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South Asian Update
South Asian Update

Opinion

Stop the genocide of Palestinian civilians

 Published: 15:38, 3 December 2023

Stop the genocide of Palestinian civilians

After seven days of truce, which offered a temporary respite to Palestinians from endless bombardment, Israeli airstrikes are pounding the Gaza Strip again, killing 240 people since Friday. 

A spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) ominously said they are "prepared for the next stage—Southern Gaza," where tens of thousands of people have fled for safety following IDF orders. We deeply condemn the resumption of one of the most intense bombing campaigns in this century, which has already killed over 15,000 Palestinian civilians, including more than 6,000 children.

During the weeklong pause, Hamas freed 110 captives, including 80 Israelis, and in exchange, Israel released 240 Palestinian prisoners. But even while it was in effect, at least 133 Palestinians were arrested from East Jerusalem and West Bank. When so-called pauses like this are morally hypocritical, and realistically too brief to ensure an iota of security, they reflect nothing more than meaningless diplomatic technicalities.

After Israel relaunched air strikes, the US once again reassured that it would avert civilian deaths. It did not. The US has unequivocally failed to exert influence over Israel's military offensive, oftentimes parroting the Israeli propaganda. A recent investigation by the +972 magazine has uncovered that Israel's current military policy loosened its criteria of civilian casualties, with hundreds of civilian deaths being considered as acceptable "collateral damage" for one Hamas leader. This calls for a critical rethink of the whole Israeli/Western narrative.

A pause, which allowed for a trickle of humanitarian aid into Gaza, cannot meet the ocean of needs of displaced, starved and wounded Palestinians. Critical infrastructure and UN facilities in Gaza have been crippled by fuel and supply shortages; the UN has warned that more people might die from diseases than bombs if the shattered hospital system is not restored. What justifies subjecting a population to this degree of brutality, depriving them of their basic rights to life?

The fact is that the Israeli government has used the racist "terrorist" label to mercilessly attack a population already under its occupation. Genocide experts, including the now-former director of the New York office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, have characterised its "war" as a "textbook case of genocide." The IDF's announcement to now target the South of the enclave reveals that they are, in fact, conducting an ethnic cleansing operation. It is incumbent upon the international community to not stand by and let this happen. It is time for a permanent ceasefire. It is time to slam the brakes on Israel and stop the genocide.

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