Responsibility to Protect: The UN and Egypt must not fail Gazans!

For no reason can a ’cause’ be placed as more valuable than a ‘life’!

When Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, and it seemed very obvious that the purpose of the invasion could be to overrun Ukraine and possibly annex it or a large part of Ukrainian territory, even though Russia didn’t issue warnings to Ukrainian civilians (at the scale at which Israel has now done), the EU opened her borders to take in these civilians into safety and restricted only men of fighting age from fleeing (as was demanded by the Ukrainian Government). There was no talk as to why the Ukrainians needed to stay in Ukraine and die defending a Ukrainian cause.

The sudden invocation of a ‘Palestinian Causes’ both by the Egyptian Government and several Arab leaders across the World, at a time where it is obvious that there is a war on Gaza, either shows a lack of concern or a desire to place Palestinians as bargaining chips for a yet to be disclosed purpose from these men.

While, it is a fact that a ground invasion of Gaza is imminent, it is also a fact that Hamas terrorists since their rule in Gaza has continuously used Gazans as human shields to protect their own fighters.

Similarly, while we must also hold Israel accountable to ensuring that her actions in Gaza are in line with the dictates of International Law (even though she has already openly committed to that), we must also ensure that both backdoor and open-space negotiations are carried out throughout the operation, in order to achieve de-escalation and peace in the long run. But for now, all attention must be on getting Gazans to safety and not the other way around.

The victory of Hamas has continued to rest on the disillusioned reality that while her fighters harmed Israeli civilians and used Palestinian civilians as human shields during any Israeli assault, they always got the tacit support of the UN and Arab leaders, as the responsibility to protect and the blame for every actions; even their own actions were blamed on the Israeli Government.

But the UN must show the World how serious she takes the lives of civilians on both sides of a conflict spectrum, and how serious she takes the already known fact that Palestinians in Gaza are used as human shields for Hamas operations, and this exactly is the point at which Egypt comes in.

With Egypt taking the lead in ensuring that Palestinian civilians are taken to safety, she also would be taking the lead in ensuring that Hamas operatives do not slip-in amongst these Palestinians and then lunch assault on Israeli soldiers from amongst Palestinian civilians.
This infers that while in previous times UN refugee camps were used to lunch rockets and assault weapons on Israel’s military, this time around, with the Palestinians in the safe custody of Egypt, the Egyptian military can protect them from any such assault and arrest any Hamas operative who may have slipped in amongst them to cause harm.

Both the UN and Egypt understand the danger Hamas poses to the Palestinian people, and Egypt in particular understands this danger, otherwise she wouldn’t have for many years blocked her own portion of the Gaza border after Hamas took over the administration of Gaza.

It is this common ground that must now be engaged in, and on what grounds the Egyptian Government owes the Palestinians a responsibility of saving their lives by receiving them into safe harbors for the time-being.

The invocation of a ‘Palestinian cause’, as the reason for refusing to receive Palestinian civilians into safe shelters in Egypt during the period of this war, suddenly places Egypt as a legitimizer of Hamas terrorism on Israelis as well as Hamas disregard for the lives of the Palestinian people.

Both the UN and Nations around the World understand the reality that Israel pays respect to the dictates of International public opinion even in the shaping of her domestic policies, and that the building of settlements or relocation of Israelis to Gaza is an extremity that even the US Israel’s strongest Ally would never accept.

Thus Egypt has a hundred percent assurance that the invasion of Gaza wouldn’t in anyway endanger the Palestinian cause!

For now, what is of utmost importance is saving the lives of Palestinians by protecting them both from cross-fires and ensuring that Hamas never have the capability of using them as human shields. This only can be done both by the UN and Egypt.

About the Author
S Ovwata Onojieruo is a Theologian, Political Scientist and Philosopher, whose Research interest spans across the areas of Legal theory, Political Philosophy, Social Epistemology, International Politics and International Relations theory. He currently functions as a Post-graduate Researcher, and Tutorial assistant with the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and can be reached on twitter @OvwataS
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