By Mahmoud Al-Batakoshi
The ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip has once again highlighted the issue of double standards in the international community’s response to conflicts. This report aims to analyze and shed light on the inconsistent approach taken by Western countries, which claims to champion human rights, international law, and the defense of sovereign nations while endorsing a blatant double standard when it comes to Israel.
Double Standards and Western Response
The Western response to the conflict in Gaza starkly contradicts its clear stance in the Ukrainian crisis. Western nations swiftly condemned Russia for alleged aggression against a sovereign state, accusing it of occupying and targeting civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and energy facilities. Harsh sanctions were imposed on Moscow, citing war crimes, no matter how heinous.
A clear illustration of this double standard was seen in the statements made by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, at the beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian war. She visited Kyiv and accused Moscow of killing children, destroying schools and hospitals, and damaging infrastructure. She called on the world to confront what she labeled Russian brutality. Yet, she simultaneously expressed unwavering support for Israel, stating, “We support Israel unconditionally for its self-defense,” effectively endorsing the killing of Palestinian civilians since 1948.
Historical Context of Biased Support for Israel
Western societies have consistently found numerous justifications for supporting Israel, allowing its expansion and settlement building while today granting it the right to “self-defense.” A joint statement issued by the United States, Canada, France, Britain, and Italy days ago criticized the Palestinian people and called for the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas to prevent the conflict from escalating. This statement discreetly ignored the Israeli occupation’s compliance with international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians.
Additionally, Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, demonstrated his unequivocal bias towards Israel by expressing solidarity with Israel even before assuming office as the foreign minister of the world’s most powerful nation. Washington has also endorsed alleged narratives of child casualties, placing it in the same moral realm as Israel regarding its violations against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.
International Humanitarian Law and Israel’s Violations
Dr. Nabil Ahmed Helmi, former Dean of the Faculty of Law and professor of international law, emphasizes that Israel’s aggression against Gaza contradicts international law in general and international humanitarian law in particular. International humanitarian law comprises legal rules applied during armed conflicts.
He argues that since Israel occupies Palestinian territories, the Palestinian people have the legitimate right to defend themselves and their lands. International humanitarian law was established in 1949 after the Second World War, addressing the numerous problems and violations occurring during non-peaceful conflicts. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 deal with maritime, land, prisoner of war, and armed conflict situations or the protection of civilians under occupation.
Helmi stresses that Israel has no right to violate international law by not safeguarding civilians and infringing upon their rights, as Gaza and Palestine as a whole are under occupation. Any deviation from these principles is a breach of international law.