TEHRAN, November 18 (MNA) – Referring to the lack of self-defense rights for the Israeli regime, the UN's former rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories called for punitive and substantive actions against Tel Aviv.For the past 42 days, the Israeli military has been pounding northern Gaza, telling residents to flee to the south.
The Israeli regime has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the coastal enclave, including hospitals, residences, and houses of worship, since Palestinian Resistance movements launched their surprise attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, against the regime on October 7.
With the conflict entering its 43rd day, the death toll in Gaza has now surpassed 12,000 Palestinians, with the majority of those killed being women and children.
At least 22 hospitals and 49 health centers have ceased operations in Gaza due to Israeli attacks and a shortage of fuel needed to operate power generators.
Following is the text of an interview with Richard Anderson Falk, the former special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 and an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, regarding the Gaza war.
1-How do you assess the international developments taking place around the Gaza war? Can the support of the United States and some European countries to the Israeli regime be justified? There are two broad responses to this question.
The first is to distinguish between the Global West, including several EU countries and the US supportive of Israel and the Global South in which there is a general opposition to the genocidal violence of the Israeli response to the October 7 Hamas attack.
The second is to distinguish between the people in the countries supporting Israel and their governments.
Even in the United States street protests and demonstration suggest that the public would welcome a Gaza ceasefire while the government continues to support of Israel’s continued military operation, although in a less unqualified way verbally.
The Israeli justification was initially expressed in the vengeful language of its leaders without dissenting comment from the Global West Later Israel and supporters put forward justifications based on Israel’s claimed right to defend itself, which is an indirect claim of the international law right of self-defense.
But the disproportionate, indiscriminate, and grossly excessive violence targeting such protected sites as hospitals, mosques and churches, crowded refugee camps, UN buildings, and schools throughout Gaza discredited such defensive security justifications.
Because Israel is the Occupying Power in Gaza it is subject to the legal framework set forth in the 4th Geneva Convention on Belligerent Occupation, and has a primary duty that is spelled out in the provisions of the treaty to protect the wellbeing of the occupied population.
It has no right of self-defense as the concept is understood in international law as presupposing a prior sustained armed attack across an international border by a foreign actor, and not just an incident of the sort caused by Hamas, an actor internal to Israel’s domain of sovereign authority, although limited with regard to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
2-Although the Israeli regime is clearly violating international law, international organizations including the United Nations have failed to take a decisive practical measure against Tel Aviv. Why such organizations cannot take serious measures to stop Israeli crimes?
Why such organizations cannot take serious measures to stop Israeli crimes?We need to remember that the founders designed the UN to be weak, giving a veto power in the Security Council to the winners of WW II, presumed then to be the most powerful countries in the world.
Such an arrangement was also expressed by making the General Assembly’s authority limited to recommendations and specific fact-finding initiatives despite it being the UN organ most representative of the peoples of the world.
Throughout the UN Charter it is made clear in numerous provisions of the Charter that the Organization defers to the primacy of geopolitics.
This means in practice, the UN can only be effective when P5 reach agreement, and paralyzed when disagreement is fundamental as it is with respect to the present unfolding genocide victimizing the Palestinian civilian population of Gaza, and less directly the whole of the Palestinian presence in both the occupied territories and Israel itself.
Even if the Security Council is in agreement, the UN does not.
possess the capabilities to implement its decisions without the voluntary provision of funds and personnel for peacekeeping and humanitarian undertakings.
The UN can be effective, perhaps too effective, if a Security Council resolution in 2011 was with respect to Libya, which was then subjected by NATO to a regime-changing intervention.
3- How successful do you see the Zionist-affiliated world stream media in justifying the Israeli regime's brutal attacks on civilians in Gaza The media did provide credibility for the initial phases of the Israeli response.
It became harder to do this as the narrative about the Hamas attack of October 7 receded in time and the Israeli attack took on such vicious characteristics of disproportionate violence and genocide, given an explicit transparency by the statements of numerous Israeli leaders including Netanyahu and Gallant.
Gallant, the Minister of Defense.
He issued the notorious decree denying the people of Gaza food, fuel, and electricity and comparing the entrapped Palestinian civilians to ‘human animals’ who were to be treated “accordingly”, a dehumanizing language confirming genocidal intent.
4-What Should Muslim leading countries do to stop Israeli crimes? This is the important challenge.
In essence, Muslim countries, most especially but actually all countries, should do more than call for a ceasefire, but they should certainly at least do this.
More is needed by way of punitive and substantive action in the form of boycotts and sanctions, censure for genocide to halt the Israeli war machine.
More is also needed as to the future, ideally accountability for Israel, a just peace for the Palestinians.
This is a.
moment of truth for the entire world, and it could become a turning point for a better future for humanity, but only if actions taken are done in a spirit of urgency, sacrifice, and sufficiency.
We cannot let ourselves, wherever located, become resigned to a toxic fate for the Palestinians imposed by Israeli criminality.
Better to heed the words and slogans of the enraged masses in the streets of cities throughout the world than resign ourselves to the rhetoric of governmental leaders that goes no where.
Richard Anderson Falk is an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, and Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor's Chairman of the Board of Trustees.In 2004, he was listed as the author or coauthor of 20 books and the editor or coeditor of another 20 volumes. Falk has published extensively with multiple books written about international law and the United Nations.
Falk has published extensively with multiple books written about international law and the United Nations.In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967. MNA