Taufan Al-Aqsa has marked a turning point in the long history of Palestinian fight against occupation that started since 1917. The hypocrisy of the West is exposed. The tide of public opinion in the West is turning against Israel despite the biased media reports to the point that the media reports are increasingly forced to challenge the Israeli narrative.
Since the beginning of Taufan Al-Aqsa, almost 90% of global protests have been pro-Palestine condemning Israeli war crimes and calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Many people have also chosen to express their stand using their purchasing power by boycotting companies that support Israel which has given negative impacts on their revenues and stock prices despite the effort to ban boycott against Israel. Nevertheless, the fear of backlash remains, not just in the economy and media but also academia. For instance, a journal published by Harvard Law School has refused to publish an academic article accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza, allegedly because editors feared a backlash.
Last week, TIME reported findings from a recent survey which shows that support for Israel around the world has dropped significantly. The US remains the only rich country that still had net positive views of Israel. However, Washington’s support for Israel carries a huge cost in global public opinion. The world, particularly the global south is perceiving the West and the US in particular as hypocrites, whereby international rules and norms are applied selectively – according to geopolitical interests rather than in a universal or just fashion. People in Arab countries went from viewing US positively to negatively which will make it more difficult for Gulf leaders to pursue normalisation ties with Israel brokered by the US. Nevertheless, they are still hosting US military bases that support or supply the genocide.
After more than 100 days since Taufan Al Aqsa, Israel has finally been brought to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after killing more than 20,000 people in Gaza, half of them are children. South Africa has charged Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians and said that more than 50 countries have expressed their support for its case. However, the world’s reaction to the case shows a predictable global split as the majority of countries backing South Africa’s case are from the Arab world and Africa.
The UN has promised to never again allow any attempt to wipe out a group of people, or part of one, simply because of their nationality, race, religion or ethnicity by adopting the Genocide Convention. However, that promise has been repeatedly broken —in Bosnia, Darfur and Rwanda, to name a few. Even a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was blocked by the US last month. For some people, whatever the court’s final determinations might be, the case blows Israel’s international status and helps Palestinians seek legitimacy and recognition of their national aspirations and rights in international law. Nevertheless, Netanyahu has proclaimed that no one, including ICJ will stop Israel.
Time is running out for Palestinians in Gaza. Humanitarian organisations have warned of a growing humanitarian crisis due to shortages of food, water, medicines, electricity and fuel caused by Israel’s bombings and blockade. Palestinians are not only killed by the bombs, bullets and diseases in the war. Babies are dying due to hypothermia in the freezing winter while children are dying from heart attack due to the fear from the constant bombardments, lack of rest for months, and severe malnutrition.
Many countries around the world have been sending humanitarian aid but only a small amount of aid has managed to reach Palestinians in Gaza through a deal brokered by Qatar and France after many challenges imposed by Israel and Egypt who control the border. Therefore, some countries are sending aid airdrop into Gaza. However, even UNRWA in Gaza is on the verge of collapse as more than 150 staff members have been killed and at least 70% of the remaining staff are displaced. Now, the US and the UK have suspended funding for UNRWA.
For Palestinians, surrender is never an option. Even if ICJ determines that Israel have committed genocide and the whole world keeps on sending aid, nothing much will change for Palestinians as long as the root cause of the conflict or the right diagnosis continues to be ignored. Two state solution is not (and has never been) the way forward. Palestinians understand this very well. That is why they fight to end the occupation. Occupation is occupation no matter how it describes or names itself. The humanitarian, ethical and legal imperatives necessitate every country in the world to back the resistance of Palestinians against colonisation not to collude againts it. We are supposed to confront the occupation crimes and terrorism as well as to support the stuggle of Palestinians to liberate their lands, gain sovereignty and practice their rights to self-determination like everyone else across the globe.