Israel’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is advising ministers to pay heed to the terminology they use when commenting on the colonial massacre in Gaza, to protect Israel’s so-called international legitimacy.
“Every word has meaning when it comes to diplomacy. If you don’t know, don’t speak,” Netanyahu warned during a cabinet meeting on Sunday. “We must be sensitive.” To international diplomacy, of course, not towards Palestinians. Just to clarify the Israeli narrative.
“We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba,” was how Israeli Agricultural Minister Avi Dichter referred last Saturday to the current colonial ethnic cleansing and “text-book case of genocide” in Gaza.
The comment that attracted most media attention was Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu’s suggestion that Israel should “nuke” Gaza. Besides this inadvertent admission that Israel has nuclear weapons — an issue that has been shrouded in diplomatic ambiguity for years — Eliyahu continued to advocate for ethnic cleansing, speaking out against humanitarian aid for Palestinians; speaking in favour of colonising Gaza and rebuilding settlements there; and suggesting that the Palestinians “can go to Ireland or deserts: “The monsters in Gaza should find a solution by themselves.”
The response to Eliyahu’s comments was equally an aberration. Opposition Leader Yair Lapid described them as “horrifying and insane.” Defence Minister Yoav Gallant expressed gladness that “these are not the people in charge of Israel’s security.” Meanwhile, Netanyahu, contradicting all evidence of Israel’s latest violent display, claimed that, “Israel and the IDF are acting in accordance with the highest standards of international law in order to prevent harm to uninvolved people, and we will continue to do that all the way to victory.”
Meanwhile, the highest standards of international law as interpreted by Israel have already murdered over 11,000 Palestinians in Gaza. Five weeks since Israel started bombing Gaza incessantly, the international community is divided over ceasefires and humanitarian pauses, while US President Joe Biden blamed the destruction of Gaza’s hospitals on “the other team”, meaning Hamas. Israel’s purported right to defend itself remains a strong narrative within the international community.
The apartheid state’s international legitimacy should have shattered long ago. Indeed, it should have never been granted recognition. For sure, as Netanyahu said, every word has meaning when it comes to diplomacy, and Israel would rather not risk any further scrutiny, despite the general consensus within the international community that Hamas should be destroyed and, meanwhile, granting the green light for the murder of thousands of Palestinian civilians.
Despite the war crimes that it has committed, to-date all that Israel faces are relatively mild rebukes. Mere days prior to the massacres Israel unleashed against Gaza, Germany signed a deal with the settler-colonial state for the Arrow 3 Missile Defence System. Gallant described the deal thus: “Only 80 years since the end of the Second World War yet Israel and Germany join hands today in building a safer future.”
A “safer future” that is built upon the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population – the first to experience Israel’s weaponry in action – carries with it neither logic nor legitimacy. Indeed, nothing about Israel’s existence and actions point towards legitimacy, from the “Jewish terrorism” paving the way for its creation to the massacres of Palestinians over the intervening years, it has depended on uncontrolled violence and lies, as well as contempt for international laws and conventions. Yet, for Israel to lose international legitimacy, the international community needs to look at its own complicity in all of this and put an end to the rogue state’s ability to act with impunity.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.