News   /   Palestine   /   Viewpoint   /   Viewpoints

How long will Western states dither while Israeli genocide in Gaza rages on?

By Iqbal Jassat 

Has the world reached a moment of truth as far as findings against the Israeli regime by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and International Criminal Court (ICC) are concerned? 

According to the renowned Israeli historian and political scientist Ilan Pappe, it has. 

In a recent interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Pappe, currently a professor of history and director of the European Center for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter, explained why he believes it is crunch time for international tribunals. 

The ICJ and ICC are facing governments unwilling to implement their rulings against the Israeli regime. And while they are confronted with a lack of cooperation by Western governments, Pappe correctly argued that the rest of the world, especially the Global South, will be keenly interested in determining whether terms such as “universal” and “International” really mean what they stand for. 

He suggested that while Palestine is just one case of many in which “we have now a real struggle to define, again, what is universal, what universal values are, and what international justice is.”

“And I think that’s why it’s such an important historical moment,” the author of multiple books chronicling the Israeli regime’s crimes against Palestinians in the occupied territories, remarked.

To recap the context of Pappe's profound observation, it is imperative to underline the significance of the rulings by both the ICJ and the ICC.

It took seven months of horrific mass murders in Israel's genocidal campaign and its relentless assault on Rafah, a city in the southernmost part of the besieged Palestinian territory - which continues to this day - before the ICJ issued a preliminary order on May 24.

This followed an urgent application by South Africa resulting in the court calling on Israel to “immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” 

It also ordered Israel to keep the Rafah crossing open and permit United Nations’ investigative commissions to enter Gaza and investigate reports of genocide in the territory.

Four days earlier on May 20, ICC’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan announced that he had applied to issue arrest warrants for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and military affairs minister Yoav Gallant. 

Certainly, Khan did not take this dramatic step voluntarily. Though he included three Hamas officials as well, it can be argued as many legal experts have done, that armed resistance against Israeli occupation, colonialism and genocide is justified as a legal right. 

In 1983, the UN General Assembly reaffirmed “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for their independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial domination, apartheid and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.”

But, that Khan broke the stranglehold of the West, particularly the United States, by going after the Israeli regime’s top officials, has been received as an overdue yet welcome move. 

Commenting on the ICJ and ICC decisions, Raed Jarrar, advocacy director for Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), said that International action is needed because Israel will not hold itself accountable nor will it voluntarily end its crimes against the Palestinian people. 

The concerns raised by many about rulings by the highest legal institutions of the world being defied and Western states unable or unwilling to enforce compliance, reinforces the argument advanced by Pappe. 

Noncompliance by Israel ought to render it a pariah regime, subject to global isolation, boycott and sanctions, yet we find that as Netanyahu defiantly intensifies the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, including in Rafah, his Western allies stand by - unmoved and unfazed.

In fact, as is evident, these Western states are only aiding and abetting this genocide in Gaza.

The Rafah Tent Massacre, which occurred two days after the ICJ ruling, demonstrates the Zionist regime's extreme level of impunity. It bombed tents sheltering refugees in what was supposed to be a “safe zone.” The air strikes killed dozens of Palestinians, mostly women and children.

Hundreds more, many of them women and children, suffered serious injuries.

In Truthout, Michel Moushabeck described it as “a large inferno and massive casualties, including children who were burned alive in a sea of flames”.

Elsewhere, on various social media platforms, video clips showed “a headless child, charred bodies of children, women and children frantically running in all directions trying to escape the fires,” he added.

“They bring Israeli atrocities in Gaza to a new level of unspeakable cruelty and horror.”

It is not surprising to read Jonathan Cook making a compelling argument that to continue the Gaza genocide, Israel and the US must destroy the laws of war. 

Cook confirmed a joint investigation by the Israeli website 972 and Britain’s Guardian newspaper revealed this week that Israel - with US support - has been running a covert war against the ICC for the best part of a decade. 

"Its offensive began after Palestine became a contracting party to the ICC in 2015, and intensified after Bensouda, Khan's predecessor, started a preliminary investigation into Israeli war crimes - both Israel's repeated attacks on Gaza and its building of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their lands.”

While the Western world dithers, Palestine is in flames. Ilan Pappe is troubled as many should be about the failure of the moment of truth to confront Western hypocrisy and double standards.

Iqbal Jassat is an executive member of Media Review Network, Johannesburg, South Africa.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV)

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku