Crimes of Israel

Featured image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Source: AFP

In the International Military Tribunal, know as the Nuremberg trial, the Soviet Union together with Yankee, British and French imperialism tried crimes of the European Axis, mainly by the Nazis.

In the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, war crimes is defined as follows:

‘ War crimes: ‘ namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;”

In addition the Soviet Union proposed to include crimes against civilians, which were defined in the Charter as crimes against humanity:

‘ Crimes against humanity: ‘ namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.”

The charter also established that not only the individual directly committing an act is responsible for the crime:

Leaders, organizers, instigators and accomplices participating in the formulation or execution of a common plan or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing crimes are responsible for all acts performed by any persons in execution of such plan.”

Regarding war crimes we have already reported on some of the violation of laws of war committed by the State of Israel. With neglecting to provide necessary supplies to the population under its occupation and further blocking other parties from delivering these supplies, in addition to destroying necessary infrastructure such as water wells and poisoning the groundwater with seawater, the State of Israel is using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare. These acts violates Article 23 and Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as Article 54 and Article 70 of the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions.

Regarding “murder, ill-treatment or deportation … for any … purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory” the State of Israel has murdered at least 31,988 people in Gaza since the 7th of October, including more than 13,000 children and 8,400 women. This is already more than one percent of the population in Gaza. In addition more than 8,000 people are missing, likely dead under the rubble of destroyed buildings. With this the real death toll is likely closer to 2% of the Palestinians in Gaza. The imminent famine and continuing military attacks against civilians point toward even larger parts of the population being murdered. The State of Israel has also forcefully displaced almost 1.9 million people, 85% of the population in Gaza. More than half of the population, an estimated 1.4 million people are currently living in Rafah, which used to have a population of around 250,000 people.

360,000 housing units, more than half of the homes of Gaza, have been destroyed or damaged. Only 12 out of 35 hospitals are partially functioning. 392 educational facilities have been destroyed or damaged. 83% of groundwater wells are not operational. 267 places of worship have been destroyed or damaged. According to satellite images an estimated 157,200 buildings have been damaged or destroyed. In densely populated areas more than half of all buildings have been destroyed. In northern Gaza almost three-fourths of all buildings have been damaged or destroyed. There is no doubt that the State of Israel is committing “wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity”.

Beit Hanoun, Gaza, on the 1st of May 2023 (left) and on the 21st of October (right). Source: Maxar Technologies

The mentioned war crimes are also crimes against humanity: “murder, … deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population”. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court expands on “extermination” as a crime against humanity: “’Extermination’ includes the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population”.

The State of Israel is not only committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, they are carrying out a genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide from 1948, defines genocide as “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;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

We have already explained how the State of Israel is killing Palestinians in Gaza, causing them serious bodily harm, and inflicting upon them conditions of life such as starvation. Since last October Israeli officials have at many times publicly revealed their genocidal intention and have made direct and public incitement to genocide. Many examples of these are included in South Africa’s application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for charging the State of Israel for genocide.

The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has made many statements dehumanizing the Palestinian people and called for exterminating them. On the 15th of October 2023 he stated that Israeli soldiers “understand the scope of the mission” and stand ready “to defeat the bloodthirsty monsters who have risen against [Israel] to destroy us”. On the 16th October, in a formal address to the Israeli Knesset, he described the situation as “a struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness, between humanity and the law of the jungle”. In his “Christmas message” Netanyahu stated the following: “we’re facing monsters, monsters who murdered children in front of their parents … This is a battle not only of Israel against these barbarians, it’s a battle of civilization against barbarism”.

On the 28th of October, while preparing for the land invasion of Gaza, he stated: “you must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember”. This referees a biblical passage: “Now go, attack Amalek, and proscribe all that belongs to him. Spare no one, but kill alike men and women, infants and sucklings, oxen and sheep, camels and asses”.

On the 12th of October the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, stated the following in a press conference: “It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware not involved. It’s absolutely not true. … and we will fight until we break their backbone.” He has also made handwritten messages on bombs dropped in Gaza.

The Israeli Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, in an Israeli Army ‘situation update’ stated that Israel was “imposing a complete siege on Gaza. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.” He has further made the genocidal plan clear by stating the following: “Gaza won’t return to what it was before. We will eliminate everything. If it doesn’t take one day, it will take a week. It will take weeks or even months, we will reach all places.”

On the 10th of November the Israeli Minister for National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, clarified the government’s position, stating: “[t]o be clear, when we say that Hamas should be destroyed, it also means those who celebrate, those who support, and those who hand out candy — they’re all terrorists, and they should also be destroyed.”

The Israeli Minister of Heritage, Amichai Eliyahu, stated the following on the 1st of November: “The north of the Gaza Strip, more beautiful than ever. Everything is blown up and flattened, simply a pleasure for the eyes … We must talk about the day after. In my mind, we will hand over lots to all those who fought for Gaza over the years and to those evicted from Gush Katif” [a former Israeli settlement].

Israeli Army Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (‘COGAT’), Major General Ghassan Alian, stated the following in an official video statement addressed to Hamas and Gaza residents: “Hamas became ISIS and the citizens of Gaza are celebrating instead of being horrified. Human animals are dealt with accordingly. Israel has imposed a total blockade on Gaza, no electricity, no water, just damage. You wanted hell, you will get hell.”

Giora Eiland, Israeli Army Reservist Major General, former Head of the Israeli National Security Council, and adviser to the Defense Minister, has, among many genocidal statements, incited genocide by targeting the water supply, noting that water in Gaza “comes from wells with salt water unfit for consumption. They have water treatment plants, Israel should hit those plants.” He has also stated that “Israel needs to create a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, compelling tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in Egypt or the Gulf … Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist”. If the genocidal intentions of the State of Israel was not already clear, Eiland makes sure to clarify this by stating that: “When senior Israeli figures say in the media ‘It’s either us or them’ we should clarify the question of who is ‘them’. ‘They’ are not only Hamas fighters with weapons, but also all the ‘civilian’ officials, including hospital administrators and school administrators, and also the entire Gaza population who enthusiastically supported Hamas and cheered on its atrocities on October 7th.”

With the facts of the ongoing genocide being clear, the signatures of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, including the imperialists, are obliged to prevent and punish it.

However, not only are the imperialists negating this obligation, some of the imperialists are also complicit in the genocide. We already denounced this on the 15th of October: “The US, the UK as well as Germany, have intensified their military support to Israel. In Germany the State has announced a ban of public support of the Palestinian people and a ban of the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Samidoun. In France the State has banned pro-Palestinian protests and has used teargas to suppress the popular support for the Palestinian people. The British Home Secretary has sent a letter to police chiefs in England and Wales, stating that waving the Palestinian flag, and shouting slogans such as ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’, may be a criminal offense.” Accordingly German imperialism faces accusations of being complicit in the genocide at the ICJ.

The imperialists have only widened their support for the genocide since this. Yankee President, Joe Biden, is currently working on giving a further 14 billion US-Dollar of military aid to the State of Israel. In January several imperialist cut funding for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) after the State of Israel made absurd allegations against it. This happened just days after the ICJ ruling that the State of Israel should “take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II” of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

While we here have focused on crimes committed in the current campaign against Gaza, the peoples of the world will not forget the other crimes committed by the State of Israel since it was established, and the crimes it is currently committing in the West Bank, such as the increasing amount of illegal settlements, as well as the crime of apartheid within the annexed territory.

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