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Monday, January 15, 2024

Genocide, and How to Do It Right

Palestinian murderers committed genocide on October 7th 2023. They did this with the support of 75-90% of the civilian population who even celebrated in the streets. They chased every single Israeli civilian they could find of any age, and killed, raped, mutilated, beheaded, or took them hostage (sometimes a combination of the above). This included babies in their cribs, 85 year old people with medical problems, families and their children in their homes, party-goers at a peace party, and even foreign workers and Israeli Arabs. Every human being they encountered in their path was a target, not only shooting unarmed people in the streets, but shooting them again once they were down, and then sometimes mutilating them.

We know all this because they filmed themselves doing it and published their acts proudly, even boasting of their massacres to their own proud parents that praised their deeds. Many horrifying videos have circulated on the internet that they published themselves, including one with Palestinians taking a mutilated, naked girl back to Gaza to cheering crowds, another involving burnt babies, and one where a man takes his two small children into a shelter and a Palestinian throws a grenade into the shelter, showing two shocked children covered in their father's blood. There is even a video of a Palestinian terrorist trying to behead a Thai farm worker repeatedly with a hoe. And these are only the beginning of their atrocities, many of their gruesome acts have only witnesses without videos.

This was not a one-time act of wild, angry bloodthirstiness that went out of control; it was systematic and pre-meditated. Hamas has been blowing up Israeli children for decades in terrorist bombings since the 80s, the leadership have carefully planned this massacre, providing maps of non-military villages, and providing written instructions to their soldiers to kill everyone, and Hamas have declared their intention to kill every Jew and destroy Israel completely in their official charter since its inception and until today, and have publicly declared their intention to repeat October 7 until Israel is destroyed.

Genocide has never been more clearly defined since the Holocaust, in both self-declared, written and documented intentions, as well as in actual deeds. And, incredibly, the evidence is provided by the perpetrators themselves. This fact makes this genocide even worse than the Holocaust. The Nazis, infamously, took actions to make the massacres of Jews more 'humane' for German soldiers, not in order to reduce suffering for Jews but to relieve the stress that massacring Jews had on German soldiers. And they tried to hide their actions from the rest of the world with staged camps in order to hide what the real concentration camps were all about. Whereas Palestinians film and proudly show off their own massacres even to their own parents.

One fact is absolutely clear: If God and Israeli soldiers hadn't intervened, the Palestinians would have continued massacring Jews for months, and we would have had seven million Jews dead, not just 1200. A second Holocaust. Except, this time, it would have been shared on social media by the perpetrators.

In response, Israel launched a counter-attack and invasion of Gaza with the goal of stopping these butchers from continuing their genocidal plans. Then, in a disturbingly absurd act of blaming the victim, people around the world accused Israel, not Palestinians, of committing genocide. 

This behavior is not new. Even back in 1961, the famous Professor Toynbee accused Israel of committing atrocities against aggressive Palestinians equivalent to the Nazis in WWII, and was promptly challenged to a debate by the great Herzog who completely dismantled Toynbee's arguments with a quality of debating skill that is sorely lacking today.

Given all this, South Africa's accusations of Israeli genocide at the International Court of Justice on 11th-12th of Jan 2024 is a mere drop in a sludgy bucket of centuries of blood libels. The only difference is now that Jews are fighting back, their self-defense is included in the libels as evidence of atrocities.

But I have now committed the same mistake made by most Israeli spokespeople: That of using emotional rhetoric to fight a carefully worded legal argument. Calling out Palestinian brutality does not adequately address the accusation of Israeli genocide, because one genocide does not justify another. The fact is that many people actually believe these accusations against Israel are true.

Therefore, in order to properly dismantle this argument, I will show how it falls apart under its own non-logic.

How Would You Commit Genocide?

Let us start with a simple but compelling argument. Ask yourself a very simple question: Imagine you were intending to commit genocide against a nation or ethnic group, and that you had many tens of thousands of hi-tech bombs and a well equipped army at your disposal. Not only that, but imagine that your target, unlike Ukraine for example, is not equipped with a strong air defense. Also, the civilians don't have bomb shelters because their leaders didn't bother investing in these before they start wars. On top of everything else, you are equipped with satellites and drones that let you know where your enemy is crowding.

