Monday, January 4, 2010

When Does It Become Genocide?, The Cairo Declaration

From: Sid Shniad

Forwarded on Behalf of the Institute for Palestine Studies

Nadia Hijab is an independent analyst and a senior fellow at the Institute
for Palestine Studies. This column was syndicated on 30 December 2009 by
Agence Global. The opinions in this piece are her own. The column may be
circulated on listservs but may not be republished without permission from
Agence Global. For contact information regarding rights and permissions see

When Does It Become Genocide?

By Nadia Hijab

During a visit to Ramallah a year ago while the Israeli bombardment of Gaza
was underway, I shared my fears with a close Palestinian friend. "It may
sound insane, but I think the Israelis' real objective is to see them all

My friend told me not to be silly, the assault was horrific, but it was not
mass killing. I said that wasn't the issue: This was a population already
very vulnerable to disease, ill-health, and malnutrition after years of
siege, with its infrastructure rotted, its water and food contaminated.
Israel's war would surely push the people over the brink, especially if the
siege was maintained -- as it has been.

In other words, Israel would not directly kill tens of thousands of
Palestinians, but it would create the conditions for tens of thousands to
die. Any epidemic could finish the job. My friend fell silent at these
words, but still shook his head in disbelief.

Two things have changed since last year: More people have started to apply
the term "genocide" to what Israel is doing to Gaza. And not only is Israel
being directly accused but also, increasingly, Egypt.

Is it genocide? "The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the
Crime of Genocide" -- a clear, concise document adopted by the United
Nations in December 1948 -- states that genocide is any of five acts
committed "with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
ethnical, racial or religious group."

Three acts appear to apply to the situation in Gaza: "(a) Killing members of
the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the
group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life
calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part."

Legal scholars disagree about how to interpret the Convention's articles and
it has proven difficult, over the years, to define crimes as genocide, let
alone to prevent or end them. In line with the Bosnia precedent -- the only
authoritative legal treatment of genocide to date -- it would be necessary
to establish deliberate intent for an accusation of genocide against Israel
to stand up in court.

Israel's leadership has not, of course, issued a declaration of intent.
However, many leading Israeli officials can be said to have done so. For
• Putting the Palestinians of Gaza "on a diet" -- Dov Weisglass, chief aide
to Ariel Sharon, in 2006.
• Exposing them to "a bigger shoah (holocaust)" -- Matan Vilnai, former
deputy defense minister, in 2008.
• Issuing religious edicts exhorting soldiers to show no mercy -- the
Israeli army rabbinate during the actual conflict.

Such declarations echo at least three of the "8 stages of genocide"
identified by Genocide Watch president Gregory Stanton in the 1990s after
the Rwanda genocide: Classification, dehumanization, and polarization.

Then there is the deliberate destruction or barring of means of sustenance
as Israel has done on land and at sea. Already, the Goldstone Report has
said that depriving the Gaza Palestinians of their means of sustenance,
employment, housing and water, freedom of movement, and access to a court of
law, could amount to persecution.

Since the December-January assault, there have been many authoritative
reports by human rights and environmental organizations on the impact of the
war and the ongoing siege on the people, soil, air, and water, including the
increase in cancers, deformed births, and preventable deaths. The death toll
in Gaza from swine flu reached nine in mid-December and 13 a week later --
an epidemic in waiting.

The eighth stage of genocide Stanton identifies is denial by perpetrators
"that they committed any crimes." Ironically, Stanton headed the
International Association of Genocide Scholars during the conflict, which
shut down discussion of Israel's actions despite protests by, among others,
genocide scholar and author Adam Jones. Jones and 15 other scholars had
posted a declaration stating that Israeli policies were "too alarmingly
close" to genocide to ignore and calling for an end to the silence.

Alarmingly close is right. Here is how Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish
legal scholar who pushed for the genocide convention, defined it in 1943:
"genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a
nation.... It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different
actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of
national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The
objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and
social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and
the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the
personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the
individuals belonging to such groups."

It is hard to conceive of a better description of what is going on in Gaza.

