[News] Israel’s extermination of whole families in Gaza reflects genocidal impulse

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 27 10:59:41 EDT 2014


  Israel’s extermination of whole families in Gaza reflects genocidal
  impulse

Submitted by Rania Khalek on Wed, 08/27/2014 - 01:31
*http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israels-extermination-whole-families-gaza-reflects-genocidal-impulse*

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 
<http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/juda-family-mourns-ceasefire-announced-2053649886>—Taghrid, 
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.

A ceasefire 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israel-lost-war-gaza-struggle-justice-goes> 
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 
<http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/humanitarian_Snapshot_21_august_2014_oPt_V4.pdf> 
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 
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/gaza/11039636/Israeli-attacks-on-Gaza-families-must-be-investigated-as-war-crimes-say-human-rights-groups.html> 
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 
<http://www.alternet.org/world/gruesome-tales-surface-israeli-massacres-against-families-gaza-neighborhood>.

The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/al-mezan-center-human-rights> has 
recorded 
<http://www.mezan.org/en/details.php?id=19396&ddname=IOF&id2=9&id_dept=9&p=center> 
at least 990 people killed inside their homes in Israeli attacks, 
including 324 children. That’s almost half of all people killed in the 
Israeli assault.

This is no accident.

Israel’s systematic targeting of entire families in Gaza this summer is 
part of a deliberate military strategy 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israel-deliberately-targeting-civilians-gaza> 
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 
apartment buildings 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/scorched-earth-israel-obliterates-two-more-gaza-high-rises>. 


But the wholesale slaughter of families is also part of Israel’s ongoing 
destruction of Palestine.


    Genocide

Michael Ratner <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/michael-ratner>, 
President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/center-constitutional-rights> argues 
<http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12155> 
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 
<http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/describe-slaughter-genocide.html> of 
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 
‘incremental genocide 
<http://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-incremental-genocide-gaza-ghetto/13562>,’” 
said Ratner.

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 
<https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/13666-slaughter-in-gaza-the-lessons-of-history>. 
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 
cut short.”

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 
<http://lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com/news/2006/05/arnon_the_arabs.html> 
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 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/gaza-massacre-price-jewish-state>. 
All day, every day.” This nightmarish prediction is today’s reality in 
Gaza.

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.


    Incitement

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 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/concentrate-and-exterminate-israel-parliament-deputy-speakers-gaza-genocide-plan> 
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 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-lawmakers-call-genocide-palestinians-gets-thousands-facebook-likes>.”

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 
<http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/07/24/born-in-hell-the-gaza-maternity-ward.html> after 
Israeli attacks on power stations shut down their incubators.

Even if this weren’t the case, the incitement alone ought to be grounds 
for prosecution.

Article 3 of the Genocide Convention stipulates that “direct and public 
incitement to commit genocide” and “complicity in genocide” are 
punishable offenses.

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 
<http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-commander-declares-holy-war-palestinians> 
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 
people 
<http://electronicintifada.net/content/why-it-open-season-palestinians-us-presidential-race/10801>.

“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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863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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