I don't know about you, but if I had genocide in my mind, I would make every bomb count. I would target the most densely populated areas and buildings and try to take out hundreds of people with every single bomb. I would target hospitals and schools packed with crowds of civilians, as well as the tallest buildings with the most families and residents, not provide any warning, and take out an average of several dozens of people at minimum with each and every bomb, with some massive bombs taking out thousands in a single explosion. I wouldn't target only hospital parking lots, I would target the most densely packed areas of the hospital and carpet bomb the whole compound. (That infamous hospital had tens of thousands of easy crowded targets that could have been taken out in one go.)

Just to use a recent example, the bombing of the Suleimani memorial event in Iran on 3rd Jan 2024 killed at least 100 people with only two passive bombs left at the scene. Imagine how many deaths could be caused with massive 2000-pound precision bombs from above, and any precise location in Gaza as a possible target. It could be a smorgasbord of easy and continuous massacres. Granted, not every bomb would be such a resounding massacring success, but at the very least, each bomb could take out dozens of family members in their homes.

Now, having painted this horrifying scenario, let's study and compare actual numbers:

As of today, Israel has bombed Gaza with over 45,000 bombs (65,000 tonnes). Even if my hypothetical bloodthirsty bombing campaign was riddled with incompetence and I only managed an average of 20 people killed per bomb (one fifth of the low-tech bomb in Iran), I should have killed one million Palestinians by now. Killed, not wounded. Almost everyone else in Gaza's 2-million population would be wounded.

The actual numbers of Gazan deaths as of today? 24,000. And let's not forget this number comes from Hamas, an extremely unreliable source to say the least. Also, this number does not state how many of these 24,000 are combatants. But even if we take this number at face value, we have an average of 0.5 deaths per bomb. That's not even one death per bomb. And that's without excluding the deaths caused by ground troops versus bombs, and without excluding combatants. The actual number of civilian deaths from bombs is likely to be around 0.2 per bomb given the thousands of militants claimed killed by the IDF. That's five bombs to kill one single civilian.

Even the most incompetent army on the planet couldn't be this ineffectual at genocide if they tried, assuming they were bloodthirsty. And we have even used the enemy's casualty numbers, an enemy that uses these numbers to get world opinion on their side. Obviously, the only possible explanation for this extremely low number of casualties is that Israel is actively and constantly trying to reduce civilian deaths with careful bombing, warning campaigns, and so on. In other words, everything that Israel has been claiming to do.

Not to mention that Israel has sent troops into Gaza for a more surgical war and has already suffered 200 deaths and a couple thousand of wounded soldiers. Once again, if Israel were genocidal, what would be the point of sending soldiers to their deaths instead of simply carpet bombing the whole of Gaza until everyone is dead? Even with terrorists hiding in tunnels, all the IDF has to do is blow up the buildings covering these tunnels, and then bomb them when they poke their heads out of remaining tunnels to launch missiles. Or, use bunker-busting bombs.

This conclusion is inevitable math, even given the numbers provided by Hamas. And all the criticism thrown at Israel from various politicians, including the alleged use of indiscriminate unguided bombs, and the use of too-powerful 2000-pound bombs, only bolster this counter-argument. If the bombing campaign was so indiscriminate in such densely populated areas, how did it result in, at worst, 0.5 deaths per bomb? Ironically, the more bombs Israel uses, the stronger the argument becomes against genocide, because the casualty numbers constantly prove a non-genocidal intent.

Intent

Once you absorb this simple and incontrovertible mathematical argument and its consequences, many other arguments fall apart. It doesn't matter what Israeli politicians meant when they referred to Palestinians as animals or Amalek. The facts on the ground prove their intentions and force only one possible interpretation of their words. And genocide is all about intent. This is both a legal and logical definition. I will explain why below when I deal with South Africa.

As an example of intent and the difficulties in establishing such intent, let us take the often used example of Israeli leaders referring to Palestinians as 'Amalek': Some people think this points to intentions of genocide, given that the bible talks about killing every last Amalekian man, woman and child. First of all, there is no proof that he wasn't referring to Hamas when he said this, as opposed to civilians. And wiping out every last Hamas member, a militant and terrorist organization, is a perfectly legal wartime goal, and has no resemblance to genocide. Most of the other quotes from Israeli leaders I've seen used to prove this point are similarly referring to Hamas, not Palestinian civilians, and there is no evidence to the contrary. This includes the famous quote 'we are fighting animals'. The word 'fighting' is a clue as to who he was referring to. Civilians don't fight. The only problem here is that calling Hamas animals is an insult to animals. But there is no intent to commit genocide here, only an intent to wipe out a cruel enemy of terrorists and militants.

