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Batchoun: US ceasefire veto devoid of humanity

Israel will never have peace unless it recognizes the Palestinians as equal human beings

Middle EastWar ZonesHuman RightsUSA Politics

US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Robert A. Wood, raises his hand during a Security Council meeting on Gaza, December 8, 2023. Photo by Charly Triballeau/AFP.

On December 8, just two days before International Human Rights Day, a United Nations Security Council Resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was vetoed by the United States. In a shocking display of inhumanity, more than two million people, starved, terrorized, relentlessly bombed with no drinking water, food, fuel, or health services, were told that their suffering and survival is not urgent. They and their human rights have been completely disregarded.

Amid Israel’s onslaught of Gaza, which has claimed the lives of more than 18,000 Palestinians, the US has invoked lofty notions of human rights while continuing to arm the extremist government of Benjamin Netanyahu, handing it a blank cheque to massacre, destroy, and displace civilians in the besieged coastal enclave. As China’s permanent representative to the UN, Zhang Jun, told the council: “Condoning the continuation of fighting while claiming to care about the lives and safety of people in Gaza is self-contradictory.”

One wonders if a Hamas member was hiding out in a school or a hospital inside of Israel (or anywhere else), would there be support for bombing hospitals, schools, churches, mosques, and levelling whole cities? Would the ‘international community’ endorse the denial of food, water, electricity and medical supplies to all civilians in those areas? Would the deaths of more than 6,600 Palestinian children—almost one out of every 150 children in Gaza—be excused? We are in danger of losing our collective humanity. Palestinians are human beings and their human rights must be protected.

Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, has said that his country will not stop until Hamas is eliminated. This is an untenable goal. At the time of writing, Israeli forces have killed tens of thousands, destroyed or damaged 60 percent of all housing units in the strip, and displaced 80 percent of Gazans from their homes. Israel can go on and kill every single person in Gaza and they will never have peace. There will always be resistance to an occupying power. Indeed, there is no military solution to this crisis: with each bomb it drops, Israel is creating more Hamas fighters every single day.

Israel will never have peace unless it recognizes the Palestinians as equal human beings who deserve to live with freedom and dignity. Only when Israeli leaders cease to describe the Arab minority as “human animals” and “cockroaches” will there emerge the faint hope of peace and reconciliation.

Hamas and its murderous attack on October 7 should be roundly condemned, but not without an acknowledgement and understanding of the historical context that brought us to this fateful moment: the dispossession of approximately 750,000 Palestinians who were displaced from their lands in 1948, Israel’s brutal occupation since 1967, the expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, the arbitrary detentions, the blockade of Gaza, the apartheid system, and on and on.

There will only be peace when there is justice for Palestinians and an end to the violence.

With the US vetoing a call for a ceasefire, the collective West has stood by and condoned Israel’s continued barbarity. This amounts to complicity in war crimes.

The callous disregard for Palestinian rights and human lives paints a bleak view of humanity, one that is devoid of hope and redemption. We must fight for better.

Grace Batchoun is a Palestinian-Canadian and co-founder of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.

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