Intervention to stop genocide: From investigative reporting to freedom flotillas

Apr 17, 2024
Israeli and Palestinian flags on a brick wall with blood splatters. International conflict

The leader of South Africa’s Palestine Solidarity Alliance insists that the ruling of the International Court of Justice ‘requires the whole world to play their part to stop genocide unfolding in Gaza.’

Playing a part means what? Death and destruction are usually stopped when courageous people intervene between victims and perpetrators. Regarding Israeli forces’ taste for killing anyone who might be labelled Hamas or who is defined as inferior, what intervention must occur to cease murders and the lying that bolsters these policies?

Without evidence that the UN or governments will comply with the ICJ ruling or act in response to the Security Council’s resolution for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, Palestine supporters question, surely the UN or some government must intervene ? Isn’t the death and destruction sufficient ?

The World Bank and UNICEF estimate that 15,000 Gazan children have been killed, 17,000 left without adult accompaniment, thousands have survived but with lost limbs. In an environment where infrastructure has become rubble, where untreated sewage floods the streets, where most hospitals have been destroyed, or are completely out of service, no health care is available and suffering is incalculable.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Netanyahu says he will invade Rafah but at a date to be decided. Australian citizens could announce their intent to invade the Israeli Embassy in Canberra but at a date to be decided. That would be a modest but justifiable intervention.

Other outrage has been expressed. In major Australian cities, massive protests to ‘’Free Palestine“ are now into their twenty fifth week. Even indifferent politicians must have noticed.

Elsewhere, protests about Israeli actions and western governments’ cowardice have accumulated. In February, 800 officials from Europe and the US criticised their governments’ connivance with Israeli policies. In early April, 600 British lawyers and judges asked their government to cease sending arms to Israel or be judged complicit in genocide. Even 37 members of the US Congress have advised the White House to not send more arms to Israel.

Several weeks ago, in P&I (‘Time To Occupy Israel’ 21/2/24) I appealed for Australian citizens to join a freedom flotilla or take other actions against the collective punishment of Palestinians. Readers responded. Several wanted to join a flotilla, others favoured picketing the homes of the Prime Minister and the NSW Premier or launching letter campaigns to the Foreign Minister and to the Minister for Defence.

From deliberations about those suggestions came the crafting of a Gaza Plea for Humanity, supported by 5000 citizens, presented in the Federal Parliament on Thursday March 28, an initiative grounded in the beliefs that brutalities in Gaza represent a war against humanity, that if genocide in Gaza is not ended, humanity’s entitlement to continue to survive on planet earth is forfeited.

Accurate reporting and informed commentary can also be counted as intervention. Given the brutalities in Gaza, that means challenging Israel’s public relations machine, whose bias is too quickly swallowed by News Corporation outlets and by politicians who feed that organisation or take their cues from it.

Without investigation and exposé, ignorance and bias persist.

An immediate test of intervention concerns answers to the question, how were seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) aid workers killed by Israeli drones or missiles? Political correctness would like to accept the Israeli military’s findings that the killings were not deliberate but rather an unfortunate mistake, a result of miscommunication.

Listen instead to Al Jazeera’s Inside Story where Israeli journalist Gideon Levy records that three humanitarian aid cars clearly marked with WCK insignia, had been traffic coordinated with the IDF yet were hunted down and bombed out of existence. Levy rejects any claim that these murders might be the responsibility of army commanders. No, he says, killing is the policy, and has been for decades. What is there to investigate?

Despite world wide protests and UN resolutions, there is no sign of an international peace force occupying Gaza and evicting Israeli forces from land that is not theirs. But one initiative to stop Israel continuing to murder thousands of innocent people is on the horizon.

In early April, multiple vessels from a Freedom Flotilla Coalition have sailed from Mediterranean ports loaded with 5,500 tons of aid for Gaza. With the intention of alleviating widespread hunger and lack of medical attention, this non violent, direct action mission will have to challenge the illegal Israeli blockade.

On board the flotilla are human rights observers from thirty countries. Contributing organisers, Code Pink’s anti war coalition Women for Peace, argue that in the absence of any official intervention, if a war against humanity rages, you cannot sit idly by, you have no alternative but to sail.


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