This transcript appears in the February 9, 2024 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
The ICJ Ruling Is a Mandate for All of Humanity
This is an edited transcript of Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s opening and closing remarks to the 35th weekly meeting of the International Peace Coalition on Friday, February 2, 2024.
Let me greet all of you. I think everybody is aware of the extraordinary, unprecedented escalation of the situation in Gaza, where you had the historic finding of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on January 26th, where the Court issued an “Order which has binding effect” mandating provisional measures after finding that there is “plausible cause” to assume that there is genocide going on. They defined a whole set of measures which Israel was instructed to implement to remedy the situation and prevent genocide from happening, including massively increasing the humanitarian aid, preventing any further deterioration of the situation and similar things. Then the Court gave Israel 30 days to report back to the Court about the success of the implementation of these measures. Now, that was clear; it was an historic ruling; it was really a relief that there was justice possible by the highest Court of the world.
The Genocidal Response: Shutting Down UNRWA
But then, the same evening, the Israeli government accused 12 members of UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, of cooperating with Hamas in the terror attack on October 7th. Then immediately, without waiting for any confirmation of this report from any independent side, several governments—including the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, and some others—immediately cut off all funding for UNRWA. This means that the only organization which has been in charge of providing food deliveries, medicine, and any other kind of deliveries, had its funding cut off; that money will now run out at the latest by the end of this month.
Immediately afterwards, [according to the Wall Street Journal, the number] was increased by accusing 10% of all UNRWA staff members of having connections to Hamas. Now, this is playing on the ignorance of people. Hamas is, in fact, the elected government in Gaza. If UNRWA or any other aid organization wants to do anything, Hamas is the only existing partner with which to do such dealings. But that was naturally not reported by the mainstream media. There are several countries that did not cut aid; those were Norway, Ireland, and Spain. The German Foreign Ministry said that while they cut financial aid to UNRWA, they would continue the humanitarian aid through organizations like UNICEF and some others. But that is completely fraudulent, because if you don’t have anybody to deliver the food and medicine, then it is a total cut-off.
Flooding Gaza Tunnels with Salt Water
Then, four days later, on January 30th, the IDF made public that they are flooding the tunnels of Hamas [with seawater]. This had been discussed as an option already in newspaper articles before, and several hydrologists had clearly warned what the effect would be. If you are flooding the very long and numerous tunnels of Hamas with salt water, that completely destroys the aquifers, the groundwater for a hundred years or more to come. It makes the water undrinkable for 85% or so of the population.
In any case, the whole policies of the IDF have resulted in more than 1.5 million Palestinians being driven into a very tiny area near Rafah. This results in them being completely dependent on any kind of aid supply, which now is cut off. The effect of this is that what was threatening to become a famine, and starvation and dying by thirst is now actually happening in these very hours and days.
This [flooding of the tunnels] is an escalation which is so unbelievable that it goes beyond any imagination. The mainstream media in Germany, for example, are pretty much blacking it out, having instead stories about the anniversary of the Holocaust, the anti-Semitism on the rise in Germany. All of these things may have some merit, but they serve at this point as a major deflection of what the ruling was in The Hague, which was never really discussed, nor what the effect is of cutting the funding to UNRWA, nor flooding the tunnels. There is an almost complete press blackout. Maybe there is a tiny bit of news here and there, but it’s not entering the public’s perception.
So, I think that the measures by Israel, the accusations against UNRWA and the flooding of the tunnels, for sure will be mentioned in now less than three weeks when the Court in The Hague is reconvened. They for sure will take note that Israel not only did not do all the measures they were supposed to, to prevent genocide from happening, this was the formulation by the Court, but that the opposite has occurred.
Now, we should really be aware that, given the fact that most of the countries involved have signed the Genocide Convention, they are actually obliged to prevent this genocide, but they are doing the opposite. Now, what that will mean, I don’t want to predict the decision of the court, but it could very well be that all of these governments that are doing these things right now will be found complicit in genocide. What that will do to the international order is just again beyond imagination. Already now, there are many signs that Germany is becoming completely isolated; culturally, artists are pulling out of any cooperation with Germany. In the Global South, the opinion is horrified, but it will mean that the West is losing moral standing or has already lost moral standing, and that will escalate tremendously.
War with Russia, China, Iran?