All UN member states have the duty to prevent and stop acts of genocide.
What is needed is a country brave enough to take the lead, before it is too


From: Karin Pally

PRESS RELEASE: Gaza Freedom Marchers issue the "Cairo Declaration" to end
Israeli Apartheid]

Ziyaad Lunat – 0191181340 (Egypt)

January 1, 2010

Gaza Freedom Marchers issue the "Cairo Declaration" to end Israeli

(Cairo) Gaza Freedom Marchers approved today a declaration aimed at
accelerating the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and
Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli Apartheid.

Roughly 1400 activists from 43 countries converged in Cairo on their
way to Gaza to join with Palestinians marching to break Israel's
illegal siege. They were prevented from entering Gaza by the
Egyptian authorities.

As a result, the Freedom Marchers remained in Cairo. They staged a
series of nonviolent actions aimed at pressuring the international
community to end the siege as one step in the larger struggle to
secure justice for Palestinians throughout historic Palestine.

This declaration arose from those actions:

*End Israeli Apartheid*

*Cairo Declaration*

January 1, 2010

We, international delegates meeting in Cairo during the Gaza Freedom
March 2009 in collective response to an initiative from the South
African delegation, state:

In view of:

o Israel's ongoing collective punishment of Palestinians through
the illegal occupation and siege of Gaza;

o the illegal occupation of the West Bank, including East
Jerusalem, and the continued construction of the illegal Apartheid
Wall and settlements;

o the new Wall under construction by Egypt and the US which will
tighten even further the siege of Gaza;

o the contempt for Palestinian democracy shown by Israel, the
US, Canada, the EU and others after the Palestinian elections of 2006;

o the war crimes committed by Israel during the invasion of Gaza
one year ago;

o the continuing discrimination and repression faced by
Palestinians within Israel;

o and the continuing exile of millions of Palestinian refugees;

o all of which oppressive acts are based ultimately on the
Zionist ideology which underpins Israel;

o in the knowledge that our own governments have given Israel
direct economic, financial, military and diplomatic support and
allowed it to behave with impunity;

o and mindful of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous People (2007)

We reaffirm our commitment to:

Palestinian Self-Determination

Ending the Occupation

Equal Rights for All within historic Palestine

The full Right of Return for Palestinian refugees

We therefore reaffirm our commitment to the United Palestinian call
of July 2005 for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to compel
Israel to comply with international law.

To that end, we call for and wish to help initiate a global mass,
democratic anti-apartheid movement to work in full consultation with
Palestinian civil society to implement the Palestinian call for BDS.

Mindful of the many strong similarities between apartheid Israel and
the former apartheid regime in South Africa, we propose:

1) An international speaking tour in the first 6 months of 2010
by Palestinian and South African trade unionists and civil society
activists, to be joined by trade unionists and activists committed
to this programme within the countries toured, to take mass
education on BDS directly to the trade union membership and wider
public internationally;

2) Participation in the Israeli Apartheid Week in March 2010;

3) A systematic unified approach to the boycott of Israeli
products, involving consumers, workers and their unions in the
retail, warehousing, and transportation sectors;

4) Developing the Academic, Cultural and Sports boycott;

5) Campaigns to encourage divestment of trade union and other
pension funds from companies directly implicated in the Occupation
and/or the Israeli military industries;

6) Legal actions targeting the external recruitment of soldiers
to serve in the Israeli military, and the prosecution of Israeli
government war criminals; coordination of Citizen's Arrest Bureaux
to identify, campaign and seek to prosecute Israeli war criminals;
support for the Goldstone Report and the implementation of its

7) Campaigns against charitable status of the Jewish National
Fund (JNF).

We appeal to organisations and individuals committed to this
declaration to sign it and work with us to make it a reality.

