Politicising the ceasefire while the Palestinians are forced to become “human animals”


Protestors, calling for ceasefire in Gaza in New York on the day of a fundraising event for US President Joe Biden with former US Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. — Reuters

WHEN Israeli defence minister, Yoav Gallant, declared on Oct 8 last year that the Palestinians were “human animals”, he and Israeli Prime Minister really seemed to have plans to literally make that a reality.

And I believe this is one of the reasons behind the vetoes by the United States of three United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza the earlier part of this year. With these vetoes, the slaughter of Palestinians trapped in the world’s largest open-air prison became much easier for the marauding occupation army. To date, more than 32,000 people have been killed, mostly women and children.

The term “animal” denotes in some sense a standard of being that is low – so low that one could do anything to it including killing it for the slightest of reasons, or just for fun. Something that has been repeatedly been available on social media, where we would have seen videos of Israeli soldiers dancing and singing after an “operation”.

One could slaughter animals and that may be seen as normal. Categorising humans as such then gives the perpetrator of mass killings a reason to do so – they were “animals” or “human animals” in the words of Gallant, so that would be alright. The savagery and brutality that was brought upon the Palestinians has no parallel considering the munitions that were dropped on them since October that is said to be much higher in its firepower than the bombs dropped in any war.

The recent ceasefire proposal put forth by the US that was vetoed by Russia and China represents the biggest slap in the face for the US, and probably Israel. After all, when the situation became exceedingly dire with daily Palestinian deaths reaching hundreds, the US calmly and with no sense of guilt vetoed the three resolutions in succession.

Were the Palestinians not already suffering tremendously then from all forms of shortages – food, water, medicine? Why was it then when they continue to suffer that only now the US suddenly wanted to speed up a “ceasefire” resolution, ostensibly for humanitarian reasons?

How can we not then conclude this as an American political game?

Everyone can see the hypocrisy behind the US move – it does not really want a ceasefire, because if that was so, it would have supported the first ceasefire proposal brought to the UNSC wholeheartedly.

It is odd that death and suffering as we are witnessing now in Gaza can be classified into categories, suggesting that there is one category that would demand the need for a ceasefire but another that would not. It is akin to playing with the lives of humans, and in this case most of whom are women and children.

The US proposal did not even clearly demand an immediate ceasefire; instead it was playing with language that would actually prolong the savagery the Zionist regime has been unleashing upon Gaza since October last year. The text urged the UN to “determine the imperative for an immediate and sustained ceasefire to protect civilians on all sides”.

The term “imperative” before “for an immediate and sustained ceasefire” in the proposed resolution would not really mean a ceasefire in the actual sense as understood by other UNSC members.

And that is why even an Arab country like Algeria too voted against the resolution.

Compared to the US proposal, the latest resolution, Resolution 2728, tabled on March 25, had a clear demand for an immediate ceasefire and received the support of all UNSC members except the US, which abstained.

With the passage of this resolution, it clearly shows if the US proposal was for one as well. And with its abstention, blamed on the text for not mentioning “release of the hostages”, it is obvious that the US still is bowing to Israeli pressure to not stop the war.

Gallant seen leaving the State Department after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the US State Department in Washington, DC on March 25, while Israel cancelled its plan to send a delegation to the US to discuss its offensive plans on Rafah. — AFPGallant seen leaving the State Department after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the US State Department in Washington, DC on March 25, while Israel cancelled its plan to send a delegation to the US to discuss its offensive plans on Rafah. — AFP

While the focus was on the ceasefire resolution, Israeli defence minister, Gallant, was in Washington seeking more weapons for Israel. Ironic though it may seem, what does the Zionist regime want to do with weapons if it really respects the demand of the UN to cease fire?

The question then is: will Israel abide by Resolution 2728?

Nearly a week on, the regime’s forces continue their push towards Rafah and continue to bomb and terrorise al-Shifa hospital while relentlessly pursuing its campaign of levelling Gaza to the ground.

We will have to wait and see.

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

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