I am ashamed. Deeply ashamed. My British passport has never been a source of pride for me. Ever since I read about the real blood-soaked history of the British Empire, and not the sanitised version pumped out at Stanley Grammar School by my history teacher Mr Williams, the passport has been a functional travel document; no more, no less.
The past week has seen a roller coaster of emotions for the millions of us in the pro-Palestine movement. It started with the unexpected high of the preliminary findings of the International Court of Justice, which said that South Africa had made a convincing genocide case against Israel. Then came the almost inevitable downer, when the West scraped the bottom of the barrel to find another vicious punishment to inflict on the Palestinians.
Now, instead of examining the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in its genocide of the Palestinian people — I refuse to say “alleged” — the Western media has busied itself with the story that twelve of the 30,000 staff members at the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) were accused by Israel of taking part in the 7 October Hamas attack. The allegation was made on the same day that the ICJ revealed its preliminary findings on South Africa’s case against Israel.
Feigning faux outrage, the US seized the stage-managed moment to suspend all funding to UNRWA and more than a dozen allies followed suit, including the UK, the poodle that is oh so servile to Washington.
There’s nothing like twisting the knife ever deeper when those dependent on the UN agency for basic essentials are already starving, thirsty and being bombed incessantly. The decision to withdraw funding is criminal, insane and possibly the most malicious act yet by the West against the Palestinians.
Anyone who has visited Gaza, myself included, knows that UNWRA provides a lifeline which most of the population relies on. Removing UNWRA funding is almost on a par with unplugging the power from a critically sick baby’s incubator (which Israeli soldiers have already done when they cut off the power supply to Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital).
I don’t know how true the stories are about the allegedly rogue UNWRA employees, since much of the evidence was extracted under torture by those held in custody by Israel. In the upside-down world of gutter politics surrounding the situation in Palestine, though, I’m no longer surprised by apartheid Israel’s dirty tactics.
However, I will say this. The Metropolitan Police Service in London is an organisation similar in personnel numbers to UNWRA. Since 2021, more than 100 police officers have been convicted of serious crimes, nearly 50 of them for rape and sexual assaults. The British government has never withdrawn funding from the Met as a result, nor have financial or other penalties been imposed on the force.
Why? Because the London public at large would be endangered if the Met Police collapsed and was unable to perform its function of maintaining law and order.
Punishing UNWRA is, therefore, not only illogical and cruel, but it also exposes the spite and malice which fuels the failing Zionist project and its sick supporters in the West.
Hate-filled, hoodlum Israelis have even been allowed to physically block humanitarian aid from entering Gaza. Revenge is behind this malevolence, which will never be satiated as long as Tel Aviv’s vile right-wing government is in power.
In the meantime, the Global South looks on in utter revulsion as Israel continues its genocide — it has killed at least 373 Palestinians since the ICJ said that it “must, in accordance with its obligations under the Genocide Convention, in relation to Palestinians in Gaza, take all measures within its power to prevent the… killing members of the group…” — while the West oils the wheels of this evil war machine which is bringing the world closer and closer to the abyss.
Just as life barely exists in Gaza today, basic human decency is in intensive care in the West because of our political leaders. The people are not being represented fairly and honestly because their corrupt politicians are in the pay and under the sway of the pro-Israel lobby. Zionist control is no longer a conspiracy theory; it is a fact.
How many Palestinian babies, toddlers, pregnant mothers and old people must be killed before Israel’s bloodlust is satisfied? The death toll so far is 26,600 and rising, most of them children and women; innocent souls crushed by a war machine with an unequalled appetite for killing.
Now that UNWRA, a beyond-vital relief agency, is being destabilised, that death toll will accelerate without a further bomb being dropped. The agency has already fired those suspected by Israel of taking part on 7 October. What more can it do? What more is it expected to do?
Some whataboutery is appropriate, I think: What about those Israeli soldiers who’ve performed on TikTok and other social networks while looting Palestinians homes – even drawers of one woman’s underwear — and blowing up civilian buildings, including places of worship? Or what about the Israeli soldiers shooting dead Palestinians under the internationally-recognised protection of a white flag? The ranks of the IDF are filled with war criminals who’ve yet to be convicted.
And how about we stop sending military aid to Israel? Britain contributes around £460 million every year to the Zionist war machine compared with the relatively insignificant £12m it gives to UNWRA.
“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing,” warned the late Malcolm X. This is happening before our eyes.
The only sane voice that I have heard so far comes from Norway’s Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, who said that suspending UNRWA funding amounts to collective punishment. He’s right. He is clearly a humane and honourable man, and he deserves a medal for his compassion.
UNRWA was created to offer aid to the Palestinians refugees until they are allowed to return to their homes and land. This has never happened. The agency thus supports that legitimate right of return. By pushing for it to be shut down, Israel believes that that would also mean the end of the refugee issue. Former Israeli foreign official Noga Arbell said earlier this month, “It will be impossible to win the war if we do not destroy UNRWA, this destruction must begin immediately.” Israelis will be delighted by the cowardly defunding move by the West.
The sham of Western democracy is being exposed almost daily, corrupted by the evil ideology of Zionism.
Huge numbers of voters support the Palestinian people and this will no doubt be demonstrated in British elections due this year. How much longer will the British people tolerate seeing their freedoms and liberty destroyed by agents of a foreign state? The sword of truth is on our side, but we must be active otherwise those in power will continue to crush the Palestinians. We cannot stand idly by and let that happen.
If this injustice continues, I sense that we may soon see a Western version of the Arab Spring. Atrocities are being fuelled in Gaza by Western political and military support provided by corrupt politicians whose palms have been greased by the pro-Israel lobby. They have to know that we have long memories, and that there will be a political — maybe even a legal — price to pay for what they are doing.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.