Top US Law Schools Present Undeniable Evidence of Israel’s Gaza Genocide

New analysis by top U.S. law schools presents undeniable evidence of Israel’s genocidal campaign against Palestinians, urging immediate global action.

On May 15, the University Network for Human Rights (UNHR), a U.S.-based advocacy group training undergraduates in human rights law at colleges and universities worldwide to counter abusive state, corporate, or private conduct, published a 105-page analysis of international law and its application to Israel’s military actions since October 7, 2023. Drawing on extensive evidence and historical legal precedents, the findings leave no doubt that Israel has committed horrific breaches of the 1948 Genocide Convention in Gaza.

A collaborative effort by some of the West’s most prestigious law schools, the report has now been submitted to the United Nations. The institution has yet to comment on the UNHR investigation’s irrefutable, bombshell contents. The mainstream media has also remained silent. Given the complicity of Western journalists in whitewashing and justifying unconscionable crimes in Gaza, this is not surprising. However, the silence has been so pervasive that the report may have even gone unnoticed by committed Palestine solidarity activists.

This silence is itself an injustice, as the UNHR has produced a singular, indispensable resource for factually, legally, and morally refuting the arguments and assertions of Zionists and their allies, old and new. The report details, in devastating forensic detail, the variety of deplorable, murderous ways in which the Israeli state and its operatives at every level are culpable for committing genocide in Gaza, from public expressions of “blatant and unequivocal dehumanization and cruelty” to military actions explicitly designed to maximize Palestinian slaughter.

As defined in the Genocide Convention of 1948 and interpreted by international courts and tribunals, the crime of genocide requires that a perpetrator kill, seriously harm, or inflict conditions of life calculated to destroy a group, in whole or in part, with the intent to destroy that group. Thomas Becker, UNHR’s legal director, tells MintPress News: “What’s happening now is both unprecedented and, in many ways, a textbook case of genocide.”

Five days after the publication of the UNHR’s landmark investigation, International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan announced his intent to indict Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for numerous crimes against humanity and atrocities committed since October 7, 2023. While it remains uncertain whether they will ever face justice, the Network’s report should inspire governments and citizens worldwide to work relentlessly towards achieving that righteous goal.

 

‘Destroy and Exterminate’

In 1925, German writer and satirist Kurt Tucholsky reportedly remarked, “The death of one man is a catastrophe; a hundred thousand deaths is a statistic.” This quote has since become entrenched in Western political consciousness and is often attributed to various figures, most prominently Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. However, the casualty and death figures emerging from Gaza, especially when accompanied by gruesome photographic and video evidence of Tel Aviv’s numerous crimes, are far from mere statistics.

“Israel’s attack on Palestinians in Gaza has been one of superlatives,” Becker told MintPress News. “More children have died in four months in Gaza than in four years of the world’s conflicts combined. The starvation rate in Gaza is the fastest the world has seen, and this is the deadliest conflict ever recorded for journalists and aid workers,” he continued.

In just half a year, Israel has killed two percent of Gaza’s children and either killed or injured five percent of its total population. It has displaced 75 percent of the population, destroying 70 percent of Gaza’s homes. Additionally, it has destroyed every university and 80 percent of Gaza’s schools.”

The UNHR report is equally direct. It states, “Israel has committed genocidal acts of killing, causing serious harm to, and inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of Palestinians in Gaza, a protected group that forms a substantial part of the Palestinian people.” As of May 1 this year, over five percent of Gaza’s total population had been massacred. Approximately 14,500 of the dead were children.

Israel Palestinians
The bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli bombings of Gaza are covered on the main road in Gaza City, Jan. 2, 2024. Mohammed Hajjar | AP

Simultaneously, the assault on Gaza has become the deadliest conflict for journalists ever recorded. The number of UN personnel killed has reached levels “never seen in history.” A staggering 1.7 million civilians, over 75 percent of Gaza’s population, have been forcibly displaced as a result of the offensive. Throughout, they have endured catastrophic levels of hunger and deprivation due to deliberate restrictions on access to essential resources, including food, water, medicine, and fuel.

