The Global Silence on the Palestinian Issue: Impact on International Legitimacy

By Syeda Tahreem Bukhari

With the unfolding of events in the 21st century from the Russia-Ukraine war to the Israel-Hamas war, the credibility of the international community to maintain a rule-based international order is under question. The humanitarian crisis prevalent in both wars met with different responses. The Western community was more vocal about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, while they maintained unperturbed precarious silence in case of human sufferings faced by Palestinians. The biased approach by the international community is unveiled where the rules change depending upon the identity of the perpetrator or the identity of the victim. 

The world has realized the failure of international community in addressing the human sufferings in prevalent conflict owing to the priorities shift depending upon the humanitarian crisis in Palestine was initiated by the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023. In response, Israel has been besieging and bombarding the Gaza Strip. However, the attack does not justify Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate reprisal, worsening the humanitarian crisis. The inability of world leaders to intervene in this war and put an end to these sufferings, where Palestinians are subjected to collective punishment.  Humanitarian aid is blocked from reaching civilians in Gaza under a violent bombing campaign by Israel. There is a severe power crisis and a shortage of fuel, food, and water. Hospitals are under attack where doctors are working under power shortages in batteries around the clock amid limited medical supplies and near-total collapse of the healthcare system. More than 11,100 Palestinians have been killed since October 7; out of these 6,405 are children as per data released by Defense for Children on November 14. This number is growing with each passing day. So many legal experts and scholars are calling this genocide perpetrated by Israeli forces against Palestinians. The war is not between the militaries but an attempt to evacuate Gaza of its Palestinian population through this horrendous genocide where Israeli forces are raiding hospitals, and attacking protesters with stun grenades. This gross violation of human rights in Gaza has failed to turn the sympathies of world leaders towards Palestine, though the public has come out in the streets in large numbers standing against Israel’s brutalities. As per ACLED data, out of 4200 demonstrations regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, 3700 were pro-Palestinians. If we analyze the power of public opinion, history is evidence of the fact that once public opinion changed, the major powers had to withdraw from their postures as evident in the Vietnam War and the war on terror. The pressure of public opinion in Veitnam War made the US withdraw from its military posture where it had to call back its forces. As in Afghanistan war, where it has to withdraw its troops owing to the change in public opinion. In case of Israel-Palestine conflict, the sufferings of innocents in Gaza made the world realized who the aggressor is. They are demanding justice for the Palestinians. There is an upsurge in protests and demonstrations against brutalities from Israel against Palestinians. People are showing resentment against their leaders who are not condemning Israel or voting in favor of Israel. 

To maintain rule-based international order, the international community has to resolve the long-standing disputes particularly protracted conflicts that could erupt at any stage inflicting unprecedented damage. Kashmir conflict is among the lingering conflicts that need world attention, as it has become a nuclear flashpoint. Otherwise, if the international community compromises on humanitarian values over its stakes then the whole world will pay the price. The UN, which was created with the purpose of providing a platform for the peaceful resolution of conflicts, has to play an effective role in putting an end to the humanitarian crisis rampant in Palestine and Kashmir once and for all by implementing UN resolutions on these protracted conflicts.

(The views expressed in this article belong only to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Global Politico)

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Syeda Tahreem Bukhari

Syeda Tahreem Bukhari

Author is a Research Officer at the Centre for International Strategic Studies AJK. She tweets Tehmii_Syed. Her research area is strategic stability and Great Power Competition.

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