ODVV Interview: The void of international humanitarian law in the Gaza humanitarian crisis

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Publish Date : 11/08/2023 12:07
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In the field of health, Gaza hospitals are trying to continue their activities and services under the fire of Israeli attacks, as their equipment is running out and the destruction caused by Israeli attacks has limited their activities.

Before the start of the new round of Israeli attacks, Gaza was known as one of the worst humanitarian crisis areas in the world; the humanitarian situation in this strip is deteriorating catastrophically after more than a month of continuous Israeli attacks. More than 10,000 Palestinians have lost their lives as a result of continuous and deadly Israeli attacks. The main victims of this war are women and children; more than 4 thousand of the killed persons in Gaza are children; also, about 1,500,000 residents of Gaza have been internally displaced. Despite international requests and the strict recommendation of the Secretary-General and other UN officials attempts to establish a humanitarian ceasefire have so far been futile due to Israel's objections and continued attacks. Meanwhile, concerns about the catastrophic humanitarian and human situation in Gaza have greatly increased.

The complete siege of Gaza by Israel, which has been under siege for the past 17 years, has pushed the humanitarian crisis in this region to despair more than ever; the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has important and extensive dimensions. In the field of health, Gaza hospitals are trying to continue their activities and services under the fire of Israeli attacks, as their equipment is running out and the destruction caused by Israeli attacks has limited their activities. At the same time, the lack of equipment and human resources in the midst of the large scale and high volume of attacks by Israel means that the rescue teams do not have a chance to pull out the bodies of the killed persons from under the rubble. According to statistics, thousands of people are still under the rubble. This has caused serious health concerns. Limitation or lack of access to clean drinking water also adds to the dimensions of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Gaza crises said that he is "deeply alarmed" by the intensification of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, saying civilians must be protected. "International humanitarian law establishes clear rules that cannot be ignored," he said.

Due to the importance of the Gaza crisis and the need to observe humanitarian laws in this region, the Organization for the Defense of Victims of Violence (ODVV) conducted an interview with Dr. Harley Schlanger, Vice Chairman of Schiller Institute.



Dr. Harley Schlanger has been engaged in a campaign for a just economic order based on the principle of mutual benefit for all since 1972, as a member of the organization founded by Lyndon LaRouche. He served as Mr. LaRouche's campaign spokesman from 1999 until his passing in 2019. Dr. Schlanger has written numerous articles on the Schiller Institute’s campaigns for peace and development, including many published by the Executive Intelligence Review and other publications worldwide.


Below is Dr. Schlanger’s view on the situation of human and humanitarian rights in Gaza:

1) Horrible media outlets focus on the access to food and other essential items for the Gaza civilians. What do you think of the starvation of civilians and children as a tool for war?The withholding of food, water, electricity, and medicine is a violation of international law. Such practices have been routinely used as "war by other means," especially through the stringent sanctions policies applied by the U.S., the U.K., and their NATO allies over the recent decades. The example of sanctions against Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and Iran among others should be properly viewed as war crimes.
The Israeli cut off of food, water, and electricity to the civilian population of Gaza should be prosecuted as a war crime. The idea of starving and bombing children to "fight terror" is obscene and immoral. The question is: which nations will act to halt the present murderous attacks on the civilian population of Gaza?
Unfortunately, western media is a network controlled by the same corporate cartels committed to defending Israel's policy. It is not surprising that much of the coverage in the West has been to highlight Hamas' "atrocities," while justifying Israel's atrocities as a "legitimate defense of national security."

2) How do you see the limitation of access to electricity, water, medicine, and hygiene items to be affecting people's and children's lives?According to U.N. officials on the ground, NGOs, and human rights groups, civilians are suffering from limited access to necessities. While most of the deaths reported have come from aerial bombardments and now the "ground invasion," cutting off necessary supplies will have lasting effects, in the form of diseases of malnutrition, water-borne illnesses, and lack of access to medical care. There is also the matter of the long-term psychological and emotional effects on children subjected to such deliberate deprivation.

