UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor: Investigate the Possibility that Israel is Committing the Crime of Genocide Against the Palestinian People
Raza Kazim, the Chair of IHRC Trust, introduced the event remembering the Commemoration of the Genocide Memorial Day by IHRC. Kazim noted that ‘the theme of this year’s GMD is “How states sanitise genocide and genocidal acts.” Considering that this GMD is commemorated on the anniversary on the end of Operation Cast Lead, a genocidal act committed by the Tel Aviv regime in 2008-2009 it is appropriate to mention the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu labelled this Tel Aviv regime as worse than the Apartheid regime of South Africa. The word Apartheid, amongst other things, symbolizes the process of dehumanizing a people which creates the environment for genocidal acts to take place.
Even the worst atrocity can be tolerated and explained, if it is de-contextualized – namely is not related to an ideology – and, thus, the discreet dots of Israeli criminality are not connected together to provide the full and truthful picture of the real intent of the settler-colonial project of Zionism that will not end until it is stopped – which is to eliminate the Palestinians and Palestine. I am sure we all understand that elimination can take more than one form: it could be genocide, it could be incremental ethnic cleansing, sieges, closures, blockades and starvation, as well the erasure of heritage, history and culture. It can take place in dramatic operations or on a daily basis and can be directed towards the individual or the society, as a whole.
Since outright ethnic cleansing – which Israel practiced during and after the wars of 1948 and 1967 – is not an option, at least not for now, Israel is finding other ways to ensure a Jewish majority in Israel itself, in Jerusalem, in Area C within the occupied West Bank and, by extension, everywhere else in Palestine.
Israeli dissident historian, Professor Ilan Pappe, refers to this as ‘incremental genocide’. This slow-paced ethnic cleansing includes the expansion of the illegal Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the proposed annexation of nearly a third of the Occupied Territories.
Until today even critical observers hesitated to apply the term genocide to Israeli polices towards the Palestinians. However, when viewing the situation of the Palestinian refugees and their descendants as victims of the logic of “elimination of the native”, they are as such also victims of a genocidal policy.
Such a reference is justified if we look at the UN’s definitions of genocide. The UN “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” of 1948, which was adopted by the Knesset as binding states: “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such ’including’ ’causing’ serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.”
The nature of zionism and the right of return are interconnected issues. Thus, we aim here to go beyond the framing the Palestinians as victims of one genocidal act in 1948, but rather as targeted by an policy of dispossession, which has visible aspects of genocidal policies.
Palestinian-South African academic Haidar Eid speaks to New Frame about the day the United Nations said the densely populated Gaza Strip would officially become unsuitable for human habitation.In 2012, the United Nations published research suggesting that by 2016, the main aquifer supplying water to about two million Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip would be “unusable” and that by 2020, the aquifer would have been damaged irreversibly. This would make Gaza uninhabitable by 2020. … “The terror of it is that Gazans die every day from preventable illnesses as a result of dirty water or the lack of a life-saving operation, or starvation due to the crops that fail to grow without sufficient irrigation, or babies dying because they cannot be kept warm in their first few days of life,” Eid said… Ilan Pappé, an Israeli academic who teaches at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, has described Israel’s policy towards Gaza as one of “incremental genocide”.
The recognition of the U.S. State Department of the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank is yet another indication that the two-state solution is dead. There are 600,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and they will soon be one third of the overall population. When the Zionist settlers in the 1930s became one third of the population, Palestine was doomed. This is when the Zionist leadership began to contemplate the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. … In some cases, the settler community acted upon the logic, defined by the late Australian scholar, Patrick Wolfe, as “the logic of the elimination of the native”. This led to the genocide of native Americans and aboriginals. But even there the struggle continues for recognition, restitution and equality. In Palestine, that logic was translated to an incremental process of ethnic cleansing, which the Palestinians call “the ongoing Nakba” (Nakba in Arabic is catastrophe and is used in the Palestinian narrative to describe the ethnic cleansing of 1948).
The editors would be happy if the Stop Israel featured on the top of the front cover resulted in one death less among Palestinians from colonising forces whose policy of “incremental genocide” (historian Ilan Pappé’s phrase) continues yearly.
… the Israeli academia is not a place where freedom of expression is being respected- and much more than that- this is a place that’s being complacent in the face of attempts for a culturcide and the erasure of collective memory, and evidence of the crimes committed in 1948… not only on this, because this particular episode is just a symptom of the overall campaign of Israel throughout the years, to not only erase Palestine and the Palestinians physically, but also to wipe them out, or expunge them, from historical memory and from history.
While two million civilian children, women, and men are kept prisoners just above starvation level in the world’s largest concentration camp, Gaza, for thirteen years, these so-called “Progressive” candidates, somehow with a straight face, uniformly parrot absurd Israeli talking points about the long discredited “Two State Solution” and refuse to call out the slow destruction of a people, seventy-five years after the Holocaust. In the words of Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, what they are white washing is an “incremental genocide.”
In February 2006, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s adviser Dov Weissglas shockingly admitted the goal for the 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as: “We have to make them much thinner, but not enough to die.” In October 2006, John Dugard, a South African law professor and the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, stated that Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into a prison for Palestinians where life is “intolerable, appalling, tragic” and appears to have thrown away the key. In a Jan. 11, 2008, article, Ilan Pappe, a Jewish professor and one of the leading historians of the Middle East, described the situation as genocide in Gaza and ethnic cleansing in the West Bank. These statements were before Israel totally sealed Gaza on Jan. 18, 2008. After this hermetic closure, Karen Koning AbuZayd, commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, stated: “Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescence and — some would say — encouragement of the international community.” On Jan. 30, 2008, Neve Gordon, who teaches politics at Ben-Gurion University, described the crisis as an experiment in famine. In 2012, the U.N. warned that Gaza would be unlivable by 2020 if nothing were done to ease the blockade.