Secondly, Amalek has other symbolic meanings for Jews besides killing everyone. Amalek refers to an ancient sworn nemesis and enemy, and Hamas fits the bill. Invoking Amalek doesn't mean that Israel is invoking the instructions that came along with it. If this were the case, Israel would have priests anointing soldiers with oil and sending them home if they planted a vineyard recently. Invoking Amalek merely means that they are a modern day version of a sworn ancient enemy that have been attacking and torturing Israel for decades. And now that you see the actual casualty numbers of the war, there is no longer a debate of what they meant when they said these words, as their actual intentions are proven by deeds, facts and numbers.

As far as the quote from President Herzog is concerned, all he said was that "it is an entire nation out there that is responsible. It's not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved. They could have risen up, they could have fought against that evil regime which took over Gaza in a coup 'd ├ętat.". Which is a basic truth. Add to this the polls that prove that the vast majority of civilians support Hamas, which definitely makes them responsible. But, and here is the key issue: 'Responsibility' does not mean that they become valid military targets. One does not follow the other. This is obvious to everyone except the most simple-minded. And, once again, the proof is in IDF's actual actions on the ground.

This applies to other similar quotes about no uninvolved citizens in Gaza. First of all this is a true fact given many polls. Second, just because they are 'involved', that does not mean soldiers systematically want to, or have killed civilians on purpose. It only means that they are evil and immoral citizens and deserve no sympathy. Granted, this is only one step away from actually killing civilians, but this does not mean that a majority of Israelis took this step. Again, look at the numbers for proof.

An exception: Quotes from the extremists Ben Gvir, Amihai Eliyahu, and Smotrich are indefensible. But they are not in the war cabinet and even Netanyahu doesn't agree with them. He merely formed a coalition with them. So once again, these views do not reflect actions on the ground. This applies to all other quotes from Israeli extremists that do not have any effect on the army and its policies. What these quotes prove is merely that Israel has its share of extremists, just like any other country. The question is, who is in charge and what is the end result. And I answered this question already.

As far as not providing aid, water and electricity to Gaza is concerned: This is the most absurd accusation of them all. Imagine if Britain was accused of a war crime for not providing goods and fuel to Germany during WWII. In addition, Gazans had ample time, money and aid to become self sufficient, as proven by the tunnels they built. Israel providing power to Gaza is charity for a people that not only refuses to build their own civilization, but also used Israel's charity to attack Israel. Just imagine accusing a victim of committing the crime of not providing his attacker with more weapons to attack him with, and you'll have an inkling of how absurd this is.

Similarly, Israel sent numerous warnings to Gazans to move to different locations in Gaza in order to avoid bombings and save their lives, and there were several attempts to evacuate Gazans out of war-torn Gaza completely for the same reason. As usual, antisemites use a humanitarian act by Israel against Israel, accusing Israel of attempting to permanently displace or harm Gazan civilians, thus committing a war crime. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. But the argument is saying that this evacuation may have had ulterior motives. Once again, ask yourself, what would displacement with intent to commit genocide look like, and what behavior by the army would be consistent with such intent? And what would an actual evacuation intended to save lives look like? Which scenario is more consistent with the facts and casualty figures? And which would be a more efficient way to commit genocide?

But Wait, There Are Many Ways to Commit Genocide

...including, according to South Africa, by not providing jobs and electricity to people in neighboring countries. I kid you not.

To be fair, the South African accusation against Israel is much more subtle than just 'Israel is attempting to kill everyone with bombs'. And I will go into their accusations in more detail forthwith. But my above argument is nevertheless a solid base with which to argue against many claims, since it proves actual intent through actions, as well as demonstrates an army that is following moral guidelines. Again, all you have to do is imagine what the behavior of a genocidal army is supposed to look like, and then compare this to the actual picture on the ground. If you intend to enable genocide of a people by other means such as starvation, for example, would you then risk the lives of thousands of soldiers with a ground invasion? If you wanted them all dead, would you warn them to leave the building before a bombing? And would you provide aid to their hospitals and bakeries beyond what was demanded by the UN?

