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الموقع تحت الإنشاء

النسخة التجريبية من موقع النهضة العربية (أرض)

Stop Genocide in Gaza
Statement of the Global Network on the Question of Palestine


The Global Network on the Question of Palestine (GNQP) strongly condemns the assault by the Israeli occupation power on the Gaza Strip that began on the 7th of October. Compelling evidence indicates that Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip amount to genocide under international law. Moreover, Israel’s indiscriminate bombing and blockade of Gaza may additionally and separately constitute war crimes. Israel may also be responsible for crimes against humanity, including murder, extermination, forced transfer, and apartheid.

In accordance with its first article, the Genocide Convention seeks to prevent and punish the crime of Genocide as well as criminalize the related behaviors. It not only highlights the imperative of preventing or stopping an ongoing genocide, but it also makes clear that inaction by States party to the treaty, including the Third States, engages criminal complicity in genocide itself.

The Convention prohibits, among other things, killing members of a group, causing them serious bodily or mental harm, or deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. These acts become genocide if the group is national, ethnic, racial, or religious in character, and if, additionally, they are carried out with intent to destroy the group in whole or in part. The term “in part” has been construed to mean any significant part of the group. The Convention allows for no justification for genocide. It cannot be undertaken as reprisal for, or response to, unlawful acts, no matter how serious.

As of 17 October, it is reported that since the 7th of October Israel’s actions have resulted in the deaths ofover 2,800 Palestinians, including over 724 children, and injured over 10,850, violating the aforementioned prohibited acts under Article 2 (a) and (b) of the Genocide Convention. Serious bodily and mental harm is understood to be acts that “seriously injure the health, causes disfigurement or causes serious injury to the external, internal organs or senses.” (Prosecutor v. Kayishema and Ruzindana, Judgment, ICTR-95-1-T, 21 May 1999, para. 109). The complete blockade of Gaza, cutting power, and depriving Gazans of electricity, food, water, and fuel, meets the definition in Article 2(c) of an act deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction.

Genocidal policies toward the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian People did not begin with the response to Oct 7th  Hamas  assault, but long preceded it. 16 years of an air, land, and sea blockade which had a severe and cumulative impact and which according to Human Rights Watch “has devastated the economy in Gaza, contributed to fragmentation of the Palestinian people, and forms part of Israeli authorities’ crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution against millions of Palestinians.”

Statements by Israeli officials demonstrate genocidal intent, as noted by prominent genocide scholars and human rights organizations. For example, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to turn Gaza into “rubble”. Israeli President Isaac Hertzog said, “It is an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true, this rhetoric about civilians [being] not aware, not involved. It’s absolutely not true.” Yoav Gallant, the Israeli Minister of Defense, stated: “We are imposing a complete siege on [Gaza]. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel – everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly”. Major General Ghassan Alian, Coordinator of the Government in the Territories (COGAT), proclaimed that, “… the citizens of Gaza are celebrating. Human beasts are dealt with accordingly… Israel has imposed a total blockade on Gaza, no electricity, no water, just damage. You wanted hell, you will get hell.” These statements (to which the emphasis has been added) may additionally constitute direct incitement to commit genocide, prohibited under Article 3(c) of the Convention. In the Rwanda Genocide, the ICTR considered media articles published dehumanizing the Tutsi as inyenzi (cockroaches) as incitement to genocide. There has also been an increase in settler violence in the West Bank, as well as civilians killed by the Israeli Military Forces.

The GNPQ recognizes the devastating impact on Israel of Hamas’ actions on 7th October, including those that might constitute violations of international humanitarian law. The Convention, however, allows for no extenuating circumstances with regard to actions that constitute genocide. The fact that a group has been warned in advance and urged to leave their homes for their own safety is irrelevant, as is the fact that the aim of the action is to seek out combatants within the group.

Because the Gaza Strip retains the status of “Occupied Territory”, self-defense is not a justification.. Israel’s demand that Palestinians in Gaza in the northern sector move to the south is a demand that cannot be met under current conditions and does not affect Israel’s responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention for the security and wellbeing of the Occupied People, including those who cannot or chose not to comply.

Under Article 9 of the Genocide Convention, States may submit to the International Court of Justice disputes arising under the Convention. The Gambia instituted proceedings against Myanmar alleging violations of the Genocide Convention, which the ICJ found that it had jurisdiction over, despite Myanmar’s objections. States that have not made reservations to Article 9 are urged to bring proceedings against Israel to the ICJ. States’ encouragement of and support for Israel’s actions, including the forcible transfer of civilians, may additionally incur legal responsibility of those states.

In addition to genocide, Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of the Gaza Strip, including a deadly airstrike on civilians on routes Israel had declared safe, the wiping out of entire families, and the use of white phosphorus in densely populated areas, are violations of the Geneva Conventions and may constitute war crimes. As the occupying power, Israel has a clear obligation to ensure the basic needs of Gaza’s civilian population are met. Deliberately cutting off water, electricity, food, and fuel to Gaza violates Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under both international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

The Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip cannot be considered in isolation from the structural violence that marks the daily lives of Palestinians under Israeli control. Gaza has been under illegal siege since 2007.The ongoing illegal occupation and apartheid in Palestine are inherent to Israel’s settler-colonial enterprise, and a clear violation of people’s right to self-determination and return.

In light of this, we urge the international community to:

  • Intervene immediately to protect the Palestinian people against genocide, employing all means available that would deter and halt Israel, including sanctions;
  • Pursue accountability through the International Court of Justice for Israel’s violation of the Genocide Convention, as well as through the International Criminal Court and other available venues for those responsible for committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, while ensuring that the victims receive due reparations and compensation, as per international law;
  • Acknowledge Israel’s oppressive dominance as a settler-colonial power over the Palestinian people and put an end to its unlawful manifestations, including the apartheid regime and the occupation;
  • Re-affirm the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights to self-determination, return and to all other rights that these entail.

Finally, given the failure of the United Nations to ensure a just and lasting solution  and limited hope of achieving justice through international institutions, we urge civil society and all actors engaged in the Question of Palestine to consider the feasibility of establishing a people’s tribunal to address the crime of genocide in the Gaza Strip.