FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Israel’s Gaza War can be Classified as Genocidal

In his cogent commentary in the October 3-5 weekend edition of CounterPunch “The Tale of Two UN Speeches,” Uri Avnery, critiquing the UN speech of Palestinian state president Abbas, wrote: This led Abbas to use very strong language – so strong as to defeat its main purpose of promoting peace. He used the word “genocide” – not once, but three times…During the Gaza war, more than 2000 Palestinians were killed, mostly civilians, many of them children, almost all by bombardment from land, air and sea. That was brutal, even atrocious, but it was not genocide. Genocide is a matter of hundreds of thousands, millions, Auschwitz, the Armenians, Rwanda, Cambodia.”

Avnery, as with most commentators who are not familiar with the 1948 United Nations Covenant on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, misinterprets its intent and requirements for application. Here are the requirements for genocide, any one of five situations:

-killing members of the group;
indigenoushistory

-causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

-deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

-imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

-forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.[1]

The term “genocide” was coined following the Shoah, or Holocaust, and its prohibition was enshrined in the United Nations convention adopted in 1948. In the convention, any one of five acts is considered genocide if “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”[2]

Therefore, Avnery is wrong in two respects: The numbers of persons from the targeted group killed outright are not the deciding factor. Nor did the vast governmental murders in Cambodia fall under the definition of genocide (some have called it “auto-genocide”) in international law, but was, of course, a war crime punished as such. As Avnery says erroneously of the Gaza war was true of Cambodia: “That was brutal, even atrocious, but it was not genocide.”

Regarding the most recent Gaza war, a case could be made, and has been made by the State of Palestine, for genocidal intent. Settler colonialism is inherently eliminationist, that is, genocidal. [3]

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s latest book is An Indigenous People’s History of the United States

Notes.


[1]  “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Geno
cide,” Paris, 9 December 1948, https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%2078/volume-78-I-1021-English.pdf

[2]  My emphasis: https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%2078/volume-78-I-1021-English.pdf

[3]  See: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Boston: Beacon Press, 2014).

More articles by:

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is the author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.

July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail