Israel’s heavy-handed reaction to Hamas’s surprise attack last month fits the “textbook” definition of genocide, an outgoing top UN official said.
Craig Mokhiber, the head of the UN’s human rights office in New York, said there has been a “wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist settler colonial ideology.”
Mokhiber, who has reached retirement age, announced he will step down from his position and said the UN is failing its mission.
“Once again we are seeing a genocide unfolding before our eyes and the organization we serve appears powerless to stop it,” he said.
The international human rights lawyer called for the establishment of a single, democratic state in “all of historic Palestine, with equal rights for Christians, Muslims, and Jews,” which would dismantle the “deeply racist, settler-colonial project and an end to apartheid across the land.”
He gave an interview to Al Jazeera and said the most difficult challenge when proving genocide is showing intent “because there has to be an intention to destroy in whole, or in part, a particular group.”
“In this case, the intent by Israeli leaders has been so explicitly stated and publicly stated—by the prime minister, by the president, by senior cabinet ministers, by military leaders—that that is an easy case to make. It’s on the public record,” he said.
TRENDPOST: Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Wednesday that Israel killed six times more children in Gaza within three weeks than Russia did during its nearly 2-year war in Ukraine.
Van Hollen told the former Raytheon board member that in the first six days of the war, Israel dropped 6,000 bombs on the Gaza Strip. (See “HAARETZ NOTES THAT NEARLY HALF OF THOSE KILLED DURING HAMAS ATTACK WERE ISRAELI SECURITY FORCES” 31 Oct 2023, “U.S. CALLED OUT BY DEVELOPING WORLD FOR BLATANT HYPOCRISY OVER ISRAEL AND RUSSIA” 31 Oct 2023 and “SPEAKER MIKE JOHNSON IS ISRAEL’S FAR-RIGHT’S MAN” 31 Oct 2023.)
“Israel has stopped reporting the number of bombs dropped, but the intense pace continues,” he said. “Last night, my wife and I learned that someone we know well lost two family members and four of their children in the bombing in Gaza…So they are not yet included in the most recent death toll, reported by the United Nations yesterday, which said the number of dead has risen to over 8,300 people, 70 percent of them women and children, including 3,457 children. According to UN figures, that is about six times more children killed in three weeks in Gaza than the number of children killed in Ukraine during the entire war there,” he said.
TRENDPOST: Mokhiber noted that this is not the first time that the UN failed to stop genocides and listed the Tutsis in Rwanda, Muslims in Bosnia, the Yazidi in Iraqi Kurdistan, and the Rohingya in Myanmar, The Guardian reported.
A group of experts, made up of seven UN special rapporteurs, said in a statement Thursday that “the Palestinian people are at grave risk of genocide.
“We demand a humanitarian ceasefire to ensure that aid reaches those who need it the most,” the statement read, according to Al Jazeera.
The International Criminal Court, or ICC, says: “To constitute genocide, there must be a proven intent on the part of perpetrators to physically destroy a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.”
“Importantly, the victims of genocide are deliberately targeted—not randomly—because of their real or perceived membership of one of the four groups protected under the Convention (which excludes political groups, for example). This means that the target of destruction must be the group, as such, and not its members as individuals. Genocide can also be committed against only a part of the group, as long as that part is identifiable (including within a geographically limited area) and ‘substantial’,” according to the ICC.
Israel would claim that it is not targeting Palestinians, but rather Hamas fighters. Israel has long clung to the claim that Hamas uses civilians as human shields.
“If Israel wants to exterminate the civilians of Gaza, why would it call on them to evacuate to the south and limit its attacks there?” Eitay Mack wrote in Haaretz. Mack did take into account Israeli extremists like Ariel Kallner who tweeted on the day of the Hamas attack: “Right now, one goal: Nakba! A Nakba that will overshadow the Nakba of 48.”
Avi Shlaim, a prominent Israeli-British historian and emeritus professor of international relations at Oxford University, said last week that the U.S., U.K., and European Union gave Israel a “warrant for genocide” in the Gaza Strip.
“The Western response to the crisis is the usual hypocrisy and ruthless double standards, but this time it’s been taken to a new level. The western love of Israel has always been accompanied, has always depended on the erasing of Palestinian history and humanity,” he said, according to Middle East Eye. “Deep concern for Israel’s security is reiterated at all times by western leaders – but not a thought is given to Palestinian security.”