Before we get into the claims, an important preamble should put them all in their proper context and emphasize what kind of proof we are looking for: 'Genocide' is much more than just a mass of people dying and suffering from war. A war of self defense is legal, and civilian casualties suffered during such a war does not even constitute a war crime, let alone genocide. To prove that even a war crime has occurred, proof of civilian deaths is not enough. One would have to go into intent and proportionality. And 'proportionality' is not what most people think at all. It is not a matter of comparable numbers; It is a highly complex and ambiguous term that depends on the quality of intended military goals versus the amount of damage and deaths that a military action inevitably causes. Each case would have to be carefully studied to evaluate this issue of intent/goals versus damage. And all this is for proving a war crime. To prove genocide goes even further than this, and one would have to prove intent against an ethnic group as a whole, or at least towards most of this group.

Given this, even many thousands of civilian deaths may not necessarily constitute a war crime, let alone genocide. Just because one nation is killing members of another nation, including civilians, that doesn't qualify as genocide. If that were the case, every non-civil-war that has ever taken place in history, would be classified as genocide. This absurdity was somehow overlooked by Professor Toynbee in 1961 in the aforementioned debate, and he conceded this point. So even if one shows mountains of evidence of tragic civilian deaths, this doesn't even begin to qualify as a legal case worth discussing, because civilians deaths are not necessarily illegal

Some additional notes about this court case:

  • Normally, Israel ignores the UN and its court's accusations and decisions as being inherently biased and refuses to accept their jurisdiction or patently warped interpretations of international law and the Geneva Convention. By international law, the international court only has jurisdiction over countries that are signed parties to such laws and courts. So for example, Israel has not signed the Rome Statute. Therefore, normally, any deliberations by the UN about war crimes would not have any effect on Israel except in political terms, since the ICC has no legal jurisdiction. But, in this case, the law invoked is the Genocide Convention, a treaty that Israel has adopted. Which is probably why Israel has made an exception and built a defense.

  • That said, using legalese, Mr Shaw has argued that even this case shouldn't fall under the jurisdiction of the ICJ, but we won't go into that.

  • The Israelis did a pretty good job as far as I can see, but only if one filters out the rhetoric, the less critical side-issues, legalese, and less effective arguments. There are still strong arguments to be found regarding the core accusations, especially if one ties everything together as a cohesive structure of many parts. But if one focuses only on the weaker arguments and points and ignores the critical arguments, it may not seem like they did a good job. So here's hoping the judges pay attention. For example, many of the arguments deal with Israel's right to defend itself (arguing that the court cannot abrogate this right in the many ways demanded by South Africa). Which is an important point to make so that the judges take this into account when deliberating, but this does not address the accusations themselves. Many arguments deal with the context of the war and Hamas's brutality and war tactics, thus explaining away some of the alleged atrocities and tactics seen in the war. For example, the fact that Hamas uses civilians as human shields is correct and does explain many of the civilian deaths, but this still does not eliminate the possibility of genocide on Israel's part despite this fact. But amidst all this material, there are good arguments, some similar to the ones I make here. And there are also pages of valuable evidence concerning Israel's many acts of aid to Gazan civilians even during the war. But what I am trying to do here is present other arguments they didn't use that deal with the internal logic of such accusations, as well to strengthen and emphasize the important throwaway arguments they made, without the legalese.

Links: The index of transcripts. The 84-page initial written document ("Application Instituting Proceedings") summarizing evidence and accusations by South Africa. First oral arguments by South Africa. First oral counter-arguments by Israel.

The South African team has made several important claims and accusations, most of them summarized in the introductory sections, including:

