The October 7, 2023 Palestinian-Israeli conflict differs significantly from previous periods. At the heart of these differences is the fact that this time Palestine attacked Israel instead of reacting by making the first move, and that Israel responded to this attack by using excessive force and committing mass killings that amounted to genocide. These two factors emphasize the extent to which the conflict differs from previous ones.
Until now, Palestine has generally shown a reflexive reaction to Israel’s occupationist actions. But the events that began on October 7 show that this time Palestine is making the first move and becoming the aggressor. However, this does not undermine Palestine’s legal position of self-defense against the occupation, persecution and genocide it has been subjected to by Israel for many years.
Palestine’s position of self-defense must be maintained quite clearly. Israel’s policies of seizing most of the Palestinian territories and exterminating the Palestinian people over the years justify the Palestinians’ actions of self-defense and resistance from a legal point of view. Israel’s use of excessive force against these acts of self-defense reveals a legally unacceptable situation.
In conclusion, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict reflects Palestine’s efforts to exercise its right to self-defense against long years of bullying and attacks. Israel’s violation of this right is legally unacceptable.
The extent of Israel’s excessive use of force in Gaza against Palestinian self-defense is quite remarkable. Israel has the military and financial backing of the US, the UK and almost all European Union countries. In addition to 300 nuclear weapons, it has 600 fighter jets, 200 helicopters, UAVs, UCAVs, warships, nuclear submarines and a massive land army.
Despite this excessive use of force, Palestine responds only with rockets. So, the imbalance of power is quite clear. And as if Israel’s war capabilities were not enough, the US sent the USS G. Ford Aircraft Carrier, the largest warship in the world, carrying 90 fighter jets, to Israel accompanied by 6 warships, followed by a second aircraft carrier, the USS D. Eisenhower, and 6 more warships. The imbalance of military and material power and the gravity of the disproportionate use of force becomes even more apparent when we add Britain’s deployment of its Royal Battle Fleet to Gaza.
The richest and most powerful countries around the world are putting on this collective show of unity under the impression that Israel is the victim. This is an example of a new Crusade in the modern world. Jerusalem and its environs, the main motive and target of the Crusades in history, is central to this latest example. The alignment of the colonialist states and global power centers led by the US shows that beyond a mere conflict, a new Zionist-crusade is manifesting itself.
Genocide in Gaza
Israel is committing a brutal crime against humanity, beyond genocide, by targeting all humanity and civilians of all age groups with extremely intense bombardments in Gaza. Gaza is under a complete siege and blockade, where basic needs such as water, electricity and fuel are completely cut off, basic supplies such as food and medicine are not allowed to be supplied, medical supplies for surgeries are missing, and all border crossings are closed except for the Rafah Crossing, which is frequently opened and closed.
Comparing this grossly disproportionate Israeli war machine with Gaza’s ability to respond only with rockets shows just how great the imbalance of power is. Moreover, the United States supports Israel with the USS G. Ford Aircraft Carrier, the largest warship in the world, and 6 warships, while Britain has directed its Royal Battle Fleet to Gaza. This exacerbates the imbalance of military and material power and the gravity of the disproportionate use of force.
Gaza has become an open prison, surrounded by walls and fences, as well as the closure of all border crossings. Aid from the UN and other international organizations is not allowed and all humanitarian supplies are banned. Israel’s intensive bombardment of Gaza, even using banned weapons such as white phosphorus bombs, clearly shows that it is committing war crimes.
1.1 million people living in northern Gaza have been displaced and forced to move south, despite warnings from Human Rights Watch and WHO. This is another indication that the laws of war are being violated and a systematic and cascading war crime is being committed. We must not forget that the State of Palestine’s status as an “observer state” at the UN gives it the right to appeal to the UN and other international organizations for genocide and crimes against humanity.
Finally, Israel has been recklessly committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, which have been steadily increasing since October 7, most recently on October 17, when it massacred nearly a thousand innocent civilians with air strikes on two hospitals in Gaza. This clearly demonstrated to the world what a brutal and cruel genocidal state Israel is. Historically shaped by occupation, persecution and massacres, it has become abundantly clear that Israel acts not as a state but as a terrorist organization. This brutality and barbarism must end and there is no legal obstacle for the State of Palestine to apply to the ICC to investigate these crimes and prosecute those responsible. There is now hope for justice to be served for these crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, if the world still holds the value of justice.