Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, president of the UN General Assembly, has made a name for himself speaking the truth in regard to Israel and in defence of the Palestinian people. Now calling Israel’s actions in Gaza genocide.
Brockmann told the UN in New York: “The number of victims in Gaza is increasing by the day… The situation is untenable. It’s genocide.”
Judging by the UN definition of genocide, provided by Juan Cole, it is hard to disagree.
Contemporary international legal thinking on genocide does consider destroying the lifeways of a people to be in this category. Here is the UN definition:
‘ In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part . . . ‘
That what the Israeli government is doing is intended to destroy in part the Palestinians as an independent people seems to me incontestable.
Miguel d’Escoto is also skeptical of the UN’s ability to do anything to halt genocide, he was quoted in Al Jazeera saying:
“There have been some who were under the illusion that the security council would do something that could help the situation,” d’Escoto said. “I never thought so.
“Now we’re faced with not only with a lack of compliance but with a prime minister of Israel who has practically responded to the security council by saying ‘mind your own business’.
“It’s unbelievable that a country that owes its existence to a general assembly resolution could be so disdainful of the resolutions that emanate from the UN.”
We might ponder why the UN is so powerless and why the President of the General Assembly has such a lack of faith in the UN while even the United Nations themselves are under attack in Gaza. The obvious answer is that Washington hamstrings the UN, on behalf of Israel (Olmert recently boasting of his ordering Bush to abstain on an American drafted UN resolution), and that the West is not interested in Israeli crimes.
In November, on the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Brockmann, of Nicaragua, gave an idea of what might be done to help the people of Palestine:
“I spoke this morning about apartheid and how Israeli policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories appear so similar to the apartheid of an earlier era, a continent away. I believe it is very important that we in the United Nations use this term,” he said. “We must not be afraid to call something what it is. It is the United Nations, after all, that passed the International Convention against the Crime of Apartheid, making clear to all the world that such practices of official discrimination must be outlawed wherever they occur.
“More than twenty years ago we in the United Nations took the lead from civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to provide a non-violent means of pressuring South Africa…Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel…”