UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, International Criminal Court Prosecutor, International Court of Justice President: Investigate the Possibility that Israel is Committing the Crime of Genocide Against the Indigenous Palestinian People.
Amnesty’s 280 pages of damning evidence of Israel’s racism and apartheid did not shy away from connecting Israel’s violent present with its equally bloody past. It did not borrow from Israel’s deceptive language and self-serving division of Palestinians into disconnected communities, each with a different claim and a different status. For Amnesty, as was the case with Human Rights Watch’s report in April 2021, Israeli injustices against the Palestinians must be recognised and duly condemned in their entirety.
“Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has pursued an explicit policy of establishing and maintaining a Jewish demographic hegemony… while minimising the number of Palestinians and restricting their rights,” the report stated. This could only happen through mass killing, ethnic cleansing and genocide, from Tantura to the Naqab, to the Moroccan Quarters, to Gaza and Sheikh Jarrah.
Rifqa is Mohammed El-Kurd’s debut collection of poetry, written in the tradition of Ghassan Kanafani’s Palestinian Resistance Literature. The book narrates the author’s own experience of dispossession in Sheikh Jarrah–an infamous neighborhood in Jerusalem, Palestine, whose population of refugees continues to live on the brink of homelessness at the hands of the Israeli government and US-based settler organizations. The book, named after the author’s late grandmother who was forced to flee from Haifa upon the genocidal establishment of Israel, makes the observation that home takeovers and demolitions across historical Palestine are not reminiscent of 1948 Nakba, but are in fact a continuation of it: a legalized, ideologically-driven practice of ethnic cleansing.
The whole world recoiled at the May media footage of racist Israeli settlers threatening to kill and beating up Palestinian people in order to steal their homes in the Sheik Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. The press, however, did not point out many of these arch-racist settlers are actually Americans with dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, whose real “home” is Long Island. Nor was it explained that the U.S. and state governments are complicit in these crimes because they allow, and even give tax exempt status to organizations which mobilize these home-grown racists for ethnic cleansing and genocide in occupied Palestine.
There’s this extreme, violent’ and urgent situation that Israel is undertaking. A renewed massacre in Gaza, and god knows what inside 48 and Jerusalem. The other day we saw 2-300 settlers march into Sheikh Jarrah, smashing up houses, smashing up shops, smashing up cars. Just going on an absolute rampage. This has been happening everywhere. It’s not an exaggeration to say that there’s definitely a potentially genocidal situation on our hands.
In the coverage of Israel’s attacks on Palestinians in Sheik Jarrah, in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied Jerusalem, and since the establishment of the Israeli state, major U.S. media outlets have continuously framed Israeli state-sanctioned genocide against Palestinians as the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”… “Israeli-Palestinian Hostilities” from the New York Times. “Surge in Israeli-Palestinian conflict prompts concern…” writes The Boston Globe. “Israeli-Palestinian Violence” declares NPR, all coining the violence Palestinians are experiencing as mutual. This framing of Israel and Palestine in a “conflict” or “crisis” validates the violent genocidal settler-colonialism enacted by the nation-state of Israel and its military through the demonization of Palestine as a complicit aggressor, assuming that they are operating on equal terms. Israel is an internationally funded nation-state, occupying Palestine’s unceded West Bank and Gaza, settling Palestinian land, and forcing native Palestinians out.
The terms “Jews” and “Israelis” as well as “Palestinians” and “Arabs” are used as interchangeable synonyms. As a consequence, the colonial dimensions are obscured because Palestinians are not referred to as indigenous people and Israel is not identified as a colonial power.
…The latest Israeli airstrikes on Gaza were as well portrayed as a “response” to Hamas which is depicted as “an Islamic group sworn to Israel’s destruction.” That Israel is sworn to the destruction of Hamas and to Palestine as such is not part of the discourse. In fact, settler-colonial expansion is genocidal as such and necessitates the removal of the indigenous people.
SAs we repledge never never and never again the cries of our Palestinian brothers and sisters under siege in Al Aqsa, East Jerusalem and all of occupied Palestine falls on the deaf ears of the world. The hypocrisy of those who claim to mediate peace or promote normalisation but have allowed the proliferation of illegal settler expansion; Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem is a case in point. Ourselves as South Africans erstwhile beneficiaries of global solidarity and the Anti-Apartheid Movement cannot sit by idly. We cannot countenance normalisation of trade and travel with Apartheid Israel; we have a moral obligation to do more just as the Palestinian leadership under Fateh despite their own woes shared moral, financial and military support to our struggle. We must legislate support for the BDS campaign as a matter of urgency and quid pro quo for Apartheid Israel’s continued ethnic cleansing, genocide and extermination of Palestinian presence from the Land of their birth.
My mothers cousin, Omar Al-Kiswani, is the director of Al-Aqsa mosque and on the front lines of resisting settler violence. So if you claim to be my friend and ignore what’s happening in Palestine, you’re quite literally turning a blind eye to the suffering of my family and my people. I wish nothing more than to be with my people right now, but I’ve been banned from entering my own homeland by Zionist settler scum since 2015. Meanwhile just a couple weeks ago, our village Beit iksa was set ablaze by settlers who chanted “may your village burn” An Israeli fire truck came but didn’t put out the fire, they had to wait for a Palestinian fire truck to put it out. They also smashed several car windows and sprayed racist graffiti in our village, the village where my father and all 4 of my grandparents were born in. This is just a snapshot of the last two weeks, for Palestinians who have family back home, these stories are all too familiar. Yet we are some of the only people constantly living in this trauma, sharing information about the attacks our communities withstand, while our neighbors and friends in the U.S. ignore us. I shouldn’t have to draw out these personal connections, but when you ignore Palestinians sharing footage capturing the ongoing genocide of Palestine, you are literally ignoring our families suffering from and resisting zionist colonial violence.
“These violations happened at the request of the Israeli settlers taking over our homes. I can’t get the voice of our neighbors’ children screaming out of my head. This is a nation of terrorists. Israel is fascist and genocidal,” tweeted Mohammed el-Kurd, a journalist and resident of Sheikh Jarrah… “They destroyed our neighbor’s gates, broke into their rooms, terrorized their children, all while the settlers taunted and played their genocidal racist Zionist music. All of this force because people want to protest ethnic cleansing. Israel is a terrorist state,” said el-Kurd.
Thousands of Jordanians Friday afternoon, carried out a demonstration in the courtyard of the Grand Husseini Mosque in Downtown Amman, in solidarity with the Palestinians in the face of the violations of the Israeli Occupation and the forced displacement of the people of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in the West Bank. MP Armouti, who attended, said “Palestine cannot be divided by two. We are with the people of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and with every part of Palestine.” … He described what is happening as “human crimes, war crimes, and genocide crimes,” considering it a breach of world peace and security under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 9.