International Law: Crushed by Brussels and Western Double Standards

The idea that international law holds countries accountable and maintains global peace seems to be weakening, with the recent actions in the Gaza Strip casting a shadow on Western democracies.

by Faruk Imamovic
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International Law: Crushed by Brussels and Western Double Standards
© Getty Images News/Leon Neal

The idea that international law holds countries accountable and maintains global peace seems to be weakening, with the recent actions in the Gaza Strip casting a shadow on Western democracies. Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, is in the spotlight, exemplifying the complexities and contradictions of Western policy when it comes to the age-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Crisis in the Gaza Strip

On October 7, an eruption of violence spearheaded by Hamas led to the death of hundreds of Israeli civilians and soldiers. This conflict revealed a bitter reality: that Western democracies, often hailed as bastions of freedom and morality, can display alarming apathy when international laws are flouted.

Ursula von der Leyen's recent actions have put her at the center of this debate. Evidence of war crimes in Gaza, as highlighted by numerous human rights organizations and the United Nations, includes the total blockade of essential supplies, widespread bombardment, and even the use of white phosphorus over densely populated areas.

Amidst this, the disturbing rhetoric from Israeli politicians and military personnel, including President Isaac Herzog, paints a grim picture. Herzog's statement that there are no innocent Palestinians in Gaza has only exacerbated tensions.

Shockingly, von der Leyen chose to visit Herzog on the very day he made these divisive remarks. Such actions from key figures in Western democracies send a convoluted message to the world about where they truly stand on international law.

Hypocrisy in Western Policy?

Historically, the West's stance on the Israel-Palestine issue has been inconsistent at best. Even after the Soviet Union's fall, the West's commitment to the two-state solution appeared shaky.

The rise of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank undermines any genuine commitment to this solution and pushes Palestinians towards radicalization, destabilizing the Middle East. Furthermore, the West's vocal support for Ukraine following Russia's invasion contrasts starkly with its response to Gaza.

While the defense of Ukraine is framed as upholding international law, the perceived selective application of this law weakens the West's moral high ground.

Consequences of Selective Silence

This selective approach to international law by Western democracies might come back to haunt them.

The Global South, already skeptical due to past Western inconsistencies, may now feel justified in disregarding calls to action, viewing them as mere geopolitical power plays. This erosion of trust in the principle of international law could spell disaster for global diplomacy and peace.

In the emerging world order, how will democracies reconcile with the fact that their inaction contributed to the violation of what they hold most dear? Only time will tell if international law can be resurrected, or if it will remain a casualty of political convenience.

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