quotes Just take a moment and think: ‘no electricity, no food, no fuel’

09 May 2024
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Updated 09 May 2024

Just take a moment and think: ‘no electricity, no food, no fuel’

Since Israel launched its merciless war on Gaza, Israeli officials have been unafraid to tell the world precisely what their intentions are.

In October, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant announced “a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed … We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.”

Energy Minister Israel Katz said that no “electrical switch will be turned on, no water hydrant will be opened and no fuel truck will enter” Gaza.

The objective to starve and punish more than 2 million Gazans in this war is clear and was well illustrated by the calls from Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu to drop a “nuclear bomb” on Gaza.

Israel’s policy has not deviated over the past seven months: in their ideal and repugnant scenario they would either drive Gazans out via the Sinai or see Gaza’s population perish or disappear.

We must go back a long way in history to hear such plain declarations of intention to make an entire population suffer and disappear. Let us not forget that Gazans have lived in their open-air prison under Israeli siege for years, with food, water and fuel regularly prevented from entering.

In just a few months of this latest war, Israelis have destroyed more than 80 percent of Gaza’s infrastructure and killed some 40,000 innocent civilians. These are simply unimaginable numbers. Just try to visualize 80 percent of your country or territory being destroyed and unfathomable numbers of innocents lying dead, maimed or orphaned.

Over this latest conflict it is estimated that about 40,000 babies have been born in Gaza. But imagine the world they are entering, with relatives not knowing how they will care for and feed these innocent babies who may rapidly wish they were never born. This alone speaks to the cruelty of Israeli policy and official declarations about wanting to starve or kill an entire population.

There is simply no word other than “inexcusable” to describe the policies and declarations of the Israeli government. Humanity is saying it with one voice and the people of Europe and the US have tried to amend their governments’ policies by letting it be heard in the streets that it is not worthy of them to simply stand by and watch such abhorrent and inexcusable treatment of an already terribly mistreated population, what is more in this 21st century.

It is meaningless to discuss whether this unforgivable attack on an entire people qualifies as genocide or simply collective punishment. When you reflect on a government minister declaring they will allow an entire people “no electricity, no food, no fuel,” the word “inexcusable” is enough. The situation is too dire for us to argue about semantics. The people of the world, including the people of the West, are quite clear that Israeli policy is completely unacceptable and inexcusable.

That is why we must turn to the institution that is supposed to represent the people of the world, namely the UN General Assembly. We need a UNGA resolution to spell out very clearly that under no circumstances can we tolerate a policy such as that of Israel today, alongside the barefaced declarations of intention of Israeli officials.

The UN Security Council should then confirm that any country practicing such policies, whatever you want to call them, must be held in contempt and deemed outside of the community of civilized nations until such policies are halted.

What Israel is doing and saying is unacceptable and in human terms it is inexcusable. We thank the people of the world for standing with justice, life, dignity and human rights, and we will continue to oppose those who defile those principles.

Hassan bin Youssef Yassin worked closely with Saudi Arabia’s petroleum ministers, Abdullah Tariki and Ahmed Zaki Yamani, from 1959-67. He led the Saudi Information Office in Washington from 1972-81 and served with the Arab League’s observer delegation to the UN from 1981-83.