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Israeli organisation calls for end to ‘76-year campaign of genocide’ against the Palestinians

November 2, 2023 at 5:39 pm

Palestinian people and teams conduct search and rescue operation among the debris of destroyed buildings as Israeli attacks continue to cause destruction on the 24th day in Rafah, Gaza on October 30, 2023 [Abed Rahim Khatib – Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) has called for an end to Israel’s 76-year “campaign of genocide” against the Palestinian people. The call has been made in a media statement issued by ICAHD Director Jeff Halper.

“The destruction of Gaza and its people going on before our eyes is just the latest, tragic chapter in Zionism’s/Israel’s drive to Judaise Palestine,” said ICAHD. “This is accompanied by the violent ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the West Bank being carried out by Israeli settlers and soldiers, which is largely unreported.”

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The committee described both Israel’s “assault on Gaza and the killing of innocent Israelis” by Hamas as war crimes.

If we step back and view the systemic destruction of the Palestinian people since 1947… the picture that emerges is one of genocide

Genocide, said ICAHD, is often a prolonged process comprised of successive war crimes. “If we step back and view the systemic destruction of the Palestinian people since 1947, their replacement by Jews and the transformation of their country into an exclusively ‘Jewish’ one, the picture that emerges is one of genocide.”

The process, the committee added, has seen tens of thousands of Palestinians killed; 80 per cent of the Palestinian population driven out in the 1948 Nakba and their lands seized; the dispersal of refugees; the denial of their national and human rights, even of their very existence as a people; and their physical, cultural and juridical erasure as a people with rights to self-determination in their homeland.

“We at ICAHD realise that this is an extremely serious accusation. But as an organisation that gives voice to Israeli Jews engaged in a joint anti-colonial struggle with their Palestinian comrades, we believe it is crucial to view that struggle in a clear historical light.”

The Genocide Convention, noted ICAHD, speaks of the intentional destruction of a people in whole or in part, and the organisation contends that that is precisely what Zionism/Israel had to do in order to transform an inhabited Arab country into a Jewish one. “The Genocide Convention, as part of international law, carries with it sanctions and punishment for perpetrators of such a crime, and that is what ICAHD is calling for.”

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The term “genocide” was formulated by the Jewish-Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin against the backdrop of the Holocaust. It was codified as a crime under international law in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention). The definition of genocide, as set out in Article 2 of the Convention, is simple and straightforward, its first three elements clearly reflecting Israeli policies and actions towards the Palestinian people since initiating its process of systematic genocide in 1947:

Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

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

“By itself the ongoing destruction of Gaza and its people is a war crime, far too disproportionate to qualify as mere retaliation for the horrendous Hamas attack on Israeli civilians (also a war crime), and far too costly in civilian life and property to justify any militarily action against Hamas, warranted as that may be.

Three events have prompted ICAHD’s call for urgent international action to end Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people: the indiscriminate bombing of the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza on 31 October, in which innocent people – refugees from Israel’s campaign of expulsion in 1948 – were slaughtered in order to assassinate a single Hamas commander; and the brutal attacks happening now against Palestinians in the West Bank in which Israeli settlers and soldiers are terrorising families and emptying whole towns and villages — forced displacement — a crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

“To this must be added the statements of genocidal intent emanating from the highest Israeli government and military officials, whether towards the people of Gaza or directed at Palestinians (“the Arabs”) in general, statements that lead us to fear heightened colonisation and further genocide if the international community allows Israel free reign to erase the Palestinian people politically, culturally and if need be physically.”

The committee also called on the international community – the UN, governments and peoples – to hold Israel accountable for its decades of genocidal colonisation. “Most urgently we call for isolating and sanctioning Israel until its destruction of Gaza and its people ends, and the violent displacement of Palestinians from their lands and communities by Israeli settlers and soldiers ceases.”

ICAHD also called on the International Criminal Court to bring to trial for war crimes the responsible Israeli political and military leaders. “Furthermore, we call on the UN to enforce Article 3(e) of the Geneva Convention punishing for ‘complicity in genocide’ the United States, Canada, Europe and other countries, including Arab and Muslim governments pursuing normalisation with Israel.”

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