In the unfolding tragedy in the Middle East, it is imperative to discern the truth behind the narratives. What Israel presents as a conflict with Hamas is, in the eyes of most, an ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people, transpiring in real time.
Amidst extensive media coverage of the atrocities in Gaza, an unsettling pattern emerges. Media reports often document Israel’s airstrikes on civilian areas, hospitals, schools, and UN shelters. Yet, they consistently accompany these accounts with a disclaimer, attributing these actions to a response to the Hamas attacks of October 7. This narrative not only justifies Israel’s collective punishment of Gaza but also depicts Palestinians as mere collateral damage, implying their lives hold little worth.
This soft propaganda, being pushed upon billions of people by the media, effectively whitewashed Israel’s crimes instead of holding it accountable for its wanton breaches of international law. While the details of October 7 are still shrouded in mystery, Israel’s appalling violations of international law have been on display to the entire world. Since you likely won’t hear about many of them on mainstream news networks, here are some of the worst war crimes carried out by Israel since October 7, 2023.
Let’s not mince words: Israel is committing Genocide, and that’s according to Article 6 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Article 6 defines genocide as “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group” or “deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about [a group’s] physical destruction in whole or in part.” And Israeli leaders have not been shy about expressing their intent to destroy the people of Gaza.
Calling them “human animals,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced his government would be cutting off food, water, electricity and fuel to the 2.3 million civilian population in Gaza. This nationwide denial of the most basic needs for human survival clearly fits within the Rome Statue’s parameters of genocide.
Israel also demanded that the more than one million residents of Northern Gaza evacuate south, giving them a window of only three hours to complete the journey. If they did not do so, they were told, they would face the consequences.
Israel then bombed the convoy of fleeing refugees. It also carried out two airstrikes on the Rafah Crossing – Gaza’s international border with Egypt – to ensure humanitarian supplies would not enter Gaza. The “deportation or forcible transfer of a population… is an internationally recognized form of genocide.
“Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects” is also considered a war crime under international law. And in Gaza, hospitals, ambulances, medical workers, journalists – none have been spared in relentless Israeli airstrikes. Multiple hospitals, including the al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, were bombed, and dozens of schools were destroyed and, in many cases, were targeted with civilians seeking shelter inside. In fact, more than 20 journalists have been killed during the onslaught.
Under Article 8 of the Charter of the United Nations, “intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping missions” are considered war crimes and explicitly banned.
Yet, the United Nations reports that Israeli airstrikes have killed 29 of its staff. 21 of the 22 UN health facilities in Gaza have been damaged, while an Israeli attack leveled a UN food and supply depot in central Gaza. As a result of the bombing, 14 UN food distribution centers have been forced to close, leaving hundreds of thousands to starve.
“Intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes” is also banned under international law. Yet Israeli assaults have left 206 schools damaged, 26 mosques and several churches destroyed. The Saint Porphyrus church, damaged in an Israeli attack, is around 1,000 years old, the third oldest church in the world.
As part of its ongoing onslaught on Gaza, Israel has been caught using white phosphorous on civilian areas. The deadly chemical burns skin to the bone and causes extraordinary suffering and a painful death. Its use is highly regulated and banned for use in heavily populated areas or as a weapon of war.
International law forbids the use of weapons of a “nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering or which are inherently indiscriminate in violation of the international law of armed conflict, provided that such weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare are the subject of a comprehensive prohibition.”
“Willful killing” is considered a war crime by the International Criminal Court. Yet, Israeli airstrikes have constantly and willfully targeted civilian areas in Gaza, wiping out entire residential neighborhoods. The Palestinian health ministry reported that entire families have been removed from the Gaza Civil Registry. Israel has killed over 5,000 Gazans, 62% of whom were women and children, a clear case of the ICC war crime of “willful killing.”
Article 8 of the ICC’s Rome Statute also considers the “extensive destruction of property” a war crime. Yet Israeli bombs have left more than one million Gazans homeless or displaced, with little prospect of their situation getting better.
Probably the most enduring and widely accepted of Israel’s crimes against humanity is one meted out to Palestinians on a daily basis. The crime of apartheid. The entire crisis in Gaza is rooted in Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land, where it has enforced a two-tiered system where non-Jews are treated as second-class citizens, at best.
The United Nations, along with multiple human rights groups, such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and BTSelem, have all released reports detailing how Israel fits the definition of an apartheid state.
Israel is carrying out war crimes every day against the civilian population of Gaza. And while the world looks on in horror, our leaders in Washington, London and Brussels watch on approvingly and supply Israel with the weapons needed to commit their slaughter. And our media?
They continue to whitewash Israel’s violation of international law with soft propaganda, biased framing and disclaimers that ensure the genocide of unworthy victims continues because, well, it’s just too complicated.