Start A Petition

Israels Siege of Gaza: When Does It Become a Genocide?

World  (tags: #GazaSiege, BDS, accountability, ICC, zionism, ethnic cleansing of Palestine-Gaza, genocide, war crimes, israel, humanitarian crisis, Gaza strip, blockade, occupation, U.S. news/media/world, Refugees&Relief, middle-east )

- 187 days ago -
Palestinians remain besieged in the densely populated Gaza Strip, in an illegal act of collective punishment for democratically exercising their right to elect their political leaders.


We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


Freya H (345)
Wednesday September 19, 2018, 7:11 am
It already IS genocide. And by a very ironic perpetrator.

fly bird (26)
Wednesday September 19, 2018, 7:12 am
Israel's siege of Gaza: When does it become a genocide?
18 September 2018

No matter how much Zionists attempt to manipulate our stories, we must not let them blame Hamas for Israel’s 'genocidal intent'
It is hard to keep track of the daily losses in Gaza.

In the past six weeks alone, as a result of Israeli shelling, air attacks, and extrajudicial killing of peaceful protesters marching for their human rights, a Palestinian doctor has had to helplessly watch his son die, at least nine young men were killed and hundreds injured during the weekly Friday Great Return March protests, a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old toddler were killed in air attacks and artillery shelling, and the Said al-Mishal Center for Culture and Science was bombed to rubble.

Meanwhile, two million Palestinians remain besieged in the densely populated Gaza Strip, in an illegal act of collective punishment for democratically exercising their right to elect their political leaders.

Israel's crimes

Adding insult to injury is the way most of the media report on Israel’s crimes. This is the case not just with the right-wing and mainstream media, but also, frequently, in analysis by "concerned journalists". Indeed, accustomed as I am to the offensiveness of the mainstream media coverage of Palestine’s suffering, I still have to stop and do a double take every now and then.

An article in Haaretz last year was one such moment, with its headline: “No Water, No Electricity, and Children Dying Unnecessarily.” When is it ever necessary for children to die, I wondered? And I could not help but be horrified at just how expendable a people must be, before editors can come up with a cavalier headline about the necessity, or lack thereof, of its children dying.

'Israel would not directly kill tens of thousands of Palestinians, but it would create the conditions for tens of thousands to die'
- Nadia Hijab

The article itself, an interview by Israeli journalist Ayelet Shani with Salah Haj Yahya, a Palestinian doctor who leads a Physicians for Human Rights monthly delegation from Israel into the Gaza Strip, was problematic in other ways, as the journalist persisted in asking about Hamas, suggesting that the political party was to blame for Gaza’s misery, rather than actually naming Israel and its sub-contractor, Egypt, as the powers responsible for enforcing a siege that penalises the predominantly refugee population for its political choice.

I discuss the article at length because it is representative of many reports about Gaza, which express some degree of horror at specific wrongs - more recently, for example, the killing of a medic, as well as a pregnant mother - yet fail to sufficiently expose the greater context in which these wrongs are committed.

Illegal siege

The erasures, in what otherwise is presented as "concerned" journalism - oh dear, children are dying "unnecessarily" - are worth re-inscribing, because they are telling of how most journalists routinely cover the situation in Gaza. Specifically, Shani so totally normalises Israel’s illegal siege that it is not presented as the primary cause of the critical situation in the Gaza Strip. She chooses to focus instead on the crumbling infrastructure, the lack of equipment, while always, always, pointing an accusing finger at Hamas.

A boy sits among buildings in Gaza destroyed by Israeli air strikes (AFP)

Haj Yahya redirects her attention to Israel's responsibility, but she is undeterred, as she persists in criticising the violence inflicted by Hamas on the population of Gaza. For example, in response to Haj Yahya saying he does not coordinate with Hamas, Shani asks: "You have no contact with Hamas, not even an informal one? Don't you need their permission? Don’t they supervise your work?"

Haj Yahya: “There’s no contact. We coordinate our entry with the Israeli side, we don’t work with Hamas or its representatives. We only work with hospital directors and the Palestinian health ministry, with the health minister in Ramallah and his deputy in Gaza. They are the ones who approach us.”

Can we re-inscribe that it is indeed Israel that controls the borders, or should I say, more correctly, that maintains the deathly siege? Yet the focus on Hamas suggests that Hamas has the greater say, or worse yet, that it may deny a Palestinian medical delegation permission to treat patients in Gaza.

The blackmail issue

Perhaps most damning is this part, where Haj Yahya brings up an egregious matter he and others have documented before, namely that patients in need of life-saving treatment are blackmailed into collaborating with Israeli intelligence in order to obtain a permit to enter Israel, for treatment that is not available in the Strip:

"There is also the issue of blackmail," Haj Yahya says.

Shani: "Meaning what?"

Haj Yahya: "Their travel permit is granted only on condition that they collaborate – information in exchange for an entry permit."

No matter how much Zionists attempt to manipulate our stories, we must not let them blame Hamas for Israel’s "genocidal intent". The perpetrator is Israel

Shani: "You’re saying that the Shin Bet blackmails these patients? Can you prove that?"

Haj Yahya: “We have filmed documentation of patients being threatened or blackmailed in exchange for a permit. We’ve written a report on this. The questioning often deteriorates into unpleasant and humiliating situations. Violence is sometimes resorted to.”

