Mehdi Hasan writes: “If the concept of intervention is driven by universal human rights, why is it — from the people who identify themselves as liberal interventionists — why do we never hear a peep, a word, about intervening to protect the Palestinians?”
That was the question I put to the French philosopher, author, and champion of liberal (or humanitarian) interventionism, Bernard-Henri Lévy, on my Al Jazeera English interview show “Head to Head” in 2013.
The usually silver-tongued Levy struggled to answer the question. The situation in Palestine is “not the same” as in Syria and “you have not all the good on one side and all the bad on the other side,” said Levy, who once remarked in reference to the Israeli Defense Forces, or IDF, that he had “never seen such a democratic army, which asks itself so many moral questions.”
I couldn’t help but be reminded of my exchange with the man known as “BHL” this past weekend, as I watched horrific images of unarmed Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border being shot in the back by the “democratic army” of Israel. How many “moral questions” did those Israeli snipers ask themselves, I wondered, before they gunned down Gazan refugees for daring to demand a return to their homes inside the Green Line?
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UN chief Antonio Guterres has been cautious in his statements on the Palestine question so far, clearly always having one eye trained on US funding of the international body. But in his first visit to the besieged territory, he was moved enough to order the immediate release of $4 million from the body’s emergency relief fund.
“I am deeply moved to be in Gaza today, unfortunately to witness one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen in many years working as a humanitarian in the United Nations,” Guterres said. He then stated that it was “important to open the closures,” in reference to the continued blockade by Israel and Egypt of the territory.
Egyptian authorities had stopped an Algerian humanitarian-aid convoy from crossing into the Gaza Strip from Sinai, a Palestinian NGO said Friday.”Egypt’s decision to block the entry of the aid convoy is very unfortunate and does not reflect the positive spirit that has recently characterized Gaza-Egypt relations,” the National Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza said in a press statement.
On Friday, Egypt re-closed its border with the Gaza Strip after having opened it to Palestinian pilgrims for the last four days for their travel to Saudi cities of Mecca and Medina, Gaza’s border authority said.
Blockaded by Israel by air, land and sea since 2007, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world. Six of these are controlled by Israel, while the seventh — the Rafah crossing — is controlled by Egypt, which has kept it tightly sealed for the most part since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, in a 2013 military coup
An Indonesian non-governmental organisation has collected nearly $15 million from Indonesia’s poor and rich alike to build the first Indonesian hospital in the Gaza Strip. The hospital has 110 beds and an intensive care unit.
Gaza on Gaza
Exhibition dates: 7 th – 22nd August 2015: Tues – Fri 12-6pm, Sat 12-4pm, Wed 12-8pm
Gaza on Gaza is an exhibition of work by Palestinian artists in response to the lives devastated by the last year’s conflict. During the military offensive 1,500 Palestinian civillians were killed and over 500,000 were displaced from their homes. Across Gaza, the UN estimates that nearly 400,000 children require some form of mental health support to cope with the events they witnessed or experienced over the summer of 2014.
P2 Gallery 21 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD
open Tuesday – Friday 12 – 6pm, Saturday 12 – 4pm, Wednesdays until 8pm