Norman Paech and Craig Mokhiber: Genocide in Gaza!

Norman Paech and Craig Mokhiber: Genocide in Gaza!

two pieces of evidence of genocide in Gaza have recently been produced:

Former UN official Craig Mokhiber on Gaza and genocide

Paech: Völkermord in Gaza

“Swords of iron” – a genocide in Gaza
Norman Paech
November 03, 2023 at 8:00 am An article by Norman Paech

Only one thing seems indisputable in this terrible war in Gaza: the number of victims, whether dead, injured or destroyed homes, is constantly rising and will continue to rise. Everything else is disputed, how many people have already fallen victim to the bombing terror and the extent of the destruction. Only sometimes do the occasional pictures of the rubble give an idea of the immense misery that the missiles, warplanes, drones and tanks are leaving behind for the inhabitants of Gaza. The media are focusing on the grief of the bereaved families of the deadly Hamas attack and the protests of the relatives of the kidnapped hostages. The members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the German Bundestag are being fed a paper entitled “Swords of Iron” by Israel’s ambassador Ron Prosor and the heads of the EU member states are agonizing over a resolution calling for temporary corridors to supply the two million people crammed in with the bare essentials – so that the next wave of violence and destruction can at least attach the label of “humane warfare in accordance with the norms of international humanitarian law” to itself. By Norman Paech.

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Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz maintains the fiction that Israel is “a democratic state with very humanitarian principles” and that the Israeli army will abide by the rules of international law. It is therefore only logical to reject a ceasefire in order to finally reduce Gaza, which the UN has said has been uninhabitable since 2020 anyway, to rubble. In the UN General Assembly, which calls for a ceasefire by 120 votes, the German government abstains, but reaffirms its rejection in front of the doors and insists on the right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

What is going on here? What perversion has taken hold of this policy? Can this war, the uninterrupted hail of bombs, this unhindered daily and nightly massacre still be captured by the general categories of the Geneva Conventions and their two additional protocols? Protection of civilians, regardless of whether they followed the call to evacuate or not, protection of hospitals and medical personnel – 4 hospitals and 38 medical stations have been destroyed -, prohibition of indiscriminate attacks and starvation as a means of warfare, prohibition of impeding the supply of the most necessary food, drinking water and medicines. Appeals to observe these rules have been completely helpless, even ridiculous, since October 7. This war has long ceased to be a defensive war against Hamas. It is a war against the people of Gaza, who, according to the government’s latest plans, are to be completely expelled to the Sinai Desert in Egypt. The old settlement concept of “land without a people” is being revived. This war has swept away all the rules; it can no longer be regulated or “humanized” with them.

We have to admit to ourselves that this is genocide! It is an ugly word, and the term genocide cannot take away its ugliness. In German history in particular, it is a reminder of the ultimate crimes that must never be allowed to happen again. And I hesitate to use it. Nevertheless, the word has become politically popular recently. Genocide against the Armenians, the Tibetans, the Uyghurs and the Ukrainians. It is only in relation to its own genocide of the Herrero and Nama that the Bundestag does not want to put the word in a resolution. And now the accusation of genocide against Israel? It is being leveled against Hamas for its attack on October 7, which was indeed a brutal war crime. But against the Jewish state – that is pure anti-Semitism.

International law is sober and unemotional. It has its criteria for genocide in Art. II of the Genocide Convention of 1948, Art. 6 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998 and § 6 of the German International Criminal Code of 2002. They all agree that “genocide is any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such”. These acts include the “killing of members of that group”, whereby the number is irrelevant. Then it says “causing serious physical or psychological harm to members of the group” and “deliberately imposing living conditions on the group that are likely to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.

Anyone who sees the pictures of the ruins of Gaza and hears the reports of its people will recognize that the stereotypical reports in the media of Israeli attacks against Hamas positions are just an ineffectual attempt to justify the indiscriminate war against the entire population of the Gaza Strip as a targeted defence. This “war of annihilation against Hamas” shows that Hamas is not a small sect, not a cartel, but obviously an organization that is widely ramified in society and whose destruction requires the expulsion and indiscriminate annihilation of even uninvolved people. Only cynics can justify this as collateral damage in a defensive war.

However, the decisive factor for the accusation of genocide is not the objective fact of killing or “causing serious physical or psychological harm”, but the subjective fact of “destroying the group in whole or in part”. Unfortunately, there can be no doubt about this, as there are too many clear and radical statements from politicians, the army and the press. Whether President Yitzchak Herzog at a press conference on October 14: “It is a whole people that is responsible. This rhetoric about civilians supposedly not being involved is absolutely untrue […] and we will fight until we break their backs”, or Prime Minister Netanyahu on October 8: “We will turn Gaza into an island of ruins”, or Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari on October 10 in Haaretz: “We are dropping hundreds of tons of bombs on Gaza. The focus is on destruction, not accuracy” and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on television on 9 October: “There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting beastmen and acting accordingly.” Or the Major General of the Israeli army, Ghassan Allan, in a speech on October 9: “Animal people will be treated accordingly, you wanted hell and you will get hell” and a veteran of the Israeli army, Ezra Yachin, in a speech to reservists on October 13: “Wipe out their families, their mothers and children. These animals must no longer be allowed to live”, and finally the ruling party MP Tally Gotliv on October 9 in the Knesset: “Jericho rocket! Doomsday weapon. That is my opinion. Powerful rockets should be fired without limits, Gaza should be smashed and razed to the ground. Without mercy.” This collection of crude statements could be added to. Who could doubt the subjective fact of “destroying the group in whole or in part” – almost winged words of genocide. Only our media don’t want to know about any of this, completely succumbing to reasons of state.

Raz Segal, an Israeli Holocaust and genocide researcher at Stockton University in New Jersey, USA, calls this war “a textbook case of genocide”, and 800 legal scholars in the USA have issued a joint statement calling the total closure of the Gaza Strip “possibly genocidal”. They refer to Segal’s statement: “Indeed, Israel’s genocidal attack on Gaza is explicit, open and shameless […] Israel’s goal is to destroy the Palestinians in Gaza. And those of us looking around the world have abdicated our responsibility […] to prevent this crime of genocide.” This responsibility can no longer be fulfilled with appeals to respect the rules of international humanitarian law or to temporarily open humanitarian corridors and appeals to release the hostages taken prisoner. Anyone who pleads for the continuation of the war and votes against a ceasefire or abstains from voting is complicit in this genocide. Genocide is a crime, punishable under Section 6 of the International Criminal Code and Article 6 of the Rome Statute. And anyone who, like the German government, supports this war is complicit. The German government should consider this carefully.

Letters to the editor on this article can be found here.

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Hausarzt, i.R., seit 1976 im der Umweltorganisation BUND, schon lange in der Umweltwerkstatt, seit 1983 in der ärztlichen Friedensorganisation IPPNW ( und, seit 1995 im Friedenszentrum, seit 2000 in der Dachorganisation Friedensbündnis Braunschweig, und ich bin seit etwa 15 Jahren in der Linkspartei// Family doctor, retired, since 1976 in the environmental organization BUND, for a long time in the environmental workshop, since 1983 in the medical peace organization IPPNW ( and, since 1995 in the peace center, since 2000 in the umbrella organization Friedensbündnis Braunschweig, and I am since about 15 years in the Left Party//
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