20 January, 2014
20 January 2015
Dear UN Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide,
I urge you to urgently conduct an enquiry as to the possibility that Israel is committing the Crime of Genocide. After conducting the enquiry, I urge you to please publish its findings and recommendations for preventing present, and/or gradual, and/or future genocide by Israel.
In light of earlier and alarming findings of independent experts, in particular since Israel’s hermetic siege and separation of the occupied Gaza Strip in 2007 and the consecutive waves of mass killings of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, this investigation, which should be the responsibility of UN personnel, is important and timely.
The former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the OPT, Prof. Richard Falk, separate Arab League- and UN-led investigations into Israel’s 2008/9 war on Gaza, and the 2014 Russell Tribunal on Palestine special session on Israeli violations of international law in Gaza and elsewhere in the OPT, have all confirmed that Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity have been perpetrated with impunity and, furthermore, that direct and public incitement to genocide by Israeli political, religious and parliamentary leaders have been well documented. Therefore, the UN Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide should investigate if Israeli officials are responsible for the crime of genocide, including the crime of incitement to genocide, and to assess and prevent the risk of a future Israeli genocide against (all or parts of) the Palestinian people.
Israel should be held accountable for its regime of colonialism, apartheid and occupation, including the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in this context against Palestinians since 1948, such as ethnic cleansing and mass killing of civilians. The urgent need to hold Israel accountable is strongly supported by factual evidence as well as international law. Like the crime of genocide, colonialism and the crime of apartheid are internationally prohibited. They also result in similar legal responsibilities: all states and international organizations, such as the United Nations, are to isolate and suppress Israeli apartheid and colonialism, bring responsible individuals to justice, and ensure full reparation for the Palestinian victims.
In addition, I am extremely disturbed by equivocal statements made by UN agencies in relation to the issue of possible genocide in 2014, in a situation which was almost as far from equivocal as it could possibly be. I urge you to investigate and consider that making equivocal statements is harmful and damaging, and I propose that an apology for such statements is in order immediately. In addition, a specific policy against making equivocal statements in such situations should definitely be instituted immediately. The following paragraph clarifies the problem of the equivocal statements:
On the 24th of July 2014, when Israel had already massacred 697 Palestinians in Gaza, of whom at least 170 are children, Adama Dieng and Jennifer Welsh of the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide published a statement*, which I find very troubling, especially when coming from the highest authority on the subject of the Crime of Genocide. While acknowledging the incomprehensible numbers of the dead, and the staggering destruction to civilian infrastructure to the besieged Gaza strip, which the UN itself has described as “uninhabitable” even before Israel’s latest onslaught, The Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide saw fit to equate the comparably meagre damage inflicted by the resistance of the victims of what very may well be genocide, to that of the perpetrators of this possible genocide, as they execute massacres alongside a campaign of mass destruction.
Therefore, please take all steps to rectify the damage caused by such equivocal statements, and please conduct an immediate enquiry and publish its findings and recommendations as to the possibility that Israel is committing the Crime of Genocide.
Wellington, New Zealand
Member, Palestine Working Group, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
Member, Aotearoa BDS, Aotearoa New Zealand