Israel sniggers at a cowardly world

Faced with Israel’s crimes against humanity, Western leaders mirror the proverbial see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil Wise Monkeys bending their heads before the chest-beating Goliath on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Those self-appointed champions of human rights, those whose outrage knows no bounds over the poisoning of a traitorous double agent in the UK, shrink from any criticism of the Jewish state.

After all, who dares to risk being branded anti-Semitic, like the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, poor old Jeremy Corbyn! Or worse, being the recipient of tongue-lashings and threats from Trump’s enforcer in the United Nations, American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) darling Nikki Haley.

Israeli army snipers mowed down up to 1,400 unarmed Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip peacefully protesting close to the border fence with Israel last Friday to mark ‘Land Day.’ Seventeen were killed, including children.

Evidenced by videos on social media, several were shot while fleeing from the hail of bullets and clouds of tear gas. All the estimated 30,000 protesters were on their own side of the border when they came under this vicious attack, which if committed anywhere else on the planet would have been called what it was, a massacre.

What was planned to be a peaceful occasion complete with picnics, social interaction and traditional dances was described by Danny Danon, Israel’s odious ambassador to the UN as an organised provocation forcing Israel “to defend its sovereignty”—as though this military state masquerading as the only Middle East democracy requires defending from civilians whose only weapons are stones.

The BBC reports I watched on Friday evening referred to “clashes,” a term which usually implies that both sides were armed and neglected to make mention of the numbers of dead and injured. Israel’s prominent human rights organisation B’Tselem was more forthright than any of Israel’s allies; its spokesman characterised shooting at unarmed demonstrators as “manifestly illegal,” noting that some Palestinians were shot in the back.

Kuwait requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. “Let us be clear here, what happened today was a peaceful demonstration to express their desire for their legitimate rights,” said the Kuwaiti representative, adding, “These were defenceless people.” The UK and France uttered mealy mouthed expressions of “concern.” The meeting ended minus any official statement. No surprise there! In a statement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged an independent and transparent investigation. He did his duty but that’s that, because Israel will not cooperate. It never has. The Israeli government, supported by the US, accuses the United Nations of anti-Semitic bias.

Just days ago, Haley said the United States would withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council over resolutions condemning Israel, accusing the body of being “grossly biased.” In December, the US cut $285 million (Dh1.05 billion) from its share of the UN budget.

Let’s not beat about the bush, folks. Only weak states outside the higher echelons of the Western club are obliged to comply with human rights laws that are frequently cited as a weapon with which to beat them into compliance.

As for Israel, it enjoys absolute immunity from any legal challenge. It would have been provided impunity from censure, let alone prosecution, even it had used its 100 plus IDF snipers to murder 5,000 or 10,000 Palestinians in cold blood. Israel for all its nuclear might and America’s slavish diplomatic cover remains the eternal victim.

In short, the Palestinian people have been abandoned by a cowardly, sycophantic international community. Very soon Donald Trump’s plan to relocate the US embassy to [occupied] Jerusalem, he calls Israel’s eternal capital, will reach fruition, hammering the last nails into the coffin of even a semblance of a Palestinian state.

While it is true that Hamas’ takeover of Gaza has been a disaster for the 1.5 million people caged inside the world’s largest open-air prison camp, deprived of basic necessities, blockaded by land, sea and air that should not mean that the population is open to being treated worse than penned cattle.

However, many Palestinian residents of occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank are only marginally better off faced with apartheid walls, checkpoints, house demolitions and land grab. Their ongoing plight is a dark stain on the community of nations and the ever more impotent body founded in the aftermath of Second World War to safeguard human rights and freedoms. Time to say it like it is. The US and Israel have got Western democracies by the jugular.

Linda S. Heard is an award-winning British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at heardonthegrapevines@yahoo.co.uk.

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