November 19, 2023
From Internationalist 360

Sam Huseini
Reuters reports that “Iran warned in a social media post on Saturday that if Israel’s ‘war crimes and genocide’ are not stopped then the situation could spiral out of control with ‘far-reaching consequences’.”

Similarly, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has accused Israel of “genocide” against the Palestinians.

South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, said Israel’s planned actions are “going to amount to almost genocide.”

Human rights lawyer Noura Erakat writes: “Israel plans to flatten Gaza. This is beyond comprehension. There’s no irony that in the name of battling ‘barbarism,’ Israel with the backing of the U.S. and most European capitals, will unleash a genocidal campaign.” See “A Textbook Case of Genocide” from Jewish Currents.

If the Iranian, Venezuelan, South African and other governments think that Israel is committing or threatening genocide, they should invoke The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

It’s important to note that you don’t need millions of dead bodies and a Nazi industrial system of extermination to constitute genocide under the relevant convention. See from the late President of the Center for Constitutional Rights Michael Ratner: “UN’s Investigation of Israel Should Go Beyond War Crimes to Genocide” (see video) and the piece “More voices describe Gaza slaughter as a ‘genocide.’

Ratner noted that for a genocide, “you don’t need to kill them all. You just need to have the mental intent to kill part of them.” He cites Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, who has warned of an “incremental genocide” of Palestinians and Israel’s ultimate destruction of Palestinians as a national group.

Some, like Ken Roth, point to the International Criminal Court as the mechanism for the Palestinians to use for redress, but, in spite of the Palestinians signing the ICC — putting their own people at risk of selective enforcement — the ICC has made it clear over (from 2012: International Criminal Court Rejects Israeli War Crimes Probe, Court Called ‘Hoax’”) and over and over and over they have no interest in lifting a finger for the Palestinians. And of course, the US (and Britain) will almost certainly block any moves in the UN Security Council, as there might be a vote Monday.

Professor Francis Boyle at the University of Illinois has perhaps done the most extensive work in advocating for how the Genocide Convention would be applied. This is somewhat informed by his having represented the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, arguing their genocide case against Yugoslavia before the International Court of Justice. He says:

Immediately institute legal proceedings against Israel before the International Court of Justice in The Hague on the basis of the 1948 Genocide Convention, request an Emergency Hearing by the Court, and obtain an Order by the Court against Israel to cease and desist from committing all acts of genocide against the Palestinians. This Order will then be transmitted by the Court to the United Nations Security Council for enforcement as required by the United Nations Charter. In the event the United States were to exercise a veto at the Security Council against the enforcement of this World Court Cease-and-Desist Order against Israel, you can then invoke the General Assembly’s Uniting for Peace Resolution of 1950 in order to have the World Court Order turned over to the United Nations General Assembly for enforcement against Israel. Under the terms of the Uniting for Peace Resolution, the General Assembly can recommend enforcement measures against Israel to every state in the world that would be lawful for them to carry out. In addition, the U.N. General Assembly could also admit Palestine as a full-fledged U.N. Member State.

See Boyle’s talk “Stopping Zionist Genocide Against The Palestinians!” For more details on this process, see my prior article on this subject from 2014: “A Global Legal Intifada: If It’s a Genocide in Gaza, then Invoke the Convention to Stop it”, following Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” attack during which 2,310 Palestinians were killed, the vast majority civilians; 67 Israel soldiers and six civilians were also killed.

Also see from the Center for Constitutional Rights: “The Genocide of the Palestinian People: An International Law and Human Rights Perspective” which notes among other things that: “Scholars of genocide have distinguished it as a crime different from other forms of war, killing, violence, discrimination, and repression. ‘Genocidal action aims not just to contain, control, or subordinate a population, but to shatter and break up its social existence. Thus genocide is defined, not by a particular form of violence, but by general and pervasive violence.’ They note that settler colonial regimes are structurally prone to genocide, and may indulge in ‘genocidal moments’ when they become frustrated by the resistance of a colonized or occupied people.”

As I reported at the time, in 2014, the PLO office at the UN seemed to be calling on other states to not attempt to apply the Genocide Convention.

So, it might be a major demand that Palestinians and others might make — to have the Palestinian Authority / PLO move on this.

Particularly since RT reports: “Palestinian Authority sounds alarm over ‘genocide’.” Is the Palestine Authority so alarmed that they will actually finally take legal action?

Similarly, people can demand that the governments proclaiming their solidarity with the Palestinians — including Bolivia, Brazil (now president of the Security Council), Chile, Gambia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, Tunisia, Uganda — to use all the legal mechanisms at their disposal, including the Genocide Convention and the Uniting for Peace mechanism.

To Save Gaza, Invoke the Genocide Convention

Activating the Genocide Convention

Craig Mokhiber: US Officials Can Be Prosecuted for Israel’s Genocide in Palestine