- As organisations that have historically worked on issues of health justice and access to medicines for millions of people around the world, for decades, focusing on HIV/AIDS, TB, cancer, and COVID, we share the urgent concern and outrage of aid organizations (NGOs) that the sudden decision by global north donor countries, including Canada, Australia, UK, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Estonia, Japan, Austria, and Romania, to suspend funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) ‘’comes amid a rapidly worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza’’.
- UNRWA is the main aid provider for millions of Palestinians in Gaza and the region. This decision represents an act of collective punishment targeting Palestinian civilians and will certainly lead to even more death and suffering.
- The defunding decision represents a new level of depravity in the approach of several global north countries in the face of evidence of repeated war crimes, and worse, comes just days after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on 26 January 2024 that it is plausible to claim that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza (among others). That interim ruling should have caused member states to assess and remedy their potential complicity in genocide. Instead, by defunding UNRWA, these countries have exacerbated their complicity.
Settler colonialism and imperialism fundamentally shape the world we live in, the struggles that connect us, and the climate emergency we face. The expansion of the fossil fuel industry, against which we fight, is facilitated through colonial extraction and military operations in the Middle East and beyond. The US military-industrial complex, a ‘tremendous fountain of CO2 pollution’, dispossesses indigenous people of their rightful land in Turtle Island and abroad.2 Amidst its ongoing genocidal assault which attempts to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from Gaza, Israel has handed out 12 gas exploration licenses to companies including BP and ENI off the coast of the strip. It is this system of planetary destruction that produces, motivates, and profits from the weapons fueling Israel’s genocide.
In response to Israel’s unfolding genocide in Gaza, we, women’s unions and grassroots movements representing Palestinian women inside historic Palestine and in exile,call on women and women’s organizations worldwide to speak up and rise up, especially on the global day of action on November 11/12, to support our struggle to end this genocide.
… Palestinian women have been struggling for decades against the intersection of national, social and economic oppressions, calling out the inherent patriarchal core of Israel’s regime of oppression.
We urge you to escalate BDS pressure campaigns against apartheid Israel and to simultaneously pressure your governments to:
- Implement an immediate ceasefire and ensure unhindered life-saving aid supply to Gaza
- Reject any forced transfer of population
- Ensure UN protection for Palestinians trapped under Israeli siege in Gaza
- Impose a comprehensive military-security embargo on Israel as well as other sanctions to end their own complicity.
- Demand that the ICC investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the crime of genocide and apartheid, perpetrated by Israel.
Dear High Commissioner,
This will be my last official communication to you as Director of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
… This is a textbook case of genocide. The European, ethno-nationalist, settler colonial project in Palestine has entered its final phase, toward the expedited destruction of the last remnants of indigenous Palestinian life in Palestine. What’s more, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, are wholly complicit in the horrific assault. Not only are these governments refusing to meet their treaty obligations “to ensure respect” for the Geneva Conventions, but they are in fact actively arming the assault, providing economic and intelligence support, and giving political and diplomatic cover for Israel’s atrocities.
In concert with this, Western corporate media, increasingly captured and state-adjacent, are in open breach of Article 20 of the ICCPR [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights], continuously dehumanising Palestinians to facilitate the genocide, and broadcasting propaganda for war and advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, and violence.
US-based social media companies are suppressing the voices of human rights defenders while amplifying pro-Israel propaganda. Israel-lobby online trolls and Gongos [government-sponsored non-governmental organisations] are harassing and smearing human rights defenders, and Western universities and employers are collaborating with them to punish those who dare to speak out against the atrocities. In the wake of this genocide, there must be an accounting for these actors as well, just as there was for Radio Milles Collines in Rwanda.
When the numbers of dead and wounded children are tallied, they are counted in the thousands – precisely, 8,700 Palestinian child casualties between 2015 and 2022, according to the UN.
Even the callous and often dehumanizing logic of ‘collateral damage’ cannot justify such figures. Though the war on Palestinian children is intentional, protracted and ongoing, not a single Israeli military or government official was ever held accountable in an international court.
Even the UN ‘List of Shame for Killing Children’ never branded Israel, though other countries have been ‘shamed’ for far fewer crimes against children.