3) Over the decades, the world has witnessed a multitude of various rounds of attacks on Gaza, with no achievements, in your opinion, what is the reason for the inability of the international community to address the gross violations of human rights by Israel?Israel has in general been given wide latitude for its military and counter-insurgency attacks on Palestinians designated as terrorists. As at the present time, U.S. President Biden says he hopes to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, even as he and his administration give full public support to Israel's policies. There are many reasons for this hypocrisy, beginning with the effective use of guilt over the murder of Jews by the Nazis during World War II, and the racist characterizations of "Arabs" and Muslims by the Western press and officials.
An unspoken reason is that the establishment controlling Western governments have accepted the basic theses of British geopolitics, which has defined Southwest Asia as a region of unresolved religious and tribal conflicts, in which outside forces -- initially the British and French under Sykes-Picot(1), and increasingly the U.S. after World War II, must intervene to "keep the peace." Since 1948, Israel has been established as an enforcer of the geopolitical designs of the Anglo-American powers directed by the City of London and has been both protected and built up as a "democracy," to play that role. Therefore, Israel's role in the ongoing cycle of violence is excused as the price it must pay to "keep the peace."(2)

4) We have witnessed the dreadful attack on Gaza Hospital, what do you think of the air raids that seem to be indiscriminately targeting the places that are supposed to serve as civilians' sanctuary in wartime?The rules governing the conduct of war forbid attacks on civilian populations. The act of collective punishment, which is underway against the Palestinians, under the guise of destroying Hamas, is also a clear violation of international human rights law. The targeting of sanctuaries, to which civilians have been driven by Israeli instruction, must become the focus of major demonstrations world-wide, to awaken the conscience of the people whose governments are turning a blind eye to such actions.

5) Considering the scope and intensity of the destruction of the civilian infrastructure and the blockade which is imposed on the occupied territories, in your opinion, what strategy should be implemented to firstly end the siege of Gaza (permanently and not return to the pre-conflict situation that practically turned Gaza a prison) and secondly, what should be done to heal this 75-year-old wound which was created since the establishment of Israel?The U.N. General Assembly vote last week was evidence that most of the world opposes Israel's policy of genocide against Palestinian civilians(3). There must be an immediate ceasefire, and aid provided to the population of Gaza and the West Bank, as well as an international peace conference, as proposed by China.
The real issue is how to establish conditions of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. International law presently is defined by the two-state solution, in U.N. Resolution 242, which has never been enforced. The steps taken in the Oslo Accord, by Prime Minister Rabin and Chairman Arafat, for mutual recognition and an end to fighting was a step in the right direction. But the deeper issue is how to construct a peace based on mutual benefit for the two states and the region as a whole.(4)
This was addressed in the Economic Annexes of Oslo, which called for funding of major water projects, based on building canals and joint desalination projects to produce adequate water for the region; and joint energy development projects which could enable an industrial and agricultural advance for both states. This was addressed in the Oasis Plan (see below), put forward by American economist Lyndon LaRouche beginning in 1990, which had support from Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as became evident in the drafting of the Oslo Accord. Unfortunately, funding for projects defined in the Economic Annexes of Oslo was never made available, due to the intervention of the World Bank. The subsequent assassination of Prime Minister Rabin by an extremist from the settler's movement meant that the leading figure in Israel, who could push for such an agreement of peace, was eliminated.
International support for such a plan, which would provide immediate funding for development projects providing mutual benefit to Israelis and Palestinians, is the best way to inspire the youth for the future.



1.Supporting documentation Peace Through Development for Palestine and Israel – The LaRouche Oasis Plan, see especially pg. 7-16
2. Supporting documentation Overcoming the Axioms of a Century of Warfare – The Forever Wars
3.Oct. 27, 2023 (EIRNS)--This afternoon at the UN General Assembly (https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/10/1142932) in New York, the 193 nation body, voted 120-14, with 45 abstentions, in favor of a resolution calling for a humanitarian truce, toward a ceasefire in Gaza-Israel. The vote and resolution, though non-binding, expresses the assertion by the world's Global Majority of a desire for compassion and reason, and love of humanity, to supplant the compulsive evil now involved in warmaking in multiple theaters.

4.Mrs. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute, promulgated Ten Principles for a new security and development architecture modeled on the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, ending a 30 year fratricidal war, which established the principle that policy one’s must be made for the benefit of the other.

“ ODVV Interview: The void of international humanitarian law in the Gaza humanitarian crisis ”