A Widening War – 8 February 2024


Watching the International Court of Justice judgement on Gaza I was filled with hope. It may have been more important in publicity terms than in immediate outcome. But it was a start. Genocide may not have been proven but a stateable case had been made.

Surely Biden would call off Netanyahu’s dogs of war and Britain cease being supine? Instead, the situation in Gaza has worsened, suspending UNWRA funding harming the already disastrous humanitarian crisis. More worryingly the war’s widening with the bombing of Yemen and beyond.

Cheers for the verdict have turned to tears as social media footage from Gaza discloses the increasing horror. A post from the Palestinian Office in the UK brought it home. It played an emergency call to the Palestinian Red Cross from a 15-year-old girl trapped in a car with an even younger child, urgently seeking help. But the sound of gunfire soon drowned out the child’s terrified voice and the line went dead. There was a mixture of shame at intruding on death, horror at what I’d been watching and rage that its being done; especially given the ICJ decision.

Despite being put on notice by the Court, Israel has ramped up. The Wall Street Journal hardly a pro-Palestinian outlet even before the judgement had detailed that 70% of Gaza homes had been damaged or destroyed and it’s continuing. This is ethnic cleansing.

It makes the suspension of UNWRA funding disgraceful. That a handful of low-grade staff all recruited locally had links to Hamas is only to be expected. Even the best HR procedures will struggle to root out every local sympathiser. Did they cease funding the UK or US military when Afghan or Iraqi blue on blue attacks occurred, never mind terrorism against coalition forces.

But even more concerning is the widening of the war. We’re now onto the third strike on Yemen, with the USA also liberally bombing sites in Iraq and Syria. We’re told it’s nothing to do with Gaza despite the Houthis stating that it’s the raison d’etre. Even the Yemen government, no friends of the Houthi’s, confirm that. All MPs received a letter from the Yemeni Embassy saying just that, as well as themselves condemning the Israeli’s actions which are what’s set the area aflame.

Yet the British political establishment continue with the fiction that’s it’s about protecting UK maritime interests. Only one UK vessel had been attacked when strikes began, although another has now been. Of course, there’s others that are flagged elsewhere such as in Liberia or Panama? But why are UK forces defending the financial investments of corporates, who neither use UK crew nor even register in the land?

There have been calls in the USA for strikes on Iran. That’s what Netanyahu would like. But the Red Sea debate in Westminster saw voices opposing a lurch to war drowned out by those seeking an escalation of the crisis. Be under no illusion there’s those that want war with Iran, leading to action against Russia and who knows why not China as well. They blame Iran, link it with their arming Russia and defending Ukraine. It’s not just an escalation but a widening of the conflict that’s looming.

These are dangerous times. We weep for Gaza but we should fear for humanity.