The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (GOSVG) says “war crimes” are being committed in the ongoing Israeli-Gaza conflict and has called for an end to hostilities on both sides.
The government made the call in a statement on Friday, five days after the regional bloc, CARICOM, said “the savage nature of the attacks and counterattacks is the antithesis of civilised life and living”.
On Oct. 7, Hamas militants fired rockets into Israel, killing scores of people and taking more than 100 others hostage.
Since then, Israel has been bombing Gaza relentlessly and economists have been monitoring the economic fallout amidst the emerging humanitarian situation.
In its statement on Friday, the Ralph Gonsalves-led government said it endorses CARICOM’s Oct. 9 statement on the current attacks and counter-attacks.
“We reiterate the foundational principles for settlement of the conflict as contained in the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 242, which was adopted on November 22, 1967, following the Six-Day War in June 1967 between Israel, on the one hand, and Arab nations, including the Palestinians, on the other hand,” Kingstown said.
The government noted that the Resolution emphasises, centrally, among other things, “a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security”, and acknowledges “the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force…
“This Resolution has become a pivotal cornerstone of Middle East diplomatic efforts since then,” the government said, noting that the resolution premises “a two-State solution” for Israel and Palestine to live alongside each other in peace within secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force.
“Successive governments of Israel, more particularly those headed, or unduly influenced, by right-wing and ultra-nationalist forces, including the current government, have refused repeatedly to ensure the practical implementation of ‘a just and lasting peace’,” the GoSVG said.
“Indeed, Israel has imposed a veritable colonialism, including a harsh settler-colonialism and a forceful, illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, which has given rise to intense Palestinian resistance and a brutal Israeli response. Sadly, innocent lives are being lost, needlessly.”
Kingstown repeated CARICOM’s expression of abhorrence at the recent attacks and counter-attacks of the combatants — the Israeli Defence Force and Hamas– and their savage nature, in Israel and Gaza.
“War crimes, contrary to international law, are evidently being committed with impunity. A day of reckoning on these crimes surely must come.
“We call for a cessation of hostilities on all sides and the embarkation of a quest for a just and lasting peace in accordance with the principles and provisions of the UNSCR 242.”
Kingstown further demanded “the urgent, just, and merciful intervention of the United Nations Security Council to assist in bringing hostilities to an end and to ensure that international humanitarian law is upheld in Gaza for the sake of humanity.
“Accordingly, three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — USA, Britain, and France — who routinely support Israel and its colonising policies, bear an especial responsibility to facilitate an immediate cessation of hostilities and to insist on the upholding of international law.
“We embrace the Psalmist’s injunction: “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” [Psalm 34:14]. We acknowledge that seeking and pursuing a just peace, in the current circumstances, is a difficult path; but there is no other way that will endure. We thus implore the responsible international community and the parties to the conflict to act accordingly, urgently,” Kingstown further stated.
Meanwhile, in its statement, CARICOM said Innocent lives are being lost amidst “the fervour and violence of the actual combatants.
“CARICOM thus joins the responsible members of the international community in calling for an immediate ceasefire and end of hostilities by all parties.”
The regional bloc said the recent round of hostilities reflects “the pain and suffering of ancient quarrels.
“The ongoing harsh conditions under which the Palestinians live in veritable colonialism and Israel’s sense of insecurity will contribute to a cycle of violence until those realities are definitively addressed.
“Accordingly, CARICOM continues to support the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and the ongoing efforts of the United Nations towards a two-state solution as the best way to achieve comprehensive peace, security and tranquillity between Israel and Palestine.”