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Israel's 'grave violations' against Palestinians 'point to a genocide in making': UN experts

November 16, 2023 at 2:16 pm

A general view of a destroyed building, belonging to Abu Jazar family, following the Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza on November 15, 2023 [Abed Rahim Khatib – Anadolu Agency]

“Grave violations” committed by Israel against Palestinians since Oct. 7 “point to a genocide in the making,” a group of independent UN experts said on Thursday.

“They illustrated evidence of increasing genocidal incitement, overt intent to ‘destroy the Palestinian people under occupation,’ loud calls for a ‘second Nakba’ in Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, and the use of powerful weaponry with inherently indiscriminate impacts, resulting in a colossal death toll and destruction of life-sustaining infrastructure,” the experts said in a statement, referring to the 1948 Nakba, or catastrophe, in which some 750,000 Palestinians were driven off their land.

Underlining that they already raised the alarm about the “risk of genocide in Gaza,” the group of experts, made up of seven UN special rapporteurs, said in a statement that they are “deeply disturbed by the failure of (world) governments to heed our call and to achieve an immediate cease-fire.”

“We are also profoundly concerned about the support of certain governments for Israel’s strategy of warfare against the besieged population of Gaza, and the failure of the international system to mobilize to prevent genocide,” they said.

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The experts said Israel’s “egregious violations cannot be justified in the name of self-defense,” and added that the country “cannot wage a war against the population under its belligerent occupation.”

“The reality in Gaza, with its unbearable pain and trauma on the survivors, is a catastrophe of enormous proportions,” they said.

The experts also raised alarm about the escalation of violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

“We are deeply distressed at the failure of Israel to agree to – and the unwillingness of the international community to press more decisively for – an immediate ceasefire. The failure to urgently implement a ceasefire risks this situation spiraling towards a genocide conducted with 21st century means and methods of warfare,” they warned.

They also voiced concern over “discernibly genocidal and dehumanising rhetoric” coming from senior Israeli government officials, as well as some professional groups and public figures, calling for the “total destruction,” and “erasure” of Gaza, the need to “finish them all” and force Palestinians from the West Bank and east Jerusalem into Jordan.

“Israel has demonstrated it has the military capacity to implement such criminal intentions,” they said.

In the short-term, the experts said that an immediate ceasefire, unimpeded delivery of aid, release of the hostages taken by Hamas and Palestinians arbitrarily detained by Israel, and humanitarian corridors toward the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Israel are needed.

Additionally, they recommended the deployment of an international protective presence in the occupied Palestinian territory under the supervision of the UN, collaboration of all parties with the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on the investigation opened in March 2021.

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The experts also asked for the implementation of an arms embargo on all warring parties and they underlined the need to address the underlying causes of the conflict by ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory.

Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.

At least 11,500 Palestinians have been killed, including around 7,900 women and children, and over 29,800 others injured, according to the latest figures from Palestinian authorities.

Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques and churches, have been damaged or destroyed in the Israeli offensive.

The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, stands at 1,200, according to official figures.