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Genocide Prevention Group Says 'Israel Must Be Stopped Now'

"Even if there were legitimate doubts about Israel's genocide, there is no doubt that Israel is committing atrocity crimes of the most barbaric kind," the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention said.

Pro-Palestine activists take part in an April 15, 2024 international day of action by blocking I-880 in Oakland, California [A15Action | Facebook]

A U.S.-based group dedicated to preventing genocide blasted what it called "the cynical lies and propaganda" from Israeli and U.S. leaders who deny that Israel's obliteration of Gaza is genocidal, while imploring humanity to stop the slaughter.

In a statement published Monday on social media, the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention (LIGP) argued that "one can have different views about the definition of genocide, but one may not use definitional disputes to deny genocide."

"If a genocide may be occurring, every nation is compelled by customary law to try to stop it," asserted the Philadelphia-based group named after Raphael Lemkin, the 20th-century Polish lawyer who is credited with coining the word genocide in the 1940s.

"Let us be clear: Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. The U.S. is complicit in genocide," LIGP said. "These are not political statements. They are statements that are made from knowledge and experience."

"Nevertheless, you do not need a Ph.D. , a law degree, or X-ray vision to see the genocidal dimensions of Israel's carnage in Gaza. It is clear in the behavior of the state and its military, on full display in yesterday's horrific bombardment of a Rafah camp," the group added, referring to the attack on a refugee encampment in the southern city's Tal al-Sultan neighborhood that killed at least 45 people and wounded hundreds of others, including many women and children.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the strike a "tragic mistake." Two days later, at least 21 more Palestinians were killed in another Israel Defense Forces attack on a different refugee camp in southern Gaza.

LIGP said that "even if there were legitimate doubts about Israel's genocide, there is no doubt that Israel is committing atrocity crimes of the most barbaric kind."

"Israel must be stopped," the group stressed. "Israel must be stopped now."

LIGP continued:

We are disgusted by Western leaders, especially in the USA, Germany, and the U.K. They have demonstrated not only that they don't care one bit about genocide prevention and human rights, but also that they are willing to allow an ally to commit atrocity crimes while they offer material and diplomatic support. It is reprehensible and the individuals involved in this gaslighting campaign should be deeply ashamed. They should also be put on trial.

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan last week formally applied for warrants to arrest Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders for alleged crimes including extermination committed on and after October 7.

Israeli and U.S. leaders deny there is genocide in Gaza. U.S. President Joe Biden said in October that he had "no confidence" in Palestinian health officials' Gaza casualty reports—figures deemed reliable by United Nations agencies, human rights groups, international and Israeli mainstream media, and even the U.S. State Department.

Biden, who early in the war declared his "unwavering" support for Israel, has approved billions of dollars of new U.S. military aid for the key Middle Eastern ally. His administration has repeatedly sidestepped Congress to expedite weapons transfers to Israel. The U.S. has also provided diplomatic cover for Netanyahu's far-right government by vetoing several United Nations Security Council cease-fire resolutions.

The International Court of Justice is currently determining whether Israel is committing genocide, as alleged by South Africa and over 30 countries and regional blocs supporting the case. The ICJ recently ordered Israel to immediately halt its invasion of Rafah. Israel has ignored the legally binding order, prompting calls for punitive action including sanctions.

According to Palestinian officials and international human rights defenders, at least 36,096 Palestinians—mostly women and children—have been killed during Israel's 235-day assault on Gaza in retaliation for the Hamas-led attack that left more than 1,100 people dead and over 240 others taken prisoner. At least 81,136 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli bombs and bullets. Upward of 11,000 other Gazans are missing and presumed dead and buried beneath the rubble of bombed-out buildings.

Meanwhile, famine in the north and widespread starvation throughout Gaza have been exacerbated by Israel's blockade of the besieged coastal enclave, where around 90% of the population have been forcibly displaced.

"Humanity has a choice: Either we decide that our children can all be killed whenever a superior force alleges that 'terrorists' are among us, or we decide that under no circumstances will we allow these superior forces to lay waste to our world any longer," LIGP said. "We each must choose and act accordingly. The watershed moment is now."

At least hundreds of legal and human rights experts around the world—including Israelisaccuse Israel of genocide. In March, the United Nations Human Rights Council published a draft report that found "reasonable grounds to believe" that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

On Sunday, Human Rights Watch co-founder Aryeh Neier—a Jewish Holocaust survivor—reiterated his earlier assertion that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. In an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, Neier explained how his assessment of Israel's conduct has evolved during the war.

"I thought Israel had a right to retaliate against Hamas, and I thought Israel had a right to try to incapacitate Hamas so that it would never be able to do anything like that again," Neier said. "But I was disturbed by some of the actions of Israel, by the use of very large weapons, 2,000-pound bombs, which are utterly inappropriate in a crowded urban area."

Neier also condemned Israeli and U.S. officials' efforts to equate criticism of Israel's policies and practices with antisemitism.

"Antisemitism has been a great scourge," he said, "but it doesn't insulate the Israeli government from being held to the same standards as other governments have to be held to around the world."


© 2024, Common Dreams


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