Reflections on the Holocaust and the Parallels between Nazi Brutality and Israeli Atrocities

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 5 Feb 2024

Prof Hoosen Vawda – TRANSCEND Media Service

Please note that this publication contains graphic images which may be disturbing to some readers.  Parental guidance is recommended for minors.

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“At the end of World War II an august body, the United Nations, was formed as a global organization based on the horrors of the Nazi Regime against the Jews of Europe, a tragedy called The Holocaust.  A unanimous resolution was made by world leaders at the time, Never Again, yet the same human catastrophe is being reenacted in the atrocities on Gaza by the Zionist Regime of Israel as a neo imperialist force.” [1]

Genocidal Crimes Against Humanity committed by Israel in the War on Gaza. The bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes are buried in a mass grave after they were transported from al-Shifa Hospital to Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on 22 Nov 2023. The Government Media Office in Gaza says that at least 20,424 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli offensive in Gaza since 7 Oct.
Photo Credit:  Mohammed Salem/Reuters for Al Jazeera Media Service

Palestinian Genocide and Crimes against Humanity

This paper, discusses the analogies between the Holocaust as practised by Nazi Germany, on the minority Jewish population of initially Germany and later to include other European countries, which were occupied by Hitler’s Nazi Regime and the present-day genocide of the minority Palestinians, not only since 07th October 2023, but for the past 76 years decimating, displacing and discriminating against the Palestinians, under the occupation of Israel. This invasion has resulted in the Zionist expropriation of the land, which rightfully belongs to the Palestinians, historically and socio-politically, since 1917, when the Balfour Agreement was formulated, to house the Jewish people after World War I.

The entire odyssey is typified by genocides[2], ethnic cleansing[3] and other such mass extermination processes[4] of a particular group of people, based on personal, hatred for political reasons and the impact it has on humanity. While the author has written about such atrocities, extensively [5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16], the present publication examines the scenario to annihilate the Palestinians totally from the Gaza Strip, as well as the Occupied Territories, in an analogous manner as the Third Reich of Hitler, did with the Jews in Europe. The Holocaust stands as one of the most harrowing events in human history, an unparalleled tragedy that claimed the lives of at least six million Jews and left a permanent stain on the collective consciousness of humanity. Central to this genocide was the implementation of the “Final Solution”. Nazi Germany’s meticulously planned and ruthlessly executed program aimed at the systematic extermination of all Jews.

Ironically, the present war of Gaza waged by the Israeli Defence Force is no different from the sentiments expressed above.  The Palestinian Genocide is the new, stark example of crimes against humanity, in which in excess of 27,300 Palestinian civilians were specifically killed by the incessant aerial attacks, using American drones, on a war which is not only directed against the resistance fighters; Hamas and associated groups, but it is a war against all Palestinians.   It is a re-enactment of the “Final Solution”, to achieve Aryan supremacy, as proposed by Hitler, against the Jews between 1939 and 1945 in Nazi Germany. This genocidal directed attack, stands as one of the most criminal undertaking in recent events in human history and as well, in the 21st century, since 07th October 2023.  It is in reality, an unparalleled destruction of civilin humanity, since the Holocaust against the Jews.  It is more serious than the holocaust in that the Israeli Genocide has caused mass displacement of Palestinians, from the northern Gaza to supposedly a safe UN haven, in South Gaza.

Presently, Israeli forces have completed the eradication, of the Palestinians in the north and are now concentrating on South Gaza, area of Khan Younis and Rafah.  The IDF is killing Palestinians, even in hospitals, masquerading as doctors and shooting wounded Palestinian’s in hospital beds, last Monday.  One Israeli agent was even on a wheelchair, when he arrived into the hospital, as visualised in the CCTV cameras mounted inside the hallowed precincts of the hospital, who experienced a “miraculous cure”, became fully ambulant and proceeded to shoot and kill a wounded Palestinian in the  hospital bed.  The Israelis genocidal crusade is typified by deprivation of food, water, electricity, medical care and even bombing health facilities, to prevent Palestinians from accessing medical care.

The Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has effectively, cut off the supply of fuel for even hospital generators, supply of vital medication, to the effect that women are having Caesarean Sections without anaesthesia.  In addition, bodies of Palestinians have been discovered in mass graves, when the victims were shot, execution style by the Israelis.  It is also reported that the bodies have been desecrated, with organs having been removed from the victims bodies  These acts committed by the Israelis, constitute heinous war crimes, analogous to what the ‘Angel of Death”, Dr Joseph Mengele, was engaged in, upon the Jews in concentration camps, during World War II. Mengele, used to conduct brutal medical experiments on Jewish children, in pursuit of his pseudo-scientific research in various concentration camps. Central to this genocide was the implementation of the “Final Solution”.

However, for the eradication of Palestinians, a meticulously planned and ruthlessly executed programme was aimed at the systematic extermination of all Palestinians, as well as total destruction of their property in Gaza, by the Israeli Defence Force personnel. In addition, Palestinians are regularly killed in night raids in the Occupied Territories by the IDF. These are clear criteria for defining such brutal crimes against humanity, as a genocide, in which the children bear the brunt of the tyranny inflicted by the perpetrator of these politically, ethnically and often religiously motivated mass murders by a particular regime, government or an empire.[17]

The Highlights of the Tragedies of the Holocaust and Genocides

The main tragedy of the Holocaust was the systematic genocide orchestrated by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime during World War II. Between 1941 and 1945, millions of innocent people, primarily Jews, were targeted and brutally murdered in a state-sponsored campaign of hatred and discrimination.

The Holocaust involved mass extermination through methods such as mass shootings, forced labour, and most notably, extermination camps where victims were systematically gassed and their bodies disposed of. The scale of the atrocities was unprecedented, with an estimated six million Jews, along with millions of others including Romani people, Poles, Soviet POWs, disabled individuals, and others, becoming victims of this genocide.

The Holocaust represents one of the darkest chapters in human history, highlighting the consequences of unchecked prejudice, discrimination, and the abuse of power. The profound loss of life, the suffering of survivors, and the moral implications of such organized cruelty continue to shape our understanding of the importance of human rights, tolerance, and the prevention of genocide.  While it is difficult to compare any contemporary events directly to the magnitude and scale of the Holocaust, there have been instances of mass atrocities and humanitarian crises in the 21st century that share some similarities. It is important to note that each situation is unique, and historical analogies may have limitations. A few examples:

  1. Rohingya Crisis (2017-present): The persecution and violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar have led to widespread displacement, killings, and reports of mass atrocities. The situation has been described by many as ethnic cleansing, and it has sparked a major humanitarian crisis in the region.
  2. Syrian Civil War (2011-present): The conflict in Syria has resulted in a massive humanitarian crisis, with millions of people displaced, widespread atrocities, and the use of chemical weapons. The targeting of civilian populations and the displacement of millions of Syrians have been particularly distressing aspects of this ongoing conflict.
  3. Darfur Conflict (2003-present): The Darfur region in Sudan has experienced a protracted conflict marked by widespread violence, displacement, and allegations of genocide. The government’s actions, along with armed militias, have led to mass displacement and loss of life.
  4. Yazidi Genocide by ISIS (2014): The Islamic State (ISIS) targeted the Yazidi minority in Iraq in 2014, committing mass killings, abductions, and sexual violence. The United Nations and several countries recognized these actions as genocide.

