A wounded person receives treatment at a local hospital in the southern Gaza Strip

A wounded person receives treatment at a local hospital in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on March 24, 2024.

(Photo: Khaled Omar/Xinhua via Getty Images)

'Crucial' UN Report on Gaza Genocide Must Spur Global Action, Says Amnesty

U.N. member states must "use their influence" to push Israel to halt its bombardment of Gaza and blocking of humanitarian aid, said the group's secretary general.

"The time to act to prevent genocide is now," Amnesty International's secretary general said Tuesday, a day after the United Nations Human Rights Council released a draft report detailing how the panel found that there are "reasonable grounds to believe" that Israel is already committing genocidal violence in Gaza.

Amnesty's Agnes Callamard called the 25-page report a "crucial body of work that must serve as a vital call to action to states," many of which have called for a cease-fire in Gaza for several months.

After the U.N. report found that "the overwhelming nature and scale of Israel's assault on Gaza... reveal an intent to physically destroy Palestinians as a group," Callamard said "states must now focus their efforts on making these calls a reality."

"Third states must apply political pressure on the warring parties to implement the U.N. Security Council resolution adopted yesterday demanding an immediate cease-fire, use their influence to insist that Israel abides by the resolution, including by stopping the shelling and lifting restrictions on humanitarian aid," said Callamard. "They must impose a comprehensive arms embargo against all parties to the conflict. They must also pressure Hamas and other armed groups to free all civilian hostages."

The U.N. report was released the same day that the U.N Security Council adopted a resolution demanding an immediate, temporary cease-fire for the remainder of the month of Ramadan—the first cease-fire resolution to pass at the council following three that failed due to the U.S. vetoing the measures.

The U.S., which gives Israel $3.8 billion in annual military aid and has continued to provide support throughout the bombardment, abstained from voting on Monday's resolution and infuriated human rights experts by baselessly claiming the vote was "nonbinding."

The U.N. report, titled Anatomy of a Genocide, detailed actions Israel has taken since beginning its bombardment of Gaza in October that could violate Article II of the Genocide Convention, including killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, and imposing measures intended to prevent births.

Along with killing at least 32,414 Palestinians in Gaza—73% of whom have been women and children, and the remaining 27% were not proven to have been Hamas members—Israel has also imposed mass starvation on the population, killing "10 children daily," according to the report. Israel has detained thousands of Palestinian men and boys in undisclosed locations; injured 70,000 people; forced medical personnel to perform "hazardous health procedures, such as amputations without anesthetics, including on children"; and "destroyed or severely damaged most life-sustaining infrastructure."

Callamard noted on Tuesday that the report came two months after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced an interim ruling that Israel is "plausibly" committing a genocide in Gaza and ordered the country to take action to prevent genocidal violence by its forces.

"In that time, the situation in Gaza has grown exponentially worse, with thousands more Palestinians killed and Israel continuing to refuse to comply with the ICJ ruling to ensure provision of sufficient humanitarian aid to Palestinians as human-made famine edges closer each day and more people starve to death," said Callamard.

The secretary general echoed a call in the report, which was compiled by Francesca Albanese, special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, for the full funding of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Israel said Sunday it will no longer permit UNRWA aid trucks to deliver humanitarian relief in northern Gaza, where one-third of children under age 2 are now suffering from acute malnutrition. The U.S. officially suspended UNRWA funding through March 2025 on Monday after President Joe Biden signed a new spending package into law.

The U.S. led several countries in cutting funding to the agency in January after Israel claimed 12 of UNRWA's 13,000 employees in Gaza had been involved in the Hamas-led attack on southern Israel in October. Countries including Finland, Canada, and Australia have since reinstated funding.

Callamard also called on all states, particularly powerful Western countries that are allied with Israel, including the U.S., to support international authorities as they try to hold Israeli officials to account for the mass killing and starving of civilians in Gaza. Israel has refused to allow U.N. experts and other independent human rights monitors access to Gaza.

"Helping to prevent genocide also means supporting accountability efforts including the ongoing investigation by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and exercising universal jurisdiction to bring those suspected of crimes under international law to justice," said Callamard.

The secretary general noted that momentum has grown in recent days around international calls for a cease-fire, but said a desperately needed halt in fighting requires a concerted push by influential states to become a reality.

"An enduring cease-fire," said Callamard, "remains the best way to enforce the ICJ's provisional measures to prevent genocide and further crimes and civilian suffering."

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