Is Israel Committing the Crime of Genocide? By Amandla! Correspondent

by Feb 11, 2015Magazine

Around the world, publicopinion is just beginning to adjust to the idea that Israel employs a system of apartheid against the Palestinian population under its military occupation. Israel’s latest round of wanton destruction in the besieged Gaza Strip, under the guise of “security needs”, has exterminated 89 Palestinian families completely, incurred over 2,140 fatalities, wounded more than 11,000 and displaced a quarter of a million people. It has left many wondering if these actions amount to genocide.A number of Latin America state leaders and civil society groups across the globe have used the word “genocide”, as have journalist John Pilger and historian Ilan Pappé , whether implicitly or explicitly. Last week, in reaction to the aftermath of Israel’s attack on Gaza, an extraordinary session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine concluded: “It is clear that the Palestinians constitute a national group under the definition of genocide. It has been established that Israeli military activities considered under the heads of war crimes and crimes against humanity meet the acts set forth in sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) above.” The sub-paragraphs to which the Tribunal is referring are found in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: “Article 2 In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” As Dr. Rania Masri points out, it is crucial to a•rm that the Palestinians constitute a national entity. Israel’s human rights violations against one part of the group in fact apply to the whole, since one of Israel’s crimes against the indigenous people of Palestine is their geographic division. The tribunal is focusing on Gaza, and within that narrow scope it has already found it instructive to examine Israel’s actions according to the criteria of the Convention on the Crime of Genocide. Meanwhile a journalist for Electronic Intifada, Rania Khalek (among others), has put Israel’s human rights violations against the whole of the Palestinian people in context – in Gaza, the West Bank, inside the 1948 armistice line, and the flow of Palestinian refugees around the world. Her coverage has revealed an horrific picture of Israel’s “intent to destroy” a “national group under the definition of genocide”. Palestinians and the Belgium Supreme Court have been talking about “acts of genocide” since Ariel Sharon came to power in 2003, but many others have concurred in the view that such a term is appropriate since then. It seems that Israel’s latest assault on Gaza has culminated in a tsunami of allegations of genocide. A global campaign called “Israel Genocide?” ( is calling for the un O•ce of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to “investigate the possibility that Israel is committing the Crime of Genocide against the Palestinian People, and that the o•ce publish its findings and recommendations.” Additionally, at the grassroots level, the campaign engages the general public, asking each and every one of us to take the initiative and write to the un O•ce of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide to demand that it investigate the case of Israel. The campaign publishes such letters on its website as another means of pressuring the Adviser’s o•ce. Mirroring what is quickly becoming the sentiment of many, the campaign states: “We are people from all around the world who fear that we are witnessing the genocide of the Palestinian people by the State of Israel. Witnessing Israel’s daily violations of Palestinian human rights – military take-over of land, restriction of movement, economic strangulation, house demolitions, restrictions on basic foodstu••, mass arbitrary arrests of both adults and children, torture, extra-judicial executions, and large-scale massacres of whole families, openly calling for genocide and/extermination by law makers and other public figures – we can not keep silent about this 67 year-old atrocity unfolding before our eyes.”

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