While these examples highlight severe human rights abuses and large-scale suffering, none precisely replicate the systematic and industrialized nature of the Holocaust. Nonetheless, these instances emphasize the ongoing importance of international efforts to prevent and respond to mass atrocities, promote human rights, and address the root causes of conflicts around the world.  It is also necessary to note that certain atrocities and crimes against humanity are not classified as such.  Therefore, the term “Kashmiri Genocide” is not widely recognized or accepted in the international community.

The Kashmir conflict refers to the territorial dispute over the region of Kashmir, primarily between India and Pakistan. The conflict has resulted in a complex and longstanding political and humanitarian situation. While there have been instances of violence, human rights abuses, and tensions in Kashmir, the use of the term “genocide” is controversial and debated. Genocide, as defined by international law, involves specific acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group. Applying this definition to the situation in Kashmir is a matter of interpretation and debate.  However, Holocaust is a specific term used for the annihilation of the Jews by the Nazi Regime during World War II and is not used for other atrocities of such a magnitude, against humanity, traditionally.

It is essential to acknowledge that the situation in Kashmir is multifaceted, involving political, territorial, and religious dimensions. Reports from various sources have highlighted concerns about human rights abuses, including allegations of excessive use of force, restrictions on freedom of movement, and incidents leading to civilian casualties.  International organisations, including the United Nations, have called for dialogue and peaceful resolution to the Kashmir issue. The situation in Kashmir remains complex, and developments are occurring on a daily basis, which could flare up into a major war at any time.

The Polish and Russian Genocides by Nazis during WWII.

During World War II, the Nazi regime, led by Adolf Hitler, engaged in widespread atrocities, including the genocide of specific ethnic and social groups. While the Holocaust primarily targeted Jews, the Nazis also perpetrated mass killings and crimes against humanity against other populations, including Poles and Russians. The Nazi regime’s policies in Eastern Europe resulted in the suffering and deaths of millions of people.

  1. Polish Genocide:
    • Invasion of Poland (1939): The invasion of Poland in September 1939 marked the beginning of World War II. The Nazis implemented harsh policies in occupied Poland, targeting the Polish intelligentsia, political leaders, and civilians.
    • Mass Executions and Concentration Camps: The Nazis carried out mass executions, forced labour, and established concentration camps in Poland. The most infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz, was located in occupied Polish territory and became a symbol of the Holocaust.
  2. Russian Genocide:
    • Operation Barbarossa (1941): The invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany in 1941, known as Operation Barbarossa, aimed at capturing vast territories and eliminating what the Nazis considered “racial enemies.” The Eastern Front witnessed some of the most brutal fighting and atrocities of World War II.
    • Mass Killings and Starvation: The Nazis implemented a ruthless campaign against Soviet civilians and prisoners of war. Mass shootings, starvation policies, and the intentional targeting of entire communities led to the deaths of millions of Soviet citizens.

While the term “genocide” is often associated with the Holocaust and the systematic extermination of specific groups, the Nazis committed numerous atrocities against various populations during their occupation of Eastern Europe. The recognition of these crimes is crucial for understanding the full extent of the horrors perpetrated by the Nazi regime during World War II.

The distribution of the Jewish populations just before the commencement of WWII in 1939

Before the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the distribution of Jewish populations varied across different regions of Europe. It’s important to note that Jewish communities were diverse in terms of culture, language, and religious practices. Here is a general overview of the distribution of Jewish populations in key regions:

  1. Eastern Europe:
    • Poland: The largest Jewish population in Europe resided in Poland, with approximately 3.3 million Jews before the war. Cities such as Warsaw, Lodz, and Krakow had significant Jewish communities.
    • Soviet Union: The Soviet Union also had a substantial Jewish population, estimated at around 3 million. Jews lived in various parts of the Soviet Union, with a notable concentration in cities like Moscow and Leningrad.
  2. Western Europe:
    • Germany: Before the Nazis came to power in 1933, Germany had a well-established Jewish community, numbering around 500,000. However, with the rise of anti-Semitic policies and persecution, many German Jews emigrated before the war.
    • France: France had a diverse Jewish population, with around 300,000 Jews. Paris was home to a significant Jewish community.
  3. Central Europe:
    • Austria and Czechoslovakia: Vienna, in Austria, had a vibrant Jewish community. In Czechoslovakia, cities like Prague were also home to Jewish populations. The annexation of Austria (Anschluss) by Nazi Germany in 1938 led to the persecution and displacement of Austrian Jews.
  4. Mediterranean Region:
    • Greece and Italy: There were Jewish communities in Greece and Italy, with significant populations in cities like Thessaloniki and Rome.
  5. Middle East:
    • Palestine: The Jewish population in British Mandate Palestine was growing, driven by Zionist immigration. The Jewish community played a pivotal role in the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

The distribution of Jewish populations was diverse, reflecting centuries of migration and settlement. Tragically, during the Holocaust, millions of Jews across Europe faced persecution, forced labour, and systematic extermination by the Nazis and their collaborators. The Holocaust had a profound and devastating impact on Jewish communities, leading to the loss of millions of lives and the destruction of vibrant cultural and religious traditions. The approximate figures for the Jewish populations in some of the above mentioned countries just before the outbreak of World War II in 1939, was estimated as:

  1. Eastern Europe:
    • Poland: Approximately 3.3 million Jews.
    • Soviet Union: Approximately 3 million Jews.
  2. Western Europe:
    • Germany: Around 500,000 Jews.
    • France: Approximately 300,000 Jews.
  3. Central Europe:
    • Austria: Around 185,000 Jews.
    • Czechoslovakia: Approximately 357,000 Jews before the Munich Agreement in 1938, which led to the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia.
  4. Mediterranean Region:
    • Greece: Approximately 77,000 Jews.
    • Italy: Around 48,000 Jews.
  5. Middle East:
    • Palestine (British Mandate): The Jewish population was growing and numbered over 400,000 by 1939, including both long-standing residents and recent immigrants.

It is important to note that these figures are approximations, and the actual numbers may vary. Additionally, the Holocaust, which began shortly after the outbreak of World War II, resulted in the systematic genocide of around six million Jews, causing a profound and tragic impact on Jewish populations across Europe.  Adding up the approximate figures for the Jewish populations in the mentioned countries just before the outbreak of World War II:

  • Eastern Europe:
    • Poland: ~3.3 million Jews
    • Soviet Union: ~3 million Jews
  • Western Europe:
    • Germany: ~500,000 Jews
    • France: ~300,000 Jews
  • Central Europe:
    • Austria: ~185,000 Jews
    • Czechoslovakia: ~357,000 Jews
  • Mediterranean Region:
    • Greece: ~77,000 Jews
    • Italy: ~48,000 Jews
  • Middle East:
    • Palestine (British Mandate): Over 400,000 Jews

Summing these figures, the total number of Jews in these countries would be approximately 7.17 million. It is important to note that these are rough estimates, and the actual numbers may vary due to factors such as migration, fluctuations in population, and limitations in historical data. Additionally, the Holocaust significantly reduced the global Jewish population during World War II.  It is estimated that that 6 million Jews were annihilated by the Nazis, so in terms of percentage, what was it out of the total is an approximate value.  Therefore, approximately 83.7% of the Jewish population in these countries before World War II is estimated to have been killed during the Holocaust. This calculation emphasizes the devastating impact of the genocide on the Jewish communities in Europe during that period.  The Holocaust and genocide are related but distinct concepts:

The Holocaust refers specifically to the genocide of European Jews committed by Nazi Germany before and during World War II. About 6 million Jews were systematically murdered across German-occupied Europe from 1941-1945, mainly in concentration and death camps. The Nazis aimed to eliminate all Jews in Europe as part of their racist ideology.

