A new report by a UN commission finds that Israel intended to murder civilians en masse, inflict wide-scale civilian destruction, and collectively punish Palestinians in Gaza — holding them hostage to its political aims.

By Bashir Abu-Manneh, Jacobin

The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory issued its “first in-depth investigation into the events that took place on and since 7 October 2023.” The report holds the Israeli occupation responsible for the ongoing catastrophic situation in Gaza. But it also alludes to the possibility that October 7 is a watershed moment for even harsher Israeli occupation unless international law is urgently implemented.

While both Hamas and Israel are found to have committed war crimes (including sexual violence), Israel is also sanctioned for committing “crimes against humanity of extermination, gender persecution targeting Palestinian men and boys, murder, forcible transfer, and torture and inhuman and cruel treatment.”

Palestinians evacuate wounded after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, on October 12 2023

In clear and deliberate violation of international law, Israel intended to commit these crimes: to murder civilians en masse, inflict wide-scale civilian destruction, and collectively punish and dehumanize Palestinians in Gaza. Palestinians were murdered. They didn’t die as collateral damage or as unintended victims of Israeli military operations, but as Israel’s deliberate targets.

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