UN expert accuses Israel of several acts of genocide

Published March 26, 2024
A view of destruction from Israeli strikes in Gaza City, on Monday.—AFP
A view of destruction from Israeli strikes in Gaza City, on Monday.—AFP

GENEVA: A UN rights expert said on Monday there were “reasonable grounds” to determine that Israel has committed several acts of “genocide” in Gaza, also evoking “ethnic cleansing”.

Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on the rights situation in Palestinian territories, said there were clear indications that Israel had violated three of the five acts listed under the international genocide convention.

“The overwhelming nature and scale of Israel’s assault on Gaza and the destructive conditions of life it has inflicted reveal an intent to physically destroy Palestinians as a group,” she said in a report.

Albanese, an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council but who does not speak on behalf of the United Nations, said she had found “reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating the commission of… acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza has been met”.

The report, entitled “Anatomy of a Genocide”, listed those acts as: “Killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to the group’s members; and deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.

Israel’s diplomatic mission in Geneva said the country “utterly rejects the report”.

Albanese’s report, which she is due to present to the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, maintained that Israel’s “genocidal acts” followed “statements of genocidal intent”.

She said that statements by some senior Israelis declaring an intent to forcibly displace Palestinians and replace them with Israeli settlers meant that “evacuation orders and safe zones have been used as genocidal tools to achieve ethnic cleansing”.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2024

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