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Christ Under the Rubble: We are angry, we are broken. This should have been a time of joy, instead we are mourning, we are fearful. More than 20,000 killed, thousands are still under the rubble, close to 9,000 children killed in the most brutal ways, day after day, 1.9 million displaced, hundreds of thousands of homes destroyed. Gaza as we know it no longer exists. This is an annihilation. This is a genocide. The world is watching. Churches are watching. The people of Gaza are sending live images of their own execution. Maybe the world cares, but it goes on. We are asking here, could this be our fate- in Bethlehem, in Ramallah, in Janeen?
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“But I would also argue that we have a credible case for genocide. Genocide is acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, as such. And as we’ve seen from the jurisprudence of the ICTY and the ICTR, that group- that group in whole or in part- can be in a geographical area. Again, we have the 25-mile-long Gaza Strip under complete and total siege, at this moment. That entire population at this moment is subject to an attack. An attack with the statements by israeli officials, which reveal, again, their intention to create conditions of life to destroy that population. And indeed that is one of the underlying acts of genocide.”
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I think that really exemplifies sort of the rules of genocide and how people talk about genocide. So I think of these rules- I kind of divide them into two categories- there are the rules that are about how the powerful get to use the term and get to exploit it; and then there are the rules that are about preventing the less powerful from talking about genocide and making use of it.
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Craig Mokhiber: This is very much a world in which the West is complicit in genocide in the 21st century.
Diana Buttu: I was gonna ask you- this is probably the last question I have, which is- fast forward let’s say 10-20 years, how do you think the world is going to look back on this?
CM: I mean I think that there’s no doubt that retrospectively there’ll be a lot of shame. For- not just the failure of many to respond to a genocide unfolding before their eyes, but- the complicity of many. Not just governments, but- as I say- people in the media, people in everyday life. But that’s not going to bring justice to the Palestinian people for what has been perpetrated on them. And that’s why I think beyond shame there has to be actual individual criminal accountability for perpetrators. There has to be a reckoning when it comes to the media, so that there’s some level of accountability there.
“War crimes, crimes against humanity must be accounted for, but also must be prevented. Together with other Special Rapporteurs [I] have warned, already three weeks ago, against the risk that Israel might commit the crime of genocide against the Palestinian people, as genocide is the intentional targeting of a population based on racial, national, ethnic or religious lines, with intent to destroy, it in all or in part. And certainly the statements made by Israeli politicians and military unveil a genocidal intent to wipe out Gaza and its residents, and this should not be ignored.”
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“In this moment Israel has targeted 29 UNRWA schools, eight of which were providing shelter at the time. Has targeted 12 out of 35 hospitals that are critical to ensure life. Has cut off water, has cut off electricity, has bombed humanitarian convoys, has prevented the creation of any humanitarian corridors. We must understand this as a genocidal campaign. And if we understand it as such, as defined by the 1948 Genocide Convention, which has two critical elements; both genocidal intent, as well as specific underlying acts- which have been demonstrated exhaustively by legal scholars, genocide scholars, legal institutions- then we must also agree that there is no condition on how we apply ceasefire now. There is no legal or moral code that justifies genocide. Not in the name of self-defense, not in the name of National Security, not in the name of achieving any kind of resolution. There should be no equivocation on demanding an unequivocal ceasefire now. Not just to cease the hostilities but literally in order to stem a genocide.”
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Over the last few days, we have witnessed Israel undertaking a crime of genocide against the on the Palestinian people in the besieged Gaza strip. Senior Israeli officials have made statements with genocidal intent and followed them up with actions that deliberately inflict on the Palestinian people conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction, amounting to the crime of genocide as defined in international law. This is not an isolated situation but is an extension of systematic grave injustices the Palestinian people have been subjected to, for over a century.
Judge Paul Garlick: Sealing off the whole of a country like Gaza. Electricity, water. That is genocide.
Shelagh Fogarty: Can I ask you a specific thing about that?… Is that akin to at least, the siege of Sarajevo, for example?
Judge Paul Garlick: It’s very similar, absolutely. Very similar. I mean, when I was dealing with cases in Sarajevo, the poor people in Sarajevo had to exist for years, and the United Nations had to build a special tunnel to get emergency supplies in. But the scale of this, I mean, Sarajevo was a small valley. The scale of- the whole area of Gaza- and from your news bulletin- your summary of it- some people have been able to escape to Egypt… but for the literally tens of thousands of civilians in Gaza, who are completely innocent, to cut off water, electricity, and food is- well it is, under the Rome Statue, under article six, is genocide by deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction.
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[I]n 2014, Michael Slate interviewed Ilan Pappe, Israeli historian, and author of many works, including The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. This has renewed relevance today, in the context of the powerful film “Fahra,” now streaming on Netflix, and the frenzied attacks on it by the Israeli government and the usual band of US Zionists. The interview was conducted during a genocidal Israeli assault on the outdoor prison called Gaza. The horrors then inflicted on Palestinians are echoed in almost daily videos on social media of the cold-blooded murder of unarmed Palestinians carried out by the Israeli army and rabid gangs of fascist so-called settlers. This is a powerful truth that some try hard to cover up, but many more are simply ignoring.
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