Brazil Ministry of External Relations, Crimes against humanity, Humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Israel-Palestine Conflict, United Nations Human Rights Council, War crimes
Smoke from Israeli Attack on Gaza – July 2014
Photo Credit: Hatem Moussa /Associated Press
Since the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948 on Palestinian territory, the two nation states are locked in a death grip. The latest renewal of fighting exploded into a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Of the 700 dead and 4,000 injured Palestinians, an estimated 75 percent are civilians. A large part is children. On the Israeli side, only two civilians were numbered among the forty Israelis killed.
As the humanitarian crisis escalated in Gaza, Brazil took three measures to call international attention. On July 23, 2014, at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council, South America’s largest nation and economy voted in favor of a resolution calling for an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip. With a majority of twenty-nine votes in favor, the Human Rights Council passed the resolution. Remaining on the fence, Western European members abstained from participation. The United States was the only council member to reject the motion.
That same day, Brazil’s Ministry of External Relations issued an official Note #168 which stated: “The Brazilian government considers as unacceptable the escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine. We vigorously condemn the use of disproportionate force by Israel in the Gaza Strip, which resulted in an elevated number of civilian victims, including women and children.”
After repeating its call for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Palestine, the Brazilian government recalled its ambassador in Tel Aviv to Brasília for consultation.
Summoned, too, to the headquarters of the Ministry of External Relations in Brasília, the Israeli ambassador to Brazil expressed his government’s surprise and deception at Brazil’s attitude in recalling its ambassador from Israel.
The Israeli Chancellor blasted Brazil for promoting terrorism by defending Hamas. He called Brazil a “diplomatic dwarf” who, by these measures, becomes “an irrelevant diplomatic partner that creates problems instead of contributing solutions.” He further jabbed at Brazil with a metaphorical reference to Brazil’s 7 to 1 loss to Germany during the recent 2014 World Cup Football.
When we are unable to see that our brother, Israel, has gone over the edge with the massacre of defenseless women and children, we have become numb to violence. Worse still, we have lost our moral capacity for justice and compassion.
When we facilitate, support, and remain silent to our brother’s crimes against humanity, we become accomplices in his crimes.
May the vengeful God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob look with mercy upon the Palestinian women and children in the Gaza Strip.
The civilian misery in Gaza is more than troublesome, as is the continued terrorism of Hamas, including the use of human shields for its own instruments of war. For myself, I find it virtually impossible to master the moral calculus required to see beyond the imperfections of either side. A very bright Jewish friend once said to me that he thought if the world wished to find a place of safety for the remaining Jews of Europe after the Nazi led genocide of World War II, it should probably have carved out a part of Bavaria (he was only partially kidding). Jews and Muslims once lived in peace, side-by-side, in Spain. That time is long over, unfortunately. Regardless of the ouster of Palestinians in the process of forming the Jewish state, Israel is a fact and one cannot go back to the late 1940s to change what happened. If I recall my history, Britain made promises regarding Palestine to both Jews and Muslims, contributing to the grievances that followed. Over 65 years of war, terrorism, and human misery have defied the diplomatic efforts of every nation that has made an attempt to solve the problem. I wish I had an answer to it.
Rosaliene Bacchus said:
Dr. Stein, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this “more than troublesome” situation in Gaza. I, too, wish I had an answer to ending this quagmire.
What makes this warfare so troubling is that it’s conducted in a densely populated city. In urban warfare, whether intentionally or not, civilians become human shields and targets.
As you so rightly mentioned, we cannot undo the past that led to the present state of affairs. Yet the powers that be in our world today continue to make similar decisions in other regions of the world. When will we learn?
Helpless in the face of such human pain, I can only pray that our political leaders will find a way.
Reblogged this on Guyanese Online.
Rosaliene Bacchus said:
A big thank you, Cyril!
Sorry to be so cynical but I see no solution for the middle east – perhaps a deus ex machina could be inserted into this tragic play of tribes.
Rosaliene Bacchus said:
While there’s lots of money to be made, there will be no end to wars in the region and elsewhere.