Francesca Albanese was speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where she presented her latest report, entitled ‘Anatomy of a Genocide’, during an interactive dialogue with Member States.

“Following nearly six months of unrelenting Israeli assault on occupied Gaza, it is my solemn duty to report on the worst of what humanity is capable of, and to present my findings,” she said.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating the commission of the crime of genocide…has been met.”

Three acts committed​

Citing international law, Ms. Albanese explained that genocide is defined as a specific set of acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

“Specifically, Israel has committed three acts of genocide with the requisite intent, causing seriously serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, and imposing measures intended to prevent birth within the group,” she said.

Furthermore, “the genocide in Gaza is the most extreme stage of a long-standing settler colonial process of erasure of the native Palestinians,” she continued.

‘A tragedy foretold’​

“For over 76 years, this process has oppressed the Palestinians as a people in every way imaginable, crushing their inalienable right to self-determination demographically, economically, territorially, culturally and politically.”

She said the “colonial amnesia of the West has condoned Israel’s colonial settler project”, adding that “the world now sees the bitter fruit of the impunity afforded to Israel. This was a tragedy foretold.”

Ms. Albanese said denial of the reality and the continuation of Israel’s impunity and exceptionalism is no longer viable, especially in light of the binding UN Security Council resolution, adopted on Monday, which called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Arms embargo and sanctions against Israel​

“I implore Member States to abide by their obligations which start with imposing an arms embargo and sanctions on Israel, and so ensure that the future does not continue to repeat itself,” she concluded.

Special Rapporteurs and independent experts like Ms. Albanese receive their mandates from the UN Human Rights Council. They are not UN staff and do not receive payment for their work.

Israel ‘utterly rejects’ report​

Israel did not participate in the dialogue but issued a press release stating that it “utterly rejects” Ms. Albanese’s report, calling it as “an obscene inversion of reality”.

“The very attempt to level the charge of genocide against Israel is an outrageous distortion of the Genocide Convention. It is an attempt to empty the word genocide of its unique force and special meaning; and turn the Convention itself into a tool of terrorists, who have total disdain for life and for the law, against those trying to defend against them,” the release said.

Israel said its war is against Hamas, not Palestinian civilians.

“This is a matter of explicit government policy, military directives and procedures. It is no less an expression of Israel’s core values. As stated, our commitment to uphold the law, including our obligations under international humanitarian law, is unwavering.”

‘Barbaric aggression continues’: Palestine Ambassador​

The Ambassador of the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the UN in Geneva, Ibrahim Khraishi, noted that the report provides the historic context of genocide against the Palestinians.

He said Israel “continues its barbaric aggression” and refuses to abide by the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), issued in January, to take provisional measures in order to prevent the crime of genocide. Israel has also refused to abide by UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, including the one adopted on Monday, he added.

“And this means that all recommendations in the report of the Special Rapporteur shall be implemented, and practical measures should be taken to prevent the export of weapons, to boycott Israel commercially and politically, and to implement mechanisms of accountability,” he said.

More to follow​