Please e-mail us at

*/Signed by:/*

*/ /*

/(* Affiliation for identification purposes only.)/

1. Hedy Epstein, Holocaust Survivor/ Women in Black*, USA

2. Nomthandazo Sikiti, Nehawu, Congress of South African
Trade Unions (COSATU), Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa

3. Zico Tamela, Satawu, Congress of South African Trade
Unions (COSATU) Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa

4. Hlokoza Motau, Numsa, Congress of South African Trade
Unions (COSATU) Affiliate International Officer*, South Africa

5. George Mahlangu, Congress of South African Trade Unions
(COSATU) Campaigns Coordinator*, South Africa

6. Crystal Dicks, Congress of South African Trade Unions
(COSATU) Education Secretary*, South Africa

7. Savera Kalideen, SA Palestinian Solidarity Committee*,
South Africa

8. Suzanne Hotz, SA Palestinian Solidarity Group*, South Africa

9. Shehnaaz Wadee, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*,
South Africa

10. Haroon Wadee, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South

11. Sayeed Dhansey, South Africa

12. Faiza Desai, SA Palestinian Solidarity Alliance*, South

13. Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada*, USA

14. Hilary Minch, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Committee*,

15. Anthony Loewenstein, Australia

16. Sam Perlo-Freeman, United Kingdom

17. Julie Moentk, Pax Christi*, USA

18. Ulf Fogelström, Sweden

19. Ann Polivka, Chico Peace and Justice Center*, USA

20. Mark Johnson, Fellowship of Reconciliation*, USA

21. Elfi Padovan, Munich Peace Committee*/Die Linke*, Germany

22. Elizabeth Barger, Peace Roots Alliance*/Plenty I*, USA

23. Sarah Roche-Mahdi, CodePink*, USA

24. Svetlana Gesheva-Anar, Bulgaria

25. Cristina Ruiz Cortina, Al Quds-Malaga*, Spain

26. Rachel Wyon, Boston Gaza Freedom March*, USA

27. Mary Hughes-Thompson, Women in Black*, USA

28. David Letwin, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

29. Jean Athey, Peace Action Montgomery*, USA

30. Gael Murphy, Gaza Freedom March*/CodePink*, USA

31. Thomas M^c Afee, Journalist/PC*, USA

32. Jean Louis Faure, International Jewish Anti-Zionist
Network (IJAN)*, France

33. Timothy A King, Christians for Peace and Justice in the
Middle East*, USA

34. Gail Chalbi, Palestine/Israel Justice Project of the
Minnesota United Methodist Church*, USA

35. Ouahib Chalbi, Palestine/Israel Justice Project of the
Minnesota United Methodist Church*, USA

36. Greg Dropkin, Liverpool Friends of Palestine*, England

37. Felice Gelman, Wespac Peace and Justice New York*/Gaza
Freedom March*, USA

38. Ron Witton, Australian Academic Union*, Australia

39. Hayley Wallace, Palestine Solidarity Committee*, USA

40. Norma Turner, Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign*,

41. Paula Abrams-Hourani, Women in Black (Vienna)*/ Jewish
Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East*, Austria

