“Whoever kills a person, unless it is for manslaughter or for mischief, in the land it is as though he had killed all men. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved the lives of all men.”—Holy Qur’an 5:32
Pressure is mounting on the United States government to clamp down on the Zionist State of Israel for a ceasefire and to end the unrelenting bloodshed of Palestinians. Globally the streets have been screaming against Washington’s “ride or die” backing of Israel, in the face of apparent war crimes.
Hundreds of thousands of people participated in a Global Day of Action on Nov. 17 as part of the “Shut it Down for Palestine!” movement. Cultural workers, students, shop owners, teachers, professors, healthcare workers, and people across socioeconomic sectors participated through walkouts, strikes, marches, boycotts, store closures, and sit-ins. War broke out Oct. 7 between Israel and Palestinian resistance fighters.
“The majority of people in this country reject the policy of the Biden administration, which has been one of total support for and participation in genocide,” said Brian Becker, executive director of the ANSWER Coalition, one of several organizations that organized the actions.
Mr. Becker said in a statement the tide of public opinion has turned, and the massive widespread nature of the Nov. 17 actions makes it clearer. The “Shut it Down for Palestine!” sends the message: No business as usual as long as the U.S. is funding the murder of thousands of Palestinian children, women and men. And mobilizations must intensify. The action day was one of a myriad of efforts exerting pressure on the U.S. government over its “unwavering” but errant support for the occupier settler state of Israel.
Other pressure points came through letters of dissent addressed to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken pushing for a ceasefire. Over 500 political appointees and staffers representing 40 government agencies expressed opposition to Washington’s co-signing Palestinian carnage. Such moves are uncommon but indicate the level of frustration within the U.S. government on the issue.
Others are turning to the courts to fight what is widely accepted as atrocities, including genocide.
Legal experts, Palestinian human rights organizations, Palestinians in Gaza and the U.S. filed a federal complaint on Nov. 13, suing President Biden, Secretary Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III. The complaint filed by The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is suing the leaders in their official capacities for “failing to prevent” and “directly abetting” an unfolding genocide of 2.2 million Palestinians.
“They have continued to provide both military and political support for Israel’s unfolding genocidal campaign while imposing no red lines,” said CCR attorney Katherine Gallagher.
“The United States has a clear and binding obligation to prevent, not further, genocide. So far, they have failed in both their legal, moral duty and considerable power to end this horror,” stated Ms. Gallagher. “They must do so.”
The U.S. breached its obligations to the Geneva Convention on Genocide and international law by failing to exercise influence over Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza, which resulted in scores of deaths and injuries.
“We have lost so many people, but there are still many more who are living, and we owe it to them to do everything possible to stop this genocide,” said Mohammad Herzallah, one of the plaintiffs in the case who has family in Gaza.
“I have done everything in my power: I have participated in protests, sit-ins, wrote letters to my representatives, civil disobedience. Now I am asking the courts to end this ongoing genocide,” he said.
Along with Mr. Herzallah, other plaintiffs are Palestinians who reside in America as well as several Palestine-based individuals and organizations like the Defense for Children International–Palestine (DCIP) and Al-Haq, two leading human rights groups.
The plaintiffs filed a preliminary injunction on Nov. 16 to halt U.S. support for Israel as it continues its assault and siege on Gaza while the broader case is being decided. It is needed, they say, to protect them from “irreparable harm.” Some of the plaintiffs face a serious risk of death as a result of Israel’s war on Gaza, said a CCR release. Collectively, at least 116 of the plaintiffs’ family members have been killed in Gaza by Israel since October 8.
“Our team has had to update more than once the numbers of our clients’ relatives who have been killed as we prepared this lawsuit and motion,” said Astha Sharma Pokharel, an attorney at the CCR. “There is no starker illustration of how urgently this injunction is needed,” she said.
The complaint charged complicity in providing weapons, funds, and diplomatic cover. The brutal war is in its second month. At Final Call presstime, over 12,000 Palestinians have perished, with 30,000 injured. Updated casualty figures were estimated because reporting official figures was impeded by Israeli blockage of Internet systems into Gaza. Many are missing and feared buried in the fallen concrete and mangled rubble. One Palestinian commentator lamented: Gaza was an open-air prison but has now become an open-air grave.
Accountability and consequences
Because of the magnitude of death and destruction meted out by the occupier state, funded and protected by the U.S., the moment requires that America must also know her sins, note observers. As the top military and economic power among the nations, America cannot escape accountability.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam has on several occasions said that justice will not come from the unjust judges of the world but from the God of Justice. Expectations are diminished that justice will be delivered at institutions like the International Criminal Court (ICC), or the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—the highest court of the United Nations.
In nearly 80 years of the UN, with its lofty ambitions, but many failures, critics widely mock the world body as a theatre of the absurd. However, in these institutions are registered records of misdeeds against the world’s marginalized, including Palestinians, the Black once slaves, the Indigenous Native Americans, and others.
Collectively, for nine decades, Minister Farrakhan and his teacher, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, warned the world’s nations and particularly America about the consequences of their actions against the poor and oppressed.