  • Defining Israel's acts as: "genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group, that being the part of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip"
  • Committing genocide both by: "failing to prevent genocide, and by committing genocide." Failing to prevent genocide includes: "failing to prevent or punish the direct and public incitement to genocide by senior Israeli officials and others."
  • More subtly, genocide is not committed blatantly by bombings but by: "deliberately inflicting on them conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction as a group". (My emphasis on words of intent). This includes "starvation of civilians as a method of warfare". And "failure to provide or ensure essential food, water, medicine, fuel, shelter and other humanitarian assistance for the besieged and blockaded Palestinian people, which has pushed them to the brink of famine." Etc.
  • Included in the above is: "Forcing the evacuation of 1.9 million people or 85% of the population of Gaza from their homes and herding them into ever smaller areas, without adequate shelter, in which they continue to be attacked, killed and harmed "
  • Also this is placed in a broader context of historical intent to commit genocide: "South Africa is also aware that acts of genocide inevitably form part of a continuum ... For this reason it is important to place the acts of genocide in the broader context of Israel’s conduct towards Palestinians during its 75-year-long apartheid, its 56-year-long belligerent occupation of Palestinian territory and its 16-year-long blockade of Gaza, including the serious and ongoing violations of international law associated therewith, including grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention."
  • They even accuse Israel of regular war crimes by: "intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population", somehow claiming to know their intent when said civilians were killed.
  • To back all this up, they list numerous facts, quotes and figures of death, suffering and destruction, and also include quotes from various Israelis leaders that they interpret as genocidal (I responded to this in the previous section), as well as precedent decisions by the UN on previous wars between Israel and Palestinians.

As you can see, this well thought out argument avoids accusations of genocide through direct killings and claims the indirect but deliberate causation of genocide through various acts or omissions by Israel, backed by words that convey the intent to commit genocide. Which is smart, except it also makes its own job much harder, because it has to prove genocidal intent through indirect actions, or through intentionally malicious neglect to stop genocide. And it can only do this, as explained, by showing that actions of the Israeli leadership and army are dissimilar to a regular army in any regular non-genocidal war, actions of war that lack justified military goals, causing unjustified death and destruction to most of the population, thus possibly falling under the extreme category of genocide. Does it achieve this? Let's look at their evidence:

  • They provide many statistics about the extreme bombing campaign in Gaza. Except that a heavy bombing campaign with an extreme amount of bombs, although unusual, does not necessarily denote a war crime, as explained above. Not only that, but it resulted in an extremely and unusually low amount of deaths. So the numbers prove the exact opposite of what they are trying to claim.

  • And if one were to argue that Israel shouldn't have dropped so many bombs in the first place, notwithstanding the relatively low level of casualties, the fact is that Gaza fired over 10,000 missiles into Israel. A clear case of proportional self-defense. Just imagine every time they launch missiles, Israel targets the buildings the weapons were stored in and/or the buildings they were launched from. In addition, bombs are used by Israel to protect the soldiers going into Gaza and to stop Hamas fighters. Either way there is not even a shred of evidence here for genocidal intent.

  • There is a lot of evidence given of the dire situation in Gaza. Many of the quotes used as evidence are highly questionable. Just because a Hamas member working for the UN declares a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, that does not make it true. For example, there were numerous claims of a severe fuel shortage in hospitals causing deaths, even though we saw video evidence of fuel depots in Gaza hoarded by Hamas and not shared with hospitals. But even if all the evidence is true, most wars involving civilian cities result in emptied and destroyed cities, millions of displaced civilians, overrun hospitals, humanitarian crises, terribly wounded civilians, psychological traumas, and refugees that suffer in crowded and bad conditions. (Even in this war, half a million Jews on the Israeli side have been displaced thanks to Hamas and Hezbollah bombings.) So what exactly makes this war different that defines it as genocide? If a war is waged from homes, and these are used for launching missiles, then said homes are valid military targets. Even schools and hospitals become legal military targets according to international law if they are used for attacks or for military purposes. None of these facts prove a war crime or genocide. In order to prove war crimes, it is not enough to demonstrate that homes, schools and hospitals have been bombed and that civilians are suffering; One has to prove that they weren't a valid military target or that the counter-attack was disproportionate. And just because all civilians in Gaza are suffering, that does not point to a war crime on Israel's part. It only proves that this is a tragic war similar to all other tragic but legal wars with countless cases of civilian suffering.
  • Similarly, presenting large numbers of instances of civilian deaths and destruction does not change the equation. If a militant fires a rocket from a hospital, and the IDF is forced to attack this hospital in self defense, and this scenario repeats itself a thousand times with a thousand variations, then no war crime has been committed even though it has happened a thousand times. A hundred apples do not add up to a bushel of oranges.