The UNHR extensively documents and persuasively argues how the actions and “patterns of conduct” of the Israeli Occupation Forces “explicitly reflect intentions to destroy and exterminate Palestinians.” This reinforces the Network’s finding of Israel’s genocidal intent in Gaza and asserts that these violations “amount to grave breaches of peremptory norms of international law that must cease immediately.” These violations also give rise to obligations by all other states.

To refrain from recognizing Israel’s breaches as legal or taking any actions that may constitute complicity in these breaches; and to take positive steps to suppress, prevent, and punish the commission by Israel of further genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

It is crucial to underline that the myriad facts collated by the UNHR were only current as of May 1. Even before the work was finalized and published, “reports emerged of additional, egregious abuses by Israel against Palestinians in the southern city of Rafah and elsewhere, where more than a million Palestinians are seeking refuge.” While these developments are not reflected in the report, they “further demonstrate Israel’s ongoing genocidal conduct and intent and underscore the urgency with which the international community must act.”

 

‘Eliminate Everything’

One of the most compelling sections of the UNHR report discusses how the statements of Israeli officials about Gaza “amount to genocide.” Neither the International Court of Justice nor the International Law Commission has provided clear guidance on whether “calling for the killing or destruction of individuals or a group can constitute evidence of [genocidal] intent.” However, prior international criminal tribunals have repeatedly found that genocidal intent can be inferred from “certain rhetoric,” especially when considered alongside related and concurrent military action.

For example, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in prosecuting regional mayor Joseph Kanyabashi, found that his public pronouncements on the capture and murder of Tutsis—which included encouraging the Hutu population to “clear bushes” and hunt down “the enemy”—were proof that he had “the requisite intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the Tutsi ethnic group.” Shocking and self-incriminating, such declarations pale in comparison to the statements made by prominent Israeli officials since the Gaza genocide began.

Individuals at the state’s highest levels, “including the heads of State, government, and military, as well as lower-level government and military officials,” have “publicly and repeatedly expressed intentions to destroy Palestinians and Palestinian society in Gaza; collectively punish Palestinians and cause them to suffer militarily and through the blockading of basic necessities; and push the Palestinian population out of Gaza,” according to the UNHR.

In doing so, they have intentionally blurred the lines between civilians and combatants, while encouraging the Israeli military to cause massive death and destruction. The government’s highest official, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has explicitly evoked Biblical commandments to wipe out an entire nation, including men, women, and children. Other officials have expressed pleasure and pride at the devastation in Gaza and the hope of enacting another Nakba, the violent dispossession of 800,000 Palestinians from their homes between 1947 and 1949.”

The report contains a “non-exhaustive sampling of these statements,” which is lengthy and critical. For example, on the evening of October 7, 2023, the day Hamas’ Operation Al-Aqsa Flood was launched, Netanyahu ordered Gaza’s 2.2 million Palestinian population to “get out now. We will be everywhere and with all our might.” In a public address three weeks later, posted on the Israeli government’s official YouTube account, he stated:

You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember.”

Israel Palestinians
Palestinians attend a mass funeral of victims of Israeli violence in Rafah, Gaza Strip, March 7, 2024. Hatem Ali | AP

The Prime Minister’s Office again cited this Biblical passage on November 3: “Now go, attack Amalek, and proscribe all that belongs to him. Spare no one, but kill alike men and women, infants and sucklings, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.” Meanwhile, on October 9, when Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced a total blockade on Gaza, he declared:

There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed… we are fighting human animals, and we are acting accordingly… Gaza won’t return to what it was before. We will eliminate everything.”

Furthermore, Israeli President Isaac Herzog has repeatedly emphasized Tel Aviv’s intent to target all Palestinians in Gaza without distinguishing between militants and civilians. For instance, he stated, “It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not being aware, not involved. It’s absolutely not true.” The UNHR argues that Israel’s intent to destroy all Palestinians in Gaza “can be inferred from the totality of the circumstances.”

As Becker tells MintPress News, Israeli political and military leaders’ rhetoric is a central component of those circumstances and complementary to the physical actions taken. “Officials at all levels of the government have openly called for the destruction of a specific group of people, followed by an unprecedented military campaign that has decimated that group,” he says. These statements amount to clear threats to completely flatten Gaza and eradicate its daily life and culture. The UNHR report explains:

Taken together, [these comments] indicate the knowledge and intention of causing widespread death and suffering to Palestinians in Gaza [and] attest to Israel’s discriminatory intent towards Palestinians… Expressions by Israeli officials establish that the assault on Gaza is not simply a military operation targeting combatants, but an operation intended to destroy the population… The State of Israel… has committed the act of direct and public incitement to genocide, in violation of Article III(c) of the Genocide Convention.”

 

‘Take Measures’

Multiple legal findings and precedents state that countries party to the Genocide Convention have a duty to prevent genocide if they can “contribute to restraining in any degree the commission of genocide.” Additionally, signatory states must “employ all means reasonably available” to prevent genocide. This duty “varies greatly from one state to another” and depends on a state’s “capacity to influence effectively the action of persons likely to commit, or already committing genocide.”

Several factors determine a state’s capacity “to exert influence” over the commission of genocide, including “the geographical distance of the state concerned from the scene of the events” and “the strength of the political links, as well as links of all other kinds, between the authorities of the state and the main actors in the events.” The UNHR notes that countries providing “military support” to a perpetrator “have a higher duty to prevent genocide from occurring.”

The duty to prevent genocide in Gaza encompasses a range of measures. First, it is imperative that states exercise all means of political and diplomatic pressure towards the cessation of Israeli military operations in Gaza. States exporting arms or military equipment to Israel, or providing other forms of military aid or logistical assistance that contribute to or enable Israel’s military operations against Palestinians in Gaza, have an obligation to immediately terminate all forms of aid and assistance.”

The UNHR states that failing to stop providing aid or assistance could violate a state’s obligation under Article I of the Genocide Convention. Countries that have signed the Genocide Convention must also punish those responsible for genocide, which includes helping to hold individuals accountable. They must work together to investigate, prosecute, or extradite suspects. Additionally, countries that are part of the Rome Statute must assist in prosecuting suspects through the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Israeli-Palestinian conflict - Journalists funeral in Rafah
A press helmet is placed over the grave of Hamza Dahdouh, a journalist killed in an Israeli air strike on Rafah. Mohammed Talatene | AP

The duty to prevent genocide starts as soon as a state learns, or should have learned, about a serious risk of genocide. The ICC highlighted this serious risk of genocide in Gaza in a preliminary finding in January in a case brought against Israel by South Africa.

As such, all of Israel’s Western allies, who are signatories of the Genocide Convention and provide military and political support to Tel Aviv, are obligated to help stop the violence in Gaza. While there has been little action on this since January, public support from Western leaders—except for U.S. officials—has been notably quiet. They are likely aware that they could face prosecution by the ICC alongside Netanyahu and Gallant.

There is hope that this international diplomatic isolation is accompanied by behind-the-scenes pressure on Israeli leaders to stop the violence. Besides legal challenges, Israeli officials also face strong opposition from Palestinian solidarity activists. These activists have been so effective that influential figures within the U.S. national security community are concerned about the potential backlash disrupting Western strategies. These activists will continue their efforts as long as the violence in Gaza persists. As Becker concludes:

The unprecedented level of destruction in such a short amount of time in Gaza underscores the genocidal nature of Israel’s actions. It is becoming too difficult for the world to look away from mass graves, decimated hospitals, children under rubble, and filmed summary executions. This is not war. This is genocide.”

Feature photo | A Palestinian woman prays at a cemetery on the grave of a relative during the first day of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that begins at the conclusion of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, on April 10, 2024, Majdi Fathi | AP

Kit Klarenberg is an investigative journalist and MintPress News contributor exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions. His work has previously appeared in The Cradle, Declassified UK, and Grayzone. Follow him on Twitter @KitKlarenberg.