White Flags, Black Flags, Where’s the Flag of Peace?

Christopher Black

I had intended to write about the Canadian government’s embarrassment over the revelation that the two “Michaels,” the two Canadians arrested in China several years ago for espionage, after Canada illegally detained Huawei chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on President Trump’s orders, were actually spies after all, despite Canada’s denials which are still maintained.


The revelation of the truth of that situation is contained in court documents that became public after one of the spies sued the government for getting him involved with a government intelligence agent. China has called for Canada to apologise for its slanders, accusing China of inventing the charges. Canada refuses, and continues to do America’s bidding against China, from harassing it with its bathtub navy in the China Sea to making false claims about human rights in China. But events pushed that aside as Canada, again in lock step with US immorality and illegality, supports, with propaganda and arms, the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people, and tries to ethnically cleanse Gaza to create a Greater Israel.

We remember that one of the main propaganda charges against President Milosevic of Yugoslavia at the ICTY was that he was responsible for the wars in Yugoslavia because he wanted to create a Greater Serbia. It was all nonsense and the judges of the ICTY finally said so, after his death, in later trials, but at the time, the allegation was pumped up to make him look like a monster for wanting to expand Serbia. But today, the very people who invented those allegations support Israel and its openly stated objective of creating a Greater Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, while some of the right-wingers in control of Israel advocate expanding Israel from the Euphrates to the Nile. The double standards are visible to the world.

The Americans in charge of the prosecutions at the NATO controlled ICTY who were so worked up about Milosevic now warmly embrace the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and do all they can to support Israel in that attempt. But then, the Americans supported the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo, and engaged in two hundred years of ethnic cleansing of the peoples living in what is now the USA to create a continent wide settler state there.

The Israelis, and their allies, try to justify their crimes, but they cannot be justified, anymore than the Nazis in Warsaw were justified for the suppression of the Jewish uprising in Warsaw in 1943. The world watched as the Jews of Warsaw, driven to desperation, rose up against the German occupation forces in a heroic struggle to gain their freedom, to throw off the yoke of murder and oppression. The fighting was bitter and cruel. The Germans reacted with the same brutality as we now see being used against the Palestinians, and it came to a tragic end. The Nazis were condemned for what they did to the Jews of Warsaw, Today, the Israelis are supported by the West for doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to them.

The world witnesses the atrocities committed by Israel in Gaza and, for the most part, it stands by and watches, everyone wringing their hands, and moaning about the horrors they see, but doing nothing to stop it, all afraid of a wider war, all except the Houthis, and Hezbollah who are showing what could be done to force Israel to stop. But they in turn are threatened with retaliation by Israel, and the United States, Iran is threatened. Always more threats, more war, no diplomacy, and always the claims that they have the higher morality, that they are the good fighting the bad. But the deliberate destruction of anything that makes life possible in Gaza, of schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, infrastructure for power, and water, proves that they intend to erase the Palestinians from the region. They go so far as to bomb cemeteries, people ask why would they do that? It is clear, even the Palestinian dead cannot rest in peace. They too must be removed, the memory of their presence, of their lives, their history, their culture, everything must be destroyed. The Israelis have observed what the Americans did in the US territories, how they got away with it, and have learned the lesson.

But the single incident that proves the Israeli intentions, is the murder of the three Israeli prisoners held by Hamas in Gaza, who were shot multiple times by the Israeli soldiers in december 2023, The three had managed to escape and make their way towards Israel forces, with their shirts off to make sure the Israelis could see they were unarmed, not Hamas fighter, and they carried a white flag and called out for help in Hebrew, The white flag is the internationally recognised symbol of surrender. A white flag signifies to all that someone is unarmed, with an intent to surrender or a desire to communicate. Persons carrying or waving a white flag are not to be fired upon. This has been international law since ancient times. The white flag was used in Han China, in the Roman period and in all wars.

They were gunned down without mercy. The Israelis claimed their men made a mistake. They thought they were under threat, that the flag was a ruse by Hamas fighters. But no one is going to believe them when the findings of their own inquiry are that there was no threat whatsoever. Then why were they shooting? It is clear. They were shot as deliberate policy by the Israeli army, which claims to take prisoners, but instead has shown it will shoot down any Hamas fighters trying to surrender. Their so-called rules of engagement cannot be what they claim. Those soldiers were clearly ordered to shoot everyone and white flags? Ignore them. Shoot to kill.

And what will happen to those soldiers, their commanding officers, for this crime? Nothing, They have been exonerated already. It was all a mistake. More “mistakes” will take place because for them, dead Palestinians are good Palestinians.

And what about international criminal law? Well, what about it? The International Criminal Court Prosecutor has done nothing, said nothing, apparently thinks nothing. The world demands the ICC issue charges against Netanyahu and his government and army, but in response the ICC remains silent, is thereby complicit, confirming its illegitimacy as a world court. It has proven itself to be, once again, a tool of power politics, a tool of the West.

On December 19th, 2023, the Americans announced the creation of a naval task force comprised mainly US and other NATO ships to protect shipping passing through the Red Sea. Canada is part of this, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Britain and others, but it will be mainly an American affair. The real goal, of course, it to protect Israeli shipping, since the Houthis are not targeting other nations’ vessels. But what have the Houthis done? Simply applied the logic of the NATO alliance of embargoing a nation they see committing war crimes against an oppressed people.

Is this not what the Americans and their allies have done to Russia for its actions in helping the people of the Donbass? The Americans and allies have embargoed Russia in every imaginable way and claim this is justified. The embargo against Russia is an act of war and illegal, But that does not affect the Americans, who play by their own rules. Well, then surely the Houthis can do the same thing to assist the Palestinians resisting the Israeli massacre of their people. And just as the Americans threaten anyone wishing to break the embargo on Russia, the Houthis have every right to resist American attempts to break the Houthi blockade of ships heading towards Israel.

Since there is no diplomacy taking place, only increased threats of more war, and since the Israelis are finding they face stiff resistance in Gaza and cannot defeat Hamas, only murder civilians, and in reaction threaten war on Lebanon, Iran, and Syria, and since the Americans are escalating the situation with arms to Israel, and now a naval force that can also threaten Iran, the world situation has become even more volatile. White flags of surrender, of submission, of peace are shot to pieces. The black flag has been raised, meaning no quarter will be given, no prisoners taken. This is the world order, the rules-based order, that the Americans and their allies want to impose on the world, an order of brutality and barbarism. Who dares raise the flag of peace?

Chris Black

Christopher Black is a Toronto-based lawyer specialising in international criminal law. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases. He writes essays on international law, politics and world affairs. He is a member of the World Union of Freethinkers and has been nominated for a seat on its board.