They cautioned from scripture that every nation will be judged out of their own books and recorded deeds. Both their good and evil actions will be weighed on the scale of justice ultimately by the God of justice. Peace rests on the question of justice and as the Biblical book of Hosea 8:7 warned: “They have sown the wind and reap the whirlwind.”
The intense reaction in the streets and among some suites of power to the disproportionate slaughter of Palestinians by the Israel Defense Forces is a whirlwind sown by decades-long winds of injustice doggedly supported by America.
Both men forewarned America will taste the bitter fruit of her mischief-making. “The ‘reaping’ is not just according to ‘the amount’ of what you sowed, because if you sow ‘one grain of corn,’ you could get back a stalk—and on that stalk, seven ears! And on each ear, a hundred grain … So multiply what is coming to The Mischief-Maker and The Blood-Shedder!,” explained Minister Farrakhan in part 8 of the “Time And What Must Be Done” lecture series, delivered in 2013.
For many Palestinians, they are fighting not only for the land but their life and the lifeblood of the children. “We have been 40 days,” said Wafic Faour, activist and Palestinian refugee, when the resistance flared up in early October.
“You know how I feel? I feel useless,” he said. “I wish I am one drop of sand at the foot of a child in Gaza, you know? Because I feel helpless,” Mr. Faour told The Final Call as a Palestinian. “I feel whatever we do here as activists, it’s not enough. It’s not on the level that’s needed,” he said.
Mr. Faour’s family are refugees in Lebanon and have engaged in the plight of his people for many years. “To talk about what’s happening over there, my friend it is genocide,” he said. “If you want to call it something else, I reject that.”
For Palestinians, the struggle did not start the first week of October with the unprecedented offensive on the occupier settlements by Hamas. It has been a long-protracted struggle going back 75 years that Palestinians live and are bonded by.
“So personally, we feel connected. We look to find each other at those gatherings and rallies and teach-ins,” explained Mr. Faour. Palestinians are connected by the pain more than anything else. But, “We are now in a historical moment (that) hasn’t been felt before,” he said.
To mitigate the crisis, on Nov. 16 Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) introduced a joint resolution of disapproval for an export license for $320 million in Spice Family Guided Bomb Assemblies to Israel. These weapons have already been used in the siege on Gaza, which has taken the lives of over 4,000 children, making it the deadliest conflict for children this decade. The United Nations and human rights experts around the world have condemned the bombing of hospitals and schools as crimes against humanity and also called for the prevention of genocide.
“Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right ethnonationalist government continue to commit war crimes in their siege of the Gaza Strip,” said Rep. Omar.
“From requests to minimize civilian casualties, avoid a ground invasion, avoid reoccupation of Gaza, and institute a meaningful humanitarian pause, Netanyahu continues to thumb his nose at U.S. policy and requests,” she said.
The United States already provides the Israeli government with $3.8 billion of military aid a year and holds enormous leverage over their actions.
“It is the responsibility of Congress to exercise oversight over weapons sales. That is why we must not allow weapons sales that will be used to directly violate U.S. and international law, human rights, and our own moral standing in the world,” Rep. Omar said in a statement.
The Minnesota Congresswoman is part of a small but growing chorus of lawmakers calling for a ceasefire and end to the carnage. The resolution was co-sponsored by Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Summer Lee (D-Pa.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). On Nov. 16 Rep. Becca Balint (D-VT) became the first Jewish congressperson to join the congressional call for a ceasefire in the war in Gaza.
Out of step with the American people
But meanwhile as “Ceasefire Now!” demands heighten, Mr. Biden has doubled down on warmongering, telling reporters on Nov. 15 that Israel’s war in Gaza will stop when Hamas “no longer maintains the capacity to murder, abuse, and do horrific things to the Israelis.” However, somewhat back-peddling, he also called on Israel’s military to exercise caution in pursuing Hamas targets near civilian infrastructure. Some say the posture shift was a result of unrelenting public pressure.
The next day on a call with Israeli War Cabinet member Benny Gantz, Mr. Blinken continued the shift, stressing the “urgent need for affirmative steps to de-escalate tensions” and curtail “rising levels of settler extremist violence” in the West Bank. According to polls, stubborn rejection of ceasefire is not in sync with the American people.
A Reuters/Ipsos survey conducted between November 13-14 showed support for Israel among Americans is waning. The numbers show 68 percent of Americans polled support a ceasefire, and when asked what role the U.S. should take in the fighting, there was a nine-point decline from a mid-October 41 percent to 32 percent who said America should continue backing the occupier state. Those saying America should be a “neutral mediator” rose to 39 percent in the new poll from 27 percent a month earlier.
Mr. Faour also expressed the rugged resilience of Palestinians for self-determination and victory in the David versus Goliath-like struggle.
“They didn’t get it; Gaza will never die. Palestine will never die,” he said. “We will never lose. We will lose our children, we will lose anything, but we gain our dignity… our freedom,” said Mr. Faour.