[News] Israel’s extermination of whole families in Gaza reflects genocidal impulse
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 27 10:59:41 EDT 2014
Israel’s extermination of whole families in Gaza reflects genocidal
Submitted by Rania Khalek on Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:31
Eighty-nine families that existed seven weeks ago in Gaza have been
exterminated by Israel.
On Sunday 24 August an Israeli missile tore through the home of Issam
Jouda in Gaza’s Tal al-Zatar neighborhood east of Jabaliya
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/jabaliya> without warning, killing
Issam’s wife Rawiya and their four children
Tasnim, Usama and ?Muhammad.
According to the Palestinian health ministry , the Joudas were the
eighty-ninth family wiped out
<http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.612255> in Gaza since
the Israeli army started bombarding the besieged coastal enclave on 7 July.
that took effect on Tuesday evening may stop the flow of blood, but it
will not heal the raw wounds of the families of more than 2,100 people
killed, nor of the more than eleven thousand injured and 100,000 whose
homes were destroyed.
Between 7 July and 21 August, the UN documented 140 families
in Gaza partially or completely annihilated by Israeli attacks.
Many were crushed beneath the rubble of their homes. Eight members of
the Wahdan family, for instance, were killed in their house in Jabaliya
refugee camp after being instructed
by Israeli forces to stay put.
Others were summarily executed in broad daylight by invading Israeli
forces in the catastrophically devastated Shujaiya
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/shujaiya> neighborhood. This was the
fate of several members of the Shamaly and al-Areer families according
to testimony collected by journalist Max Blumenthal
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
at least 990 people killed inside their homes in Israeli attacks,
including 324 children. That’s almost half of all people killed in the
This is no accident.
Israel’s systematic targeting of entire families in Gaza this summer is
part of a deliberate military strategy
that seeks to terrorize the civilian population into submission in an
effort to break their will to resist Israeli conquest. In recent days,
Israel escalated this practice by leveling residential high-rise
But the wholesale slaughter of families is also part of Israel’s ongoing
destruction of Palestine.
Michael Ratner <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/michael-ratner>,
President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights
that Israel’s acts in Gaza constitute more than just war crimes and
crimes against humanity. He says they are genocide, adding his voice to
the growing chorus
those who see the slaughter in Gaza as part of an ongoing, systematic
process of annihilation.
“These are clear violations of the Geneva conventions and war crimes,”
Ratner told The Electronic Intifada. “But you can’t look at this as an
isolated attack on Gaza because there’s a history going back to Zionists
charting out and destroying five hundred plus villages in 1947-48,” he
said, referring to the Nakba <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/nakba>
— the premeditated ethnic cleansing of 750,000 indigenous Palestinians
by Zionist militias seeking to establish an ethnically exclusive state
with a Jewish majority.
“If you look at it historically it’s hard to escape [Israeli author and
historian] Ilan Pappe’s
<http://electronicintifada.net/people/ilan-pappe> conclusion that it’s
Ratner noted that the common response to such accusations is that Israel
has not killed enough Palestinians for its actions to qualify as
genocide. However, “You don’t have to kill a large number of people to
commit genocide,” he explained.
Indeed, Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of
the Crime of Genocide <http://www.hrweb.org/legal/genocide.html>,
defines genocide in the following terms (emphasis added):
In the present Convention, genocide means 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.
Israel does not have to kill millions of Palestinians to be guilty of
genocide nor does it need to commit all the above atrocities, though it
is undeniably guilty of (a), (b) and (c). It just has to commit any of
them with the “intent” to “destroy” Palestinians “in whole or in part”
as “a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
The question of genocide, then, is whether by looking at decades of
Israel’s practices, as well as the utterances of its leaders, we can
find this intent.
The past is present
As a settler-colonial state guided by Zionism, or Jewish nationalism,
Israel has spent every year since its creation gradually destroying
indigenous Palestinian communities and expelling their residents to
consolidate and maintain a Jewish demographic majority in historic
Palestine, a goal that by its very nature requires the forced removal
and erasure of Palestinians. This process is ongoing within present-day
Israel as well, where Israel plans to forcibly remove tens of thousands
of Bedouins <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/prawer-plan> in the
Naqab (Negev) in order to “Judaize” their land.
Gaza in particular—where eighty percent of the population is made up of
refugees ethnically cleansed from villages in present-day Israel—has
been subjected to periodic massacres since Israel’s creation
These massacres have intensified in frequency since 2006, because unlike
in the occupied West Bank, armed resistance against Israeli
settler-colonialism has yet to be pacified in Gaza.
“It’s not that people are wrong that Israel is committing war crimes.
