Reports & Researches

When homicide and forced displacement take on an official role in Israel

The Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) has released a report documenting explicit or implicit Israeli political and religious leaders calls for killing, displacement, or implementation of apartheid against Palestinians. This report comes amidst extensive crimes committed by the occupation army against Gaza. According to the report, these crimes are directly associated with statements made prior to or during the war on Gaza, indicating a comprehensive framework of incitement to murder and forced displacement.

The report highlights explicit statements of Israeli ministers, including Defense Minister Yaakov Galant, who openly called for imposing a blockade on Gaza and adopting a policy of collective punishment. This official declaration signifies the occupying army's intent to disregard the principles of international humanitarian law. Additionally, the remarks of National Security Minister Ben Gvir were observed, as he advocated for arming settlers and promoting self-defense. This decision was interpreted as an official authorization for settlers and soldiers to engage in killing Palestinians in occupied West Bank and Jerusalem and mistreating them. This aligns with the dramatically increasing number of killings against Palestinians since the beginning of 2023.

The statements of the Israeli Minister of Heritage, Amihai Eliyahu, in which he called for dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza Strip, have been considered the most inciteful to the killing of Palestinians. Although the occupation government took formal action against him, the number of civilian casualties, along with widespread destruction to civilian neighborhoods and infrastructure, clearly indicates that the occupation used explosives equivalent to three nuclear bombs, according to military experts. This also means that the statements of this minister are part of the same context.

As for the statements of the Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrich, who called for the establishment of buffer zones around settlements in the West Bank and preventing Arabs from approaching them, they are a clear call for implementing a policy of racial segregation, especially considering that the settlements are considered illegal according to international law. This minister has previously advocated for the burning of Hawara town.

According to the report, the political leaders' statements come amid incitement from religious leaders openly advocating for the killing of Palestinians. (Witness) affirmed in its report that the Israeli political and religious environment is entirely conducive to committing crimes against Palestinians, explaining the high rates of occupation crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The report by (Witness) raised questions about why Western leaders adopt a discourse of hatred and incitement to murder, even finding justifications for Israeli crimes. The report cited examples of statements by Western leaders explicitly endorsing the Israeli narrative, such as the cutting off of the heads of Israeli children, bombing the Baptist hospital, casting doubt on the number of civilian Palestinian casualties, and the raid on Al-Shifa Hospital, among others, without clear and substantiated evidence.

The report considered that Western behavior gives the greenlight for Israeli occupation to kill civilians in Gaza Strip where over 11500 were killed, mostly children and women before the Ministry of Health stopped counting. Moreover, granting Israel the absolute right to self-defense, without adhering to conditions set by United Nations serves as a Western cover for the policy of indiscriminate killing of Palestinians.

The report questions why hate speech and incitement to murder are not criminalized as international crimes under the Rome Statute. It warns that the failure to criminalize hate speech and incitement to murder internationally would encourage the commission of further crimes against humanity.

The report calls for the necessity of seeking an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice regarding incitement to murder and the establishment of effective international mechanisms to combat hate speech and incitement to murder. This includes setting up a United Nations-affiliated mechanism to monitor and follow up on these issues.

Beirut, November 17, 2023

Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness)