In the week since the International Court of Justice ruled that the Israeli government is plausibly committing genocide and ordered it to prevent potential further acts of genocide, Israeli forces have only continued committing atrocities against Palestinians.
Buoyed by the staying support of American officials, Israeli forces have killed at least 874 Palestinians and injured at least 1,490 in Gaza since last week’s ICJ ruling, according to Palestinian Health Ministry figures from Saturday, January 27, to Friday, February 2. That’s not to mention other acts of Israeli violence in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. The loss of life should not be dismissed as “collateral damage,” contrary to what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.
Video clips and news reports from the past week underscore the ongoing horror. A mass grave with 30 handcuffed, blindfolded, and executed bodies was found in a school in northern Gaza. A 6-year-old girl in Gaza reportedly watched as Israeli forces shot and killed her family inside the very car she was in; she apparently survived, but her whereabouts are now unknown. An Israeli soldier filmed himself in the city of Khan Younis echoing Netanyahu’s rhetoric about the biblical tale of Amalek, where God orders the killing of an entire society — comments that helped South Africa’s lawyers demonstrate Israel’s genocidal intent. “We killed tens of thousands of Amalekites,” the soldier pronounced. “The moral thing is to understand that every Arab is a suspect.”
During a raid on a refugee camp in occupied Jerusalem, Israeli forces locked a Palestinian person up in chains, forced him into military garb, and used him as a human shield, Al Jazeera reported.
On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers dressed as medical staff invaded a hospital in the West Bank and executed three Palestinians by shooting them “in the head at point-blank range.” One of them had been in the hospital for nearly four months after being paralyzed by missile fragments from an Israeli drone. Palestinians who were released from an Israeli prison on Thursday shared disturbing testimony of being humiliated inside, their bodies bearing evidence of torture. And in one clip that surfaced this week, an Israeli soldier is seen forcing a busload of kidnapped Palestinians to praise his family and say they will be his family’s slaves.
Backgrounding the atrocities in Gaza is the broader misery the entire population faces. The BBC noted that UNICEF’s biggest concern is the “estimated 19,000 children who are orphaned or have ended up alone with no adult to look after them.” CNN reported that Palestinians are eating grass and drinking polluted water amid famine conditions. The Guardian reported that 50-62 percent of all buildings in Gaza have likely been damaged or destroyed.
Earlier this week, a federal court affirmed the ICJ’s finding that Israel may be carrying out a genocide and warned the Biden administration to reconsider its unconditional support for Israel’s war effort. Yet U.S. officials and lawmakers have apparently not gotten the memo.
The Intercept asked Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., to comment on the court rulings that the accusations of genocide by Israel are credible. “I don’t accept that. I reject that. I don’t believe that is Israel’s intention: to commit genocide,” said Fetterman, who has emerged as one of Israel’s most staunch Democratic defenders, on Thursday. “I do believe that their goal is to neutralize or dislodge Hamas from that. And I believe that they certainly do not want to take the lives of any innocent Palestinians and I certainly don’t assign higher value to my children versus a Palestinian child. I mean, I wouldn’t want anybody to die throughout all this tragedy, and it’s just an awful situation.”
Within hours of the ICJ issuing its ruling last Friday, Israel alleged that 12 of 30,000 — 0.04 percent — employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East were involved in Hamas’s attack on October 7. The United States immediately suspended its funding of UNRWA, the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Gaza, spurring a cascade of other nations to follow suit.
Sky News later obtained an Israeli document that actually downgrades the allegation to 0.02 percent of UNRWA staff (six people) being involved in Hamas’s attack. Sky News reported that the documents, which allege further ties between UNRWA and Hamas “make several claims that Sky News has not seen proof of and many of the claims, even if true, do not directly implicate UNRWA.”
The contrast between the U.S. decision to pause funding based on unverified allegations and its unwillingness to reconsider its military funding of Israel, despite serious allegations of genocide, is stark.
Fetterman also said that he supports the suspension of funding to UNRWA. When asked why the standard of suspending funding while investigating serious allegations doesn’t apply to the Israeli government, Fetterman dodged the question.
Fetterman: Well, again, it — well, it’s not. We need a full investigation and find out just how much a part of it was about that and how much, you know, the old question: how much they knew and when they knew that.
The Intercept: So you’re saying that for Israel as well?
Fetterman: Yeah, OK, so good, all right, well good.
Reporter Said Arikat confronted State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller on the tension Wednesday. “I’ll say with respect to the charges of genocide, we believe that they’re unfounded,” Miller said. “We continue to support Israel’s right to take action to ensure that the terrorist attacks of October 7th cannot be repeated, but we want them to do so in a way that complies with — fully with international humanitarian law.”
Miller was then asked about Israel receiving aid even as Israeli government officials call for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and maintain good standing in government.
“When the secretary traveled to Israel on his most recent visit,” Miller said, “he made clear that he thought it was important that the Israeli government speak out against those matters and those comments publicly and reiterate that it is not the policy of the Israeli government to force Palestinians from Gaza.”
But, as has continued to be the case, Israeli officials have stepped on the assurances of the U.S. Two days after the ICJ ordered the Israeli government to prevent and punish incitements of genocide from public officials, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich were among 11 cabinet ministers and 15 coalition members of the Knesset who rallied at conference hosted by hundreds of settlers calling for the settlement of Gaza.
On Tuesday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant reportedly told members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that after their military campaign ends, Israel will maintain military control of Gaza, so it can operate similarly to the way it does in the West Bank.
On Thursday, Smotrich said that allowing aid into Gaza contradicts the goals of Israel’s campaign, and that he spoke with Netanyahu, who supposedly assured him that things will change soon. Israeli ministers Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot reportedly called to limit humanitarian aid as well. Meanwhile, at aid crossings, people in Israel have taken cue from their leaders, attempting to block aid trucks from entering Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of people — including the hostages held by Hamas — are at risk of starvation and malnutrition, every day since the ICJ ruling.
One clip even shows a right-wing activist telling an aid truck driver, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, that “I am the owner here, you are a slave here.”
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