Where Are the Human Rights in Gaza?
The holiday season and transition to the new year brought no respite for the population of Gaza, where the death toll now exceeds 30,000. The bombing continues, as the lack of water, food, medicine and electricity only worsens. What is most troubling for people in the West is how their governments can condone – or even worse approve of — such blatant barbarism. And to do so all the while claiming to defend human rights, and insisting on the moral superiority of “western values”. Nonetheless, a chorus of voices is being raised to demand action now:
Reverend Dr. Munther Isaac, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem addressed the issue most poignantly in his sermon on Dec. 23. “We are tormented by the silence of the world. Leaders of the so-called ‘free’ [world] lined up one after the other to give the green light for this genocide against a captive population. They gave the cover. Not only did they make sure to pay the bill in advance, they veiled the truth and context, providing political cover. And, yet another layer has been added: the theological cover with the Western Church stepping into the spotlight…
“The hypocrisy and racism of the Western world is transparent and appalling! … To our European friends. I never ever want to hear you lecture us on Human rights or international law again. …. We are outraged by the complicity of the church. Let it be clear: Silence is complicity, and empty calls for peace without a ceasefire and end to occupation, and the shallow words of empathy without direct action — are all under the banner of complicity. So here is my message: Gaza today has become the moral compass of the world….
“If you are not appalled by what is happening; if you are not shaken to your core — there is something wrong with your humanity. If we, as Christians, are not outraged by this genocide, by the weaponizing of the Bible to justify it, there is something wrong with our Christian witness, and compromising the credibility of the Gospel!”
Retired U.S. diplomat Chas Freeman: A Disaster for Israel and the U.S. Chas Freeman is an outspoken dissident of Washington’s foreign policy, and has a great deal of experience in Southwest Asia. In an interview Dec. 27 on the “Daniel Davis Deep Dive” podcast, he accused the Netanyahu government of carrying out “genocide with publicly stated intent. It’s very clear they intend to depopulate Gaza — and the West Bank. Real estate agents’ promotions are beginning to appear in Israel, which promise to build you a beachfront villa on the shore of Gaza.” Israel will “emerge from this war a pariah state [among nations of the entire region], with very limited support even in the United States after a time”, he warned.
For the U.S., which has given Netanyahu “a blank check”, it will be a disaster, Ambassador Freeman continued. “The minute the United States starts to talk about democracy, human rights, the rule of law, etc., it is going to be laughed out of court. No one will take it seriously…. It will be seen by the rest of the world as rank hypocrisy.”
Opposition to Netanyahu Growing within Israel, where new polls show 70% of the population want the Prime Minister to resign. “Dethrone King Bibi Now” is the title of the Dec. 25 lead editorial in Haaretz. The daily argues that the conditions now exist to resume the huge protests against Netanyahu and his government that shook Israel for months before Oct. 7. At that time, the protests were focused on Bibi’s dictatorial “judicial reform”, which the Supreme Court has now blocked.
Haaretz writes that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the one who bears the greatest blame for the security, diplomatic and social failures that led to the October 7 massacre and the outbreak of war.” Therefore, “There is nothing more warranted than deposing him.”
Very importantly, in the Dec. 28 issue of Haaretz, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (2006-09) called for Israel to put a complete end to the fighting, as well as for a full exchange of hostages and prisoners, and for Egypt to mediate negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Note that Olmert has neither a labor party nor a “leftist” background.
South Africa Formally Files Charges against Israel for Genocide. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announced Dec. 30 that the South African government has filed charges against Israel for genocide in Gaza, and has called for provisional measures to be taken to end it. The ICJ statement says that the filing alleges that “acts and omissions by Israel … are genocidal in character, as they are committed with the requisite specific intent … to destroy Palestinians in Gaza as a part of the broader Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.” Israel’s behavior “is in violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention.”