Genocide more broadly refers to the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. While the Holocaust was a genocide, there have been other genocides in modern times targeting groups such as Armenians, Tutsis, Bosnian Muslims, and others. The legal definition of genocide involves acts committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.  Hence, in summary:

  • The Holocaust was the specific genocide of European Jews under Nazi Germany – a horrific case of genocide, but one genocide among others in human history.
  • Genocide is the broader phenomenon of deliberately annihilating groups based on their identity. The victims of genocide have included ethnic, national, racial, religious and other groups. The Holocaust is the most prominent modern case of genocide against the Jewish people.

The key difference is that the Holocaust refers to the specific historical event, while genocide is the general concept and crime. But the Holocaust is rightly considered one of the most extreme and devastating examples of genocide in recent, 20th century history.  The key elements of genocide as defined in the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) along with its later amendments:

  1. Killing members of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group with the intent to destroy that group in whole or in part. This is the central aspect that defines genocide.
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group. This includes things like torture, inhumane treatment, serious injuries.
  3. Deliberately inflicting conditions calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction in whole or in part. Examples are starvation, denial of medical services, lack of adequate housing.
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. For example, forced sterilization, forced abortion, prevention of marriages.
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group with intent to destroy the group over time. This targets children who represent the future of the group.

The definition of genocide was updated after WWII to include not just national/ethnic/racial/religious groups, but also targeted groups defined by other characteristics like disability, sexual orientation, class or political affiliation. Therefore, the definition now covers these groups as well.

The key aspect that defines all genocidal acts is the “intent to destroy” a group, in whole or in part, based on their group identity or characteristics. This intent and deliberate targeting is what distinguishes genocide from other mass atrocities or killings.

The Time line of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from its origins to the presents status

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has its roots in the late 19th century, when the Zionist movement emerged seeking to establish a Jewish homeland in historic Palestine. A brief history is necessary to contextualise the ongoing hostilities, which resulted in a full-scale War on Gaza by the Israeli Government, since the 07th October 2023.:

  • Late 19th Century: Growing Zionist movement calls for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire. Waves of Jewish immigrants arrive to begin building Jewish communities. Initial tension arises with local Arab population.
  • 1917: British issue the Balfour Declaration favouring “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. Palestinians see this as disregarding their national aspirations.
  • 1920s-1930s: Jewish immigration soars under British Mandatory rule. Conflict intensifies over land purchases, immigration, riots and revolts by both Jews and Arabs.
  • 1947: UN proposes partition plan dividing Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Jews accept it, Arabs reject it, triggering a civil war.
  • 1948: Britain withdraws. Israel declares statehood. Arab armies unsuccessfully attack the new Jewish state. The war uproots 700,000 Palestinians, creating the first major refugee crisis.
  • 1967: Six Day War leads to Israel capturing the West Bank and Gaza Strip, beginning Israel’s occupation of these Palestinian territories. Continued settlement growth increases tensions.
  • 1987-93: First Intifada – a major Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza against Israeli rule. PLO declares Palestinian statehood in 1988. Palestinians and Israelis embark on the Oslo peace process in 1993.
  • 2000s: Oslo peace process falters. Second Intifada erupts (2000-2005). Israel imposes restrictive measures and begins building a barrier wall citing security needs.
  • 2000s-present: Israel withdraws from Gaza Strip (2005), but soon places the territory under blockade with strict border controls. Hamas takes over Gaza in conflict with Fatah ruling the West Bank, complicating peace efforts. Numerous clashes, wars and attempts to restart peace talks fail. Current status remains at impasse.

This brings us to the present, with no political settlement, continuing conflict over territory and resources, and a stalemate in attempts at a two-state solution. Both peoples remain deeply divided. The expansion of illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and Palestinian activism, to regain, what rightly belongs to them, complicate matters further. This history and complex issues fuel the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian divide today. There is an ongoing War on Gaza by Israel, with various genocidal activities orchestrated by the IDF, not only physically but also with a acrimonious rhetoric by the senior officials of the coalition, Israeli war cabinet.  Most regrettably, the military and financial support f the Israelis defence force is rock solid by the Biden Administration and the war is now another example of a Proxy War, conducted by Israel for the United States, on the Palestinians, The Gaza region has become a “Pressure Pot of Despair” for the Palestinians. In reality, the War on Gaza is not a war against Hamas, the resistance group, but it is a war on all the Palestinians and the matter was referred to the International Court of Justice, by a signatory of the Convention; South Africa, on the 29th December 2023.  The hearings held on 11th and 12th January 2024 at the ICJ, resulted in an order issued on the 26th January 2024, which effectively orders Israel to cease all hostile activities against the Palestinians.  However, this has certainly not been observed by Israel, nor happened.  Israel continues its atrocities with greater ferocity and intensity, with daily killings of women, children and the elderly, not only in Gaza, but also in the Occupied Territories by imperial neo-colonialist, further brutalised against the Palestinians, by the Jewish settlers, attacking the Palestinians in the West Bank, having been issued with firearms by the Netanyahu’s Government, recently. in Israel.  The War on Gaza, is also hallmarked by total destruction of the properties and businesses of the Palestinians.  In additions. Israel has embarked on a further policy of starving the Palestinians to death, having weaponised food and water security in the region.  This was effectively executed by executed by blocking off aid and supplies, including medical items as well as fuel for the hospital generators, since the 07th October 2023. to Gaza, via land, air and sea blockades being installed.  Gaza is effectively under siege by the invading and occupying forces of Zionist Israel, which wants to totally eradicate Palestine from the entire region.  This the goal of the War on Gaza, as categorically stated by Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers.  The specific intent is therefore genocidal.

Another, confounding factor surfaces with regards to rulings of the ICJ.  The question, often raised: is a country obliged to obey the rulings of the International Court of Justices if these rulings are issues as specific orders.  The official, legal response is a major setback to achieving justice for any country, if it lodges a complaint to the ICJ, as was the case of South Africa versus Israel, representing Palestine.  No, countries are not obliged to automatically comply with or enforce specific rulings or orders from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This is because the ICJ lacks any meaningful enforcement capacity over sovereign states.

The ICJ, located in The Hague, is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. It rules on legal disputes between states and gives advisory opinions to authorized UN organizations.

However, the court has no independent power or authority to enforce its rulings. Compliance with ICJ decisions relies on the goodwill of the states involved in the case.

According to Article 94 of the UN Charter, if one party fails to perform its obligations under an ICJ decision, the other party “may have recourse to the Security Council, which may, if it deems necessary, make recommendations or decide upon measures to be taken to give effect to the judgment.”

Essentially this means the Security Council can choose to intervene, but is not obligated. And any enforcement measures would depend on broader geopolitical dynamics, not just the court’s ruling.

Additionally, if countries refuse to participate in cases brought against them in the ICJ, the court cannot compel them to comply or accept its jurisdiction. Many have ignored ICJ orders over the years without major repercussion.

