U.N. Report Accuses Israel of Engaging in Genocide Against Palestinians in Gaza

A United Nations expert has released a comprehensive human rights report that presents compelling evidence suggesting that Israel may be engaged in acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. This accusation carries significant weight, especially since the ongoing war has intensified over the past six months.

Israel’s military offensive in Gaza has been deemed as genocide by Francesca Albanese, the special rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories. In her report titled “Anatomy of a Genocide,” Albanese outlines three key reasons why the ongoing offensive qualifies as such. The report was published by Albanese on Tuesday and will be presented to the Human Rights Council.

“Genocide is not a single act, but rather a process that unfolds over time. It begins with the dehumanization of a particular group, treating them as ‘other’ and denying their inherent humanity. Ultimately, it culminates in the complete or partial destruction of that group,” she emphasized during her address to the council. “Throughout history, Palestinians have been subjected to the dehumanization that has characterized their experiences, including ethnic cleansing, dispossession, and apartheid.”

The conflict escalated when Israel was targeted by Hamas militants on October 7, resulting in the loss of approximately 1,200 lives and the abduction of numerous individuals. A temporary ceasefire allowed for the release of some hostages, but tragically, an estimated 30 captives remain unaccounted for. Albanese’s report strongly denounces Hamas and their violent attack, urging for the immediate release of the remaining hostages.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the offensive in Gaza by Israel since the October attack has resulted in the death of over 32,000 Palestinians in the territory. Additionally, around twice that number have been wounded in the conflict. It’s important to note that these figures do not account for those who are still trapped beneath the rubble of buildings destroyed by soldiers. The situation has led to a significant displacement of the Palestinian population, with many facing the risk of starvation due to Israel’s restrictions on aid entering the enclave.

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The report stated that by examining the patterns of violence and Israel’s policies in its attack on Gaza, there are reasonable grounds to believe that Israel may have committed genocide.

Israel did not participate in the Human Rights Council session on Tuesday and strongly disagrees with Albanese’s conclusions. The country finds it “outrageous” that the report uses the term genocide.

The Israeli mission to Geneva issued a statement firmly rejecting the report, stating that it is part of a larger campaign aimed at undermining the establishment of the Jewish State. They criticized the Special Rapporteur for distorting and misrepresenting reality, noting that her arguments are weak and biased. The mission expressed their disappointment in the biased mandate of the Special Rapporteur, suggesting that it only serves to damage the Human Rights Council’s reputation.

By analysing the patterns of violence and Israel’s policies in its onslaught in Gaza, this report concludes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating Israel’s commission of genocide is met. Francesca Albanese, U.N. Human Rights Council special rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories

According to the report, the survivors will bear the lasting scars of the traumatic events they have witnessed. They have been subjected to immense devastation, including the loss of lives and homes, as well as emotional and material belongings. The aftermath has left them grappling with endless humiliation and fear.

Palestinians gather for the second Friday prayer of the holy month of Ramadan amidst the remnants of Al-Farouq Mosque. The mosque, destroyed by Israeli air strikes on March 22, 2024, stands as a symbol of resilience and faith in Rafah, Gaza.

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Israel has justified its actions by claiming that its military offensive adheres to international humanitarian law. However, according to Albanese’s report, one of the crucial discoveries reveals that Israel’s executive and military leadership, along with its soldiers, have deliberately used the IHL framework as a “humanitarian disguise” to justify the perpetration of genocidal violence against Palestinians.

According to the report, Israel has employed various legal concepts, including human shields, collateral damage, safe zones, evacuations, and medical protection, in a way that blurs the line between civilians and combatants in their actions in Gaza.

Israel’s intent was demonstrated through the “genocidal rhetoric” expressed by its top officials. Statements from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Israeli Defense Force spokesperson Daniel Hagari, Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter, Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu, and Revital Gottlieb from the right-wing Likud Party were highlighted by the special rapporteur.

We cannot avert our eyes. We must confront genocide. We must prevent it and we must punish it. Francesca Albanese, U.N. Human Rights Council special rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories

Experts and academics, as well as nations like South Africa, have cautioned that Israel’s actions since Oct. 7 could potentially be classified as genocide.

On January 26, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) determined that there is a credible threat of lasting harm to the rights of Palestinians in Gaza. In response, the ICJ directed Israel to use all available means to prevent acts of genocide and incitement, as well as provide urgent humanitarian assistance. However, human rights organizations have expressed worries that Israel is disregarding the ICJ’s directive, despite the United Nations Security Council passing a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire during the holy month of Ramadan.

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In her recommendations, Albanese urges countries to take immediate action against Israel by imposing sanctions and implementing an arms embargo. She also calls on member states to support South Africa in its case before the ICJ and to conduct independent and transparent investigations into all violations of international law by Israel and Hamas. Additionally, she stresses the importance of holding Israel and other complicit states accountable for the harm caused, ensuring they commit to not repeating it and providing reparations to the people of Gaza.

“We cannot turn away. We need to confront genocide head-on. We must take action to prevent it and ensure that those responsible are held accountable,” stated Albanese during his address to the council. He emphasized the urgent need to address the catastrophic situation, which has been widely documented and brought to the attention of the world by its victims themselves.”

Albanese’s report, with potential legal consequences for South Africa’s case before the ICJ, has sparked contrasting reactions from various members of the Human Rights Council. Countries concerned about the humanitarian crisis have expressed their endorsement of the report’s findings. On the other hand, nations that continue to support Israel’s offensive have shown their displeasure both towards the report and Albanese.

During her address to the council, she emphasized that the ongoing genocide in Gaza is a direct result of Israel’s unlawful actions to remove Palestinians from their land. She also criticized the international community for failing to hold Israel accountable for its actions. According to her, denying the reality of the situation and allowing Israel to act with impunity is no longer acceptable.

“In view of the Security Council resolution that was passed yesterday, I urge member states to fulfill their obligations,” stated emphatically.

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