A United Nations report by Francesca Albanese, the U.N. Human Rights Council special rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories, alleges that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza amid ongoing heavy fighting. The report, titled “Anatomy of a Genocide,” accuses Israel of dehumanizing Palestinians and engaging in ethnic cleansing, dispossession, and apartheid. Albanese presented her findings to the Human Rights Council, pointing out that genocide is a process that starts with dehumanization and denial of humanity and culminates in destruction of the group.

The latest conflict began when Hamas militants attacked Israel, resulting in casualties and hundreds of hostages. Israel’s offensive in Gaza since then has led to the deaths of over 32,000 Palestinians and displacement of much of the population. The Gaza Health Ministry reports higher numbers of casualties, and many Palestinians are facing starvation due to restricted aid access. Albanese’s report argues that Israel’s actions in Gaza meet the criteria for genocide, including killing members of the targeted group and inflicting conditions that lead to physical destruction.

Israel rejects the report’s findings, calling the allegations of genocide “outrageous” and part of a campaign to undermine the Jewish state. The Israeli mission to Geneva accuses Albanese of bias and distorting reality to discredit Israel. The 1948 Genocide Convention defines genocide as intent to destroy a national, ethinic, racial, or religious group, and Albanese’s report claims Israel intentionally inflicts harm on Palestinians with genocidal intent.

Albanese’s report accuses Israel of using humanitarian law as a cover for genocidal violence against Palestinians, eroding distinctions between civilians and combatants. The report suggests that Israel’s actions in Gaza meet the threshold for genocide, pointing to vitriolic rhetoric and incitement as evidence of intent to commit genocide. Independent experts and nations, including South Africa before the International Court of Justice, have raised concerns about Israel’s actions. The ICJ ordered Israel to prevent genocidal acts and incitement in Gaza.

Albanese recommends imposing sanctions on Israel, enacting an arms embargo, and backing South Africa’s case before the ICJ. She also calls for independent investigations of all violations of international law by Israel and Hamas, and emphasizes the importance of preventing and punishing genocide. The report has sparked polarizing reactions at the Human Rights Council, with some countries supporting the findings and others defending Israel’s actions. Albanese urges member states to uphold their obligations in addressing the crisis and holding Israel accountable.

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