İsraeli genocidal policies and their devastating impact

The systematic blockade, the repeated military assaults targeting civilians, and the destruction of essential infrastructure are all indicative of an intent to destroy the Palestinian population in Gaza. This essay asserts that Israeli actions in Gaza constitute genocide as defined by international law, examining the blockade, military operations, and the recent escalations that have led to widespread devastation and loss of life. (Photo: AA)

The roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict trace back to the early 20th century with competing national movements. The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent Arab-Israeli wars led to significant displacement and tension. Gaza, a narrow strip of land along the Mediterranean coast, became home to a large population of Palestinian refugees. Since the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel occupied Gaza, the region has seen continuous conflict, culminating in Israel’s unilateral disengagement in 2005, followed by the Hamas takeover in 2007.

Blockade and economic strangulation

One of the primary means by which Israeli policies in Gaza meet the criteria for genocide is the blockade imposed since 2007. This blockade restricts the movement of people and goods, severely limiting access to essential resources such as food, medicine, and building materials. The United Nations and various human rights organizations have repeatedly condemned the blockade, stating that it amounts to collective punishment, disproportionately affecting civilians and leading to a humanitarian crisis.

The blockade has devastated Gaza’s economy, leading to unprecedented levels of unemployment and poverty. According to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Gaza could become uninhabitable due to these economic restrictions. The lack of access to clean water, adequate healthcare, and education further exacerbates the living conditions, creating a scenario where survival itself becomes a challenge. These conditions are deliberately imposed with the intent to destroy the Palestinian population’s ability to live and thrive, fitting the United Nations’ definition of genocide.

Military operations and civilian casualties

Israeli military operations in Gaza have resulted in significant civilian casualties and widespread destruction. Operations such as Cast Lead (2008-2009), Pillar of Defense (2012), Protective Edge (2014), and the massive escalations in 2023-2024 have led to thousands of Palestinian deaths, many of whom were civilians, including women and children. The use of disproportionate force, the targeting of civilian infrastructure, and the high civilian death toll are clear evidence of genocidal intent.

Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have accused Israel of committing war crimes during these operations. Reports highlight the deliberate targeting of homes, schools, hospitals, and United Nations shelters. The extensive destruction of civilian infrastructure not only causes immediate harm but also has long-term impacts on Gaza’s ability to recover and rebuild. The systematic nature of these attacks and their devastating impact on the Palestinian population indicate a deliberate strategy to destroy, in whole or in part, the people of Gaza.

Present-day massive attacks

The recent escalation in 2023-2024 has intensified the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In response to rocket attacks from militant groups within Gaza, Israel launched a series of large-scale military operations that resulted in massive destruction and a high number of casualties. These attacks targeted not only militant positions but also densely populated civilian areas, leading to significant loss of life and infrastructure damage.

Reports from the ground indicate that entire neighborhoods have been flattened, with schools, hospitals, and residential buildings being reduced to rubble. The ongoing blockade exacerbates the situation by preventing adequate humanitarian aid from reaching those in need. The destruction of vital infrastructure, including water and sewage systems, has led to dire living conditions, increasing the risk of disease and further suffering among the civilian population. These actions constitute a systematic attempt to destroy the Palestinian population in Gaza, aligning with the legal definition of genocide.

Psychological and social impact

The continuous state of conflict, economic deprivation, and the inability to secure basic human needs have severe psychological and social impacts on the population of Gaza. High levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression are reported, particularly among children who grow up amidst constant violence and instability. The societal breakdown resulting from these conditions further erodes the fabric of Palestinian society, contributing to a sense of hopelessness and despair. These psychological impacts are part of the broader genocidal strategy to weaken and ultimately destroy the Palestinian community.

International response and legal implications

The international community’s response to the situation in Gaza has been mixed. While there have been numerous condemnations and calls for investigations into possible war crimes, effective action has often been stymied by geopolitical considerations. The United States’ consistent support for Israel and its use of veto power in the United Nations Security Council have hindered substantial international intervention.

Under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide is defined as acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group. The policies and actions of Israel in Gaza clearly fall under this definition. The systematic blockade, the repeated military assaults targeting civilians, and the destruction of essential infrastructure are all indicative of an intent to destroy the Palestinian population in Gaza.

Thus, Israeli policies in Gaza constitute genocide. The blockade, military operations, and the resulting humanitarian crisis have led to immense suffering and devastation. The systematic nature of these actions and their impact on the Palestinian population align with the definition of genocide under international law. It is imperative for the international community to recognize this reality and intensify efforts towards a just and lasting peace that ensures the rights and dignity of all people in the region. The world must act decisively to end this genocide and to support the people of Gaza in rebuilding their lives and their future.

Yusuf Kanlı

Journalist - Writer

Recent Posts

The endless labyrinth of Cyprus: letters, talks, realities

Reading the open letter by UN Cyprus Special Representative María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar, one cannot…

4 hours ago

Turkish Police head’s loyalty display: A state within state?

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli's recent visit to the Police Special Operations Department…

21 hours ago

TUIK confusion: “Which inflation did you base the rate cut on?”

Unless the Minister of Treasury and Finance or the Governor of the Central Bank is…

1 day ago

From 1910 to 2024: Is Türkiye on the brink of another dog masacre?

Have you seen the 2010 short animation of Serge Avedikian called “Chienne d’histoire”? It tells…

2 days ago

Erdoğan towards the end of his Syria adventure: who will pay the bill?

"We want peace with Syria," President Tayyip Erdoğan told journalists on his return from the…

2 days ago

Diplomacy is changing: What should we do?

Artificial intelligence technology, the escalating severity of climate change, new types of hybrid warfare, the…

3 days ago