Complicity in Israel’s war on Gaza and the indiscriminate killing of thousands of innocent civilians unmasks the West’s moral decay, inherent brutality.
For decades, the United States and its Western allies spoke of human rights, democracy, self-determination, and other moral and legal terms that they had themselves crafted and propagated to show that they cared. It was an effort to forget the atrocities they had historically committed and to focus on today and what they intended to do. The moral authority that the West had granted itself with which to judge and lead the world was, therefore, misplaced and guided by arrogance and self-glorification.
The US wanted to forget about the massacre of the native Americans, the slavery of the Africans, the theft of the Mexican lands, the concentration camps of the Japanese and German US citizens, dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing hundreds of thousands of people, and many other atrocities carried out against different ethnicity groups during the Second World War and the previous two centuries.
The Europeans wanted to whitewash their devastating colonial history in Africa, Asia and Latin America, their massacres against natives in North, Central and South America and their start of the First and Second World Wars, causing the death of tens of millions of people in different parts of the world.
Suddenly, talk was of the civilized world vs. the uncivilized world, the First World vs. the Third World, the Developed World vs. the Developing World, the Democratic world vs the Totalitarian/Authoritarian world. It all came down to one thing only, namely the Good vs. the Bad, the West being the Good and the rest of the world being the Bad.
Using the economic and soft power, the message was pumped into heads in the connected world that they had the absolute right to define what values were relevant and what constituted right and is not. Using humanitarian aid as a tool to force developing countries to cave into the West’s demands for changes that best suited their interests became the norm. Using non-governmental organizations to affect political and social mobilization to benefit the Western world’s own political and economic interests, became an accepted practice.
Invading countries to impose their will – such as in Vietnam, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chad, Mali, Libya, and other countries — became an accepted approach to solving problems.
Palestine & the Collapse of Western Normative Hegemony
Amid the ongoing Israel’s war on Gaza, a tragic situation unfolds daily, with thousands of civilians losing their lives. Hospitals, schools, residential buildings and refugee camps have all become the target of bombings, while essential services like water, fuel, food, electricity, and internet access are cut off.
Over a million Palestinians are forced to flee their homes, and in the West Bank, Palestinians face detention. Illegal Israeli settlements are involved in the killing of unarmed Palestinians, and Israeli soldiers are employing tactics reminiscent of historical injustices, such as the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews.
Regrettably, a significant number of Western countries, particularly the United States, France, UK, and Germany, not only remain silent but also offer unconditional support for what Israel defines as its right of self-defense. Mainstream Western media reports these atrocities in a detached manner, with a distinct bias.
Babies, children, and women killed in Gaza are labeled as “dead,” while those who lose their lives in Israel are described as “murdered.” This double standard, hypocrisy, and a dominant discourse that legitimizes Israel’s actions are clear indicators that a “state of exception” has been established for Israel within the international community.
This exceptional status granted to Israel reveals that the repercussions of the Gaza massacres extend beyond geopolitical implications. The ongoing massacres in Gaza underscore the hollowness of the modern international system’s supposed progressiveness. In other words, it exposes the malignant nature of the linear narrative of history supposedly leading to greater good. The brutality of the war we are witnessing is a stark sign of the erosion of Western normative hegemony.
The modern international system is founded not only on material power but, in 1945, with the establishment of the U.N. system, it sought to build a rule-based international order. By setting up international organizations and defining rules, states committed themselves to preventing conflicts, safeguarding victims from aggressors, and constructing a more peaceful global system.
Furthermore, post-World War II, comprehensive documents centered on human rights were created. The objective was to establish a peaceful international order by holding states accountable to these principles. However, the Western nations, the architects of this system, have often failed to live up to these standards. More significantly, they have wielded these institutions as tools to bolster Western hegemony.
Israel’s Emboldened by the West’s Indifference to Non-Western Lives
In light of Western nations’ professed commitment to defending international law and maintaining the “universal values” they support, indignation has been directed at the West’s double standards, complicit silence regarding the terrible acts being committed against defenseless Palestinians, and refusal to respond to appeals for an immediate cessation of hostilities by millions of people worldwide, including many Western citizens.
Since the outbreak of Russia’s war on Ukraine in February 2022, Western leaders have consistently and appropriately overwhelmed the international community with statements expressing their sorrow for the Ukrainian people; at times, they have even been captured on camera shedding tears. However, in spite of this, these leaders have deteriorated into soulless, heartless individuals who have no mercy for the Palestinian people, even as the Israeli forces punish the Palestinian people collectively and relentlessly in retaliation for Hamas’ unexpected attack on southern Israel on October 7.
Consecutively, Western leaders have converged on Israel and endorsed its right to self-defense, thereby authorizing the leaders of the Jewish state to commit genocide and extermination against the Palestinian people. They have unabashedly established an equivalence between the occupier and the occupied and the colonizer and the colonized in the process.
The Western bloc has not only neglected to advocate for a cessation of hostilities but has also thwarted two UNSC draft resolutions that were intended to establish a humanitarian ceasefire. For the first time in modern history, the entire population is being exterminated during broad daylight with global approval.
The occupying power has committed three serious violations of international law in response to the blank check the West has issued to Israel to massacre the Palestinians: causing the death and injury of children; storming educational institutions and medical facilities; and preventing humanitarian access for children. The six severe human rights violations that were identified and denounced in Resolution 1261, which was adopted by the United Nations Security Council in 1999, include these offenses.
Israel has consistently contravened all stipulations of international law pertaining to armed conflicts, such as the initial article of the 1864 Geneva Convention, the 1907 Hague Convention, and the 1949 Geneva Convention. Furthermore, it has disregarded General Assembly Resolution 2675 (1970), which unequivocally prohibits military operations in “hospital zones or comparable refuges.” Put simply, this resolution unequivocally prohibits indiscriminate or deliberate assaults on medical facilities, personnel, or units that are engaged in humanitarian operations within designated zones.
What is Next for the US and the Western World?
The ultimate question is, when will the US and its Western allies choose to recognize that their moral authority no longer exists and that arrogance of words and actions – including military action — will not yield the same outcomes that it has yielded in the past eighty years.
The question is, when will America and its NATO allies choose to recognize that other countries and their peoples are civilized, capable and able to understand the difference between truth and hypocrisy? When will America finally become humble?
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