Unsurprisingly, the speech by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the World Economic Forum in Davos not only failed to highlight Israel’s genocidal actions, but also diminished the enormity of the crisis by allocating it just a few sentences.
“The world is standing by as civilians, mostly women and children, are killed, maimed, bombarded, forced from their homes and denied access to humanitarian aid,” said Guterres. No mention of the culprit, of course. “I repeat my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, and a process that leads to sustained peace for Israelis and Palestinians, based on a two-state solution. This is the only way to stem the suffering and prevent a spill over that could send the entire region into flames.”
Guterres should be calling for much more than a humanitarian ceasefire.
The UN should stop pretending that the humanitarian paradigm is not politicised. It is, and the entire international community is complicit in rendering Palestinians unwilling participants being thrown crumbs of aid while facing Israel’s colonial violence and genocidal bombing.
The UN Secretary-General should also stop glossing over genocide and relying on the usual futile statements that show contempt for Palestinians, rather than support. No one believes this rhetoric, and anyone can easily pinpoint the UN’s priorities from the clear message that nobody must antagonise Israel, and its security narrative must be promoted to the point that even a hypothetical peace scenario has to benefit Israelis before Palestinians. The conclusion is simple: for peace to exist under Israel’s conditions, Palestinians are destined for annihilation.
Maybe Guterres ought to be reminded that human rights should not work on the premise of “genocide for peace”.
And has the UN just woken up to the world’s passive stance over the Palestinians? If the world is “standing by”, what has the UN been doing since 1947, when Zionism had already exerted its influence over UN resolutions? Cuba’s unique stance against partition was not heeded. Instead, the UN proceeded to legitimise the Zionist colonial project and pave the way for the now defunct two-state paradigm, which Guterres continues to advocate, despite it being totally unfeasible as a result of Israel’s settler-colonial expansion.
Moreover, Palestinians have been marginalised completely from the political process, unless the UN can be sure that their inclusion is based upon their leaders’ acquiescence. Now that genocide is being committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, how dare Guterres merely make the usual very obvious comments? Is the UN comfortable with genocide when it comes to Palestinians because it does not dare disrupt the Zionist narrative that Israel has constructed about that heinous crime, which makes it exclusively to justify the colonisation of Palestine and eradication of the “Palestinian issue”?
So, stop making the ceasefire about humanitarian aid and suffering, because there is no way that, given the death and destruction rained upon the Palestinians in Gaza by Israel, the UN is oblivious to the necessity of prioritising their political demands over those of the apartheid state. The ceasefire is political, and humanitarian aid should complement the ceasefire, not be used as a bargaining tool to alleviate the Palestinian people’s suffering temporarily.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.