On Gaza: Where is our Humanity Going?
The international community may be divided. But it is important to find a political solution to address core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We need a coalition supporting human solidarity to revive the peace process and to achieve equality and justice.
What are the rules of war? It is a timely question to ask in the wake of attacks on civilians, aid workers, and hospitals in Israel and the Gaza Strip. International humanitarian law is as old as war. The laws represent the very minimum rules to preserve humanity in some of the worst situations known to mankind.
The refrain from Israel continues to be, “move out from the north to the south,” yet the pivotal question remains; “south where?” Seventy percent of people in Gaza are Palestinians displaced in 1948 from areas now known as the State of Israel.
Over the past five decades, since 1972, the United States has vetoed at least 45 UN Security Council resolutions that are critical of Israel—with the most recent being on 18 October 2023, which called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
The need for both a political solution and a framework agreement that would lay out the parameters on core issues like land, the status of Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, and security is of vital importance.
The need for both a political solution and a framework agreement that would lay out the parameters on core issues like land, the status of Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, and security is of vital importance. At the United Nations General Assembly, the US delegation, as we remember in November 2012, voted against Resolution 67/19 to elevate Palestine to the status of a non-member observer state. And to this day, this resolution played a key role in blocking UNSC Resolution of December 2014 that called for a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders within three years.
Since the creation of the United Nations in 1945, Israel has not followed any UN Resolution adopted regarding the Palestinians, with the United States aiding and abetting. Today, one can argue that the United Nations, as an organization, is sidelined.
Therefore, one is bound to ask: where is the coalition of the willing and caring who uphold the ethics of human solidarity.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is seized of the idea of Palestine and its vulnerability in international law. By contesting the jurisdiction of the ICC and the impartiality of the United Nations, the will of the international community to realize peace has become politically divided into the axis of resistance and the coalition against terror. Therefore, one is bound to ask: where is the coalition of the willing and caring who uphold the ethics of human solidarity.
A peace process can be revived, and peaceful consultations can be engaged. Not only for Palestinian particularity and peculiarity, but with the will of peace-loving people all over the world who are calling for an end to the occupation.
One must address the problem—the Israeli-Palestinian, or the Israeli-Arab problem—not only in the context of oppression on both sides, but the fact of consequences of oppression on all sides.
The rules of war should be applied to us all. But if the UN Security Council or the Secretary-General of the UN, supported by the international community, failed to bring us all into alignment with international rules; then the instability will continue to encourage third parties to undermine the ultimate goal of peace based on equity and continue to divide us for generations.
About the Author
Middle East Program
The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform U.S. foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Read more