The perpetrators, Israel, will not stop the destruction and killing and no one else so far has intervened strongly enough to stop it.
But today there is great step for humanity: the INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE (ICJ) has just ruled for South Africa condemning Israel to take all steps to stop and prevent genocide in Gaza.
And a great bravo to 2 women who contributed to this judgement of ICJ: the Minister of international affairs of South Africa GRACE NALEDI PANDOR and Judge JOAN DONAHUE, President of the international Court of Justice.
The struggle for independence
The continued non-recognition of Palestine by Israel, its people living under siege for the last 50 years. The ‘imprisonment’ of the Palestinian people till today, denied return to their land, denied the 2-state solution one being an independent Palestine. Israel cites the condemnable 7th October attack by Hamas which killed 1,200 innocent Israelis. Like Hitler cited the takeover of the German economy by the Jews for him to continue eliminating all Jews, from 1940 to 1945, till 5 million of them were criminally killed.
Many human groups have in the past launched a struggle (in some cases a war) for their liberation and the establishment of an independent country. For example, the American war of independence against the British. In India, the struggles for independence from Britain were led by Gandhi and Nehru. In the 20th century, African independence movements were witnessed, as a wave of struggles for independence from European/colonialist rule. For example Kenya, led by Jomo Kenyatta, Algeria for its liberation from France, Mozambique and Angola for liberation from Portuguese rule, Malagasy nationalists revolt against the French as from March 1947, Eritrea from being an Italian colony from 1890 to 1941, then having to struggle against domination by Ethiopia, Namibia against German rule, South Africa led by Nelson Mandela against internal apartheid rule – AND SO MANY OTHERS.
Now, let us-let the world-recognise the ongoing struggle /war of the Palestinians people for their land, freedom and independence from Israeli control and rule. Side by side with the peaceful existence of Israel free from attacks. Including the rights of the 700,000 Palestinians now living in foreign countries, a figure not far from the total number of Jewish immigrants of 482,900 who came and created the state of Israel in 1948.
So far, since October 7, in 4 months of war, 26,000 Palestinians and about 1,200 Israelis have been killed (Yes! Over TWENTY -SIX THOUSAND DEATHS, mostly PALESTINIANS). And two thirds of habitations have been destroyed. Over 300 education institutions have been destroyed and 200 teachers killed, more than 600,000 students are now without schooling. Most hospitals have been damaged of destroyed, while food, water and gas supply to the population is reduced often denied.. People in GAZA ARE STARVING!
A HOLOCAUST is happening right before our eyes while the world remains silent!
What is a genocide?
It is the deliberate and systematic destruction, completely or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group. It is inhuman, immoral, illegal and completely unacceptable. It involves violence against people simply because of their difference.
To constitute genocide, there must be a proven intent on the part of perpetrators to physically destroy a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. Cultural destruction does not suffice, nor does an intention to simply disperse a group.
Genocide was first recognised as a crime under international law in 1946 by the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/96-I). It was codified as an independent crime in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention). The Convention has been ratified by 153 States (as of April 2022).
Throughout History, we have seen groups of misguided men, of all continents, of all ‘religion’ overtaken by transient madness, committing genocide. Always after genocide, the world says “never again”. There had been so many examples, so many duly forgotten. For the sake of remembrance, let us recall a few:
- Nazi Germans exterminating more than 5 million Jews during WWII, 1940-45.
- The Hutus massacred 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1993.
- The massacres of Muslims by Christians during the Crusades, and during the recapture of Spain from the Moslems;
- In 1915, leaders of the Turkish government set in motion a plan to expel and massacre Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. Out of about 2 million Armenians at the time of the massacre by the early 1920s, when the massacres and deportations finally ended, some 1.5 million of Turkey’s Armenians were dead, others forcibly removed from the country;
- The elimination of the Amerindians (‘Red Indians’) by settlers from Europe. Let us hear Chief Seattle: “My people are few. They resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain…There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea cover its shell-paved floor, but that time long since passed away with the greatness of tribes that are now but a mournful memory”. Similarly for the Aborigines of Australia, the traditional indigenous people of the Amazon basin and indigenous people from other parts of the world.
- Slavery, a form of cultural genocide, commonly practiced in the ancient world, but in recent times (during 15th to 19th centuries) practiced mainly on people of African origin, uprooted and sold into forced labour, including here in Mauritius;
- Stalin’s Gulags in the USSR;
- The ‘imprisonment’ of the Palestinian people till today, denied return to their land, denied the 2-state solution one being an independent Palestine;
- The strongly uneven world trade which enriches many and leave as many (especially producers of basic commodities) living close to starvation level.
The world must congratulate South Africa who, in the spirit of Nelson Mandela fight for social justice, did send this case to the ICJ. Now calling upon the United Nations, calling upon the USA (who supply Israel with funds and weapons), the EU, China and India, the Arab states, South Africa itself and the African Union (including us, Mauritius) and indeed all countries of the world to intervene and compel Israel to implement the ICJ ruling. Stop the killing and starving of people by an immediate cease-fire in GAZA, the release of all hostages by Hamas and prisoners by Israel and negotiations on a future independent state of Palestine.
Dr Michael ATCHIA(Former United Nations Programme Director)
For Democracy Watch Mauritius