AT the International Court of Justice (ICJ) last week, South Africa presented a devastating case against the conduct of the Israeli campaign in Gaza.

We have reached a particularly gruesome stage in the war, whereby the atrocities – hourly and daily – meted out against the Palestinian people are too numerous to properly digest. Nothing is out of bounds – the medical system, universities, residential zones, journalists.

This is a systematic attempt to degrade life in Gaza to the extent that it is uninhabitable. Often the most difficult element in proving such an allegation is the lack of evidence from officials that this kind of action is deliberate.

But, as showcased at the ICJ, the statements made by Israeli representatives could not be clearer in their intent. Tens of thousands have now lost their lives and the population at large are being displaced from their homes.

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Famine, induced by the total siege of Gaza, has taken hold, just as disease is spreading owing to the destruction of sewage works and the lack of medical provisions. Even amputations are conducted without the use of essential resources, including anaesthetic. Only an immediate ceasefire, with full access for aid teams, will bring about anything approaching a semblance of relief.

At the same time the demand for a ceasefire, made by the global movement of solidarity with the people of Gaza which has emerged, is also a call to prevent a regional war.

This should be the sole focus of the world’s powers and institutions. Achieving such an outcome is the only basis from which security – regionally and globally – can be established. This includes the safety of shipping and freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.

Yet the United States, backed by the UK, has taken the opposite approach, by pouring fuel on to the fire through dropping bombs on Yemen.

The National: Yemen

Having aided and abetted the carnage in Gaza, they have now opened a can of worms for which they have no serious plan to contain. This, of course, is just the latest in a long history of bloody and catastrophic interventions in the Middle East. Where there should be a concerted effort to insist upon a ceasefire, and a calming of tensions, the bombing of Yemen only feeds the logic of escalation.

For in a situation like that which exists in the region today, there is no such thing as a “targeted strike.” Instead, this approach generates a domino effect where conflict has the potential to spiral.

Yemen itself has endured a horrific war for most of the last decade, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 377,000 people at the hands of Saudi Arabia.

This again was supported by Britain in the form of weapons, personnel and military expertise. The strikes on its territory are unlikely to act as a deterrence but to entrench deep animosity towards the West.

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As one former Pentagon official said: “The Houthis have been fighting a long war with a Saudi Arabia-led coalition and have accumulated years of experience in hiding their supplies and mitigating risks.”

He was “fairly pessimistic” as regards the effect of the strikes. While it is said they are “necessary” and “proportionate,” there is no sense in which the Americans or British have control over events, nor, crucially, a plan for de-escalation.

We have been in this territory before, yet the lessons of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are stubbornly ignored by those who deem themselves as the “adults” of the global stage. Some now talk of an eventual confrontation with Iran. That, obviously, would have dire and far-reaching outcomes.

But the reality of a rapidly deteriorating situation, entailing multi-actor military conflict, is one the anti-war movement takes seriously as it again takes to the streets.

And as far as track records go, it has a far greater claim to possess the ideas needed to prevent such calamity and to bring about peace and justice in the Middle East – alongside a more sane world order.