Israel becoming increasingly isolation over the genocide in Gaza

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense minister, and the leadership of Hamas, on the grounds of war crimes and crimes against humanity. This move, while contentious, is a significant step in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. For decades, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has been marked by violence predominantly perpetrated by the state of Israel, extreme political machinations, and international diplomatic interventions, with both sides committing actions that have drawn widespread condemnation. In this case, however, the ICC’s decision is based on extensive documentation of alleged war crimes, particularly since the escalation of violence since October last year.

Israel has faced accusations of committing war crimes and genocide against Palestinians over many years, a claim that has gained traction especially since the intensification of hostilities. On the other hand, Hamas’s actions, particularly those on 7 October 2023, have also been classified as crimes against humanity. The international response to these developments has been polarised – support for Israel, while still significant, appears to be waning, with many advocating for adherence to international law and due process as stipulated by the ICC.

Domestically, reactions have also been divided along political lines. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has refrained from commenting on the legal proceedings, maintaining a stance of non-interference with the judicial process. Conversely, the Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton, has vehemently criticised the ICC’s actions, describing them as “an abomination” and threatening to withdraw Australia from the ICC’s jurisdiction if the Liberal Party were to come into power after the next election, a reaction which is consistent with his historical stance of ignoring legal processes that conflict with his political agenda.

Internationally, the situation is equally complex. Albanese has the dubious distinction of being the first Australian political leader referred to the ICC for his support of Israel in their actions in Gaza, a position that contrasts sharply with the ideals he once held about ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Meanwhile, the Netanyahu government is increasingly seen as morally compromised, especially as the death toll among innocent Palestinians rises – over 36,000 – and protests within Israel grow louder. The shift in global sentiment is further evidenced by countries such as Norway, Spain, Malta and Ireland recognising Palestine as a state, indicating a significant change in the international community’s stance.

The potential repercussions of the ICC’s actions are profound. There is a possibility that the court itself could face challenges to its authority, particularly from powerful nations such as the United States, which usually seeks to undermine its legitimacy when its decisions are not favourable to the political and military agenda of the U.S. As more Western countries without direct ties to the conflict begin to voice their support for Palestine, it becomes evident that a significant shift is underway. Whether this will lead to a peaceful and just resolution remains to be seen, but the changing dynamics suggest that the status quo is no longer tenable.

Australia’s response reflects an unsophisticated and predictable stance

Closer to home, the responses in Australia have been predictable and politically unsophisticated. The Australian government has largely disengaged diplomatically from the Israeli war on Gaza and seems content not to position itself as a leader with any gravitas or independence in this conflict. Dutton has criticised Albanese for what he perceives as equivocation regarding the ICC’s announcement, while most politicians have lined up to condemn the ICC. Prominent Liberal figures such as Senators Simon Birmingham, James Patterson and Jane Hume have all taken pot shots at both the Labor government and the ICC decision, while government MPs have all been in unison that there is no “moral equivalence” between Hamas and Israel, voicing their strong support for the state of Israel, reflecting a broader trend of political appeasement towards the Israel lobby in Australia.

It is undeniable that Hamas and the Israeli government are not equivalent entities; they have distinct motivations and methods. However, both have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Hamas’s actions on 7 October last year and Israel’s sustained violence – 36,000 deaths in Gaza, the continual operation of an apartheid state since 1948 and oppression of Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank – are egregious and have been widely documented. Statements from Israeli Defense Force leaders, the Israeli government, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself have confirmed these actions.

Palestinian human rights lawyer Diana Butu, commenting on the ICC announcement, has emphasised that while it is a significant step, it has taken “far too long to reach this point”. The occupation of Palestine has persisted for almost 80 years, and starting the timeline on 7 October 2023 rather than when Palestine signed on to the ICC in 2015 reflects a lack of context and depth to this case. Nonetheless, she sees this as an essential first step towards holding Israeli leaders accountable for their actions. Butu hopes that this will lead to more substantial actions, including indictments, to bring an end to what she describes as Israel’s genocide.