As the killing of children is perceived – according to the twisted logic of the likes of Shaked – to be functional for Israel and, amid the absence of any accountability, Israel finds no reason or urgency to end its war on Palestinian children.
With the constant loosening of the rules of military engagement in Israel, and the terrifyingly genocidal language used by Israel’s far-right ministers and their massive constituency, more Palestinian children are likely to lose their lives in the near future.
More than 200 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 30 Israelis since January 2023, according to a statement to the U.N. Security Council by U.N. Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland on August 21.
Wennesland described the violence as a “concerning trend,” attributing it to a “growing sense of despair about the future,” U.N. News reported.
The U.N. humanitarian agency, OCHA, had similar findings. It said that nearly 600 settler-related “incidents” were reported in the Occupied Territories in the first six months of 2023. Settler attacks have resulted in “Palestinian casualties, property damage, or both.”
Neither Wennesland nor OCHA mentioned Iran in their statements, nor did the constant stream of reports on Israel’s ongoing violence, incitement or, at times, outright calls for genocide by settlers and their leaders in Netanyahu’s government.
…Aside from the “incremental genocide” happening daily throughout the Occupied Territories, at times large communities are being expelled, en masse.
Continue reading at https://www.commondreams.org/opinion/netanyahu-gallant
While discussions on Israeli apartheid have become increasingly mainstream over the last three or more years, some aspects of Palestinians’ decades long mobilisation against Israeli apartheid remain absent or insufficiently
addressed in the current discourse. For some, apartheid has materialised only recently due to what is perceived as increasingly repressive Israeli government practices or the entrenchment of Israel’s prolonged military occupation since 1967. What this approach misses is a more structural understanding of Israeli apartheid as an inevitable outcome of settler colonialism in Palestine and the Zionist movement’s policy to eliminate the
indigenous Palestinian people through removal from the land. (p. 32)
… As of the time of writing, the year 2022 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2005, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Since 1948, Israeli authorities have systematically resorted to lethal and other excessive force against Palestinians, targeting Palestinian lives, bodies, and livelihoods throughout historic Palestine. The denial to Palestinians of their right to
life has been integral to the Zionist settler colonial project and is part and parcel of its ‘logic of elimination’ of Palestinians. Israel’s widespread and systematic violation of the right to life of Palestinians has been a pillar of
its establishment and maintenance of an apartheid regime since 1948. Arbitrary deprivations of Palestinian life serve to create a repressive environment designed to undermine the exercise by the Palestinian people
of their collective rights. (p. 122)
In June 2022, the 225th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), following decades of debates, voted overwhelmingly in support of Overture INT-02, declaring the Israeli government’s occupation and treatment of the Palestinian people and lands to be named as “apartheid.” Though INT-02 passed the committee with a vote of 90% and by the whole assembly with 70% of the vote, the response both inside and outside the denomination has been mixed.
… Despite efforts within the rationale of the overture and in the letter from the ten former moderators to clarify the overture is about the laws, policies and behaviors of the government of Israel, and not the people of Israel or Jewish people in general, the responses from many corners of the Jewish community in the U.S. and abroad have been highly critical.
… The American Jewish Committee (AJC) responded, saying, “The Presbyterian Church has been hijacked by anti-Israel activists,” claiming that over the years the PC(USA) has “flirted with or crossed over to antisemitism.”
According to a survey conducted in 2021 by the Jewish Electorate Institute, only 25% of U.S. Jewish voters agree that Israel is an apartheid state, with 22% agreeing that Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people.
“At some point groups like Quakers in Britain will have to decide between their stated pursuit of ‘equality, peace, truth, justice and simplicity,’ on the one hand, and being used to give cover to the ongoing ethnic cleansing, indeed creeping genocide, of the Palestinians, on the other,” David Miller said. “There is no middle way. The crime of the occupation of Palestine cannot be resolved by a ‘balanced’ approach to the relation between the oppressor and the oppressed.”
… UN and other global human-rights organizations that are letting the Israeli politicians, whether Lapid, Netanyahu or their predecessors, kill innocent Palestinian civilians on a whim, merely to gratify their domestic political interests. Courtesy of the Abraham Accords and continued patronizing by the Western capitals, the arrogance and haughtiness in Israel’s behavior has reached the point where Israel considers itself above any accountability for what many believe to be a planned genocide of the Palestinians…