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
“The presence of genocidal behavior and language, even if used in government circles, is not by itself sufficient to conclude that Protective Edge, despite its enormity, amounted to the commission of the crime of genocide.
What the jury did agree upon, however, was that some Israeli citizens and leaders appear to have been guilty in several instances of the separate crime of incitement to genocide, which is specified in Article 3(c) of the Genocide Convention. It also agreed that the additional duty of Israel and other parties to prevent genocide, especially the United States and Europe, was definitely engaged by Israeli behavior. In this regard, the Russell Tribunal is sending an incriminating message of warning to Israel and an appeal to the UN and the international community to uphold the Genocide Convention, and to prevent any further behavior by Israel that would cross the line.”
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine convened an emergency session in Brussels last month to examine whether Israel committed war crimes in the besieged Gaza Strip during “Operation Protective Edge,” the summertime military assault that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, and left Gaza in ruins.
After hearing testimony from journalists, eyewitnesses, legal scholars and physicians present during the onslaught, the twelve-member jury, made up of world-renowned intellectuals and international law experts, found Israel guilty of “war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes of murder, extermination and persecution and also incitement to genocide…”
Taken together, the testimonies presented at the Russell Tribunal (all of which can be viewed here) demonstrate a clear pattern of intentional destruction of Gaza and its people by an increasingly extreme settler-colonial state “primed for genocide,” as Max Blumenthal put it.
Genocide does not happen overnight or in a vacuum. There are warning signs, many of which were raised at the Russell Tribunal.
As demanded by the peoples and all justice and peace-loving forces, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) calls for the prosecution before the International Criminal Court of Israeli officials and military commanders for committing war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity, and US leaders for aiding, abetting, and assisting in the commission of these crimes during the murderous rampage of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in their 50-day military aggression on Gaza codenamed Operation Protective Edge… US officials have aided, abetted and assisted the commission by Israel of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity by providing the latter with the military means to commit these crimes…
The ILPS supports the action taken by the US’ National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Center for Constitutional Rights, International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), Arab Lawyers Union, and American Association of Jurists in urging Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to initiate an investigation of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity committed by Israeli leaders, and aided and abetted by US officials in Gaza.
“An Argentine lawyer said he will file a lawsuit in federal court in Buenos Aires accusing Israel of crimes against humanity and genocide… the suit will be filed in the coming days in response to Israel’s 50-day operation in Gaza this summer. The suit is in conjunction with the American Association of Jurists… The suit singles out specific Israeli leaders as being responsible both directly and non-directly for the alleged crimes, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Likud MK Moshe Feiglin.”
The lasting result of operation “Protective Edge” is that Israel’s policy toward Gaza and Palestine is becoming widely recognized as a genocide.
The destruction of Gaza is slow to be processed as ‘genocide’ by most North American university programs or concerned NGO’s, who along with government policies are legally bound to the prevention of genocide.
Typical hallmarks of the previous stages in this incremental genocide reappear in this wave as well. As in the first operation against Gaza, ‘First Rains’ in 2006, and those which followed in 2009, ‘Cast Lead’, and 2012, ‘Pillar of Smoke’, one can witness again consensual Israeli Jewish support for the massacre of civilians in the Gaza Strip, without one significant voice of dissent. The Academia, as always, becomes part of the machinery. Various universities offered the state its student bodies to help and battle for the Israeli narrative in the cyberspace and alternative media.
The Israeli media, as well, toed loyally the government’s line, showing no pictures of the human catastrophe Israel has wreaked and informing its public that this time, ‘the world understands us and is behind us’. That statement is valid to a point as the political elites in the West continue to provide the old immunity to the Jewish state. The recent appeal by Western governments to the prosecutor in the international court of Justice in The Hague not to look into Israel’s crimes in Gaza is a case in point. Wide sections of the Western media followed suit and justified by and large Israel’s actions.
Israel’s so-called Protective Edge is the final proof of Israel’s unabashed face, that of genocide. It carried it out, this time paying little attention to the fact that the whole world was watching. Trending Twitter hashtags which began with #GazaUnderAttack, then #GazaResists, quickly morphed to #GazaHolocaust. The latter was used by many that never thought they would dare make such comparisons.
Gaza managed to keep Israel at bay in a battle of historic proportions. Once its children are buried, it will once again rebuild its defenses for the next battle. For Palestinians in Gaza, this is not about mere resistance strategies, but their very survival.
Last Tuesday, the Israeli government decided to bring its near month long campaign of destruction and devastation of the Gaza Strip to a halt with a temporary ceasefire (arguably meant to hold longer), claiming its immediate objectives had been achieved. These goals seem to have been the wanton destruction of Palestinian lives and property… The recent Israeli attack on Gaza seems like a natural consequence of this policy, given that the wanton destruction of Palestinian lives and property in the Strip really seems tantamount to an act of genocide…
Children bloodied, on gurneys in hallways, parents moaning, holding a dead child—if one applied a moral calculus, what is worse, the infliction of the death and pain, or insensitivity to the commission of the act, whether done by oneself or by others in one’s name? To call itself The Jewish State, Israel legitimates genocide in the name of G-d.
TAKE ACTION now and write a letter to the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the International Criminal Court Prosecutor. Make sure to post a copy of the letter in our comments as well, so we can publish it.
We express our absolute repulsion at the genocide being carried out against the Palestinian people by a state founded on dispossession and the colonial occupation of Palestinian territories… We condemn the imperialist role of the United States that politically, financially and militarily sponsors and backs Israel, in the face of the extraordinary inaction of the UN Security Council whose resolutions on the question of Palestine are systematically violated with complete impunity by Washington. The United States is once again demonstrating the hypocrisy and cynicism with which it has acted throughout history, threatening sanctions and interventions against the peoples of Latin America, Africa and Eurasia who defend their sovereignty at the same time as its backs the actions of Israel. We denounce the complicity in what is occurring, by default in some cases, of the governments that make up the European Union, as well as the unconditional subordination of the media oligarchs to Washington’s dictates. Enough of calling it a war when in fact it is a genocide being perpetrated by one of the best equipped armies in the world against a people whose defensive resources are infinitely inferior in quantity and quality!
We encourage you to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against the terrorist state of Israel, as it is time for active and creative solidarity that goes beyond statements of condemnation. We have failed the more than 1600 people killed in Palestine over the last few weeks, as well as the more than 9000 injured since the start of the terrorist operation hypocritically named “Protective Edge.”
We demand an end to apartheid and genocide, as well as to the walls and illegal settlements. We call on the governments of the world to demand that Israel complies with UN Security Council resolutions that oblige it to withdraw from Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, return to the borders that existed prior to the “Six Day War” (1967) and guarantee the right of return for Palestinian refugees, as per Security Council Resolution No. 242, November 22, 1967, a resolution that has been consistently ignored by the state of Israel.