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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

UN draft report finds “reasonable grounds to believe” that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza


Francesca Albanese -- image via X


The United Nations Human Rights Council released a draft report Monday, March 25 that asserts there are “reasonable grounds to believe” that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and has called for an immediate arms embargo of the country. This significant development occurred on the same day when the UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in the ongoing war.


Francesca Albanese speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where she presented the report, stated “Following nearly six months of unrelenting Israeli assault on occupied Gaza, it is my solemn duty to report on the worst of what humanity is capable of, and to present my findings. There are reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating the commission of the crime of genocide…has been met.”


Albanese also said “the genocide in Gaza is the most extreme stage of a long-standing settler colonial process of erasure of the native Palestinians. For over 76 years, this process has oppressed the Palestinians as a people in every way imaginable, crushing their inalienable right to self-determination demographically, economically, territorially, culturally and politically.”


The report, titled “Anatomy of a Genocide,” highlights several key points:


  1. Intent to Physically Destroy Palestinians: The report concludes that Israel’s far-right government and military have intentionally distorted jus in bello principles, subverting their protective functions. This distortion aims to legitimize genocidal violence against the Palestinian people. The overwhelming nature and scale of Israel’s assault on Gaza, along with the destructive conditions of life it has inflicted, reveal an intent to physically destroy Palestinians as a group. This intent violates Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, including actions such as killing group members, causing serious bodily or mental harm, and deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction.

  2. Dehumanization and Targeting: Israel’s de facto treatment of an entire protected group and its life-sustaining infrastructure as “terrorist” or “terrorist-supporting” has transformed everything and everyone into either a target or collateral damage. Consequently, no Palestinian in Gaza is safe by definition. This approach has had devastating effects, resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of Palestinian lives, the destruction of Gaza’s fabric of life, and irreparable harm to its entire population.

  3. Long-Standing Settler-Colonial Process: The report emphasizes that Israel’s genocide on the Palestinians in Gaza is an escalatory stage of a long-standing settler-colonial process of erasure. Over seven decades, this process has suffocated the Palestinian people as a group, seeking to displace them, expropriate their land, and control their resources.


As Common Dreams reports the draft report recommends measures including:


  • Immediate implementation of an arms embargo on Israel, as it appears to have failed to comply with the binding measures ordered by the ICJ;

  • Immediate referral of the situation in Palestine to the International Criminal Court in support of its ongoing investigation;

  • Ensuring that Israel, as well as states who have been complicit in the Gaza genocide, acknowledge the colossal harm done, commit to nonrepetition, with measures for prevention and full reparations, including the full cost of the reconstruction of Gaza;

  • Deploying an international protective presence to constrain the violence routinely used against Palestinians in the occupied territories; and

  • Ensuring that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is properly funded to enable it to meet the increased needs of Palestinians in Gaza.


Israel, of course, has rejected the report, labeling it as “an obscene inversion of reality”. However, the humanitarian impact of the ongoing conflict is increasingly undeniable, is creating widespread popular revulsion and anger around the world and is having political ramifications even in the US which, for the first time, did not veto the call for a ceasefire by the Security Council.


According to Palestinian and international officials, Israel’s 171-day Gaza onslaught has resulted in the deaths of at least 32,333 Palestinians, most of whom are women and children. Additionally, around 90% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been displaced, and disease and deadly starvation caused by Israel’s siege and blockade are spreading rapidly.


This report provides crucial evidence that must spur international action to prevent further suffering and address the grave human rights violations in Gaza.


Full draft report: A/HRC/55/73 (ohchr.org)

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