Eroding the sanctity and inviolability of diplomatic missions: new tool in Israeli war tactic

By: Hazwan Dani Abdul Kadir

GOMBAK, 24 April 2024: Israel at the moment is a rogue state beyond words. It has just attacked an Iranian diplomatic consulate in Syria. It seems that Israel has added yet another tactic in its limitless tool of war – the targeting of diplomatic embassies. Typical of Israel, it can just unilaterally declare the violability of diplomatic missions and disregard customary norms of international law. Diplomatic and consular law derives from long-established norms and those that have been codified in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Not only is it not safe for Palestinian civilians everywhere, but diplomats far away in Iran are also apparently not safe. This recent development underscores that in addition to the rights of children, civilians, and non-combatants, we must also include the rights of diplomatic officers in the distressing catalogue of blatant disregard for the right to life.

Under International law, specifically on diplomatic relations, embassies are sacrosanct and in a rules-based international order that leans on liberal internationalism; embassies are the focal point for diplomatic norms and values. Never before have we witnessed in modern times a so-called ‘democratic’ state intentionally targeting another nation’s diplomatic embassy.

Can we imagine if Russia were to conduct an airstrike on Ukrainian embassy in Moldova or Belarus. We would not hear the end of it and western governments and western news outlets would create a massive issue out of it for months. It will be the talk of the century for months. It is unreal to see hypocrisy of western leaders crying about a rules-based international order and championing human rights but turn a blind eye towards the Israeli government’s actions; allowing the rogue state of Israel to operate without limits. Israel is even more of a rogue state than North Korea at this point.

Let us not forget the fact that Israel has been violating with impunity international laws on multiple dimensions, from mass starvation to collective punishments; from targeting of hospitals and refugee camps to conducting what the ICJ has ruled and the UN special rapporteur as acts of genocide under international law (facts). It has gone on to attack an embassy in another country. It was a state sanctioned military attack completely disregarding the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.

Supporters claim they are a democracy with western values. Are there any democracies out there that have its government ministers using genocidal rhetorics and calling for ethnic cleansing of entire civilian populations? I have never seen western democracies preventing journalists from entering warzones, intentionally killing over 100 journalists, and more recently they have banned Aljazeera, the paranoia is unreal. Sounds like a scared fascist state that could care less about freedom of the press, equality, and law. Definitely not a democracy if they are prohibiting freedom of the press. Over 33,000 killed and out of those 12,000 women and children killed, there is no such thing as accountability anymore. States around the world are watching Israel get a free pass and remembering western hypocrisy.

This embassy attack is the first time ever in modern history when a diplomatic consulate is attacked coupled with the first time ever of ongoing genocide, the acts of a rogue state highlights western hypocrisy of supporting Israel and turning a blind eye towards its flagrant violations of international law, while fixating on the Russia-Ukrainian conflict and barking those same exact principles. Even the western media have failed to report this and instead obscured reality. They have neglected all forms of rules-based international order, from the ICJ ruling, to the UN ceasefire resolution, violating international law on armed conflict, by using force, having settlements, breaching human rights and every single international law on the book.

Ilan Pappe warned that settler colonial projects that are reaching their last phase usually become more brutal and ruthless. Desperate attempts by Netanyahu to cling on to power and all the right wing fascist machinery perpetuating settler colonialism to advance one race over the other and resort to outright ethnic cleansing is disgusting (lebensraum anyone?). Israel claims to be a secular state, but resorts to biblical texts for justifying ethnic cleansing and land-grabbing. What we are witnessing is settler colonialism live in action, in the 21st century. We could not see it during the European colonisation of the Americas when they cleansed the natives, but we are seeing it now live in modern times, ongoing in Israel.***