Is Mahmoud Abbas right that Israel is Guilty of War Crimes, Genocide in Gaza?

By Juan Cole:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday at the United Nations that Israel was guilty of war crimes in Gaza and even “genocide.”

The US and Israel condemned his speech as “offensive” but did not condemn Israel policy toward Palestinians in Gaza as offensive.

Palestinian Leader In New UN Bid To End Occupation

“In a speech at the U.N. General Assembly Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Friday of conducting a “war of genocide” during the 50-day summer conflict in Gaza but stopped short of saying he will pursue war crime charges against the Jewish state at the International Criminal Court. Abbas said, “This last war against Gaza was a series of absolute war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world, moment by moment.” He continued, saying the devastation unleashed “is unmatched in modern times.” Abbas also said he will seek a U.N. resolution to set a deadline for Israel to pull out of Palestinian lands captured in the 1967 war but did not include a three-year deadline as his aides had said he would.”

The recent Gaza war killed 2,100 Palestinians and has weakened Abbas domestically, with his Hamas rivals enjoying a surge of popularity among Palestinians for fighting Israel. Sixty-six soldiers and six civilians were killed on the Israeli side.”

Juan says: Is the charge of war crimes or genocide true or legitimate? I wrote in a posting about the 2012 Israeli attack on Gaza:

These hostilities are deepening a longstanding crisis in Gaza health care that has resulted from deliberate Israeli policies.

The Reuters Foundation’s reported that 39 aid organizations are warning of humanitarian disaster in Gaza if there is no ceasefire soon. Nishant Pandey, director of Oxfam Country is quoted as saying:

“We urgently need to enforce a cease fire. The present conflict threatens to perpetuate and worsen the humanitarian impact on Palestinian civilians in Gaza of over five years of Israeli blockade and the 2008-2009 Israeli military operation ‘Cast Lead’.”

In a statement, the World Health Organization worried about lack of medicine:

“Many of the drugs at zero stock are lifesaving. Gaza hospitals are now having to deal with the growing number of casualties with severely depleted medical supplies.”

Physicians in Occupied Gaza are attempting to treat head injuries, serious burns, and injuries from falling buildings and debris caused by Israeli pilots.

Aljazeera English reports on the difficulties faced by paramedics in Gaza during the Israeli bombardments:

A spokesman for the Israeli army tweeted on 19 November, “We continue to transfer goods & gas to #Gaza”, saying that on 18 November some 16 trucks carrying medical supplies entered Gaza, and 26 Palestinian patients were taken to Israel for treatment.

Although Israel is now letting in some supplies, they were inadequate to the need even before these attacks. Medhat Abbas, head of Shifa Hospital, reported that his institution lacks 40% of the needed drugs: “The shortage, of course, affects the quality of our work. However, our staff are working to the maximum to fulfill needs in this catastrophic situation.”

Morocco is setting up a field hospitals in Gaza to treat the wounded. Jordan has had one there for 3 years, and all the personnel are Jordanian.

Some 500 Egyptian activists, from the same youth groups that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in February, 2011, brought food and medical aid to Gaza on Saturday. Egypt is keeping its Rafah checkpoint with Gaza open for the transport of wounded to El Arish Hospital.

Wounded Palestinian at El Arish

The Gaza Strip, home to some 1.7 million Palestinians (about half of them children and minors), has been the victim for a long time of Israeli colonial oppression, including policies that deliberately harm the health and well-being of its residents. Stunting in children, along with widespread anemia in pregnant women and children, are one result of the economic blockade imposed on Israeli-occupied Gaza by the far right wing Likud government of Israel. Israeli strangulation of the Gaza economy has led not only to poverty and food insecurity but also to threats to the availability of potable water and access to medicine and hospital care.

A recent World Health Organization Report worries that in just 8 years, in 2020, if current Israeli policies continue, Gaza will be virtually uninhabitable. Israel as the occupying power since 1967 is directly responsible in international law for the well-being of its occupied populations, and is in severe violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention on the treatment of the occupied. Moreover, since Israeli policies of Apartheid, discrimination, exile, restriction of movement and infliction of harm on Palestinians in Gaza are long-standing, deliberate and systematic, Israeli leaders are guilty in this regard of crimes against humanity.

The WHO report:

“Ms. [Jean] Gough [of UNICEF] said that demand for drinking water was projected to increase by 60 per cent while damage to the aquifer, the major water source, would become irreversible without remedial action now. Mr.[Robert] Turner [of UNRWA] added that more than 440 additional schools, 800 hospital beds and more than 1,000 doctors would be needed by 2020.”

13 Responses

  1. As an American, I find it deeply disappointing and offensive that my government supports the oppressor and condemns the oppressed.

  2. Jules Chancel

    When Naphtali Bennet accused HAMAS of self-genocide he unwittingly admitted that the #GAZA massacre was genocide via @davidsheen

    • Under Bennett’s logic, the Lidice Massacre in 1942 was “self-genocide” due to the assassination by Czech patriots of the Czech “protector”.

      The perpetrators of Lidice were tried for war crimes.

  3. Of course Mahmoud Abbas is right about Israel committing war crimes. Have read most of the International Criminal Courts definition of War Crimes (Crimes against humanity) and UN Human Rights documents…Israel’s systematic and disproportionate reliance on violent force has been used by Israel for decades not just recently. The Goldstone Report and the UN’s Mavi Marmara report are terrifying. Israel kills with shameless resolve…anyone who gets in the way of their expansionist agenda..including Rachel Corrie, journalist etc.

  4. Jules Chancel

    @dancohen3000 And don’t call it a war. #GAZA has no navy, no airforce, no army.Like the Guetto of Warsaw ACTION,it was a massacre

  5. Since the creation of Israel, the U.S. has been the primary source of support for a country with the total population equal to two adjoining counties in Southern California.

    The amazing amount of U.S. taxpayers dollars and military support lavished on this tiny little country is the direct result of the outdated need to justify active involvement in a much larger petroleum rich region which is NOT OUR PROPERTY.

    Phasing-out a more-risk-than-reward antiquated foreign policy must be done with caution and intelligence.

    Historically, something the U.S. sorely lacks.

  6. So: it’s established that the Israelites, while beating their breasts at how abused they as relatives of former victims are, have committed mar crimes and other violations of ” international law.”

    So, other than give a speech, what is Arafat’s successor going th DO about it? Sign off on more settlement invasion?

  7. Luckily all the commenters realise the truth. The massacre by Israel, completely unjustified, was riddled with war crimes, even though it was not fought against an army, a navy, air power, imported high tech US weapons but against civilians trying to protect the tiny bit of land they still hold.

  8. “A recent World Health Organization report worries that in just 8 years, in 2020, if current policies continue, Gaza will be virtually uninhabitable………..”

    That is the hidden agenda of the Likud government – making Gaza unlivable so the Arabs will leave and having Jewish settlers replacing them – it is merely a step toward complete ethnic cleansing.

  9. I feel that Mahmoud Abbas is right that Israel has committed war crimes and that they should be punished. This isn’t the first time they did this and they keep getting away with what I feel is murder. The United States keeps covering for Israel and lets them do whatever they want without getting punished for it. How can a country go in and destroy so many people’s houses and kill so many women and children without getting punished? They need to be brought to the International Criminal Court and let them decide what should be done, without the interference from America and other Western countries.

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