Creating new perspectives since 2009

Diplomatic fatigue and heavy strain, but what about the genocide?

May 16, 2024 at 6:00 pm

A protester holds a ‘stop the genocide’ placard during the demonstration. Tens of thousands of protesters marched in Central London in support of Palestine and demanded that the UK government stops selling arms to Israel on 13 April 2024 [Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

Anyone listening to EU officials speak about Gaza would think that the only problem that the enclave is facing is a disruption in the distribution of humanitarian aid. International law, however, describes what is happening in Gaza very clearly – genocide – so why can’t the EU High Representative Josep Borrell be clear on what the bloc should be speaking out against and acting to prevent?

“The European Union urges Israel to end its military operation in Rafah immediately,” said Borrell. “The operation is further disrupting the distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza and is leading to more internal displacement, exposure to famine and human suffering.” The emphasis on humanitarian aid, while necessary, is also a veneer for Israel using deprivation of aid as part of its genocidal actions. Nowhere does Borrell link genocide to Israel’s international law violations. Instead, the EU foreign affairs chief sits safely on the fence as a spectator, making sure that genocide remains linked solely to the atrocities of World War Two.

And to emphasise further how much of a spectator role the EU has assumed, Borrell went on to say, “Should Israel continue its military operation in Rafah, it would inevitably put a heavy strain on the EU’s relationship with Israel.” Not even a rupture of diplomatic relations in the face of genocide, just a “heavy strain”. This will be just as useless in terms of a reprimand as the detailed US State Department report on Israel’s use of weapons supplied by Washington, followed by the news that the Biden administration will be sending $1 billion worth of more weapons to Israel. Because the report contradicted itself on every page, impunity for Israel was extended.

In terms of diplomacy, the EU’s actions are identical to the US scheming.

While weak warnings regarding humanitarian aid are issued, Israeli settlers are attacking aid convoys and destroying aid to prevent it from reaching Palestinians, while soldiers stand by and watch. It is impossible not to notice that state and settlers are complicit in the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, when evidence is so readily accessible.

Meanwhile, in a speech at Stanford University on Tuesday, Borrell upheld the US duplicity by creating another narrative: “I see a certain fatigue from the US side to continue engaging in looking for a solution.” The US is not fatigued. On the contrary, it is working towards the same end result that Israel wants: the complete extermination of Palestinians in Gaza. In times of genocide, as in past times of normalised colonial violence, diplomats are experts at making everything be about their own agenda.

As the world awaits the ICJ's verdict, Israel's genocide continues - [Cartoon / Mohammad Sabaaneh]

As the world awaits the ICJ’s verdict, Israel’s genocide continues – [Cartoon / Mohammad Sabaaneh]

The US is allegedly “fatigued”. Not allowing humanitarian aid will put a “heavy strain” on relations. But what about the Palestinians? How is it that external actors call up burdens and fatigue when their politics are an integral part of Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians? The only claims that the EU and the US can make in this narrative are about their complicity. Other than that, shifting the focus away from the Palestinians will only entrench the genocide further. It is thus pertinent to ask if the EU and the US want the genocide in Gaza to continue. Treading so lightly around speaking about Israel’s previous international law violations was already abominable. Now that Israel is committing genocide, speaking about strain and fatigue is much worse. It’s beyond contempt.

OPINION: The macabre US reassurances approving of Israel’s genocide

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