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Schiller Institute Statement: ‘Knew or Should Have Known’: Governments Complicit in Genocide Will Not Be Able To Plead Ignorance at the Coming Nuremberg Tribunal

Feb. 8--This is a slightly edited version of that statement, issued by the Schiller Institute on Feb. 4, 2004. We reprint it here to show that some people are not taking the criminal enabling of the Israeli genocide by the United States sitting down, so to speak.  The Biden Administration says it is against genocide but denies that any is taking place in Gaza and continues to support what it calls Israel's actions in "self-defense" against Palestinians that have claimed more than 28,000 lives, most of whom are women and children, and calls for arming the Israelis. Much of what has already taken place in Gaza has been done with American weapons. The Schiller Institute, demanding support for the Jan. 26 International Court of Justice findings of probable cause in the case of genocide brought by South Africa against Israel, and the measures it demands to halt such actions. And it warns not just the Israelis, but all by who fail to stop what is happening in Gaza, that they, too are complicit in such crimes, and could find themselves in the dock of a new Nuremberg-type tribunal.}

Summarizing the strategic situation, we then specify what must be done to immediately reverse the current rush to genocide and global war in Gaza.

On Jan. 26, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that it is “plausible” that genocide is actively being carried out by Israel against the People of Palestine, as charged by the government of South Africa. On Jan. 31, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor explained what the ICJ’s order meant:

“Third States must, therefore, also act independently and immediately to prevent genocide by Israel and to ensure that they are not themselves in violation of the Genocide Convention by aiding or assisting in the commission of genocide. This necessarily imposes an obligation on all States to cease funding and facilitating Israel’s military actions, which are plausibly genocidal.”

ICJ rulings are binding on participating governments and responsible officials in those governments. The Court gave Israel 30 days to report back, documenting its compliance with the Court’s Order.

Instead of following the Court’s requirements, however, Israel and its principal international allies have arrogantly flouted those rulings from the moment they were issued Jan. 26.

On Jan. 26, the very day that the ICJ Order was issued, the governments of Israel and the United States colluded to suspend all funding to UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), which provides the vast majority of the life-saving humanitarian aid for Gaza. Israel and its allies did this on the basis of a questionable Israeli dossier, which has yet to be made public, charging a dozen UNWRA employees (out of 13,000 in Gaza and 30,000 in the region) with working with Hamas.

A total of 17 countries plus the European Union (Australia, Austria, Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union) have now frozen their funding of UNRWA, guaranteeing that, as UNRWA’s funding totally disappears by the end of February, the

threatened famine now besetting 2.3 million people in Gaza will become an actual famine with hundreds of thousands of deaths.

On Jan. 30, the Israeli Defense Ministry announced that they had begun flooding some tunnels in Gaza with seawater, which will predictably not only kill Hamas members and hostages alike but also destroy for decades the possibility of having any freshwater or agriculture in the region.

As of this writing, Feb. 4, elements of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are poised at the outskirts of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, preparing to launch a full-scale military assault on the over one million desperate Palestinians whom the IDF has driven there from other parts of Gaza, in order to impose a policy that the ICJ has characterized as “plausible genocide” and which therefore could end up being the “final solution to the Palestinian problem.”

In a related development, the combined military forces of the United States and the United Kingdom—the two countries most directly responsible for financing, arming, and unleashing today’s Israeli depopulation war against Palestine—launched air strikes over the weekend of February 2-4 against selected “enemy targets” in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, ostensibly in retaliation for the killing of three U.S. soldiers by a drone strike in Jordan the week before, but with a manifest intent of sending a “Shock and Awe” message to terrify the entire world into submission.

These developments now threaten to spread the war in Southwest Asia to Iran, and engulf the entire region in war, which could rapidly become a nuclear World War III.

Therefore, we call for the following immediate actions:

1. DEMONSTRATIONS WORLDWIDE: to be held in front of the embassies or consulates of the 18 countries which have frozen funding for UNRWA, demanding that they immediately restore that funding, vastly increase the flow of humanitarian aide to Gaza, bring about an immediate and permanent cease-fire, and convene an international conference to develop concrete steps towards establishing a two-state solution for the region based on mutually-beneficial economic development.

2. CEASEFIRE RESOLUTIONS: City Councils and state legislatures across the United States, and elected bodies in all countries around the world, should follow the example of the City Council of Chicago, the third largest city in the U.S., which on Jan. 31 passed a resolution, which stated that they “support the United Nations implementation of Resolution 377, known as ‘Uniting for Peace,’ which called an emergency session of the General Assembly which voted in favor of ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire’ in Gaza.”

3. CONTACT REPRESENTATIVES: Every Congressman and Senator in the U.S. should be told that they will be thrown out of office if they do not publicly express their adherence to both the Constitution of the United States and to international law to which our nation has subscribed (including the decisions of the ICJ), both of which now demand action to stop the genocide before it goes any further. Elected officials in other countries should also be called on to abide by their corresponding legal and moral obligations.

All governments around the world, all public officials, are now on notice: Not only is it the case that they “should have known” what was happening in Gaza on their watch; they now know. And history – and a likely coming Nuremberg Tribunal – will judge them accordingly.

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