  • As they wrote in their accusations, there has to be a calculated strategy to inflict this on civilians, and deliberate intent to destroy the population. But where is the proof of such intent? In order to prove genocide, for example, one has to show that several of these military acts were not self defense and therefore had other goals in mind, and this has to be proven systematically taking into account exceptions due to mistakes or rogue soldiers. Barring this, there is nothing here except self-defense. This whole mountain of evidence is useless because it doesn't prove the legal claim of intent. It only proves that it's a horrible war.

  • Logically, one can even go as far as saying that ongoing acts of self-defense do not prove intent of genocide, even if the whole population is destroyed as a result. Think about it: If your enemy keeps coming after you one after another until they have been 100% destroyed, there has been no crime of genocide even though a whole nation has been destroyed. There was no intent to commit genocide, therefore there was no crime. Multiple acts of self defense do not add up to a criminal intent to commit genocide, regardless of the outcome.

These counter-arguments take care of all the damage and destruction in Gaza, as well as the military actions performed by Israel, and its intent. Thus the one type of evidence needed to prove intent of genocide, is completely lacking in the whole 84-page document. The primary problem is that they have omitted evidence that would re-categorize all of the violence as anything other than self-defense.

But now comes the other side of the coin which they include in their arguments, the sins of omission: One can argue that it is the obligation of this self-defense army to protect non-combatants on the other side as much as possible despite any acts of self defense. But the key phrase here is 'as much as possible'. To prove a war crime, one has to prove that more could have been done to protect civilians without paying too high a price. This is where the claims start that Israel has not allowed enough aid into Gaza, or not performed enough humanitarian pauses, or has blocked water and fuel, and so on, thus allegedly demonstrating that Israel is interested in an outcome where most of Gaza has been wiped out in one way or another.

  • First, you can read the Israeli response with pages of examples of aid and humanitarian support provided by and enabled by Israel before and during the war. Israel even has a military branch called COGAT that deals with humanitarian issues in Gaza, a unit that was attacked in October 7 and continues to provide aid to Gaza even after an attack on COGAT by Gaza. Oh, the irony.

  • Even if one would try to claim that this aid wasn't enough, or that it was implemented in a problematic way by Israel, what this long list proves is that Israel is not genocidal. Not providing enough aid despite best efforts, or doing so incompetently, is not indicative of genocidal intent. Again, the key is intent and effort, not the actual results and suffering in Gaza. Without intent there is no crime of genocide.

  • Logically, the accusations fail completely because they only bring evidence of the dire situation in Gaza as proof that Israel intends to commit genocide. Except that one does not follow the other. If a doctor loses ten patients in one day, this doesn't prove that the doctor intended to kill them. You have to actually prove that the doctor didn't do enough by providing concrete examples of what else the doctor could have done, and then discussing whether this was within practical reach of the doctor. Once again, the core requirements of demonstrating intent of genocide are missing. This is not even a justifiable court case.

Another outrageous claim was made that : "Notwithstanding its ‘disengagement’, Israel continues to exercise control over the airspace, territorial waters, land crossings, water, electricity, electromagnetic sphere and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, as well as over key governmental functions, such as the management of the Palestinian population registry for Gaza. Given that continuing effective control by Israel over the territory, Gaza is still considered by the international community to be under belligerent occupation by Israel."  Let's go over this canard as well:

  • Airspace and territorial waters were both used to massacre Jews on October 7 (using gliders and boats). So evidently, there was not enough control by Israel. Given that Gaza continues to attack Israel ever since the 2006 disengagement, not only is controlling their airspace a legal act of self-defense, it is the absolute minimum under the circumstances. In fact, occupying Gaza completely would have been legal as well. Even the West Bank occupation in 1967 is seen as legal by the UN given Palestinian aggression, in the same way that the Allies occupying Germany after WWII was legal. The question of illegality only arose later due to a continuing occupation. But the 1967 occupation was legal at the time even by UN standards. Look it up and keep in mind this distinction of initial vs. ongoing occupation. My point here concerning Gaza, however, is that even a full occupation would have been legal by international law under the circumstances of constant Gazan attacks and missiles. It's just that Israel doesn't want the headache. So minimal airspace control is not only legal, it is humanitarian restraint under these circumstances. To claim that it is genocidal is absurd.

  • Land crossings: So now closed borders between countries are illegal? How many countries does this turn into genocidal criminals based on their closed borders? Also, what about Gaza's border with Egypt? Is Egypt genocidal too?

