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The Global Demand for a Gaza Ceasefire Grows, Leaving Biden Behind

ColumnMay 30, 2024
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By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan

Israel’s ongoing bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza, now nearing its ninth month, has provoked unprecedented global outcry. On May 24th, the International Court of Justice, after an emergency hearing in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel, ordered Israel to halt its attack on Rafah. In a statement published with the order, one of the court’s presiding jurists, Judge Dire Tladi of South Africa, wrote,

“There are no more words to describe the horrors in Gaza. The words ‘apocalyptic,’ ‘exceptionally grave,’ ‘disastrous’ and ‘catastrophic’ have all been used to describe the current situation, and all seem to pale in comparison to what is unfolding before our very eyes. Almost daily we are confronted with gut-wrenching accounts of victims and survivors and images of unimaginable suffering.”

Rather than heeding the court’s order, Israel bombed a refugee tent city outside Rafah, in what was designated as a “safe zone.” Independent journalist Shrouq Aila spoke to the Democracy Now! news hour from Gaza, two days later, saying,

“They launched at least two rockets on a displacement camp that is quite close to the UNRWA logistic base…people gathered around this space, considering it a safe area. After the bombing, the area is basically full of tents for displaced people, and the fire [spread] because the tents are basically made of nylon fabrics and wood…the death toll was 45, and almost 200 injured.”

A man who survived was recorded holding the charred, decapitated body of a child. CNN is reporting the munitions used were made in the United States by Boeing.

Meanwhile, not far from the ICJ in The Hague, at the International Criminal Court, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan petitioned for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as for three senior Hamas leaders, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Khan wrote, “Notwithstanding any military goals they may have,” “the means Israel chose to achieve them in Gaza – namely, intentionally causing death, starvation, great suffering, and serious injury to body or health of the civilian population – are criminal.”

In a further challenge to Israel, three European nations formally recognized Palestine as a state. Ireland, Norway and Spain join over 140 other United Nations member states (as well as two UN-recognized non-states, Vatican City and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic) in recognizing Palestinian statehood.

In announcing the decision, Ireland’s Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, Simon Harris said,

“On the 21st of January 1919 Ireland asked the world to recognise our right to be an independent State…a plea for international recognition of our independence, emphasizing our distinct national identity, our historical struggle, and our right to self-determination and justice. Today we use the same language to support the recognition of Palestine as a State.”

Harris added, “I have spoken to a number of other Leaders, and I am confident that further countries will join us in taking this important step in coming weeks.” Iceland and Sweden recognized Palestine years ago; Slovenia has indicated it will do so by mid-June.

On May 10th, the United Nations General Assembly voted on Palestinian membership; 143 countries voted in favor, 25 abstained, and nine voted against, led by the United States. Membership requires approval by the Security Council, where the US holds veto power. In April, in advance of the General Assembly vote, the Security Council considered a resolution to recommend Palestine receive full UN membership. The US, as it almost always does on matters critical of Israel, vetoed it.

President Joe Biden has publicly called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, but his actions speak far louder, and far more lethally, than his words. It seems the Biden administration has no “red line” that would force him to halt arms shipments to Israel, nor take any other significant punitive action to align the US government with almost every other nation on earth.

At a White House press briefing on May 28th, CBS News’ Ed O’Keefe asked National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby about the deadly strikes on the tent camp near Rafah:

O’Keefe: How does this not violate the red line the president laid out?

Kirby: We don’t want to see a major operation, we haven’t seen one.

O’Keefe: How many more charred corpses does he have to see before he considers a change in policy?

Kirby: We don’t want to see a single more innocent life taken, and I kind of take a little offense at the question.

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan included in his Gaza war crimes petition that he “will not hesitate to submit further applications for warrants of arrest.” President Biden and his enablers have the power to end Israel’s war on Gaza and the slaughter of civilians there. Their decision not to is criminal.

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StoryJun 03, 2024Will Israel Agree to the “Israeli” Ceasefire Proposal? Confusion Reigns After Biden Presents New Plan
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