Why Israel’s war on Gaza is textbook genocide.



Why Israel’s war on Gaza is textbook genocide.


From the very beginning, Israeli officials have made their genocidal intentions in Gaza clear. And in the three months since October 7, they’ve followed through on their promises, inflicting incomprehensible suffering on the over two million Palestinians trapped in Gaza. 

Now, South Africa is charging Israel with genocide in Gaza, bringing its case to the International Court of Justice, the court of the United Nations. Hearings in the Hague began today, and will continue in the next week to determine immediate provisional measures. And in the U.S., the Center for Constitutional Rights is suing President Biden, Secretary Blinken, and Secretary Austin for abetting Israel’s “genocide of the Palestinian people.”

In this Wire, we’ll explain that Israel is committing genocide — and why Israel’s prosecution under international law matters for our movement as Jews for Palestinian freedom.

The Genocide Convention

Both South Africa and the Center for Constitutional Rights are basing their cases on the Genocide Convention — the treaty that defines the crime of genocide under international law.

This definition has two requirements for determining that a state is committing a genocide: 

  1. The state must demonstrate the intent to destroy a group of people.
  2. There must be physical acts committed which put this intent into action. 

Israel’s months-long assault on Gaza clearly meets both of these legal requirements of genocide.


The Genocide Convention was drafted in the aftermath of the Nazi Holocaust, in the face of a particular kind of horror: not just mass killing, but mass killing with the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.”

Intent is often understood by scholars as the most difficult component of the genocide definition to prove in court. However, Israeli government officials have repeatedly made their intent to commit genocide remarkably evident. Both their rhetoric and actions illustrate that they are targeting and bombing Palestinians in Gaza for the sole reason that they are Palestinians in Gaza.

  • On October 12, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said: “It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware not involved. It’s absolutely not true. … and we will fight until we break their backbone.” 
  • Israel has now carried out over three months of “indiscriminate” bombing in Gaza, targeting churches, mosques, hospitals, schools, U.N. facilities, refugee camps, homes, and the very roads on which Palestinians were fleeing Israeli bombing. Nowhere in Gaza is safe from the Israeli onslaught.

Physical acts 

Any of five different acts can constitute acts of genocide when they are committed with this intent. There is overwhelming evidence of the Israeli government committing at least four of these five acts, much of which is laid out in the South African case filing.

1. Killing members of the group

  • On October 7, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Nissim Vaturi said: “Now we all have one common goal — erasing the Gaza Strip from the face of the earth.”
  • Israel has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians, over 9,000 of whom have been children.

2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group

  • On October 17, Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir tweeted: “The only thing that needs to enter Gaza are hundreds of tons of explosives from the Air Force, not an ounce of humanitarian aid.”
  • More than 55,000 Palestinians in Gaza are now injured. Half are at risk of starvation. And the World Health Organization is warning that both famine and the mass spread of disease are likely to kill even more Palestinians in Gaza.

3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, in whole or in part

  • On October 9, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said: “No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly…Gaza won’t return to what it was before. We will eliminate everything.” 
  • On Friday, the UN warned that Gaza has “become uninhabitable” due to the Israeli bombardment and blockade. The Israeli military has since cut off Gaza’s access to food, water, fuel, and medical supplies, intermittently also cutting off internet and electricity. Half of all homes in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged, and 30 of Gaza’s 35 hospitals are out of operation. 

4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group

  • On November 19, 2023, Major General in the Israeli Army Giora Eiland said: “Who are the ‘poor’ women of Gaza? They are all the mothers, sisters or wives of Hamas murderers.”
  • There are about 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, all of whom are facing “uninhabitable” conditions. Women giving birth are unable to access obstetric care, an “ever-increasing number” of babies are dying from preventable causes, the risks of miscarriage and maternal death are elevated, and the Israeli military’s bombing of hospitals led in November to the deaths and severe illness of premature babies in the NICU.

Read more: Why Israel’s war on Gaza is textbook genocide.

UN OCHR: The war in Gaza must end

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

The war in Gaza must end

Statement by Martin Griffiths,
Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator 


(New York, 5 January 2024) Three months since the horrific 7 October attacks, Gaza has become a place of death and despair.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly women and children, have been killed or injured. Families are sleeping in the open as temperatures plummet. Areas where civilians were told to relocate for their safety have come under bombardment. Medical facilities are under relentless attack. The few hospitals that are partially functional are overwhelmed with trauma cases, critically short of all supplies, and inundated by desperate people seeking safety.