  • Water and electricity: Since when does one country owe another country water and electricity? Especially when they use it to attack your country. Same goes for jobs. Gazans used their jobs in Israel for information to better attack Israel. The Gazans could have built their own power plants and water desalination plants, more efficient farms, and so on. Instead they bought hundreds of thousands of weapons, and built hundreds of kilometers of tunnels with air-conditioning and amenities. They even converted water pipes into missiles.

  • "Management of the Palestinian population registry for Gaza". Since when does keeping track of belligerent civilians in a neighboring country classify as occupation? It's not as if Hamas didn't and couldn't keep their own population registry. Tracking does not equate with control.

  • Restricted imports into Gaza: The only restrictions imposed by Israel were on goods that could be used as weapons. (Obviously, it wasn't restrictive enough). Once again, this is minimal and legal considering the circumstances. But it doesn't even qualify as a full blown occupation, let alone genocide.

  • In short, Gaza had its own laws, its own elections, its own government, billions in aid from countries around the world, lucrative neighborhoods and shopping malls, and the freedom to do whatever they want in Gaza, except wage war with Israel. They could even leave Gaza for Egypt and Europe, assuming these entities accepted them. Israel owes them nothing, and yet still helps them out. The only restrictions on Gaza were on their ability to wage war, and these restrictions are legal under the laws of war. So what this claim is actually saying is that Gaza did not have the freedom to kill Jews, and therefore was under occupation.

Other points:

  • The many quotes they bring from biased UN deliberations, or by antisemitic or misguided politicians, obviously don't qualify as evidence. They even bring mountains of 'evidence' on the extreme situation in Gaza by Hamas officials and UNRWA workers (an organization proven to be overrun with Hamas members) as if this constitutes evidence. Since when is propaganda evidence?

  • There are many more accusations of past crimes by Israel in Gaza and the West Bank which we will not go into, since they repeat the same fallacies and lack of proof for genocide that I described above.

  • Individual cases of soldiers allegedly committing war crimes, are at worst, assuming the accusations are true, individual cases of war crimes. This happens in every war and every army. What it doesn't prove is systematic intent of genocide. I have no problem believing that some extreme Israeli soldiers with an immoral sense of violent justice or warped Zionistic ideology did bad things in Gaza. But this still does not prove intent of genocide by Israel as a country and as an army. It means some soldiers should be prosecuted. Just the same as any army in any war.

  • Repeated displacements of civilians to different locations and changing safe zones are not war crimes. All wars change, expand and evolve, and as they do, different zones become safe or unsafe as a matter of course. To evacuate civilians from changing war zones is not only not a war crime, it is the opposite of a war crime, and a moral duty.

  • The one argument in the whole document that has some merit involves the numerous quotes from several Israelis in the public eye that blatantly talked about extreme actions against civilians in Gaza. As explained above, these extremists do not affect government or army policy, therefore they do not indicate genocide on the part of Israel as a country. Though it is not illegal to have an extreme opinion as Israel is a democratic country, there may be valid arguments regarding incitement and demands for actions to suppress such incitement. But, once again, if actions on the ground do not reflect genocide, then this alleged incitement obviously has had no effect. Either way, this by itself does not prove Israel's intent to commit genocide.

 

Closing Thoughts

I'll reiterate a theme repeated throughout most of this article: If you take any war that is waged in a city populated with mostly civilians, and then you collect every death, every tragedy, all traumas, horrible wounds and damages, every act by every war-crazed soldier, mistaken shooting or bombing, civilian casualty, and so on, you will get a document of horrors that is guaranteed to be even longer than 84 pages and will seemingly portray one or both sides as monstrous. But the question here is not whether war is horrible, but whether more is taking place than just war. All these accusations have failed to prove that this is more than horrible war.

Are there extremists in Israel with a mindset that includes war crimes? Undoubtedly. But the key question is whether the extremists are in charge. I have provided numbers that prove who is in charge.

Genocide is a scary, powerful word, and no one knows this word better than the Jews. I suggest that people imagine and realize what genocide actually looks like before throwing this word around carelessly. In this case, all you need to reach a decision on who is actually committing genocide and who isn't, involves simple math, and mountains of evidence provided by the Palestinians themselves.

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