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Palestinians are at the end of the queue when it comes to international law

February 12, 2024 at 12:30 pm

Palestinian families seek refuge at the El-Mavasi district as they struggle to find clean water, food and medicine as the Israeli attacks continue in Rafah, Gaza on February 9, 2024. [Abed Zagout – Anadolu Agency]

In a 45-minute phone call between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the former reiterated the importance of the release of the remaining 136 Israeli prisoners held by the Palestinian resistance in Gaza.

According to Israeli media reports, Biden’s relations with Netanyahu have reached their lowest level due to Israeli disrespect for American diplomacy, which allegedly wanted an end to Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza. During his long phone call with Netanyahu, though, Biden only reiterated the importance of the release of Israeli prisoners, ending Hamas rule and disarming the Palestinians in Gaza.

Indeed, the few words that Biden apparently mentioned about the Palestinians, were that the lethal force used against them should be less than we are seeing in the Israeli military offensive, and there should be fewer civilian victims.

Before Biden, his Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated to Israeli officials the importance of the release of Israeli prisoners and said that an Israeli invasion of Rafah, which hosts more than two thirds of the population of Gaza, should give due consideration to civilian lives. Blinken said on X that the Palestinians are human beings like him and he would continue thinking about Gaza’s children all of his life. Crocodile tears, Mr Blinken. Crocodile tears.

Such remarks have been echoed by other world leaders. The Israelis held in Gaza are the priority; it is their freedom which is important, along with being reunited with their children, no matter how many Palestinians must be held prisoner, tortured, bombed and killed to do this; and no matter how many of those killed are children.

The Palestinians are demonised and dehumanised, and their legitimate resistance to Israel’s military occupation is condemned as “terrorism” in order to make the slaughter in Gaza more palatable to Western audiences.

READ: UN rapporteur: Israel appears to be violating ICJ orders

As was highlighted at the International Court of Justice by South Africa, this is the first ever live-streamed genocide in history. Nevertheless, Western leaders accept Israeli claims about the ongoing slaughter without question and only ask “How high?” when Israel tells them to jump. They ignore the facts on the ground and the evidence before their eyes of the atrocities, the massacres and the clear injustice of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinians, increasingly in the occupied West Bank as well as Gaza.

New evidence surfaces daily, proving that Israel is committing genocide, as the war crimes and crimes against humanity mount up. As far as the West is concerned, though, this issue only started on 7 October; they ignore 75 years of Israeli brutality, occupation and massacres of Palestinians. The occupation state is protected and supported without question; the victims of the brutal military occupation are vilified and murdered.

The world leaders who support the Israeli occupation do so blindly and are complicit in Israel’s crimes, even if their tone has changed recently, now that the Israeli claims about beheading babies and rape have been debunked, and they have witnessed massive popular support for Palestine in what is an important election year in many countries. Even so, they accepted Israel’s allegations against a tiny minority of UNRWA staff without question, and pulled the plug on funds for the only UN agency providing essential humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in Gaza in the middle of a genocide. Some now admit that they had no evidence of wrongdoing when making their decision.

OPINION: Absence of evidence: Israel’s case against UNRWA

“Just imagine we had the recording of a 6-year-old Israeli girl, desperately ringing the emergency services after Hamas militants slaughtered her relatives in a car, including 3 other kids,” British journalist Owen Jones said on X. “Imagine we also had a prior recording of her 15-year-old cousin, desperately pleading for help, before you hear her being violently murdered by Hamas gunfire. Imagine then an Israeli ambulance sent to rescue this little girl was then blown up by Hamas militants, killing both paramedics.”

Such a scenario would be offered up as evidence of the supreme evil and barbarism of Hamas, added Jones. “We would be told it showed they’re worse than the Nazis. It would also be offered up as justification for the need to wipe Hamas off the face of the earth. Every politician in the West would issue statements dripping with grief and righteous fury.”

The best that Biden could come up with so far, though, is to call Israel’s military conduct in Gaza “over the top”. That, and a further $14 billion of military aid to Israel, bypassing Congress to push this through and enable Israel to kill even more Palestinians in Gaza.

Biden’s hypocrisy knows no bounds, it seems, and it is matched by others in the West who are “deeply concerned” about an Israeli offensive in Rafah, but do nothing to stop British arms sales to the occupation entity.

At the bottom of this is the undeniable fact that people in the West have been conditioned to think “Israel good; Palestinians bad”; European guilt over anti-Jewish pogroms culminating in the Holocaust makes the Palestinians pay the price for Europe’s crimes. Some lives are worth more than others, it seems, and the Palestinians are at the end of the queue when it comes to the application of international law and the fulfilment of their legitimate rights.

OPINION: The BBC and its choice of words must surely make it complicit in war crimes

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.