Relatives mourn over the body of Palestinian Yazan Al-Najmi
Relatives mourn over the body of Palestinian Yazan Al-Najmi during his funeral on January 18, 2024. Nine Palestinians were killed in an Israeli drone strike that targeted two camps in the West Bank.
(Photo: Ayman Nobani/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The International Community Is Killing Palestinians Through Useless Debate

Are priorities so misplaced that world leaders cannot articulate the necessity of a permanent cease-fire as the way to alleviate the Palestinian people's suffering?

As Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people unfolds for the entire world to see in real time on social media, world leaders have only managed to debate humanitarian “pauses” rather than a ceasefire. Even the context of such temporary “ceasefires” is grossly misplaced, with the focus resting solely on the Israeli hostages held by Hamas, even though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has no qualms about them ending up as collateral damage as he seeks the complete annihilation not just of Hamas, but also the entire Palestinian population in Gaza.

Netanyahu has rejected the Hamas proposal for a 135-day pause in fighting, during which a gradual release of all the hostages would be carried out in return for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. While Netanyahu’s rejection was to be expected, it is still aided largely by US rhetoric, which focuses solely on the Israeli hostages’ release and blames Hamas for all civilian deaths in Gaza, despite the fact that it is Israel that is bombing the enclave to total destruction.

There is no need to debate how to stop genocide, or whether to stop it, as it is clearly a violation of international law.

“We’re looking at it intensely, as is, I know, the government of Israel,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israeli President Isaac Herzog yesterday in Jerusalem, with regard to the Hamas proposal. “We are very much focused on doing that work and hopefully, being able to resume the release of hostages that was interrupted so many months ago.” Of course, there was no mention of the fact that Israel was so eager to resume bombing Gaza that, so far, it has not yet agreed to another meagre humanitarian pause, not even to save its own settlers.

Yet despite Netanyahu’s refusal to even consider the Israeli hostages’ safety, any deal is still being discussed within the context of securing their release. Thus, the narrative remains controlled by Israel and all that is left for the international community to do is to feign any concern and speak of humanitarian ceasefires and the release of Israeli hostages. What happens to Palestinians in Gaza has never been of concern to world leaders, who pretend to solve mass starvation with trucks of humanitarian aid that are targeted by Israel’s military, and who suspended funding to UNRWA, in the full knowledge that they are now overtly complicit in genocide.

Are priorities so misplaced that world leaders cannot articulate the necessity of a permanent ceasefire as the way to alleviate the Palestinian people’s suffering? A ceasefire should benefit Palestinians first and foremost; they are a colonised population on the verge of permanent annihilation or displacement, facing mass starvation as part of Israel’s genocidal actions, and yet the focus remains on Israeli hostages which the Israeli government keeps in danger for “complete victory” over Hamas. Netanyahu and his murderous ministers must know that ideas cannot be killed and anti-colonial resistance is as much a concept, as it is a legitimate action.

If the world wants to stop genocide, and to date it is clearly reluctant to do so, calling for a permanent ceasefire should be done with the Palestinians’ urgent needs uppermost in everyone’s mind. There is no need to debate how to stop genocide, or whether to stop it, as it is clearly a violation of international law. And yet, rambling on about Israeli hostages who would be freed as part of a deal that Netanyahu refuses to accept, remains the driving narrative. What is clearly missing from the rhetoric and yet remains visible in plain sight, is that Netanyahu has stretched the parameters of what constitutes an acceptable violation of international law, which is in itself an aberration, to the point of no return, with complete impunity. This has to stop.

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