In practice, while ICJ rulings can carry diplomatic and moral weight in the international community, states maintain sovereignty and cannot be forced by the court itself to adhere to its specific judgments or directives. Compliance remains voluntary in most cases. Effectively, the ICJ is analogous to a toothless canine. While describing the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as a “toothless canine” reflects an accurate, albeit harsh, assessment of its limited capacity to enforce its own rulings against unwilling states.

The ICJ does not operate within a political vacuum. Despite being the world’s preeminent judicial institution charged with settling disputes between countries, it has no independent authority or means to directly compel countries into compliance if they refuse to adhere to its judgments.

Like a toothless dog, the Court may render what it perceives as fair and legally-grounded decisions, but then relies predominantly on the good faith of member states to submit to its authority and abide by the rulings. Without enforcement “teeth,” recalcitrant countries, especially powerful ones, face relatively little hard retribution beyond criticism if defying unfavourable ICJ verdicts.

The ICJ therefore struggles to transition its legal opinions into actual political outcomes. No police force exists to impose its will directly on defiant states. Instead, the ICJ must depend on international pressure by peer countries or the UN Security Council’s uneven interventions to sanction busting countries. But effecting real policy changes ultimately still comes down to consequential geostrategic, domestic, and economic cushions for accused governments.

So while symbolically important, this “canine without teeth” drawback certainly detracts from the Court’s goal of effectively adjudicating complex interstate disputes. Hence the warrant for analogizing the ICJ to a well-intentioned but toothless dog when its judgments go without material consequences. The unfortunate reality is that by itself, it lacks the bite on global affairs one may assume of a supreme legal body.  Another question raised is that what measures can the United Nations undertake if ICJ rulings are not complied with by erring countries?

The United Nations has several options it can pursue if a country does not comply with a ruling made by the International Court of Justice (ICJ):

  1. The UN Security Council can pass a resolution condemning the country’s non-compliance and demanding that the country abide by the ICJ ruling. The Security Council could threaten sanctions if the country refuses. However, any resolution would need to avoid a veto from a sympathetic Security Council member.
  2. The UN General Assembly could issue a recommendation urging the non-complying country to observe the ICJ ruling and meet its international legal obligations. Though General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, it is a way to publicly reprimand the country.
  3. For extreme non-compliance viewed as a threat to peace, the Security Council has the power under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to authorize economic, diplomatic or military intervention. Force can be used to give effect to the ICJ ruling if deemed absolutely necessary.
  4. The UN Secretary General could engage in “quiet diplomacy” behind the scenes, meeting directly with state leaders to press them to comply with the ICJ ruling and warning about consequences from the international community if they do not.
  5. If the case involves a treaty or convention, treaty bodies associated with the agreement could issue recommendations calling for compliance and monitor the situation demanding progress reports from the accused country regarding implementation.

However, the UN has no direct means to force a sovereign country to comply with an ICJ judgment against its wishes. Persuasive multilateral pressure remains the only real recourse. But the UN has multiple leverage points to bring political pressure and condemnation down on a defiant member state. It is also relevant to note that the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have the power to veto any substantive resolution brought before the Council. These five countries with veto power are:

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. France
  4. China
  5. Russia

This veto power is established in Article 27 of the United Nations Charter, which states that on matters of substance, decisions of the Security Council require “an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members.”

Essentially, this means that any one of those five countries can unilaterally block a resolution by voting “no.” The veto ensures these major world powers cannot be outvoted on substantive matters they deem contrary to their critical national interests, even when a majority of the Council votes in favour.

The United States, Russia, China, France and the UK have wielded their vetoes over time to protect allies and block resolutions related to topics ranging from the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, to the Syrian civil war, to the Crimea crisis and more. Critics contend the veto privilege of these nations limits the ability of the Council to act in response to threats against international security and human rights violations.

But for now and the foreseeable future, owing to global power dynamics and their status as nuclear weapon states, the P5 (as they are known) retain the extraordinary right to veto resolutions brought before the key UN decision-making body.  There were a few key reasons why the veto power was given to the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council:

  1. Pragmatic compromise – The veto was considered necessary to get the major powers post-WWII (US, USSR, UK, France, China) to join and invest in the United Nations. Without appeasing their need to defend sovereign interests, they would not have ceded authority to the UN.
  2. Prevent UN overreach – The veto enables the P5 to prevent the UN from taking actions that overly constrain their interests or sovereignty. This assures them that the UN does not become too powerful in limiting their policies.
  3. Limit unilateral actions – By giving the major powers a voice via the veto, it discourages them from acting definitively outside the UN framework since they can shape UN policies more to their liking. This was seen as superior to having them go it alone.
  4. Reflect international realities – The veto rights, while not always exercised, reflect real global power relations and who ultimately still drives international security outcomes, especially regarding threats of major conflict.
  5. Last resort option – The veto is intended only as a negative power to block resolutions that fundamentally threaten a member’s interests after negotiations fail, not enable total obstruction of the Security Council.

While imperfect, the veto clause was likely the only way leading powers would have allowed the creation of the UN in first place. Supporters argue its benefits in terms of great power buy-in and prevention of rash UN actions still outweigh the negatives today.  Subject to a veto, of a UN resolution, the United Nations has the authority to deploy peacekeeping missions to countries experiencing violent conflict or emerging from conflict. This is done under Chapter VI and Chapter VII of the UN Charter:

Chapter VI allows the Security Council to investigate and mediate disputes that could threaten international peace and security. If mediation efforts fail, the Council can then deploy a peacekeeping force with the consent of the parties involved. The purpose is to contain conflict and facilitate ceasefires and truces.

Chapter VII gives the Council power to authorize more aggressive peace operations if a conflict poses a threat to regional or international peace. Under Chapter VII, UN-mandated forces are granted additional authority to use force beyond just self-defence.

Currently there are at least 12 peacekeeping operations deployed, with the majority of peacekeepers located in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, some are asked to leave the country concerned.

Some factors usually required for establishing a new UN peace mission:

  • Presence of threats to international peace and regional stability
  • Invitation or consent by the main parties involved
  • Impartiality of the proposed mission
  • Existence of clear objectives and exit plan

The UN Department of Peace Operations advises the process and aims to have balanced burden sharing of resources among countries contributing personnel or funds. In summary, the UN Security Council does have the power to send peacekeeping forces into countries to help implement ceasefires or restore stability as part of its conflict management toolbox. Consent, resources, achievable goals and perceived neutrality are key considerations

It is pertinent to begin by defining genocide.  To simplify the term in all its brutality, the synonyms express the gravity of the scale of the elimination process of humanity, by fellow humans:  murder, extermination, annihilation, pogrom and bloodbath.  Essentially, Genocide refers to the systematic destruction of a race or cultural group.[18]  To illustrate further, Genocide is the intentional and systematic destruction of a racial, ethnic, religious, or national group. It is a dark and tragic aspect of human history that has occurred at various times and in different forms from antiquity to the 21st century. An overview of some significant genocides, although not a comprehensive list, that have occurred during this time span are :

Antiquity:

    • Assyrian Genocide[19] (c. 8th century BCE): The ancient Assyrian Empire is believed to have carried out mass killings, deportations, and forced assimilations of conquered peoples, leading to the destruction of various cultures and societies.

Classical Period:

    • Roman Conquest of Carthage[20] (146 BCE): After a prolonged conflict, the Romans destroyed Carthage and enslaved or killed a significant portion of its population, leading to the end of the Carthaginian civilization.

