On Tuesday, members of a United Nations panel accused Israel of committing genocide in its fight against terrorist organization Hamas.
In addition, the panel discussion — which was held in New York City — implicated the U.S. for continuing to support Israel and refusing to support an immediate ceasefire.
The panel, called “War on Gaza: the Responsibility to Prevent Genocide,” convened panelists who argued that statements made by government officials in Israel against Hamas, as well as operations that have been carried out in Gaza’s urban areas, meet the legal requirements to be defined as genocide.
The grounds the panelists are basing those claims on are that the IDF, or Israel Defense Forces, have been targeting such civilian structures like schools and hospitals. The IDF has said on multiple occasions that Hamas has been using these types of facilities in Gaza as places where they hide people and weapons.
At the discussion, one panelist further accused America of acting complicitly in this supposed genocide, since it sells weapons to Israel.
Hannah Bruinsma, who works with the group Law for Palestine, said:
“The indiscriminate bombing of Palestinian people, medical services not being able to respond to the people who are still under the rubble, and we have lost connection with most of our colleagues in Gaza.”
She further added it was very “clear” Israel was carrying out genocide.
But, what she failed to point out was the evidence that the IDF has published that proves Hamas is using these traditional civilian facilities as hubs for their terrorist activities. In addition, they’ve even used civilians to shield them from attacks.
Jehad Abusalim, a Palestinian who is from Gaza and serves as the Jerusalem Fund’s executive director, took the claims of genocide one step further. He said those acts haven’t just been relegated to Israel’s current war against Hamas.
He claimed that Israel has been carrying out “ongoing genocide” for 75 years.
As he said:
“The ongoing genocide in Gaza is part of a much deeper history of Israeli aggression against Palestinians as part of the broader context of Israel’s violent settler colonialism and occupation of Palestinian land.
“Before, during and after Israel’s establishment, the explicit goal of the Israeli enterprise has always been to create and sustain a Jewish demographic majority and deny Palestinians their rights.”
And others even brought the U.S. into the fold, too. Katherine Gallagher, a senior staff attorney who works for the Centre for Constitutional Rights, made this statement at the panel:
“I would argue the United States has crossed the line into complicity. It is important to emphasize here that for complicity or aiding and abetting, the complicit individual or state need not share the specific intent to commit genocide.
“What it needs to do is know that the committer has that specific intent, i.e. those statements were heard from Israeli officials.”
This week, 153 members of the U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution that called for an official ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, though 23 member countries abstained.