We must join the majority of the world’s nations in building pressure on Biden and Netanyahu to declare a ceasefire, to deluge Gaza with the food, water, medicines, and fuel essential for life. We must do this with everything we’ve got and we must do it now.
The genocide must end. We must not sleepwalk into a catastrophic regional Middle East War. The decimation of Gaza continues because the United States refuses to demand a ceasefire and provides weapons that have transformed Gaza from an open-air ghetto prison into a compacted zone of death and despair. And if it is possible to think in still worse terms, we should be sobered by the insanity of battling Yemen’s Houthis with Tomahawk cruise missiles. That’s the kind of thinking that triggered First World War.
Even as we were shocked by and condemn the brutal massacre of nearly 1,200 Israelis on October 7 as the abominations they were, we and most of the world’s nations recoil in horror at what is widely understood as the IDF’s genocidal assault against civilians in Gaza and by the escalating settler violence and land seizures in the occupied West Bank.
An estimated 23,000 Gazans, the vast majority children and women, have been killed in Gaza. That’s roughly 20 times the number of Israelis killed in October. If we translate that proportionately into U.S. numbers, it’s the equivalent of more than three million U.S. people. 70% of Gazan homes have been destroyed, with 85% of Gazans displaced. The UN Humanitarian chief describes Gaza as uninhabitable with water, food, and fuel still in desperately short supply. Many hospitals are no longer functionin and hundreds of thousands of people—not “human animals”—face death from famine, thirst, disease, and lack of medical care.
The need for a ceasefire and a credible process toward just Israeli-Palestinian and Middle East peace based on common security are urgent necessities. And we are not powerless.
Yet the war goes on. Even as the Israeli military broadcasts that it is moving into a new and more surgical phase of the war, massive bombings continue. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledges that the war will continue for nine months to a year. And powerful currents in his government are pressing to “thin”—that is, ethnically cleanse—Gaza’s two million people. Another, and even greater, Nakba than what happened in 1948.
And as we see from the escalating attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea, from Hezbollah-Israeli exchanges along the border with Lebanon, bombings in Syria and Lebanon, and targeted assassinations in Lebanon and Iraq, the danger remains that the war could explode into a regional cataclysm.
As Richard Falk, the former U.N. Rapporteur or Palestinian Human Rights chillingly warns, faced with an unwinnable war in Gaza, a war he cannot politically afford to end without victory, Netanyahu’s only option may be to trigger a war with Iran in order to drag U.S. forces more directly into the conflict.
Beyond its immediate role in making the extended war possible, President Joe Biden’s embrace of Netanyahu is also having broader and longer-term international ramifications. The US, as we have seen in UN votes, is increasingly isolated as the hypocrisy and double standards of its claims to defend human rights and the rule of law are laid bare for all the world to see. This, in turn, accelerates the relative decline of the U.S./Western empire and the emergence of a still very fluid, and thus uncertain and dangerous, multi-polar world system.
There is also the tragic domestic fallout here in the U.S. In 1948, Hannah Arendt, the German-Jewish refugee philosopher, herself a non-state Zionist, warned that justified or not, Jews around the world would be judged by how Israelis treated their Arab neighbors. The savaging of Gaza, which now compounds the abomination of apartheid, not only marks Israel as a pariah nation, but it also compounds the historic currents of antisemitism.
These are very hard times. The need for a ceasefire and a credible process toward just Israeli-Palestinian and Middle East peace based on common security are urgent necessities. And we are not powerless.
Senator Bernie Sanders, bless him, has wisely introduced Resolution 502B(c) which can provide the crack in Congress that can let the light in and shatter the congressional consensus for complicity in genocide. The resolution requires a State Department study on Israeli violations of human rights. That in turn should require halting all U.S. arms transfers to Israel. The resolution may not pass, but the debate itself can begin to crack the obscene and murderous consensus.
Beyond that initiative, we must join the majority of the world’s nations in building pressure on Biden and Netanyahu to declare a ceasefire, to deluge Gaza with the food, water, medicines, and fuel essential for life. We must also launch the common security diplomacy that leads to peaceful, just, and respectful Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. Please, if you can, join demonstrations and vigils. Write those letters to Congress and the editor of your local paper. Perform nonviolent civil disobedience. It is time to have those difficult conversations with family, friends, and co-workers. Turning our heads away in silence is not an option. Peace, justice, and coexistence have always been possible.
Original article published in Common Dreams: https://www.commondreams.org/opinion/gaza-ceasefire-now-no-wider-war