So, it does aggravate the whole strategic situation because at the same time, we have now almost every defense minister of all the NATO countries coming out with absolutely hysterical warnings that there will be war with Russia in 18 months, in two years, three years, five years; it varies according to the country. But they all—and naturally also NATO itself; Admiral [Rob] Bauer who is the Chair of the [NATO] Military Committee, is warning that people must get ready to live through the first 36 hours of a Russian attack, by stocking up on batteries and water and whatnot. So, a certain amount of fear is being instilled. This whole supposed threat of a coming war with Russia could become, and likely will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, if we do not change course.
I think that the situation in Ukraine, from NATO’s standpoint, is that the war is scheduled to continue for many years. The European Union (EU) just this morning agreed on a budget of providing another €50 billion to Ukraine in the next four years. This totally disregards the fact that the Ukrainian population is not there to conduct such a war. Ukraine has a tremendous shortage of soldiers, a tremendous shortage of workers, because they are either dead or abroad. So, it’s a completely cynical approach. There is no discussion about a diplomatic solution coming from these circles.
I think that the danger is that if we stay on this geopolitical confrontation against Russia, against China, it is almost certain that the situation is going to end up in a Third World War. I should mention that the situation in the Middle East is all geared up about a potential war with Iran which, if it would come to that, could also escalate that war into a global war much more rapidly.
I should mention that the New York Times today reports that over 800 officials, civil servants, have put out a statement protesting the action of their governments. This includes officials from the United States, Great Britain, and several European countries, where these 800 civil servants say that they are dedicated to the constitution of their country and that they regard what the present government policies are doing as detrimental to the interests of their countries and very dangerous. They come out in a wave of protest.
So, there is some opposition developing, but I think we need to really come to the conclusion that, on the one side, we absolutely have to do something to stop what is happening in Gaza, because the three weeks left until The Hague Court meets again may not see many Palestinians alive if this is not changed. We need an immediate, absolutely urgent mobilization to all possible channels, contacting religious leaders, different civil organizations, elected officials. There must be an intervention to stop this and resume the situation by implementing all the measures which the International Court of Justice had mandated that Israel must do to prevent genocide. That must happen immediately.
But more generally, I think that we need to change the directionality of the whole situation. If you want to make an enemy, you just have to keep repeating: you are the enemy. And you will make an enemy. I think we need an absolute change.
The way out would be very easy if the people of Europe and the United States would declare firmly that we want to cooperate with the Global South, the Global Majority, and that we can find a solution in this cooperation very easily. That could happen: It could happen tomorrow, because I’m 100% certain that the BRICS-Plus, the Global South countries would absolutely welcome any such gesture coming from the Global North.
We need to also really seriously think of how we can put the international security and development architecture as the only way out, on the agenda. But I think the immediate situation now really is the saving of the people of Palestine.
I would also like to point to the fact that Hamas is the elected government of Gaza. If you are an aid organization—it doesn’t matter if it’s Caritas or UNRWA—if you are operating in a country with international people, any relief situation, you always have to coordinate with the government which is in charge of that place. So, the argument that 10% of the UNRWA people have relations with Hamas is a completely bogus issue. If you want to say, “I have a truck with milk powder, and I want to go through the following road,” you have to contact the bureaucracy which is in charge of that road. I’m just saying that you can twist any statement to mean the opposite.
Furthermore, we should not forget that, in the meantime, in the last three months since the attack by Hamas occurred in Israel, there were reports, even in the Israeli media pointing to the fact that it was Netanyahu himself who had funded Hamas and helped to build it up as a counter to the Palestinian Authority, with the specific intention of having Hamas become stronger so it would preclude the idea of a Palestinian state.
People nowadays think you should forget the history of every conflict and just believe the narrative which is being put out on that day. That is the case for Gaza, and that’s the case for Ukraine, and for any other conflict. But we have a memory, because we are not stupid. That’s one thing one can say.
I think we should really take this to our hearts because every minute, every hour—I saw some of the movie footage from other countries from China, from Al-Jazeera—when you see some of the interviews, people are sitting there, running from place to place. They are being told “Go to the south, it’s safe there.” Then they are being bombed there, driven away. It is just unbelievable what is happening.
