To restore humanity, stop the genocide and make Israel accountable

22 May 2024 – This blog is part of a series drawn from Peace in the Anthropocene, our latest publication at The Club of Rome. Each entry reflects one of the many viewpoints held by our diverse membership, illustrating the rich tapestry of ideas within our network. While this article represents the insights and perspectives of one member, we encourage readers to consider it within the broader context of the full publication, which contains a variety of perspectives from different Club of Rome members on the pressing issues of our time.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”Archbishop Desmond Tutu

In Gaza, the echoes of violence have reverberated every single day for months. We are witnessing the erasure of an entire society in real-time, television cameras rolling, live-streamed, into living rooms across the planet, as children watch other children being killed.

Innocent Palestinian children and women continue to be slaughtered daily while the very foundations of society – hospitals, schools, power stations, factories, water supply infrastructure – are systematically destroyed by the most powerful military alliance in the world. This is a military alliance led by Israel and the USA, supported by other Europeans, mainly the UK, Germany, and France. It is a modern military empire that has written itself into the history books with its moral vacuum.

The repeated global calls for peace and a ceasefire have been ignored by the agents of this assault, hellbent on revenge, committing war crimes in the process. So how can a lasting peace be secured amid such a fraught situation?

It begins with a recognition of what so many have knowingly shied away from doing: classifying the premeditated slaughter of tens of thousands for what it really is – a genocide.

And amidst the humanitarian disaster, a disquieting disparity has become apparent: while the suffering of the Palestinian people pierces the global consciousness, the response of Western governments to the architects of this slaughter remains woefully inadequate and often downright inhumane. 

However, indignation in isolation cannot chart the course towards an enduring peace. The pressing question that demands the attention is this: How can the world cultivate a lasting resolution to this conflict in the Middle East and who should lead it going forward given the complicity of the West in the catastrophe? There are three aspects to consider. 

Internationally recognise the truth of genocide 

The first step towards a sustainable and lasting resolution necessitates a unified stance from the international community. This both means and requires the involvement of the global majority, not another disingenuous process led by the usual suspects from the West. 

This begins with an honest acknowledgment, shared by all nations including the United States and its Western allies, of the gravity of the situation in Gaza and that this is nothing short of a genocide, perpetrated by the state of Israel. 

The report by the UN Special Rapporteur provides a crucial foundation for such recognition. It concludes, based on the Israeli government’s intention to inflict collective punishment, the high civilian death toll, targeting of densely populated areas, and restrictions on humanitarian aid as well as forced starvation, that “reasonable grounds exist to believe the threshold indicating Israel’s commission of genocide is met.”

South Africa, a country still bearing the deep wounds of apartheid and human rights violations, did the global community a service by bringing Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing it of genocide. Despite Israel’s attempts to dismiss the case, the ICJ’s panel of 17 judges chose not to do so. Instead, they issued a ruling that Israel must take measures to prevent genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, ensure the delivery of basic services and humanitarian aid, and deter and penalise any incitement to commit genocide. Would the court have issued such a directive if there wasn’t substantial evidence of genocide to begin with?

Therefore, the assertion that Israel is committing genocide is now broadly accepted and is no longer dismissed as an unfounded allegation. The ongoing catastrophe is visible to all, and the denial by the United States and its Western allies does not negate its occurrence, it only deepens the global resentment and loss of respect towards these Western powers.

The architects must face punitive action 

Secondly, it is imperative that those within the Israeli government who have perpetrated this crime, along with their Western accomplices must be held accountable for its actions. Those responsible for this genocide must be subjected to the due process of international law. If not, the world will enter a new era in which international law lies irrelevant when it comes to crimes against humanity. Gaza would become the precedent that makes it very clear to the global majority that the West does not hold itself accountable to international law, driven by its self-interests to maintain its global hegemony.

This process will trigger a sequence of actions aimed at conclusively ending Israel’s illegal occupation and oppression of Palestine. It will crucially curtail the economic and military support it has received from its Western allies over the years, which has perverted its sense of its own painful history and stymied appreciation to co-exist with Palestinians.  

Such a process will divest Israel of its much-abused privileges and the impunity that has facilitated its acts of violence and prolonged occupation. A carefully designed and targeted sanctions package will have to be part of this process, focused on military assistance, preventing Israel from gaining access to arms and exporting its own military technology and equipment to others.  

The primary objective of these carefully curated and targeted sanctions is to encourage massive reforms in Israel, make it commit to a long-term peace agreement with the Palestinians as brokered by the UN, prevent its allies from emboldening it to further its destructive path, and prevent the Israeli state from destabilising the entire region as it has begun to. 

The acknowledgment of genocide must lead to sincere repentance and reform within Israel and future generations. It is this model of restorative justice that we should strive to emulate. Once this is accomplished, the international community can devise a plan for peaceful coexistence and hold all parties accountable in the construction of a new framework for peace and prosperity. 

The West has forfeited the right to lead peace-making 

This leads to the third and critically important point about who leads the process. The United States is not in a position, to oversee this process nor is it capable of finding a solution. The responsibility of establishing a framework for peace and prosperity is a collective global effort.  

The U.S., through its historical support of the Israeli regime, including supplying weapons and funding this massacre, has forfeited its ability to participate in this process as it is technically complicit in this act of genocide. 

The blueprint for lasting peace must include all necessary guarantees for both Israel and the Palestinians, overseen by the UN or a specially established body. Once again, this cannot be led by the U.S. or the West. 

A main reason why the US cannot adjudicate this process is the blood on its hands thanks to the proliferation of the military-industrial complex (MIC) and its role in exacerbating the conflict in Gaza. The MIC is a significant component of the U.S. political economy, which stokes geopolitical tensions and enables nations and private entities to instigate and profit from conflict.  

Remarkably, the interest in the US in safeguarding Israeli military interests is apolitical in nature. Despite being a deeply divided nation, the U.S. unites in its defence of Israel, a stance agreed upon by both Republicans and Democrats. The root of this support is the significantly large and powerful “evangelical lobby”, which exists on both sides of the political divide. Because they exist on both sides, and all administrations and politicians must cater to this base, the support of Israel is unconditional. 

It is untenable and unacceptable that global stability is so unduly influenced by a nation where internal political divisions and the quest for power, driven by amongst other things religious fanaticism, is allowed to exacerbate religious conflicts elsewhere, threatening world peace.

Another reason why the West cannot oversee the peace-building process is because there is a considerable likelihood that the U.S. and its allies may also be implicated alongside Israel.  

In essence, the genocide must be halted, Israel must be held accountable on a global scale, and it must bear the consequences of this crime. Subsequently, peace must be constructed by the collective international community, not solely by the U.S. or the West, allowing both Israel and Palestine to thrive together.  

A key step toward this is for Palestine to be admitted as a full member of the United Nations and one can only hope that the US will not continue to use its veto to deny it this right, which the global majority is in favour of.

Read ‘Peace in the Anthropocene’ a collection of essays by members of The Club of Rome

Related Content

Degrowth revisited

Degrowth revisited

19 June 2024 - In mid-May 2023, the European Parliament hosted a major conference on degrowth, sparking a wide range of reactions in the media. This diversity of opinions did not contribute to fostering broad support for the concept. Degrowth advocates argue for...

Reimagining peace: A feminist perspective

Reimagining peace: A feminist perspective

06 June 2024 - This blog is part of a series drawn from Peace in the Anthropocene, our latest publication at The Club of Rome. Each entry reflects one of the many viewpoints held by our diverse membership, illustrating the rich tapestry of ideas within our network....

This article gives the views of the author(s), and not the position of The Club of Rome or its members.

Club of Rome Logo