Middle Ages:

    • Albigensian Crusade[21] (1209-1229): This crusade by the Catholic Church targeted the Cathars, a religious group in Southern France. Thousands were killed as part of the Church’s efforts to suppress this heresy.

Early Modern Period:

    • Native American Genocide[22] (15th -19th centuries): European colonization of the Americas led to the decimation of Indigenous populations due to diseases, forced labour, violence, and displacement.
    • Atlantic Slave Trade[23] (16th -19th centuries): The transatlantic slave trade resulted in the forced enslavement, suffering, and death of millions of African people.

20th Century:

    • Armenian Genocide[24] (1915-1923): The Ottoman Empire systematically killed, deported, and displaced around 1.5 million Armenians, leading to the deaths of many.
    • Holocaust[25] (1941-1945): The Nazi regime in Germany orchestrated the systematic genocide of approximately six million Jews, along with millions of other minorities, in concentration and extermination camps during World War II.
    • Rwandan Genocide[26] (1994): Ethnic Hutus in Rwanda killed around 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in a span of just 100 days, driven by ethnic and political tensions.
    • Bosnian Genocide [27](1992-1995): During the Bosnian War, Bosnian Serb forces carried out mass killings, sexual violence, and ethnic cleansing, leading to the deaths of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats.

21st Century:

    • Darfur Genocide[28] (2003-present): Ongoing conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan has led to mass killings, displacement, and human rights abuses, primarily against non-Arab ethnic groups.
    • Rohingya Genocide[29] (2017-present): In Myanmar, the Rohingya Muslim minority has faced violent persecution, including mass killings, sexual violence, and the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.

It is essential to note that this list is not exhaustive, and there have been many other instances of genocide and mass atrocities throughout history. Genocides often result from a complex interplay of political, social, and economic factors, and they continue to be a critical issue in the modern world. International efforts, including the United Nations[30] and the International Criminal Court[31], have been established to prevent and address such atrocities and hold perpetrators accountable.

The Holocaust War Crime: The Nazi Concentration Camps for Jews and “The Others”  This is presented as an image of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp in occupied Poland on 27 January 1945. The camp was liberated by the 100th Lviv Infantry Division, 60th Army, I Ukrainian Front, under the command of Major-General Fyodor Krasavin. The motto “Arbeit Macht Frei” is seen above the gate.  Photo Credit: Source: Wikimedia Commons

To illustrate a further point in scientific debates surrounding mass, group murders, the killings of the people of Prophet Moses[32], as recounted in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the Quran, are a significant historical and religious narrative. The story is often associated with the oppression and persecution of the Israelites by the Pharaoh of Egypt, who is traditionally believed to have been Ramses II[33], although there is ongoing debate amongst historians about the historical accuracy of this identification.  The story, as described in the Book of Exodus[34] in the Hebrew Bible and in the Quran, revolves around the Pharaoh’s attempts to subdue the growing Israelite population and his harsh treatment of them. The Pharaoh orders the killing of Israelite male infants to control their population and prevent any potential uprising. This event is often referred to as the “Massacre of the Innocents[35].”

 

The story also includes the rescue of the baby Moses, who is placed in a basket and set afloat on the Nile River by his mother to escape the Pharaoh’s decree. He is later found by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised in the Pharaoh’s palace.  While this narrative is a foundational element of Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious beliefs all of them belonging to the collective group of Abrahamic faiths[36], under the Patriarch Prophet Abraham as the archetype and founder father of this entire religious group, in its entirety, it is essential to note that historical evidence for these events is limited. The Hebrew Bible and the Quran are religious texts that convey spiritual and moral lessons, and their historical accuracy is a subject of debate among scholars. There is a lack of conclusive archaeological or written evidence to confirm the specific details of the events described in these texts.

 

In summary, the story of the Pharaoh’s killing of the Israelite male infants, as described in religious texts, is a central part of the narrative of Moses and the Exodus. However, from a historical perspective, the events remain a matter of religious belief and interpretation rather than confirmed historical fact.  Furthermore, this extermination of the “children of Israel” can be regarded as the first evidence of Genocide, biblically, at least, in the absence of significant archaeological or other scientific evidence.  There is no archaeological or scientific evidence that directly supports the specific details of the biblical account of the systematic killing of the first-born male Israelites in ancient Egypt, as described in the Book of Exodus. While archaeology has provided insights into the history of ancient Egypt and the presence of Israelites in the region, it has not yielded conclusive evidence for the events described in the biblical narrative, such as the killing of the first-born males.

 

The lack of concrete historical evidence for this specific event has led scholars to approach the Exodus narrative with caution. Some suggest that it may have been based on oral traditions or served as a symbolic representation of the Israelites’ liberation from bondage rather than a precise historical record.  Archaeological research in Egypt has not uncovered inscriptions or records that corroborate the biblical account of the Exodus, and the identity of the Pharaoh in the story remains a matter of debate among historians. Additionally, the dating and the scale of the events described in the biblical narrative do not align with the historical and archaeological record of ancient Egypt.  While the story of the Exodus is a foundational and deeply significant element in Jewish and Christian tradition, and to some extent in Islamic tradition, it is primarily a matter of faith and religious belief rather than one supported by empirical, archaeological, or scientific evidence.  There is a lack of scientific or archaeological evidence, even in the Dead Sea Scrolls, to confirm the specific historical details of this event.

 

The Dead Sea Scrolls,[37] discovered in the mid-20th century, are a collection of Jewish texts, including portions of the Hebrew Bible, that date back to the Second Temple period. While the Dead Sea Scrolls are a significant archaeological find and provide valuable insights into ancient Jewish texts and traditions, they do not contain conclusive evidence related to the historicity of the Exodus story, including the killing of the first-born Israelite males.  The Exodus narrative remains primarily a matter of religious belief and tradition, and its historicity is a topic of debate among scholars and religious authorities. Some interpret the story as a combination of history and mythology, while others believe it represents a more symbolic or theological account of the Israelites’ liberation from Egypt.  It is essential to remember that religious texts often serve multiple purposes, including providing moral and spiritual guidance, and may not always align with modern historical and scientific methods of inquiry. As a result, beliefs related to these narratives are often deeply rooted in faith and religious beliefs and traditions.

 

The Siege of Masada[38], which occurred in 73-74 CE, is a historical event that is often not classified as a genocide in the same way that some other mass killings are. The term “genocide” typically refers to the intentional and systematic destruction of a specific racial, ethnic, religious, or national group. While the events at Masada were undoubtedly tragic and resulted in significant loss of life, they are not typically characterised as a genocide for the following reasons:

 

Context: The Siege of Masada was part of the First Jewish-Roman War, during which the Roman Empire was engaged in a conflict with Jewish rebels. The Romans besieged the Jewish fortress at Masada, which was the last stronghold of the Jewish revolt.

 

Mass Suicide: The most famous aspect of the Masada story is the mass suicide of the Jewish defenders and their families. According to historical accounts, Jewish defenders chose to take their own lives rather than be captured or killed by the Romans.

 

Selective Targeting: The Roman siege was aimed at the Jewish rebels who had occupied Masada, rather than the broader Jewish population. Genocides typically involve a broader and systematic targeting of a specific group, while the events at Masada were focused on a specific conflict.