Take Personal Responsibility for a Better Solution
Therefore, I think we should all feel a personal responsibility to bring this to a better solution. In a certain sense, once you know what is going on, we are all part of the one human family, and you can always say, “What do I have to do with Palestine?” But it’s our humanity, we are before the world court, which is history. We are all responsible for the outcome of what happens. I think you should think about that, because nowadays people do not think as world historical citizens: They tend to think “I have my private life, and that’s good enough for me to take care of.” But from the standpoint of universal history, we are world citizens, and what we do or not do makes our history. That’s our one humanity, and one mankind.
So, I would really urge you to take it to your heart. You may know other organizations which have been involved in peace efforts. I think we all need unified actions. If all the other organizations which we have not yet managed to bring into the International Peace Coalition would also all work together in common actions, with the aim to put pressure on the governments to undo this cutoff of financing to UNRWA—you know all the names, I don’t need to elaborate them all—I think we can turn this into a very powerful force, and I think that’s the best thing I can think about in the moment to intervene.
So, please do the very best you can.
The Return of Genghis Khan
Israel Announces It Is Flooding Hamas Tunnels in Gaza with Seawater
Jan. 31—Scarcely four days after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued its binding order demanding that Israel cease all activity related to the “plausible case” of the Crime of Genocide filed against it by South Africa, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Jan. 30 issued a statement confirming what many had long suspected and denounced in the media: that the Israeli military is flooding Hamas tunnels in Gaza with seawater.
Under the headline “IDF Confirms Flooding Hamas Tunnels in Gaza with Seawater,” the Times of Israel reports on an official IDF statement, which reads:
[The military] has implemented new capabilities to neutralize underground terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip by channeling large volumes of water into the tunnels.
As far back as October 26, 2023, EIR News Service published the following note, under the headline “Hersh Reveals How Israel Is Considering Flooding Hamas’s Tunnel System in Gaza.”
“Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported in his Oct. 24 article, ‘The Mysteries of Oct. 7,’ that U.S. officials are aware that Israel is considering flooding Hamas’s tunnel system in Gaza. ‘A well-informed American official told me that the Israeli leadership is known to be considering flooding Hamas’s vast tunnel system before sending in its troops, many of whom have had only a few weeks of training in the maneuvers and coordination required for the invasion. Such an act could mean that Israel was prepared to write off the hostages still in jeopardy.’
“Sputnik spoke about Hersh’s report with retired IDF Lt. Col. Dr. Mordechai Kedar, who served for 25 years in IDF military intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse and is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv. Kedar told Sputnik Oct. 25, ‘I don’t know what Israel is preparing for these tunnels, whether it is bombs, or water, or whatever.’
“He explained that it would ‘definitely be cheaper to dig a tunnel a few hundred meters, which will stream the water from the sea…. And look, take into account that some of the tunnels are very deep, like 30 meters deep, which is a ten-story-tall building. This is very deep…. According to some data which I have read, the city actually is below sea level. If this is correct, it will not be so hard to make the water from the sea stream into the city. Once the city is covered with water, the water will go down into the ground because the ground is very sandy, and apparently all the tunnels will be flooded, and whoever is in these tunnels will have to swim out or be buried there forever.’
“When asked about the consequences of the IDF flooding Gaza, Kedar replied that ‘whoever started this war with us should have calculated it beforehand. Unfortunately, this ISIS-like organization, they do not make any calculations neither on human lives nor infrastructure. It seems they couldn’t care less about their own people, in their own cities, in their own infrastructure. I think that we don’t have to put so much attention to these questions…. Once the city becomes a lake, I think that the whole of the city is finished and the whole story is finished because it will be a lake. And then maybe this will be the change and this might be the lesson.’
“Knowledgeable historians have noted certain parallels with the infamous practices of Genghis Khan. Beginning in 1218, Khan’s Mongol army swept through the rich cities of Khwarazm (around what’s now named the Aral Sea) and farther south, flattening any city which refused to immediately capitulate, killing or enslaving the population, and throwing dead bodies down into the cities’ water-supply and irrigation systems which had been carefully built up over centuries. The decomposing bodies polluted the water for 100 years, rendering these cities uninhabitable.”
EIR readers are encouraged to consider the implications of the above report, in light of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s infamous comment: “History does not favor Jesus Christ over Genghis Khan. History favors the strong.”