Puncturing Israel’s balloon of artfully constructed innocence

The following is an excerpt from an article by Richard Falk – professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and Chairman of the Board of Trustees  of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. Falk is a Jewish American who, in 2008, was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to a six-year term as a Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Palestine.

Falk is well-qualified to speak on the Israel-Palestine conflict and to appreciate the significance of UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, recent speech in which Falk says he “punctured Israel’s balloon of artfully constructed innocence”.

Indeed, it is only this artificially constructed narrative of Israeli innocence that keeps the Palestinian Occupation in place and allows the Gaza genocide to take place. We need more straight-talkers like Guterres, and more good men like Falk.

Father Dave

3 Nov 2023 – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was recently pilloried by Israel because he stated a truism, observing that the 7 October Hamas attack “did not happen in a vacuum”.

Guterres was calling the world’s attention to Israel’s long record of severe criminal provocations in occupied Palestine, which have been occurring ever since it became the occupying power after the 1967 war.

The occupier, a role expected to be temporary, is entrusted in such circumstances with upholding international humanitarian law by ensuring the security and safety of the occupied civilian population, as spelled out in the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Israel reacted so angrily to Guterres’ entirely appropriate and accurate remarks because they could be interpreted as implying that Israel “had it coming” in view of its severe and varied abuses against people in the occupied Palestinian territories, most flagrantly in Gaza, but also in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

After all, if Israel could present itself to the world as an innocent victim of the 7 October attack – an incident that was itself replete with war crimes – it could reasonably hope to gain carte blanche from its patrons in the West to retaliate as it pleased, without being bothered by the restraints of international law, UN authority, or common morality.

Indeed, Israel responded to the 7 October attack with its typical skill in manipulating the global discourse that shapes public opinion and guides the foreign policies of many important countries. Such tactics seem almost superfluous here, as the US and EU swiftly issued blanket approval for whatever Israel did in response, however vengeful, cruel or unrelated to restoring Israeli border security.

Guterres’s UN speech had such a dramatic impact because it punctured Israel’s balloon of artfully constructed innocence, in which the terror attack came out of the blue. This exclusion of context diverted attention from the devastation of Gaza and the genocidal assault on its overwhelmingly innocent, and long-victimised, population of 2.3 million.

Falk’s complete article, originally entitled, “Israel-Palestine war: Israel’s endgame is much more sinister than restoring ‘security.”, can be read here.

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Father Dave

Anglican Priest, Professional Boxer,Social activist and Father of four


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