Common Grounds

Our Wednesday News Analysis | When words fail, we must turn to the law

February 28, 2024

Source: Al-Jazeera


By Mohamad Alasmar
Published February 23, 2024


For the sake of children, we have to demand an end to the violence and adherence to international law in Palestine.

Our Wednesday News Analysis | When words fail, we must turn to the law

Palestinians, including children, are treated at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital after being injured in Israeli attacks that killed 40 Palestinians and wounded 100 others in Deir el-Balah, Gaza, on February 22, 2024 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]


A crisis. A horror. A tragedy. These are all words we’ve heard often to describe the situation in Gaza. All woefully insufficient.



"But even if politics continues to undermine humanity,
the rule of law can still be upheld.



As a Palestinian, I can assure you if there’s one thing Palestinians aren’t short of, it’s words. You may even recall that in the first weeks of this war, children in Gaza held their own press conference imploring the world “to protect them” so they could “live as other children live”.


But the scale of the violence in Gaza since the attacks on Israel on October 7, which killed about 1,139 people, is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. Israeli forces have killed an average of 250 Palestinians a day, exceeding the daily death toll of all other conflicts in recent decades.


Over one million people have been displaced to Rafah, the only remaining place in Gaza where there is any semblance of a meaningful humanitarian response, waiting for the next military operation that could lead to a bloodbath.


And so, words have begun to fail us. Many now say there simply are no words that justly capture the torment we’re facing. I disagree.


There are still some words we can and must fall back on, words that anchor us to our collective humanity. The language of human rights, international law and accountability. Words like obligations, violations, atrocity crimes. The laws of occupation. And the laws of war.


I emphasise these words because they are the right words to use, but also because they counter other words that have come to the fore, such as the language of dehumanisation, which paves the way for atrocity crimes to be committed...


Read more: When words fail, we must turn to the law





Source: Palestine Chronicle


By Ramzy Baroud
Published February 21, 2024


Far-right Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)


The problem is not the absence of a Palestinian state but Zionism itself.



"All of this – the language of genocide,
the genocide itself,
and the threats of committing a greater genocide –
is rooted, not in a rational political theory, but in Zionism."



What is the use of a Palestinian state, if Zionism, as a racist, exclusivist ideology continues to define Israel, and impose that definition on the Palestinians?


This ideology calls for racial purity of Jews in Palestine, of course, at the expense of the native inhabitants of the land. To achieve this, millions of Palestinians had to be forced into exile, hundreds of thousands needed to be killed, wounded or incarcerated.


Neither two states, nor even one state is possible if Zionism is not entirely defeated – not revamped, not ‘fixed’, but eradicated.


As Palestinians are being killed in unprecedentedly large numbers in Gaza, western politicians are waking up to the necessity of a Palestinian state.


But why now? After all, it was these very politicians and their governments that either defended or remained silent as Israel thwarted every possibility of peaceful co-existence.


Theirs is not a moral awakening, but a distraction, to appear – at least before their own people – to be proactive, while Israel is systematically destroying the Palestinian people.


Former UNRWA official, Chris Gunnes, said about the Israeli war on Gaza that this is “the first genocide in the history of humanity that is livestreamed on television”...


Read more: Zionism and the Annihilation of Gaza: The Problem in Palestine is Not Political, but Ideological





Source: Blue Marble


By Hope O'Dell
Published February 20, 2023


British jurist Malcolm Shaw, right, and Gilad Noam, Israel's Deputy Attorney-General for International Affairs, attend the session of the International Court of Justice, or World Court, in The Hague, Netherlands, Friday, Jan. 26, 2024 (Photo: Patrick Post / AP)



The State of Palestine (as the Palestinian territories are known at the U.N.,
argued that Israel’s occupation breaches the U.N.’s founding charter
by denying Palestinians the “right to self-determination” —
a right that the charter says is fundamental to peaceful international relations.



In short, The United Nations General Assembly has asked the organization’s court to advise on what legal consequences Israel should face for its decades-long occupation of the Palestinian territories. On Feb. 19, the International Court of Justice began hearings, during which 52 countries and three international organizations are expected to provide their opinions to the court. Israel has opted to submit a written statement, while the State of Palestine made in-person remarks to the court on Monday. Israel first took control of the Palestinian territories in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as part of the 1967 Six-Day War, and it heavily restricts movement for the 5 million Palestinians who live in these territories.


What is the ICJ case involving Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories?


The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution at the end of December 2022 that condemned Israel’s behavior in the Palestinian territories and asked the ICJ, the U.N.’s main judicial body, to issue an advisory opinion in response to two questions:

  • What legal consequences could come from Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories?
  • Could Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories result in any legal consequences for the U.N. and its member nations?...

Read more: Israel has occupied Palestinian territories since 1967; UN court considers whether that’s legal


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