 

Hence the Siege of Masada, a tragic and historically significant event, is more accurately described as a military conflict with tragic consequences for the people involved, particularly those who chose to take their own lives to avoid capture by the Romans. The term “genocide” is reserved for situations involving the deliberate and systematic extermination of a specific group, which is not the primary characteristic of the events at Masada.

An Israeli woman holds up a sign with ‘Too many terrorists in prison’ written on one side and ‘Kill them all’ written on the other during a rally in Tel Aviv on April 19, 2016, to support Elor Azaria, an Israeli soldier recently charged with manslaughter after shooting a prone and wounded Palestinian assailant in the head. Photo Credit: AFP/Jack Guez, The Times of Israel

Therefore, the term “genocide” is defined as the intentional and systematic extermination of a racial, ethnic, religious, or national group. It involves acts that are committed with the purpose of destroying all or part of a specific group. The term was coined by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer, in the early 1940s, during and in response to the Holocaust, the systematic extermination of the Jewish people by Nazi Germany. The comprehensive definition of genocide, as established by the United Nations in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide[39], includes the following key elements:

 

Acts: Genocidal acts can include killing members of the targeted group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to them, deliberately inflicting conditions leading to the group’s physical destruction, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, and forcibly transferring children from the targeted group to another group.

Intent: Genocide must be committed with the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group. This intent distinguishes genocide from other forms of mass violence.

 

Group: The acts must be directed against a “national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.” This means that the group being targeted is defined by one or more of these characteristics.

 

Systematic: Genocide involves a systematic plan or pattern of behavior aimed at the destruction of the group. It is not a random or isolated act.

 

Legal Framework: The Convention established that genocide is a crime under international law, and those who commit it should be held accountable and punished.

 

The term “genocide” is used to describe some of the darkest chapters in human history, such as the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and more recent events like the Rwandan Genocide. It is a term that underscores the gravity and heinousness of acts that seek to annihilate a specific group based on its identity.

 

Often, to the dismay and frustration of the descendants of the affected group, the classification of an obvious genocide can indeed be influenced by geopolitical, diplomatic, and strategic considerations. There have been instances where governments or international bodies have been hesitant to use the term “genocide” to describe ongoing or historical events, despite strong evidence of mass atrocities. Several factors may contribute to this reluctance:

 

Political Interests: Governments may downplay or avoid using the term “genocide” if it conflicts with their diplomatic or economic interests. Labelling an event as genocide can have significant legal and political implications, potentially requiring them to act.

 

International Relations: Geopolitical considerations may lead powerful nations to avoid using the term “genocide” in relation to their allies or trading partners to avoid straining diplomatic relationships.

 

Legal Obligations: The legal definition of genocide under international law is quite precise. To establish that an event constitutes genocide, there must be clear evidence of specific intent to destroy a particular group. In some cases, governments or international bodies may contend that the evidence does not meet this high legal standard.

 

Bureaucratic Delays: The process of formally recognizing an event as genocide can be slow and bureaucratic, and political considerations can influence the speed at which such declarations are made.

 

Preventing Accountability: Avoiding the term “genocide” may hinder efforts to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. If an event is not classified as genocide, it may not trigger international legal mechanisms, such as prosecutions at the International Criminal Court.

 

Moral or Ethical Concerns: Some individuals and organizations may be concerned that using the term “genocide” could obligate them to take direct action, such as military intervention, which they might view as ethically or practically challenging.

 

These considerations can lead to situations where an obvious genocide, based on the evidence and circumstances, is not formally classified as such, and the terminology used may be more diplomatic or cautious. This can be a source of frustration for those advocating for justice and recognition of the gravity of the events in question. However, it is important to emphasise that the use of the term “genocide” is a complex matter that involves legal, political, and moral dimensions, and decisions are made at the discretion of governments, international bodies, and legal authorities.

 

The Genocide Convention[40]

The United Nations Genocide Convention, officially known as the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” is an international treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1948. The Convention serves as a key international legal instrument aimed at preventing and punishing the crime of genocide. It came into force on January 12, 1951. Here are the main provisions and elements of the Genocide Convention:

 

Preamble: The Convention’s preamble acknowledges the “universality of the crime of genocide” and the need to prevent and punish it. It recognises that genocide is a crime that “has inflicted great losses on humanity.”

 

Article I – Genocide Definition: This article provides a legal definition of genocide, describing it as acts committed with the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group. The acts include killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to them, deliberately inflicting conditions leading to the group’s physical destruction, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, and forcibly transferring children from the group to another group.

 

Article II – Punishment for Genocide: This article states that individuals who commit genocide or conspire to commit genocide shall be punished. It also holds that genocide is a crime under international law, which the contracting parties undertake to prevent and punish.

 

Article III – Responsibility of Superiors: Article III outlines that leaders, organizers, instigators, and accomplices who participate in genocide shall be held criminally responsible, even if they act on behalf of a state or an organization.

 

Article IV – Extradition: This article obliges parties to the Convention to undertake extradition proceedings for individuals accused of genocide. There is no political asylum defense against extradition for genocide.

 

Article V – Competence of National Courts: Article V allows contracting parties to exercise jurisdiction over individuals accused of genocide, irrespective of their nationality, and provides for the principle of aut dedere aut judicare, which means that states must either prosecute or extradite individuals accused of genocide.

 

Article VI – Genocide Proceedings: This article stipulates that genocide cases can be tried by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or other competent international tribunals, as well as by national courts. It establishes that the ICJ has jurisdiction over disputes concerning the interpretation, application, or fulfilment of the Convention.

 

Article VII – Non-Preclusion of Other Acts: This article clarifies that the acts defined as genocide do not preclude punishment for other crimes that may be perpetrated in conjunction with genocide.

 

The Genocide Convention is considered a crucial instrument in international law for preventing and addressing genocide. It has been used in various legal proceedings and has informed the establishment of international courts, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which have prosecuted individuals for their roles in genocidal acts. The Convention also played a significant role in shaping international law’s stance on crimes against humanity and human rights.

 

Extrajudicial Killings: The intentional killing of members of a protected group can be considered an act of genocide if it is part of a systematic campaign to destroy the group. The Genocide Convention requires proof of specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the targeted group. The acts must be committed with this specific intent.

 

State-Sponsored Persecution: Persecution based on ethnicity, religion, or nationality may be a component of genocide, but again, it must be part of a broader plan with the specific intent to destroy the group. It is essential to establish a pattern of persecution linked to that specific intent.

 

Dehumanisation and Deprivation: Acts such as forcibly transferring children, causing serious bodily or mental harm, or creating conditions that lead to the physical destruction of the group can be considered components of genocide, but again, they must be carried out with the specific intent to destroy the group.

 

Intent: A critical element in determining genocide is the specific intent to destroy the targeted group. It is this element that often poses significant legal challenges in proving genocide under the Genocide Convention.

 

Ongoing Occupation: An ongoing occupation, while a cause of concern, is not, in itself, synonymous with genocide. However, if it is accompanied by acts such as the systematic destruction of a group with the specific intent to destroy that group, it could potentially meet the criteria for genocide.

 

The legal determination of whether an event constitutes genocide under the Genocide Convention typically involves a comprehensive and thorough assessment of the specific circumstances, legal evidence, and intent of those responsible for the acts. It is a matter for competent legal authorities, such as international courts or tribunals, to make this determination.

