In a recent op-ed penned in Al Jazeera, attorney and human rights activist, Stanley L. Cohen, argues that Israel’s illegal settlements are only a part of the genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people. The U.N. resolution doesn’t go far enough to cover Israel’s scope of violence and genocide, he writes.
"The resolution remains very much a toothless declaration without any enforcement mechanism whatsoever - essentially relying upon a sudden burst of Israeli conscience to reverse a steady march of indifference to international law that has led Israel's way since the very first day it was manufactured from stolen land in Palestine."
Referencing multiple events throughout history such as the armed expulsion of “more than 700,000 Palestinians from their ancestral homelands”; the use of warfare against civilians including women and children, resulting in more than 400,000 dead or injured; the targeting of everything from food crops to hospitals to homes, and much more – Cohen makes the case for why Israel has engaged in almost every type of genocide defined under the 1948 Convention on Genocide
“Beginning with its mass expulsion, rape and murder at the onset of the Nakba (the Catastrophe) Israel has devoted itself to 68 years of non-stop genocide coming up for air only periodically to retool or to change the nature of its weaponry of choice,” he writes.
“One need not rest upon obtuse historical footnotes to find abundant, indeed systemic, acts of extermination carried out by Israel since 1948 against Palestinians - very much a cognizable ‘national, ethnical, racial or religious group’ as those terms are contemplated and commonly understood and applied under international law.”
Despite having been well documented, even “from respected groups from within Israel, itself,” he writes, these crimes have gone by with virtual impunity. Other than past U.N. resolutions that do nothing more than “cry out for justice,” no real action has ever been taken against the apartheid-state.
Referencing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent tantrums and retaliation against the 14 nations that voted against it to pass the recent motion, Cohen also points out the arrogance of a man who time and time again has felt he can “thumb his nose at the world.”
“Netanyahu is very much that kind of beast - an ogre who lives in a world surrounded by dark, deadly thoughts,” he writes.
Cohen also criticizes the United States for taking action so late, just days before Obama leaves office. Singling out the Obama administration, he mocks its newfound backbone in abstaining rather than vetoing the vote, as the U.S has historically done. Pointing to the recent $38-billion deal to provide Israel with military aid over 10 years, he puts little faith in the U.S.’ lackluster non-action.
Cohen ends the piece with a stark warning for Netanyahu and for Israel itself, suggesting the prime minister to “quit while..ahead,” before the hammer of justice finally falls upon both.
“Today, Israel stands charged with violations of the law of occupation. Tomorrow, it might very well, indeed should, find itself seated in a well-deserved international dock on trial for genocide.”
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