‘Declaration of Conscience’ Denounces Gaza Genocide, West’s Complicity

The destruction generated by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. (Photo: Esmaeel A Omar, via Eyes on Palestine)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Titled “Declaration of Conscience and Concern of Global Intellectuals on Gaza Genocide,” the statement criticizes the Israeli government’s resumption of the “genocidal onslaught”.

More than 115 world leaders, intellectuals, academics, authors, and journalists have signed a declaration denouncing Israel’s genocidal assault on the Gaza Strip, calling for effective action to be taken to permanently prevent its repetition.

Amongst the signatories are Mahathir Mohamed, former Malaysian Prime Minister; Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967 (2008 – 2014); Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976), and Member of Russell Tribunal, Northern Ireland; Amr Moussa, former Secretary General of the Arab League; Judith Butler, Professor at University of California at Berkeley; Chris Hedges, Pulitzer-prize Winning Reporter; Arundhati Roy, human rights activist; Noura Erakat, Activist and Professor, Rutgers University, New Brunswick; Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia; and Ramzy Baroud, Author and Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. 

Titled “Declaration of Conscience and Concern of Global Intellectuals on Gaza Genocide,” the statement criticizes amongst others, the Israeli government’s resumption of the “genocidal onslaught” it inflicted on Palestinians in Gaza after a much overdue, but brief “humanitarian pause.”

In doing so, the declaration states, “Israel has ignored the worldwide protests of people as well as the fervent pleas of moral, religious, and political authority figures throughout the world to convert the hostage/prisoner exchange pause into a permanent ceasefire.”

It says “Israel was urged to choose the road to peace not only for humanitarian reasons but also for the sake of achieving real security and respect for both Palestinians and Israelis.”

The signatories said they came together due to the urgency of the moment, which “obliges global intellectuals to stand against the ongoing horrific ordeal of the Palestinian people and, most of all, to implore action by those who have the power, and hence the responsibility, to do so.”

Israel’s continuing rejection of a permanent ceasefire “intensifies our concerns”, they said. 

With bodies again piling up, the Gaza medical system can no longer offer treatment to most of those injured and threats of widespread starvation and disease intensify daily, the signatories said. 

Already the death toll, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, stands at 20,424 Palestinians killed, and 54,036 wounded. Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children

‘Collaborative Approval’ of Israel’s Action

Indeed, even the combat pause seems to have been agreed upon by the Israeli government mainly to ease pressures from Israeli citizens demanding greater efforts to secure the release of the hostages. 

The signatories expressed their “anguish and disgust” at “the leading liberal democracies in the Global West, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom” for their “collaborative approval of Israel’s action.”

“These governments pride themselves on adherence to the rule of law and yet have so far limited their peacemaking role to PR pressures on Israel to conduct its exorbitant actions in a more discreet manner.”

It said such moves do little “than soften the sharpest edges of Israel’s genocidal behavior in Gaza.”

At the same time, it said, the West’s action continues “to endorse Israel’s false rationale of self-defense, which is inapplicable in a Belligerent Occupation framework established by the UN in the aftermath of the 1967 War.” It  shields “this brazenly criminal conduct from legal condemnation and political censure at the UN and elsewhere.”

Call for Embargo, Halt of Weapons to Israel

The group condemned Israel’s “severe war crimes” that it said, “Tel Aviv does not even bother to deny.”

These crimes include the resumption of intensive bombing and shelling of civilian targets, as well as reliance on the cruel tactics of forced evacuation, the destruction of hospitals, bombings of refugee camps and UN buildings that are sheltering many thousands of civilians and the destruction of entire residential neighborhoods, it said.

In addition, Israel has been greenlighting settler-led violence and escalating ethnic cleansing efforts in the West Bank, the statement added. 

The group urged governments to embargo and halt all shipments of weapons to Israel, especially the US and UK, which “should also withdraw their provocative naval presences from the Eastern Mediterranean; we urge the UN Security Council and General Assembly to so decree without delay.”

Call for Immediate Ceasefire 

The signatories expressed support for “the Palestinian unconditional right as the indigenous people of the land to give or withhold approval to any proposed solution bearing upon their underlying liberation struggle.”

The group commended various UN agencies such as the WHO, UNICEF, and UNRWA for “doing all in its power” to help the Palestinian people.

But also proposed that the UN Human Rights Council should “act now to establish a high-profile expert commission of inquiry mandated to ascertain the facts and law arising from the Hamas attack and Israel’s military operations in Gaza since October 7, 2023.”

It said “the commission should offer recommendations in its report pertaining to the responsibility and accountability of principal perpetrators for violations of human rights and humanitarian norms that constitute war crimes and genocide.”

The signatories unequivocally called for an immediate ceasefire and the initiation of diplomatic negotiations under respected and impartial auspices, aimed at terminating Israel’s long and criminally abusive occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

“This process must be fully respectful of the inalienable right to self-determination of the Palestinian people and take proper account of relevant UN resolutions,” the declaration concluded.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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