“Famine was imminent” in Gaza, wrote UN special rapporteur Michael Fakhri on Sunday. Now, he laments, it is “inevitable”.
These comments refer not to the genocidal actions of Benjamin Netanyahu and his regime. They refer to the decision of the United States, Canada, Britain, and many other ‘civilised’ European states to freeze funding for UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for providing aid and assistance to Palestinian refugees.
Just a day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found it “plausible” that Israel could be carrying out a genocide in Gaza, Israeli authorities alleged that twelve UNRWA employees (out of a total of 30,000) were involved in Hamas’ operation on 7 October.
All of these employees were quickly suspended, pending investigation. Nevertheless, a scramble to ‘defund’ the UNRWA soon commenced amongst the western imperialists.
The US led the charge, rushing to announce that it was “extremely alarmed” by these allegations. On the basis of what is yet to be proven, it has brought vital aid for Palestinians to a grinding halt.
Following like tumbling dominos, Britain and co. issued similar statements.
This stunt by western imperialism is what, in international law, is described as ‘collective punishment’. On the basis of the alleged actions of twelve employees, UNRWA operations – responsible for maintaining essential food banks, schools, and health clinics, and relied upon by hundreds of thousands – will be wound down.
By stopping funding for UNRWA, the main vector for aid entering war-torn Gaza, the western imperialists have turned to weaponizing food against the poor and oppressed.
At a time where famine and disease are ripping through the tiny enclave of Gaza, more Palestinians are expected to perish from these silent killers than Israeli bombs and bullets.
Before this deadly stunt, UN agencies were warning that the amount of aid that gets through was “a drop in the ocean”. Now, the situation has become even more dire. Basic health facilities, shelter, and medicine will be denied for the Palestinians, whose real death toll already amounts to over 30,000.
From supporting Israel’s indiscriminate bombing campaign, to carrying out an indiscriminate blockade of aid: the inhumanity of western leaders knows no limit.
What is clear is that in the ‘rules-based order’, it is a violation for western powers and their allies to be held to account by the very ‘international law’ that they use to cynically condemn their enemies.
Since its inception in 1949, UNRWA has been an irritating presence for the Zionist state on account of the fact that it recognises the children of refugees as refugees themselves, implicitly recognising their right to return. And its reports from the frontline were used in South Africa’s ICJ case against Israel’s genocide.
The Israeli ruling class will no longer have to tolerate this nuisance, all thanks to its ‘democratic’ friends.
Indeed, this decision is a blatant attempt to distract from the ICJ ruling, with the ‘free’ world assuring Israel that, after all, “we’re all on the same side”.
In the four months of massacre, Israeli bombardment has killed at least 152 UN workers in Gaza. Yet there has been no hue and cry about this gruesome attack on aid workers.
UNRWA buildings – some of the only places resembling safety for millions of displaced Gazans – have been obliterated in Khan Younis and other places. But there have been no calls from western ‘leaders’ to defund Israel.
Britain assured the public, no less, that it remains committed to “humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza”. The aid Britain is really interested in providing, however, is of a very different nature.
Bombs, artillery, and aircraft carriers for Israel; missiles and airstrikes to protect the profits of the big shipping companies; all alongside disease, famine, and poverty for the people of Palestine and Yemen: such are the tenets of the western imperialists’ hypocrisy-based order.
- The Tories have blood on their hands! British imperialism is complicit in the genocide!
- Our main enemy is at home – kick out the imperialists, kick out capitalism!
- From London to Gaza, we need an intifada!