UN expert accuses Israel of ‘genocide’ in Gaza

Albanese says there are clear indications that Israel has violated three of five acts listed under UN Genocide Convention.

Palestinians walk past destroyed buildings in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza [Mahmoud Issa/Reuters]Published On 26 Mar 202426 Mar 2024

There are “reasonable grounds” to believe Israel is committing genocide in the besieged Palestinian enclave of the Gaza Strip, according to a report issued by a United Nations-appointed expert.

In the report, issued late on Monday, the UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories Francesca Albanese said there are clear indications that Israel has violated three of the five acts listed under the UN Genocide Convention.

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Albanese, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council but not an official voice on behalf of the United Nations, said she had found “reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating the commission of … acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza has been met”.

“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,” she said.

The report was immediately rejected by Israel as an “obscene inversion of reality”.

Entitled Anatomy of a Genocide, the report listed the violating acts as: “killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to the group’s members; and deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.

Albanese noted that Israel has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza since October 7. A further 12,000 are reported missing, presumed dead under the rubble.

More than 70 percent of the recorded deaths have been women and children and Israel has failed to prove that the remaining 30 percent – adult males – were active Hamas fighters, she said.

Regarding the second violated act, Albanese said Israeli forces have wounded more than 70,000 Palestinians and detained thousands of Palestinian men and boys, subjecting them to torture and mistreatment.

On the third act, Albanese said Israel has destroyed or severely damaged most of Gaza’s life-sustaining infrastructure, including hospitals and agricultural land.

‘Outrageous accusations’

Israel’s diplomatic mission in Geneva said the country “utterly rejects the report”, describing it 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,” it said in a statement, slamming Albanese’s “outrageous accusations”.

Hamas fighters attacked southern Israel on October 7, during which about 1,200 people were killed. The armed Palestinian group also seized about 250 hostages, of whom Israel believes approximately 130 remain in Gaza, including 33 presumed dead.

A US official told AFP that Washington is “aware” of the report but has “no reason to believe Israel has committed acts of genocide in Gaza”.

The US insisted on Monday that it had no evidence Israel has violated human rights and that its ally has offered assurances that it has not used weapons it has donated to violate international humanitarian law.

Source: News Agencies