‘Israelis Against Apartheid’ demand ICC take action to protect Palestinians from genocide – Mondoweiss

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Editor’s Note: Members of the 1500-strong group Israelis Against Apartheid sent the following letter to Karim A. A. Khan, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, on November 2, 2023 urging immediate international intervention to halt the massacre in Gaza.

2.11.2023

To Karim A. A. Khan, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court,

We, Israelis Against Apartheid, a group of Israeli Jews for decolonization, representing more than 1,500 concerned citizens, call on the ICC to take accelerated action against the escalating Israeli war crimes, and genocide of the Palestinian people. For the safety and future in the region, all elements of international law must be enforced and war crimes should be investigated. We appreciate your deep concern for the lives of Palestinians, Israelis and others, and are encouraged by your determination to conduct a thorough investigation into the ongoing violations of international law.

As Israeli anticolonial activists, we have joined our voices to the voices of Palestinians for decades warning on the dangerous course of action pursued by the Israeli State and repeatedly called for international intervention. 

Persistent impunity has created the conditions for the consolidation of the Israeli Apartheid regime, which is intent on committing ethnic cleansing and genocide of the indigenous Palestinian population. The acute deterioration in basic conditions of life that we are now witnessing could have been avoided if Israel had not been continuously granted impunity for its ongoing crimes. 

We are grateful for your statements from the 29th of October pointing out that impeding relief aid to Gaza may be a crime under ICC jurisdiction and that Israel must make “discernable efforts, without further delay, to make sure civilians receive basic food, water, and medicine”. The immediate delivery of aid to the residents of Gaza is essential to preventing human-made atrocities of famine and thirst among the occupied Palestinian population. 

In April 2018 following the systematic killing of unarmed protestors during the Great March of Return, your predecessor, Fatou Bendousa, warned: “Violence against civilians, in a situation such as the one prevailing in Gaza could constitute crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.” We implore you to announce your office’s responsibility to issue arrest warrants and hold the perpetrators of these criminal acts accountable.  

The current escalation, after the Hamas attack on Israel, and the incursion by Palestinian armed groups on 7 October 2023, in which over a thousand Israelis were killed and over two hundred taken hostage, has resulted in a surge of violence and incidences of war crimes committed by the state of Israel. We believe it is critical that the pace of the investigation be accelerated accordingly. We applaud your statement that the institutions established to safeguard the civilian population must investigate these potential crimes and expect you to act as swiftly as you did in the case of Ukraine, to ensure that justice is served and innocent lives are saved. 

We are extremely concerned by the Israeli institutional calls for genocide that are being loudly and clearly voiced in Hebrew and believe that they should be seriously taken into consideration as thousands, if not millions, of lives are at stake. On the 29th of October, 2023, Binyamin Netanyahu made a public declaration referring to the Palestinian people as “Amalek” and quoting  the Bible: “to utterly destroy all that Amalek have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman and infant…”.  

Israeli military personnel and journalists are now openly calling for ethnic cleansing and genocide. It is evident that Israel is disregarding the lives of civilians in Gaza, ordering them to evacuate vast areas even as there is no safe place in Gaza to which people can flee. Nor should they be forced to leave their homes: on the contrary, UN Resolution 194 promises them the right to return to their original homes, in what is now the State of Israel.

We deeply regret that, despite the opening of an investigation, followed by the Pre-Trial Chamber I’s 2021 decision that the Court may exercise its criminal jurisdiction over the Situation in Palestine, you have so far failed to take concrete action to stop the tragic trajectory of events in our region by holding Israel accountable. 

Palestinian, international and Israeli organizations have made numerous calls on your office to take action on the systematic violations of international law, ongoing war crimes and widespread disregard for the most basic human rights of the Palestinian people. 

Israeli War crimes are systematic and ongoing and they are increasing. Clear, well-documented evidence of them  has been submitted to your office for years. We urge you to take immediate and concrete action.

With regard to the intensification of violence and in the goal to save as many lives as possible, we urge you to:

  1. Issue immediate arrest warrants against Israeli political and military-security leaders who are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity;
  2. Accelerate your investigation into the ongoing crimes being perpetrated at this very moment by the State of Israel, its military forces, and armed Israeli citizens under military protection; and
  3. To be a validated and balanced platform for alleged crimes arising from the current situation, rather than making reference to unvalidated and unverified claims.

Annex: Calls for genocide/Justification of genocide 

A few examples of evidence of Israeli officials calling for genocide:

  • On Friday, October 13th, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said that all citizens of Gaza are responsible for the attack Hamas perpetrated in Israel and that there are no innocent civilians in Gaza. A compilation of such calls from Israeli public figures can be found here
  • On Wednesday, October 25th, Sderot Mayor, former MK (No. 3 in Naftali Bennett’s party) Alon Davidi said: “Every inhabitant of Gaza is ISIS. They must all be hit. … I have no pity for them.  Those who live there, two million people, are Nazis. It’s an area of ​​Nazis and ISIS that gives total support to Hamas and Jihad and, as far as I’m concerned, every resident of Gaza is Hamas and ISIS and we need to hold them accountable.” Davidi points out that this is the feeling shared by all residents of the South with whom he talks: “People want and say clearly: it’s either us – or them.” 
  • Former MK Moshe Feiglin called for the complete destruction of Gaza, like Hiroshima (without nukes)  
  • Former Israeli UN ambassador Dan Gillerman called Palestinians “horrible, inhuman animals” 
  • An Israeli government think-tank recently laid out a blueprint for the complete ethnic cleansing of Gaza

Public figures or organizations :

  • Eyal Golan, a popular Israeli singer, repeated on Israeli television the characterization of the people of Gaza as ‘human animals’ adding: “We must erase Gaza and not leave a single person alive there.”
  • An ad widely distributed on Social Media by a Right-wing movement with the heading: “This time we win – End Gaza” spells out its purposes for the Gaza Strip: “Flattening, Occupying, Settling.”

An “Ethics Code” widely circulated to civilians and soldiers by the Right-wing Israeli “human rights organization” “Btsalmo” leaflet calls for genocide:

“Code of ethics for the army of Israel”: 

  • I am willing to give my soul to save the Jewish people. 
  • The enemy should be eliminated rather than neutralized. 
  • A population that supports terror is the enemy. 
  • An order to risk the lives of civilians or soldiers in order to protect the enemy is blatantly illegal. 
  • Eradication of evil is a moral edict and for the good of Humanity. I shall pursue my enemies and reach them and will not turn back before their demise.”

Signed : Israelis Against Apartheid.

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