It is interesting to note that similar differences are overarched when it comes to classifying the ongoing genocide in Gaza[41] by the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin [42]Netanyahu and his ultra-right coalition government in Israel, since the beginning of 2023.  The question often raised is who and how is a decision made to classify mass murder of an ethnic group, as a genocide.  The classification of mass extermination as genocide, particularly when it involves the specific intent to destroy a particular group, is typically determined by legal authorities, international bodies, and courts. The key entities and mechanisms involved in making such determinations are:

International Criminal Tribunals[43]: International criminal tribunals, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), have been established by the United Nations to prosecute individuals responsible for crimes, including genocide. These tribunals have the authority to make legal determinations regarding whether the events they are investigating meet the criteria for genocide.

 

International Criminal Court (ICC): The International Criminal Court is a permanent international court established to prosecute individuals for the most serious international crimes, including genocide. The ICC can investigate, prosecute, and make legal determinations regarding allegations of genocide.

 

United Nations[44]: The United Nations, through its various bodies, can play a role in determining whether an event constitutes genocide. The UN Security Council, for example, can establish international tribunals and refer cases to the ICC. The UN General Assembly can pass resolutions and declarations recognizing genocide in certain situations.

 

Independent Fact-Finding Commissions[45]: In some cases, independent fact-finding commissions or investigative bodies, often established by international organizations or governments, may be tasked with gathering evidence and making determinations about whether mass atrocities, including genocide, have occurred.

 

National Courts: National courts of individual countries also have the jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute individuals for genocide if they are accused of committing such crimes on their territory or if their nationals are involved. National courts may make determinations regarding genocide based on their own legal systems and definitions.

 

International Legal Experts: Legal experts, scholars, and human rights organizations may play a role in assessing and reporting on situations that may involve genocide. Their research and findings can inform legal determinations made by international courts and tribunals.

 

It is important to note that the determination of genocide is a complex legal process that involves a comprehensive assessment of the specific circumstances, evidence, and intent behind the events in question. The legal criteria for genocide are outlined in the Genocide Convention, and meeting these criteria is essential for making a formal legal determination. Legal authorities and international bodies base their determinations on a rigorous analysis of the available evidence and applicable law.

 

Another point in question, is the conflict in Yemen[46], which is a complex and multifaceted conflict involving multiple parties, including the Yemeni government, Houthi rebels, and a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia. While there have been serious concerns about the humanitarian impact of the conflict, including civilian casualties and suffering, classifying it as genocide would require meeting the specific legal criteria outlined in the Genocide Convention.

 

Genocide, as defined in the Genocide Convention, involves acts committed with the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group. These acts can include killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to them, and imposing conditions leading to their physical destruction.

 

The legal determination of genocide is a complex and rigorous process, and it is typically made by international courts, tribunals, or legal authorities after a thorough investigation and consideration of the evidence. To classify the Yemen conflict as a genocide, it would need to be established that there is specific intent to destroy a particular group, such as a particular ethnic or religious group, and that the acts committed meet the legal criteria for genocide.

 

While the conflict in Yemen is characterised by grave human rights abuses, including civilian casualties and suffering, making a formal legal determination of genocide is a highly significant step and requires a comprehensive and evidence-based assessment by the relevant legal authorities.

 

Furthermore, while there have been concerns and reports about violence and persecution targeting religious minorities, including Muslims, in India[47], the formal legal classification of events as genocide would require a comprehensive and evidence-based assessment by legal authorities. Making such a determination is a complex and rigorous process that is typically carried out by international courts, tribunals, or legal bodies after thorough investigation and consideration of the evidence.  The use of the term “genocide” in relation to specific events is a subject of debate and legal assessment, and it carries significant legal, moral, and political implications. It is important to rely on authoritative and up-to-date sources for the latest information and legal assessments regarding specific situations. Legal authorities and international organisations may play a role in making determinations related to the classification of events as genocide if there is evidence that meets the legal criteria.

 

Geopolitics[48]

At this juncture, it is necessary to amplify geopolitics in the context of this paper.  geopolitics refers to the study of the effects of geography (human and physical) on politics and international relations. It examines how geographic space, location, resources, and physical features influence political power, decision-making, and interactions among states and other actors in the international system.  The key components of geopolitics include:

 

Geographic Factors: Geopolitics considers the physical characteristics of regions, such as landforms, climate, natural resources, and access to waterways. These factors can influence a country’s economic potential, military strategy, and overall geopolitical significance.

 

Political Power: Geopolitics explores how states and other entities use their geographic advantages or navigate challenges to exert political power on the global stage. This includes considerations of territorial integrity, military capabilities, and diplomatic influence.

 

Strategic Interests: States often formulate their foreign policies and strategic interests based on geographical considerations. Access to key resources, control of critical sea routes, and proximity to potential allies or adversaries can all shape a country’s geopolitical priorities.

 

International Relations: Geopolitics is closely tied to international relations, as it examines the dynamics and interactions among nations. It considers how states form alliances, engage in conflicts, and negotiate treaties based on their geographical positions and interests.

 

Geoeconomics[49]: In addition to political and military aspects, geopolitics also encompasses economic considerations. Trade routes, access to markets, and control over resources are vital components of geopolitical strategies.

 

Global Power Structure: Geopolitics analyses the distribution of power in the international system, examining the roles of major powers, regional actors, and emerging players. It explores how shifts in the global balance of power can impact geopolitical dynamics.

 

Geopolitics is an interdisciplinary field that draws on geography, political science, history, economics, and international relations. Scholars and policymakers use geopolitical analysis to understand the forces shaping world affairs, predict potential conflicts, and formulate effective strategies to navigate the complexities of global politics.

 

Some examples of geopolitical considerations and events from different historical periods, are:

 

Antiquity:

Peloponnesian War [50](431–404 BCE): The conflict between Athens and Sparta in ancient Greece was influenced by geopolitical factors such as control over trade routes, access to resources, and alliances with other city-states.

 

Punic Wars [51](264–146 BCE): The three wars between Rome and Carthage were driven by geopolitical competition for dominance in the Western Mediterranean, control of trade routes, and access to key resources.

 

Medieval Era:

Crusades[52] (11th–13th  centuries): The Crusades were driven by geopolitical and religious factors, as European powers sought control over the Holy Land, influencing trade routes and asserting influence in the Middle East.

 

Mongol Empire [53](13th–14th centuries): The expansion of the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan and his successors had profound geopolitical consequences, reshaping trade routes and connecting East and West.

 

World War I[54] (28th July 1914–11th November 1918):

Imperialism and Alliances: The war was influenced by imperialistic ambitions, geopolitical competition for colonies, and a complex system of alliances among European powers.

 

Balfour Declaration[55] (1917): The geopolitical considerations behind the Balfour Declaration included British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine to gain favour with Jewish communities and strengthen British influence in the Middle East.

 

World War II[56] (1939–1945):

Nazi-Soviet Pact (1939): The geopolitical maneuvering between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union allowed both powers to secure their interests temporarily, with the pact dividing Eastern Europe into spheres of influence.

 

Pacific Theatre[57]: The expansion of Japanese militarism in the Pacific was driven by geopolitical considerations, including access to resources and the desire to establish a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

 

21st Century:

Iraq War [58](2003): Geopolitical factors, including concerns about weapons of mass destruction, regional stability, and control over oil resources, influenced the decision by the United States and its allies to invade Iraq.

