International institutions vs Israeli aggression | By Basim Raza

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International institutions vs Israeli aggression


THE simmered down outrage for the Palestinian cause was re-ignited when Israeli military boots stepped in the holy site of Al-Aqsa compound on the eve of “Laylatul Qadr”, 9th May, 2021 and cracked down on peaceful worshippers.

Things got out of hand very quickly and soon we saw a barrage of air strikes on Gaza Strip by Israeli Air Force.

Hamas retaliated with shooting over 2000 rockets on Israel in overall, 90% of those were successfully intercepted by the Israeli missile defence system “The iron dome”, the rest either hit their targets killing nearly 10 Israeli civilians, or were just squashed away due to the incapability of those local made rockets.

The blind, yet devastating airstrikes on Gaza took more than 200 Palestinians lives, among which more than 20% were children.

This initiated an outrage in the world public and people took it on themselves to raise their voices against the Israeli aggression.

Chatter mounted up on twitter and other social media platforms and the world public opinion for once appeared as a unified force, persuading great powers to work for a cease-fire.

UN Security Council held three meetings in a week and US being a permanent member of UNSC, blocked all joint statements for condemnation of Israeli aggression and call for ceasefire.

Secretary General of UN Antonio Guterres pleaded several times for a cease-fire but was completely ignored by the pro-Israeli Establishment.

Although cease-fire was instituted but all of these happenings raised a huge question on the credibility of UN and the other great international institutions.

When Woodrow Wilson presented his fourteen points, formulated in the light of Immanuel Kant’s “perpetual peace”, many were skeptical of the idealist approach he was adapting, including David Lloyd George of England and Georges Clemenceau of France.

Nevertheless “League of Nations” provided a genesis for the formation of a cluster of international institutions in post WW-II period. Criticism has always been persistent on the applicability of liberal institutionalism.

Realists maintain that these institutions overtime prove to be nothing more than “handmaiden” of the great liberal powers, a mere delusion, wrapped in the rugged realities of distribution of power in the world. John J. Mearsheimer in “The false promise of international institutions” critically states: “…institutions have minimal influence on state behavior, and thus hold little promise for promoting stability…”
Amidst the recent Israeli aggression on Palestine, we can observe a very similar handicapped status of international institutions.

UN resolution 181 of 1947 clearly accredited Palestine a status of independent state; called for the partition of British mandate into independent Jewish and Arab states.

Also resolution 2585 of 1969 reaffirmed the “inalienable rights” of Palestinians and called for the implementation of previous resolutions. Following these, dozens of resolutions were passed over Israel-Palestine but never implemented.

Realist logic proves to be more right in the light of all these happenings and the critique of the very theory of “Liberal Institutionalism” seems more credible to students of international politics.

It has not happened for the first time, US alone, vetoed at least 53 resolutions critical of Israel despite strong resistance from other major powers.

US provided Israel with a military aid of above 700 million dollars during the on-going military aggression, President Biden in his very first address on the matter used phrases “Israel’s defence”, “our priority” and “Israel’s rights”, vindicating Israel of all the offences.

US always prioritized alliances above liberal morals of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inalienable individual rights, weakening the very concept of global peace they proudly claim to promote.

It seems very clear that the practicality of “liberal dreams” in international arena is very weak and merely restricted to written documents.

Realism rules the world. Self-interest or national interest is the priority and the illusion of global peace is only meant to distract extra-optimist minds from the brutal realities of ethnic and religious violence, violations of human and civil rights, war crimes and forced evictions.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Islamabad.