Israel’s war on Palestine: It’s bad, but is it ‘genocide’?

Charles Davis writes: “It’s heartbreaking to see,” said US President Barack Obama of the death and destruction his government has helped the state of Israel deliver to the people of Gaza. It’s “really heartbreaking,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry of the nearly 2,000 innocent people killed by the Israeli military with weapons provided by the US government. “The loss of children has been particularly heartbreaking,” said Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, of dead little boys and girls — more than 400 of them — being stacked on top of one another in a freezer meant for ice cream because Gaza’s morgues are overflowing with corpses.

There are a lot of words that one could use to describe the collective punishment of a stateless people living in what a top United Nations official describes as an “open-air prison,” but “heartbreaking” is perhaps the most inadequate, suggesting that there’s a certain tragic inevitability to Israel’s bombardments of Gaza, to which the only proper response is a shrug and a shake of the head. It’s acceptable to lament Israel’s killing of innocents, but the repeated bombing of UN schools packed with thousands of frightened civilians is, according to the harshest respectable critics, a strategic error — a case of “good intentions” paving the way to hell on Earth for Palestinians — not a reason to withdraw support for the settler-colonial project in Palestine or to “delegitimize” the idea of a state explicitly founded on ethnic supremacy.

Israel’s brutality is, of course, tragic, and the killing of babies is never a good look, but it’s more than just heartbreaking folly. “It is a moral outrage and a criminal act,” according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Widely viewed as an ally of the US and Israel, Ban nonetheless has labeled Israel’s deliberate targeting of UN schools in Gaza a “gross violation of international humanitarian law.”

Amnesty International has likewise accused Israel of committing “crimes against humanity” over its targeting of hospitals, ambulances, and first-responders, saying the state should be referred to the International Criminal Court for prosecution. And Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of “blatantly violating the laws of war,” with the group documenting numerous instances in which Israeli soldiers went out of their way to shoot fleeing civilians. But no Western official has called the terrorizing of 1.8 million people living in Gaza an “act of terrorism,” though it is openly intended to bring about political change and punish the people of Palestine for electing the wrong leaders. And while you’ll hear the word at protests, the leading human rights organizations have refrained from calling it “genocide.” [Continue reading…]

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1 thought on “Israel’s war on Palestine: It’s bad, but is it ‘genocide’?

  1. Chet

    An excellent article. While focusing on the physical ethnic cleansing I thought the comment “While conflict has many causes, genocidal conflict is identity-based,” is significant because the zionist plan has always been to not only physically cleanse the land of Palestinians but to also “annihilate their identity”, as Evan Jones states in his recent article The Pariah State. Golda “Mabovitch” Meir made the famous comment “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people,” and the zionists have been hard at work removing all evidence to prove this propaganda.

    Beginning in 1947/8 the Jewish terrorists executed thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians and drove over 700,000 Palestinians from their homes in what is now Israel into Gaza. The colonial Europeans destroyed and renamed the Arab towns, obliterating any evidence of their existence. These foreign terrorists stole Palestinian assets and personal possessions, including schools, libraries, books, pictures, private papers, historical documents and manuscripts including several private collections of manuscripts and tens of thousands of books were looted by the Haganah and never returned.

    In 1958 the Israeli authorities destroyed 27,000 books, most of them Palestinian textbooks from the pre-1948 period, claiming that they were either useless or threatened the state. The authorities sold the books to a paper plant.

    In 1982 Beirut-based Palestinian Research Centre were systematically looted by the invading Israelis; its historical archives and a 25,000-volume library and microfilm collection were looted and carted away by the Israeli army. The IDF stole precious documents, dating back centuries, that the Centre had purchased in Europe and restored to the cultural custody of the Palestinians.

    The attempt to annihilate the Palestinian culture continues with the Israeli government’s 2001 closure of the Orient House (Bayt al-Sharq) in East Jerusalem and confiscated its archive and the collections of the Arab Studies Society housed in it.

    The ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinians continues as does the attempt to annihilate their identity.

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