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On October 18, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P) published an open letter calling for an immediate ceasefire in Israel's war on Gaza, which has put the territory on "the precipice of a humanitarian catastrophe". Within a week, it was signed by more than 460 NGOs from all over the world.

Even before the latest Israeli war on Gaza, the GCR2P, which was founded in 2008 to promote the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), issued five warnings this year about atrocities being committed by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories.

An August 31 report highlighted the "systematic nature of [Israel's] human rights violations and inhumane acts" in the occupied Palestinian territories, amounting to crimes against humanity or war crimes, including collective punishments and the imposition of an "apartheid".

Interestingly, some of the most fervent supporters of the R2P doctrine and backers of the GCR2P, the United States and European countries, do not seem to agree with the centre's assessment of the situation in Gaza. Nor are they upholding the "responsibility to protect" in the case of the Palestinian people being indiscriminately killed by the Israeli forces. Rather they are actively aiding and abetting Israeli war crimes, flouting international legal principles they have spent decades rhetorically promoting.

The emergence of R2P

The roots of the R2P doctrine can be traced back to the international reaction to the recurrence of mass atrocities in conflicts in Bosnia, Rwanda and elsewhere in the 1990s.

Given that the UN was established on the principle of deterring mass atrocities, such as the Holocaust, the proliferation of such crimes, even in the heart of Europe, rang alarm bells in the "never again" camp.

In the run-up to the adoption of R2P, many regional and international actors felt compelled to intervene in civil conflicts. From the early 1990s, the Organisation of African Unity (renamed the African Union in 2002), championed a more proactive stance towards promoting peace, security, democracy and development on the continent....

​Read the full opinion at Aljazeera