The prolonged suffering in Gaza must end, regardless of who has committed the crimes. In the case of the alleged war crimes, punishment and sanctions are necessary for those responsible but the priority at this stage must be to halt the extensive human suffering. The global community is growing increasingly intolerant of the ongoing violence, and Netanyahu must face accountability for his actions. His continued aggressive policies are efforts to avoid internal prosecution in Israel for historical corruption, but this cannot justify the immense loss of life in Gaza. The world demands an end to the violence and a move towards justice and peace.

Ireland leads European recognition of Palestine

“On January 21, 1919, Ireland sought international recognition of its right to be an independent state, emphasising its distinct national identity, historical struggle, and quest for self-determination and justice. Today, Ireland uses the same language to support the recognition of Palestine as a state, grounded in the belief that freedom and justice are fundamental principles of international law and that permanent peace can only be secured through the free will of a free people.”

Prime Minister of Ireland, Simon Harris, announcing that Ireland will recognise the state of Palestine.

In his statement, Harris highlighted the powerful political and symbolic value of recognition, asserting that Palestine holds the full rights of a state, including self-determination, self-governance, territorial integrity, and security. This recognition also places obligations on Palestine under international law and supports those in Palestine advocating for a future of peace and democracy.

The Irish government announced its intention to recognise Palestine as a state, a move to be followed by Spain, Slovenia, Norway, and Malta, with speculation that France and Belgium might soon join. This shift in recognition from influential European nations signals a major impetus for change – historically, Palestine’s recognition was often limited to smaller, less influential countries, but now, significant European states are taking a stand, reflecting a growing global consensus against Israel’s immoral and illegal actions in Gaza and the West Bank.

This movement is not confined to diplomatic recognition alone – the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Israeli leaders on war crime charges; the International Court of Justice has brought a case of genocide against Israel; a recent United Nations vote increased the rights of the state of Palestine, albeit slightly; FIFA is considering banning Israel from the Football World Cup. Protests and awareness of the plight of Palestine around the world is increasing, with a global outcry demanding an end to the occupation of Palestine.

Israel is becoming increasingly isolated due to its actions in Gaza and the West Bank – the United States remains a steadfast ally, as does Britain, and the upcoming general election in the UK is likely to delay any significant change in their stance. However, the international community’s patience with Israel’s ideological, political, and military overreach is wearing thin, and it can no longer look away.

Despite this international momentum, Australia’s response to these developments has been weak and embarrassing. By closely aligning itself with the United States’ unwavering support for Israel, Australia has chosen a path of least political resistance domestically, despite knowing about the human rights abuses, war crimes, and genocide. The Liberal Party’s overwhelming support for Israel and Zionism contrasts sharply with the more cautious stance of the Labor government. However, the government’s response to the events in Gaza and Israel has been disappointing, reflecting a lack of courage and clarity compared to the governments of Ireland, Spain, Norway, Slovenia, and Malta, which have taken decisive and principled stands.

The Australian government should look to these European nations for direction. Despite some commentary from parliamentarians such as Senator Fatima Payman, Tony Burke, Ed Husic and several others, the overall support for Palestine has been insufficient. Many federal cabinet members, including the Prime Minister, had previously supported the rights of Palestinians, and while foreign affairs are complex and subject to change, being on the right side of history is a goal worth striving for.

As support for Palestine gains momentum in Western Europe, it signifies a significant shift in global politics. Australia should aim to facilitate this change rather than cling to the status quo, and the recognition of Palestine and the end of the genocide in Gaza are crucial steps toward a more just and peaceful world. The international community’s increasing intolerance of Israel’s actions should serve as a wake-up call for Australian political leaders to show greater courage and align themselves with the global movement for justice and peace.

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About Eddy Jokovich 63 Articles
Eddy Jokovich is a journalist, publisher, author, political analyst, campaigner, war correspondent, and lecturer in media studies at the University of Technology, Sydney and the University of Sydney; has a wide range of experience working in editorial and media production work and is Director of ARMEDIA, a publishing and communications company specialising in public interest media.