It’s just you have to look at it in context of the last 70 years,” said
Ratner. “You have to ask yourself, what is Israel doing here except
trying to make life impossible for Palestinians, to make them give up
and get out?”
In his infamous 1956 eulogy
<http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/west-of-eden/.premium-1.606258> for an
Israeli settler killed by Palestinian refugees from Gaza, then chief of
staff of the Israeli army, Moshe Dayan
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/moshe-dayan>, candidly described
Israel’s policy towards Gaza, saying, “Why should we deplore their
burning hatred for us? For eight years now, [Palestinians] have sat in
the refugee camps of Gaza and have watched how, before their very eyes,
we have turned their land and villages, where they and their forefathers
previously dwelled, into our home.”
He continued, “We are a generation of settlement and without the steel
helmet and the gun’s muzzle we will not be able to plant a tree and
build a house… .That is our choice – to be ready and armed, tough and
hard – or else the sword shall fall from our hands and our lives will be
Later that year, under the leadership of Dayan, Israeli soldiers carried
out mass executions
<http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/27/books/review/Cockburn-t.html> in Khan
Younis and Rafah, where they gathered all the males over the age of 15,
lined them up in the street for all to see, beat them and shot them
dead, killing hundreds. The stated aim was to crush armed resistance.
Many Israeli leaders over the years have echoed Dayan’s attitude, most
notably Arnon Soffer <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/arnon-soffer>,
otherwise known as the Arab counter
due to his compulsive fixation on the threat posed by Palestinian babies.
A central architect of Israel’s policy in Gaza following then Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon’s
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/ariel-sharon> 2005 unilateral
“disengagement,” Soffer once said about the coastal enclave, “if we want
to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill
All day, every day.” This nightmarish prediction is today’s reality in
The difference between the days of Dayan and now is that Israel — with
its US-supplied arsenal of Hellfire missiles and bunker buster bombs and
an “international community” willing to tolerate limitless Israeli
aggression — has the capacity and willpower to complete its genocidal
conquest with absolute impunity.
Early this month, Moshe Feiglin
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/moshe-feiglin>, deputy speaker in
the Israeli parliament the Knesset, laid out a detailed proposal for
concentration and extermination
of Palestinians in Gaza. Feiglin, indicating a clear genocidal intent,
denied the very existence of a Palestinian people and defined
Palestinians as enemies because the vast majority of them are Muslim.
In the lead-up to the Gaza onslaught, Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/ayelet-shaked>, an increasingly
popular member of the far-right /Habeyit Hayehudi
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/habayit-hayehudi>/ (Jewish Home)
party and a high-level partner in Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, called
for slaughtering Palestinian mothers to prevent them from giving birth
to “little snakes
Shaked’s clear call for genocide appears to have been carried out to
some degree against the 89 families in Gaza who were completely
obliterated as well as against the newborn infants who died
Israeli attacks on power stations shut down their incubators.
Even if this weren’t the case, the incitement alone ought to be grounds
Article 3 of the Genocide Convention stipulates that “direct and public
incitement to commit genocide” and “complicity in genocide” are
Feiglin and Shaked are reflecting a mindset that can be found
pervasively in Israeli society and social media
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/israelis-facebook>, among the mobs
in the streets chanting to “Death to the Arabs
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/death-arabs>” and among Israeli
soldiers. Neither Shaked nor Feiglin were censured and in fact their
comments garnered enormous support on social media.
And before sending his troops into Gaza, Colonel Ofer Winter, the
commander of the Israeli army’s Givati brigade, wrote to his men
that they were engaged in a war on behalf of the Jewish “Nation of
Israel” to “wipe out” an “enemy who defames” God.
It is unnecessary for anyone to give explicit orders. Israeli soldiers
go into Gaza with a deep ethnic hatred of Palestinians already
inculcated into them.
Aiding and abetting
“The language is an important component. We saw it in Rwanda, when they
went on the radio and said kill the Tutsis,” said Ratner, referring to
broadcasts by the Rwandan government-supported Radio Television Libre
des Mille Collines <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3257748.stm>.
“The words that are being used by Israeli legislators are fomenting what
are incredible genocidal attacks on the Palestinian people. People in
the parliament that are encouraging that are aiders and abettors of all
of these crimes,” he said, adding that the same is true of US leaders
that continue to shower their Israeli counterparts with an endless
supply of weapons aimed at Palestinians civilians.
It is notable that in US politics, as in Israel, it has become
fashionable in recent years to deny the very existence of a Palestinian
“Everyone of those Congress people who continues to vote for military
aid to Israel are aiders and abettors of crimes against humanity,
genocide and war crimes,” says Ratner. “It’s the US primarily that is
holding back real accountability for what Israel is doing.”
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