Even as we in Pakistan are confronted with multiple developments and issues, the slaughter of innocent Palestinians in Gaza at the hands of a murderous Zionist state has focused our emotions of anger, helplessness and frustration alongside similarly displayed emotions across the civil societies of the world. For the Muslims in particular the attempted genocide of the Gaza populace is yet another reminder of the self-imposed helplessness of their rulers. The fact that many Muslim states continue to maintain their diplomatic relations with Israel when a non-Muslim leader in Latin America, Hugo Chavez, has had the moral courage to break these ties, should be a source of shame for Muslim ruling elites everywhere.
What has also come to the fore once again is the total acceptance of this Israeli murderous rampage by the USA. Obama’s silence on the issue speaks louder than any hypocritical statements he made earlier on human rights and anti-terrorism. Clearly, Israel’s state terrorism is as acceptable to him as it is to all other US politicians and the general US public. And the mutterings of the British leadership have once again shown the subservient role they are content to play to the US. Surely at this time it is indecent of Miliband to visit us and talk about extremism and terrorism – when there is a large-scale commission of unabated Israeli terrorism taking place in Gaza. Frankly, if the Zardari government had a modicum of self-respect they would refuse to receive Miliband at this time when we are mourning the daily murders of innocent Palestinians. But then, if we can continue awarding high national awards to the supporters of the murderers of Palestinians, like Biden, how will we have the gumption to stand up to Miliband’s brand of neoimperialism?
But can nothing really be done against these new Israeli killings? Is the Muslim World really so helpless in the face of this brazen display of Israeli state terrorism? No, except in a psychological sense of being unable to stand up to the US. So, what could be done if the will was there within the Muslim ruling elites? There is always the option of the oil-rich states finally taking their assets out of Western institutions, but that does not seem a viable option given the self-interest of the rulers of these states. Then there is another option through the OIC collectivity – that is a military option whereby the high tech military hardware accumulated by many rich Muslim states can be used in defence of the Palestinians. After all, what is to stop the OIC from sending a multinational force to combat this Israeli aggression similar to the Allies effort against Nazism? After all, the OIC itself was formed as a response to the aggression of the Zionist state against Al Quds in the first place so it would be within its international legal mandate.
If the Muslim World is unable to pick up the moral courage to do any of the above, then there is also a way now provided for, ironically, by the UN Security Council itself through Resolution 1373 passed in the aftermath of 9/11. This resolution begins by condemning the acts of terror of 9/11, but then goes beyond to deal with the issue of terrorism in general. The resolution gives its context as the binding chapter VII of the UN charter and the operative paras are 1 and 2 of the resolution. Para I, demands that states “Criminalize the wilful provision or collection, by any means, directly or indirectly, of funds by their nationals or in their territories with the intention that the funds should be used … in order to carry out terrorist acts.” Para 2 demands that states “Refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts … and eliminating the supply of weapons.” Nowhere does this Resolution declare that it is only with reference to non-state actors and the reference to entities can also be applied to states. Clearly, under these paras the US stands guilty of abetting terrorism because it has allowed Jewish groups in the US to raise money for Israel and has itself supplied weapons to Israel. Now, if Pakistan is expected to deal with non-state actors or face international consequences under this resolution, surely OIC states can also hold the US to these provisions? Or we should simply declare this UNSC resolution as having been breached by a permanent member the US, and thus having lost its credibility as so many other UNSC resolutions.
As for the issue of state terrorism – just like any form of terrorism, it has also been defined to some extent in UNSC Resolution 1566 (2004), para 3, which states, inter alia, that “criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury … with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population …are under no circumstances justifiable by considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other similar nature….” Surely this describes Israel’s massacre of the Palestinians perfectly and therefore Israel stands guilty of state terrorism and should be subject to the same penalties that other perpetrators of terrorism are to be subjected to.
So why is no Muslim state moving against Israel within the wide scope now offered by the anti-terrorism UNSC resolutions. Also, there is the whole gamut of international humanitarian law codified in the four Geneva conventions and its two additional protocols, which Israel has breached with this aggression against the whole Palestinian population of Gaza – with even UN schools and medical assistance teams being targeted. So that is another tool available for dealing with the latest Zionist aggression. And, finally, it may be worth reminding our psychologically paralysed Muslim leaders that the International Criminal Court had put out a warrant for the Sudanese president despite the fact that Sudan is not a party to the ICC, citing Darfur and other incidents involving human rights abuse and killings in Sudan. Surely the attempted genocide of the Gaza Palestinians is a crime against humanity; so why has the ICC failed to issue warrants against the Israeli leadership? Or are there two standards: One for Muslims and another for non-Muslims?
It is indeed a supreme irony that those that Hitler massacred have turned to do the same to the Palestinians! In fact there are haunting similarities between the Nazis and the Zionist state. After all, if the Zionists can refer to the UN as a source of their state’s legitimacy – although nowhere did the UN seek to throw out Palestinians from their lands and have them periodically butchered at the hands of the Zionist entity – Hitler had even a greater claim to political legitimacy since he had elections to cite as his claim to power! And just as the Jewish holocaust (unless we accept revisionist history that it never took place) was part of his agenda, clearly Israel’s agenda is the Palestinian holocaust, albeit in stages. Just as British prime minister Chamberlain followed a policy of appeasement towards the Nazis till it was too late, so the US and its allies have been following a similar appeasement policy towards Israel as it becomes ever more ruthless in its violence against the Palestinians.
From the continuous killings of Palestinians by the Israeli military to Sharon’s acts of terrorism unleashed on the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps to the present state terrorism in Gaza, the killings have become more audacious and we now know that Israel is using chemical weapons (white phosphorous bombs) as well as other inhumane weapons as described by two Norwegian doctors against which there are international conventions. Yet the US, including its president-elect Obama, continues to allow this holocaust of the Palestinians.
And Muslim governments continue to maintain a deadly silence – beyond a few whimperings and mutterings – even as their people rise in protest. Is it any wonder the Muslim street is becoming increasingly radicalised? They said the League of Nations was too discredited to provide an international response to Hitler, but the UNSC is now armed with powerful anti-terror resolutions and mechanisms for their implementation. So why is the international community mute on Israel? Or are these resolutions only for Muslims while the rest of the world is free to commit all manner of acts of terror unhindered?