‘Reasonable grounds’ to believe Israel committing genocide, says UN expert

UN human rights expert Francesca Albanese submitted a report to the UN Security Council on Monday, stating that Israel has committed several acts of genocide in its war on Gaza and that it should be placed under an arms embargo.

In her report, Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, found “reasonable grounds” to determine that Israel has violated three of the five acts listed under the UN Genocide Convention.

These include killing Palestinians, causing them serious bodily or mental harm, and “deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of the population in whole or in part,” with these acts approved by statements of genocidal intent from senior military and government officials.

“The overwhelming nature and scale of Israel’s assault on Gaza and the destructive conditions of life it has inflicted reveal an intent to physically destroy Palestinians as a group,” the report said.

The report also accused Israel of attempting to legitimise its genocidal actions by branding Palestinians as “terrorists,” thus “transforming everything and everyone into either a target or collateral damage, hence killable or destroyable.”

“In this way, no Palestinian in Gaza is safe by definition,” it said.

The report added that the current war on Gaza did not begin on 7 October, and that it is the latest stage “of a long-standing settler colonial process of erasure,” constituting an “ongoing Nakba,” or catastrophe, which refers to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist militias to make way for the creation of Israel in 1948.

Failure to comply

Albanese urged member states to impose an arms embargo on Israel “as it appears to have failed to comply with the binding measures ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” referring to the provisional measures issued by the court in January, after South Africa had taken Israel to the Hague-based court over accusation of genocide against Palestinians.

The court ordered Israel to take measures to prevent acts that fall under Article II of the Genocide Convention, while it considered its judgement.

The report also called for “a thorough independent and transparent investigation” into all international law violations and a plan to end “the unlawful and unsustainable status quo constituting the root cause of the latest escalation.”

Albanese added that Unrwa, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, should be properly funded to address the spiralling humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The agency has said that that it is at “breaking point” following funding suspensions after Israel alleged that 12 of its employees were involved in the Hamas-led attacks on 7 October.

Israel imposed a visa ban on Albanese after she said on X that the Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel were a “response to Israel’s aggression.”

Israel’s diplomatic mission in Geneva has rejected the report, condemning Albanese’s “outrageous accusations” as “simply an extension of a campaign seeking to undermine the very establishment of the Jewish State”.

“Israel’s war is against Hamas, not against Palestinian civilians,” the mission said in a statement.

(Source: Middle East Eye)