The Zionist regime’s outright rejection of the latest ceasefire proposal confirms its genocidal bent

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  • Sunday, 11 Feb 2024

The continuing slaughter of Palestinians in the Gaza strip now sees over 28,000 dead, two thirds of which are women and children. —Reuters

DESPITE the waves of anger at the continuing slaughter of Palestinians in the Gaza strip which now sees over 28,000 dead and of which about two thirds comprise women and children, there seems to be no respite to the sufferings of the Palestinians there.

The demands for a ceasefire have been very loud indeed right from the beginning of the Zionist regime’s onslaught on the enclave, but nothing has come out of it despite the “pauses” that allowed a trickle of aid into the devastated region.

Israel is not a nation like any other, it has been and continues to defend its stubborn, hard-headed occupier-colonial mentality at every opportunity, hence its steadfast, committed refusal to accept any ceasefire until it achieves its “objectives”.

On paper, or in the words of its supreme leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, it should be until “total victory”, translated as the total obliteration of Hamas, the resistance movement that represents the aspirations of all Palestinians –something which even its friends and comrades in Washington don’t share or agree to – is achieved. This includes a final assault on Rafah; on Feb 8, Netanyahu said he had ordered troops to “prepare to operate” in the last major town in the Gaza Strip Israeli ground troops have yet to enter.

What would have been just a one- or two-week incursion into Gaza after the Hamas attack on Oct 7 last year has now turned out into a prolonged 120 over days “war” where the Israelis are now finding themselves in a quandary due to their inability to “destroy” Hamas.

But for Hamas and Palestinians in general, despite the massive toll the war has taken on their lives and property, on the flip side, there seems to be much that they have gained.

For one, and for the first time ever, Israel is now facing genocide charges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and possible charges of crimes against humanity may soon follow if the call for investigations into the escalation of violence in Gaza by Chile and Mexico are acted upon by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Interestingly, it is terribly strange that when Russia attacked Ukraine in February 2022 its leader, Putin, was later charged for war crimes with an arrest warrant issued by the ICC in 2023, ostensibly because Russia had transferred children into Russian territory. But how is it that the wholesale transferring or rather forced eviction of the Palestinians from northern and central Gaza to the south and the deliberate targeting of those fleeing has not been seen as a war crime by the ICC so far?

For the record, Israel has been cited for investigations into war crimes by the ICC even before this. In 2015, after Israel’s 2014 onslaught in the Strip that saw the regime killing 2251 civilians in what it dubbed as its “Operation Protective Edge” the ICC proposed that Israel be investigated for war crimes. Netanyahu, who was also prime minister then, condemned the attempt as “absurd”.

Then in 2021, Netanyahu again lambasted another attempt by the ICC to probe Israel for war crimes by calling the attempt a show of “pure anti-Semitism”. Hence, under the current campaign what much can be expected of any investigation into the Zionist regime’s conduct in Gaza? But of course, another probe into its conduct will further strengthen world public opinion against the regime. The plus point is that this time around it is also facing the genocide charge at the ICJ.

Back to the issue of the ceasefire, it appears obvious now as to which side it is that wants peace and a solution to the whole crisis. It lays bare for all, the true intentions of the Israeli war machine under the most extreme of governments ever to emerge in that settler-colonial regime.

What was proposed by the Palestinian side not only is comprehensive from the perspective of the Palestinians, but is also practical for achieving peace in the region. Of course, a durable peace would only come about if the status of Palestine as a full-fledged state with secure borders and contingency is realised. But for the carnage to stop, what Hamas has proposed offers the best interim plan for alleviating the suffering of the Gazan population. The slaughter of civilians must stop.

For Netanyahu to once again display his arrogance, is indeed tragic. It means more deaths, not just from Israeli bombs but also from the effects of the total disregard for humanitarian aid to reach the besieged Gazans – food, water and medicine.

Looks like Israel’s closest ally, the US too has not been able as yet to get the hard-headed Netanyahu to relent and accept the ceasefire proposal put forth.

This has been evidenced by the cold shoulder treatment given to Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, who had gone for the fifth time to Israel to push for a stop in the fighting.

Dr Abdul Latiff Mohd Ibrahim is Head of Research and Publications Division, International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia. The views expressed here are solely the writer’s own.

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