Indeed, Haj Yahya is not the only one who exposed this blackmail. Yet Shani continues, blaming Hamas for urging Palestinians not to collaborate with Israeli intelligence, even as Haj Yahya persists in explaining that it is not Hamas that is denying his patients exit permits. The Palestinian narrative is as besieged as the people in Gaza.

An Israeli army sniper checks his weapon near the Gaza border fence. More than 180 Palestiinians have been killed by Israeli fire (AFP)

But I want to go back to the title of the article, to children dying “unnecessarily.” As early as 2010, Nadia Hijab asked: “When does it become genocide?” She explains: "Israel would not directly kill tens of thousands of Palestinians, but it would create the conditions for tens of thousands to die. Any epidemic could finish the job.”

Genocidal atmosphere

Four years later, in an article published in the aftermath of Israel's 2014 assault on Gaza, Richard Falk asked "is Israel guilty of genocide?" A professor emeritus of international law and practice, Falk is exceedingly cautious with terminology about what is considered the "crime of crimes", and writes, cautiously, about a "genocidal context".

"The testimony made this issue complex and sensitive. It produced a consensus on the jury that the evidence was sufficient to make it appropriate to give careful consideration as to whether the crime of genocide had actually been committed by Israel. This was itself an acknowledgement that there was a genocidal atmosphere in Israel, in which high-level officials made statements supporting the destruction or elimination of the Gazans as a people.

"Such inflammatory assertions were at no time repudiated by the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or subject to criminal investigation, let alone any other official proceedings. Furthermore, the sustained bombardment of Gaza, under circumstances where the population had no opportunity to leave or to seek sanctuary within the Gaza Strip, lent further credibility to the charge.

"The fact that Operation Protective Edge was the third large-scale, sustained military assault on this unlawfully blockaded, impoverished and endangered population also formed part of the larger genocidal context.”

Normalisation of Palestinian deaths

Expatriate Israeli professor Ilan Pappe had also written of “incremental genocide” as early as 2006, and again in 2014. The circumstances that constituted an “incremental genocide” in 2006, and “genocidal context” in 2014, are only getting harsher, and it is now basically common knowledge that if the siege is not lifted, Gaza will no longer be livable by the year 2020.

Yet the normalisation of the deaths of Palestinians is such that the rest of the world barely registers this horrific prediction.

Gaza: Meet the Palestinian doctor who watched his son die

We need to do better. The stakes are extremely high. So, let us always, always, denounce the genocidal context of the siege on Gaza, and demand its lifting. And let us name the “unnecessary” deaths of children for what they constitute, namely, protracted genocide.

The siege is not normal, and should not be normalised. And no matter how much Zionists attempt to manipulate our stories, we must not let them blame Hamas for Israel’s "genocidal intent". The perpetrator is Israel.

- Nada Elia is a diaspora Palestinian writer and political commentator, currently working on her second book, Who You Callin’ ‘Demographic Threat?’ Notes from the Global Intifada. A professor of gender and global studies (retired), she is a member of the steering collective of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).

fly bird (26)
Wednesday September 19, 2018, 7:19 am
Yes, indeed, no doubt about it, Freya!!

Derek Richardson (192)
Wednesday September 19, 2018, 7:45 am
And the Palestinians teach their children how to cut the throats of Jews at school!
Come off it, both commit crimes against humanity, stop being so one sided.

Leo Custer (312)
Wednesday September 19, 2018, 8:07 am
Thank you for posting!

Colleen L (3)
Wednesday September 19, 2018, 1:27 pm
Thanks Fly

fly bird (26)
Thursday September 20, 2018, 3:03 am
To: Human Rights and Palestinian solidarity campaigners

Israel Military Must Release to Gaza Medical Supplies from Gaza Flotilla.

Petition Text

Please sign our demand that the Israeli military release 114 boxes of medical supplies-sterile gauze and sutures- to the Gaza health system.

Why is this important?

For 22 consecutive Fridays, Palestinians have gone to the border with Israel demanding the end to the horrific Israeli blockade of Gaza. Israeli snipers have wounded by gunfire 6729 including 1140 children, 203 women, 78 journalists and 103 paramedics. Among those wounded, 422 are in serious condition and 69 persons' lower or upper limbs were amputated. Thousands of others suffered tear gas inhalation and sustained bruises. The Gaza health facilities need medical supplies.

Two boats of the 2018 Gaza Freedom Flotilla carried 114 boxes of medical supplies-sterile gauze and sutures-for the Gaza health system. By international law, Israel must deliver them to the Gaza border. One month has passed since the Israeli military hijacked the boats, arrested, imprisoned and deported 34 persons on the boats. While the amount of medical supplies is small compared to the massive need, it is critical to force Israel to abide by international law and let medical supplies into Gaza.
Please sign the petition to put pressure on the Israeli government to deliver the 114 boxes of medical supplies to the Gaza health system.

And call the Israeli Embassy in your country and your Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Department of State demanding the release of the medical supplies.

In the U.S., call the Israeli Embassy at 202-364-5500 and the Department of State at 202-647-4000 and ask for the Office of Israel/Palestine Affairs.
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in World

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.