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“Risk of genocide” exists in Gaza, Amnesty International says

A Palestinian woman displaced by Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip holds her baby in a tent near Kerem Shalom crossing in Rafah, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024.   -  
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Hatem Ali/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


"Achieving security and cooperation in a fractured world" is one of 4 key themes this year at the world economic forum in Davos.

The Secretary-General of Amnesty International who was in the Swiss city on Wednesday sought to keep the issue of human rights on the agenda and alerted on the ongoing war in Gaza.

"Since October 7th, which was already a disaster from a human rights and humanitarian law standpoint, war crimes after war crimes, but since then, we have seen a disproportionate response on the part of the Israeli authorities and an accumulation of war crimes," Agnès Callamard said.

"For Amnesty International, the risk of genocide is out there. This is why we welcomed the ICJ court case and the South Africa initiative, because we believe that this is the only way right now that can save lives in Gaza, everything else has failed."

South Africa case

A growing list of countries, political parties, trade unions and rights groups from around the world have come forward to back South Africa’s bid to take Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the allegations that it is committing a genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The filing by South Africa accuses Israel of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention: "South Africa unequivocally condemns all violations of international law by all parties, including the direct targeting of Israeli civilians and other nationals and hostage-taking by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups," the application instituting proceedings by South Africa reads.

"No armed attack on a State’s territory no matter how serious — even an attack involving atrocity crimes —can, however, provide any possible justification for, or defence to, breaches of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (‘Genocide Convention’ or ‘Convention’), whether as a matter of law or morality," it continues.

The ICJ is a state court and doens't adjudicate in crimes perpetrated by non-state parties. 

This would fall within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for example.

Gaza’s Health Ministry says at least 24,448 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war, with over 60,000 wounded. It says many other dead and wounded are trapped under rubble or unreachable because of the fighting.

The ministry does not isolate the combatant deaths.

Israel blames the high civilian death toll on Hamas because it fights in dense residential areas. Israel says its forces have killed roughly 9,000 militants, without providing evidence, and that 193 of its own soldiers have been killed since the Gaza ground offensive began.

Political solution to a 75-year old conflict?

"Requiring Israel to agree to a time-bound, mandatory path to a two-state solution is key to future stability in Israel and the Palestinian territories", Qatar's Prime Minister said in Davos on Tuesday (Jan.16).

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday (Jan.17) that Israel cannot achieve “genuine security” without a pathway to a Palestinian state, insisting such a move could help unify the Middle East and isolate Israel’s top rival: Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a right-wing government that is opposed to Palestinian statehood, and Netanyahu himself recently said that his actions over the years prevented the formation of such a state.

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