Imagine you are intently and religiously doing a mandatory requirement of your religion, such as fasting in the month of holy Ramadan. In the middle of such a month, an airstrike befalls your land. It kills children and civilians, and the bombardment on your land continues for ten days. Imagine you are praying, and a settler soldier beats you up for no apparent reason.
I wish I am writing dark fiction, but I am not writing one. Such happenings have taken place in the social reality we live in. Israel fired an airstrike on the Gaza strip, killing 277 Palestinians, including 64 children and 1,500 injured. Horrendous and tragic, isn’t it? But let’s make this reality-horror-driven more gross and grave – such acts by Israel are an exercise of their right to self-defense and security. What in the world? I know, right.
Apparently, killing the children of Palestine and noncombatant people is an act of self-defense according to the Israeli government and its supporters like America. Israel has been using the narrative of fighting against terrorism to wipe out Palestinians in their own land. America used the same script in intervening with other countries’ internal affairs. What stretch of the imagination would a person or a group of people have to dare to say that killing children and civilians with no iota of remorse is an act of self-defense? What is appalling is that the United Nations responsible for enforcing International Humanitarian Law or War Law has the audacity to say “there may have been crimes committed” in the Israel airstrike that killed innocent children and non-combatant Palestinians. “What is not clicking, UN?” awoke Gen Z youth may have to say. It is baffling how killing children and civilians is not a crime and subject to the discretionary word “may.” The behavior of the UN in Israel-Palestinian violence is fathomable. To some extent, it is a secret that is not hidden that International Laws do not apply to influential and wealthy countries such as Israel.
Let us get this right because such statements are very dangerous, and whatever prejudicial and wrong narrative they made is irreversible. Self-defense, according to the international customary law, is lawful if the response is necessary, proportional, and immediate. International Humanitarian Law is very specific that the weapon in war shall be discriminating, which is to say it must target the enemy, not the noncombatant civilians. This is also called the principle of distinction, which obligates warring parties to distinguish between civilians and military targets. Applying such principles, is the attack of Israel proportional, necessary, and immediate? Only those who support genocide would believe that such an attack is proportional, necessary, and immediate. Did the airstrike of Israel kill the terrorists? The data will not lie. What they killed are innocent children of Palestine and civilians.
Israel’s government dares to deliberately kill noncombatant Palestinians and children with impunity because we tolerate them. Some condemn their actions, of course, – thankfully humanity has hope. But it is appalling and horrifying that most of the world sided with Israel’s aggression and violence against Palestinians, even to the extent of wiping out Palestinians.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a progressive legislature in the U.S who has called Israel governments apartheid, has condemned Israel and further condemns the U.S government for continuously funding Israel that polices and kills Palestinians. Was she lying when she said, “The United States must acknowledge its role in the injustice and of human rights violations [committed to] to Palestinians? This is not about both sides. This is about the imbalance of power” She also debunks the argument of those saying that Israel has a right to self-defense. “Do Palestinians have the right to survive? Do we believe that? And if so, we have a responsibility to that as well.”
Some say this is history repeating itself, referring to 1930s Germany’s act of genocide against Jews. However, this is worse than in the 1930s. Back in the 1930s, there’s no International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law. There is no law regulating war. But we have such laws now. Despite the progress of humanity in upholding fundamental values such as the right to life and security, and human integrity, Israel is blatantly disregarding fundamental values enshrined in IHL and human rights law.
So long as all of us don’t condemn Israel for its blatant disregard of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law, we have failed as a humane society. The UN chose to fail the Palestinians. All countries failed the Palestinians -by not sanctioning the Israeli government, economically and whatnot, with their blatant violation of fundamental rights given to all people to live and security. The support of other countries funding Israel caused this. We caused this to the Palestinians. Yes, we cause their suffering. Our silence is caused of injustice when we can speak.
In the context of politics and history, we all may justify as whose side we are on but –
There should never be a debate when children and noncombatant people are deliberately killed—right to life and security, whatever race and status, is non-negotiable. To kill children and civilians is not self-defense.
Abdullah M. Edris, a frustrated creative-persuasive writer, is a legal researcher and a fourth-year law student. In college, he graduated cum laude in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology Management at MSU-IIT. He was a college journalism awardee. This nonbinary and gender nonconforming lad loves language, literature, and culture. He is one of the writers at The Nexus.