Friday, April 19, 2024
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UN Human Rights Rapporteur sees signs of genocide in Gaza

The US Congress debates whether Israel uses military aid according to its laws, while some representatives and senators accuse Israel of carrying out genocide in Gaza. Until now that word lacked official credibility because they were only accusations from the most progressive members of Congress, but today the UN Human Rights Rapporteur for Palestine will present a report that gives it legitimacy.

Under the title “Anatomy of a Genocide,” the Italian says she has found “founded grounds to believe that the threshold indicating that Israel commits genocide is met,” the report says. It does not refer only to “the overwhelming nature and scale of the assault on Gaza”, but to an entire process that traces back to the evacuation of Israeli settlers in 2005, which the now Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed, with the promise of ” recolonize the territory and expel the population as invaders.

The UN rapporteur recalls that the Convention on Genocide codifies it as “acts committed with the intention of totally or partially destroying ethnic, racial, national or religious groups.” She is aware that the key to that definition is intent, which is why she dedicates a significant portion of her 25-page report to demonstrating that Israel’s conduct since October 7 is the peak of a systematic attempt to exterminate the Palestinians.

For this, he also refers to the genocidal rhetoric used by his authorities, “who have painted the entire population as the enemy to be eliminated and displaced by force.” It is enough to refer to his public statements. President Isaac Herzog has said that “an entire nation is responsible” for the October 7 attacks, inflaming the spirits of soldiers carrying out the campaign in Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refers to the Palestinians, not just Hamas, as “monsters” and “amaleks,” described in the Hebrew Bible as the enemies of the Israelites. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has called them “human animals” and has publicly announced “a total offensive without restrictions” so that “Gaza will never return to what it was.” Tally Gotliv, Knesset member for Likud, has encouraged on social media to “bomb all buildings without distinction, to annihilate Gaza without mercy.”

The UN rapporteur sees in this “degrees of preconceived plans or policies,” that, due to the nature and scale of the atrocities, “if the result is shown to be genocidal, there is strong evidence of intent.”

As an independent rapporteur elected in May 2022 by the Human Rights Council, she does not speak on behalf of the UN, but makes recommendations to member states, urging them to immediately impose an arms embargo on Israel, hold it accountable and force it to to pay repairs.

Israel has not waited for her to appear, but last night issued a statement accusing her of continuously carrying out “a campaign to delegitimize the creation and existence of the State of Israel since she took office.” She considers her report “an obscene distortion and inversion of reality, which only brings further discredit to the Human Rights Council,” she concluded.

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