wrenching and stomach-turning as such a reality is, it is essential to avoid being carried away by one’s emotions, as the point was made at the most recent online discussion of the International Peace Coalition, which was co-founded by the Schiller Institute. It happened to take place on Nov. 10, which was the 264th birthday of Friedrich Schiller. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, in her remarks to the many peace activists participating, stressed that in such situations, it is important to step back, and reflect on a workable solution to the crisis and the means to bring it about. For that, one must rise to act on the level of the Sublime, as portrayed by Schiller in all his writings. “We need to recognize the humanity of all human beings in the world, and to act decisively.”