A public health disaster is unfolding. Infectious diseases are spreading in overcrowded shelters as sewers spill over. Some 180 Palestinian women are giving birth daily amidst this chaos. People are facing the highest levels of food insecurity ever recorded. Famine is around the corner.

For children in particular, the past 12 weeks have been traumatic: No food. No water. No school. Nothing but the terrifying sounds of war, day in and day out.

Gaza has simply become uninhabitable. Its people are witnessing daily threats to their very existence – while the world watches on.

The humanitarian community has been left with the impossible mission of supporting more than 2 million people, even as its own staff are being killed and displaced, as communication blackouts continue, as roads are damaged and convoys are shot at, and as commercial supplies vital to survival are almost non-existent.

Meanwhile, rocket attacks on Israel continue, more than 120 people are still held hostage in Gaza, tensions in the West Bank are boiling, and the specter of further regional spillover of the war is looming dangerously close.

Hope has never been more elusive.

Gaza has shown us the worst of humanity, as well as moments of great heroism.

We have seen how violence cannot resolve differences, but only inflame passions and build new generations of danger and insecurity.

We continue to demand an immediate end to the war, not just for the people of Gaza and its threatened neighbors, but for the generations to come who will never forget these 90 days of hell and of assaults on the most basic precepts of humanity.

It is time for the parties to meet all their obligations under international law, including to protect civilians and meet their essential needs, and to release all hostages immediately.

It is time for the international community to use all its influence to make this happen.

This war should never have started. But it’s long past time for it to end.

US Advocated Ethnic Cleansing of Gaza

Biden administration promoted Israeli plan to "voluntarily relocate" 2.5-million Gazans to Sinai

The media has buried one of the most shameful stories regarding Biden ministration collaboration with Israel in a scheme for ethnically-cleansing Gaza. Harvard professor Sara Roy writes in the NY Review of Books:

” In November a USAID official approached a colleague of mine and asked about the feasibility of building a tent city in the Sinai, which would be followed by a more permanent arrangement somewhere in the northern part of the peninsula”

Rashid Khalidi has also said in a Foreign Policy video interview:

“At the outset of this war, the President sent Secretary Blinken to convey to the Egyptians and the Jordanians a request that they allow Palestinians to be expelled into their territory. That is disgraceful. That is direct American participation in the ethnic cleansing of part of Palestine, what is historic Palestine. They immediately pulled back on that when the Egyptians and the Jordanians slapped them in the face and said, “under no circumstances.” And explained why under no circumstances would they allow that to happen.

I think that’s one of the most disgraceful chapters in American diplomacy. That the United States would, for the first time in its history, be willing to participate in forcing Palestinians out of Palestine.

Read more at https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2024/01/03/us-advocated-ethnic-cleansing-of-gaza/?utm_source=mailpoet&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tikun-olam-new-posts-daily-digest_1

Watch the new film Israelism


When two young American Jews raised to unconditionally love Israel witness the brutal way Israel treats Palestinians, their lives take sharp left turns. They join a movement of young American Jews battling the old guard to redefine Judaism’s relationship with Israel, revealing a deepening generational divide over modern Jewish identity.


Watch Q&A with Co-Directors Erin Axelman & Sam Eilertsen, along with Rabbi Miriam Grossman and Unsettled podcast producer Ilana Levinson: https://youtu.be/6RMEQYNBytM

Watch Q&A with main film subject Simone Zimmerman, along with Judaism Unbound podcast host Rabbi Lex Rofeberg: https://youtu.be/owg8iRvjse8

Netanyahu's Latest Poison Pill

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu recently posted an op-ed laying out his three prerequisites for “peace.” I place the word peace in quotes because his plan is basically a poison pill to avoid any serious move towards a just peace which acknowledges the rightful aspirations of the Palestinian people. It is, like many other previous Israeli offers, a cynical ploy meant to short circuit any serious negotiations. It is an “offer” designed to guarantee rejection by Palestinians. That way Israel can once again claim that it is Palestinian obstinance that stands in the way of peace. The facts belie this notion.

Netanyahu’s three prerequisites are: 1. The total destruction of Hamas, 2. total demilitarization of Gaza, and 3. the “deradicalization” of the population there.
In other words, an unconditional surrender by Palestinians (after which any negotiations would be total irrelevant). I would say they are all impossible to achieve, but the final one is really puzzling. Is Israel going to brainwash the population of Gaza? Is it going to put the people there into reeducation camps? Just what does “deradicalization” mean and how do we know when it is achieved? Thought police? The Spanish Inquisition?

Read more: Netanyahu's Latest Poison Pill



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