42. Mateo Bernal, Industrial Workers of the World*, USA

43. Mary Mattieu, Collectif Urgence Palestine*, Switzerland

44. Agneta Zuppinger, Collectif Urgence Palestine*, Switzerland

45. Ashley Annis, People for Peace*, Canada

46. Peige Desgarlois, People for Peace*, Canada

47. Hannah Carter, Canadian Friends of Sabeel*, Canada

48. Laura Ashfield, Canadian Friends of Sabeel*, Canada

49. Iman Ghazal, People for Peace*, Canada

50. Filsam Farah, People for Peace*, Canada

51. Awa Allin, People for Peace*, Canada

52. Cleopatra M^c Govern, USA

53. Miranda Collet, Spain

54. Alison Phillips, Scotland

55. Nicholas Abramson, Middle East Crisis Response
Network*/Jews Say No*, USA

56. Tarak Kauff, Middle East Crisis Response
Network*/Veterans for Peace*, USA

57. Jesse Meisler-Abramson, USA

58. Hope Mariposa, USA

59. Ivesa Lübben. Bremer Netzwerk fur Gerechten Frieden in
Nahost*, Germany

60. Sheila Finan, Mid-Hudson Council MERC*, USA

61. Joanne Lingle, Christians for Peace and Justice in the
Middle East (CPJME)*, USA

62. Barbara Lubin, Middle East Children's Alliance*, USA

63. Josie Shields-Stromsness, Middle East Children's
Alliance*, USA

64. Anna Keuchen, Germany

65. Judith Mahoney Pasternak, WRL* and Indypendent*, USA

66. Ellen Davidson, New York City Indymedia*, WRL*,
Indypendent*, USA

67. Ina Kelleher, USA

68. Lee Gargagliano, International Jewish Anti-Zionist
Network (Chicago)*, USA

69. Brad Taylor, OUT-FM*, USA

70. Helga Mankovitz, SPHR (Queen's University)*, Canada

71. Mick Napier, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign*,

72. Agnes Kueng, Paso Basel*, Switzerland

73. Anne Paxton, Voices of Palestine*, USA

74. Leila El Abtah, The Netherlands

75. Richard, Van der Wouden, The Netherlands

76. Rafiq A. Firis, P.K.R.*/Isra*, The Netherlands

77. Sandra Tamari, USA

78. Alice Azzouzi, Way to Jerusalem*, USA

79. J'Ann Schoonmaker Allen, USA

80. Ruth F. Hooke, Episcopalian Peace Fellowship*, USA

81. Jean E. Lee, Holy Land Awareness Action Task Group of
United Church of Canada*, Canada

82. Delphine de Boutray, Association Thèâtre Cine*, France

83. Sylvia Schwarz, USA

84. Alexandra Safi, Germany

85. Abdullah Anar, Green Party – Turkey*, Turkey

86. Ted Auerbach, USA

87. Martha Hennessy, Catholic Worker*, USA

88. Louis Ultale, Interfaile Pace e Bene*, USA

89. Leila Zand, Fellowship of Reconciliation*, USA

90. Emma Grigore, CodePink*, USA

91. Sammer Abdelela, New York Community of Muslim
Progressives*, USA

92. Sharat G. Lin, San Jose Peace and Justice Center*, USA

93. Katherine E. Sheetz, Free Gaza*, USA

94. Steve Greaves, Free Gaza*, USA

95. Trevor Baumgartner, Free Gaza*, USA

96. Hanan Tabbara, USA

97. Marina Barakatt, CodePink*, USA

98. Keren Bariyov, USA

99. Ursula Sagmeister, Women in Black – Vienna*, Austria

100. Ann Cunningham, Australia

101. Bill Perry, Delaware Valley Veterans for Peace*, USA

102. Terry Perry, Delaware Valley Veterans for Peace*, USA

103. Athena Viscusi, USA

104. Marco Viscusi, USA

105. Paki Wieland, Northampton Committee*, USA

106. Manijeh Saba, New York / New Jersey, USA

107. Ellen Graves, USA

108. Zoë Lawlor, Ireland – Palestine Solidarity Campaign*,

109. Miguel García Grassot, Al Quds – Málaga*, Spain

110. Ana Mamora Romero, ASPA-Asociacion Andaluza Solidaridad
y Paz*, Spain

111. Ehab Lotayef, CJPP Canada*, Canada

112. David Heap, London Anti-War*, Canada

113. Adie Mormech, Free Gaza* / Action Palestine*, England

114. Aimee Shalan, UK

115. Liliane Cordova, International Jewish Anti-Zionist
Network (IJAN)*, Spain

116. Priscilla Lynch, USA

117. Jenna Bitar, USA

118. Deborah Mardon, USA

119. Becky Thompson, USA

120. Diane Hereford, USA

121. David Heap, People for Peace London*, Canada

122. Donah Abdulla, Solidarity for Palestinian Human
Rights*, Canada

123. Wendy Goldsmith, People for Peace London*, Canada

124. Abdu Mihirig, Solidarity for Palestinian Human
Rights-UBC*, Canada

125. Saldibastami, Solidarity for Palestinian Human
Rights-UBC*, Canada

126. Abdenahmane Bouaffad, CMF*, France

127. Feroze Mithiborwala, Awami Bharat*, India

128. John Dear, Pax Christi*, USA

129. Ziyaad Lunat, Portugal

130. Michael Letwin, New York City Labor Against the War

131. Labor For Palestine

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