 

South China Sea Disputes[59]: Geopolitical tensions in the 21st century involve territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where multiple countries vie for control over strategic maritime routes and access to natural resources.

 

These examples illustrate how geopolitical considerations have shaped historical events across different periods, influencing the behaviour of states and the course of international relations.

 

The impact of geopolitics on the future of humanity is profound and far-reaching, influencing various aspects of global affairs, security, economic development, and the overall well-being of societies. Here are several key ways in which geopolitics may shape the future:

 

Global Power Dynamics:

  • Shifts in Power: Geopolitical dynamics determine the distribution of power among states. The rise or decline of major powers can reshape international relations and influence the global balance of power.

Security and Conflict:

  • Regional Conflicts: Geopolitical tensions often lead to regional conflicts as states vie for influence, resources, and strategic advantages.
  • Arms Races: Competing geopolitical interests may contribute to arms races, affecting global security and increasing the risk of conflicts.

Economic Development:

  • Trade and Alliances: Geopolitics plays a crucial role in shaping trade relationships and alliances. Economic interdependence and geopolitical considerations influence the prosperity of nations.

Technology and Innovation:

  • Technological Competition: Geopolitical rivalries can drive competition in technology and innovation. States seek technological superiority for economic, military, and strategic advantages.

Climate Change and Resources:

  • Resource Competition: Geopolitical factors influence competition for vital resources, including water, energy, and minerals. Climate change exacerbates resource challenges, contributing to geopolitical tensions.

Global Governance:

  • International Institutions: Geopolitics affects the functioning of international institutions and organizations. Cooperation or discord among nations shapes the effectiveness of global governance.

Humanitarian Challenges:

  • Refugee Crises: Geopolitical conflicts often contribute to refugee crises, impacting the humanitarian landscape and requiring global responses.
  • Human Rights: Geopolitics can influence the protection or violation of human rights, with authoritarian regimes often challenging established norms.

Pandemic Response:

  • Global Health Security: Geopolitics influences the response to global health challenges, as seen in the coordination (or lack thereof) during pandemics like COVID-19.

Space Exploration and Cybersecurity:

  • Space Race and Cybersecurity: Geopolitical competition extends to space exploration and cybersecurity. Nations vie for dominance in space and seek to secure their digital infrastructure.

Cultural and Social Impact:

  • Cultural Exchange: Geopolitics affects cultural exchange and influences the spread of ideas, values, and norms across borders.
  • Migration: Geopolitical factors, including conflicts and economic disparities, contribute to patterns of migration, impacting societies and demographics.

Environmental Sustainability:

  • Environmental Policies: Geopolitics influences international cooperation on environmental sustainability. Climate agreements and conservation efforts are shaped by geopolitical considerations.

Technological Risks:

  • Cybersecurity Threats: Geopolitical tensions contribute to cybersecurity risks, including the potential for state-sponsored cyberattacks with global consequences.

 

Understanding and navigating these geopolitical dynamics is crucial for policymakers, scholars, and global citizens as they seek to address challenges, foster cooperation, and build a more stable and equitable future for humanity. The complex interplay of geopolitical forces will continue to shape the trajectory of global development in the years to come.

Parallels in Crimes against Humanity committed by Israel against Palestinians and against Jews by Nazi Germany under Hitler.
Photo Left: Heavy Bombardment using American Drones of Gaza against Palestinian civilians. This picture taken from Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, shows smoke rising over buildings in Khan Younis during Israeli bombardment on 1 Feb 2024.
Photo Credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP for Al Jazeera
Photo Right:  A member of Einsatzgruppe D prepares to shoot a Ukrainian Jew, who is forced to kneel before a mass grave full of other victims
Photo Credit:  U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Bottom Line when it comes to the Jewish Holocaust enacted by the Nazi regime in Germany during World War II and genocides in general, but particularly affecting Palestine over the past 76 years and beyond, is the sad reality that these tragedies are being revisited and repeated, with the specific goal of eradicating the Palestinians from the Middle East in territories invaded and permanently occupied by the Zionist Israel.:

Holocaust Bottom Line:

  • The Holocaust was the deliberate, systematic, state-sponsored persecution and slaughter of approximately 6 million Jewish men, women and children by the Nazi regime in Germany and occupied Europe during World War II.
  • Motivated by a racist fascist ideology that viewed Jews as subhuman, the Nazis aimed to completely eliminate all Jews across Europe in what became an industrialised genocide.
  • The Holocaust stands out for its ruthless efficiency in planning the identification, concentration, deportation, and mass execution of Jews and other victims on an unprecedented scale across the continent over nearly a decade.
  • Its extreme cruelty and death toll renders the Holocaust an unmatched display of human barbarity and depravity, underscoring the ability for radical evil to emerge amid political turmoil.

Genocide Bottom Line:

  • Genocides involve the deliberate mass killing and destruction of entire groups, often ethnic or religious peoples. They are considered crimes against humanity.
  • Like the Holocaust, genocides are state-sponsored or conducted with complicit governments who encourage or enable systematic violence against groups labelled as subhuman or threats: “The Other”
  • Modern history includes numerous genocides across nearly every continent, claiming tens of millions of innocent lives in the 20th and 21st centuries alone. Victims include Armenians, Tutsis, Bosnians, the Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge, Iraqi Kurds, Palestinians and many indigenous peoples, globally
  • As with the Nazi Final Solution for Jews in Europe, all genocides reflect unbridled ethnocentric hatred, ethnophobia, Palestinophobia and extreme dehumanisation – showing how political turmoil coupled with societal breakdown can enable ideologies of prejudice and violence to hijack civilised societies. Standing against such extremism remains an eternal vigil for humankind. The West is clearly biased against the ongoing oppression by Israel of the Palestinian people, with full support demonstrated by United States, United Kingdom and Germany. This unequivocal support of Israel is perhaps on the basis of guilt of the Holocaust against the Jews by the German Nazi Regime during World War II.

While the Holocaust stands out in scale, scope and methodical evil, it sadly shares core Bottom Lines regarding psychology, circumstance, suffering, and the human capacity for hatred when allowed corruptible power over vulnerable groups seen as ‘the other’. The legacy is one that hangs over humanity. Never forget, and never again, yet this is been repeated in Palestine, presently, by Israel, even against the specific orders of the International Court of Justice, with “rock solid” support and knowledge of the Western bloc, led by the Biden Administration.  Humanity is certainly demised and Ubuntu[60] is absolutely dead.

A Heinous War Crime: The Sustained and Incessant bombings of Palestinian Civilians in Gaza by Israel during the War on Gaza, since 7 Oct 2023. People evacuate a wounded girl following an Israeli strike on the Ali ben Abi Taleb Mosque in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on 20 Dec 2023. More than 7,000 Palestinians missing in Gaza are believed to be buried under the rubble. Photo Credit: Mahmud Hams/AFP for Al Jazeera Media Service

References:

[1] Personal quote by author, February 2024

[2] https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide.shtml

[3] https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/ethnic-cleansing.shtml

[4] https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/extermination

[5] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/11/the-7-oct-2023-hamas-invasion-of-israel-an-alternative-viewpoint-on-the-palestinian-genocide/

[6] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/10/the-religious-transformative-odyssey-of-bharat-part-3-islamophobia-against-the-muslim-minority-in-india/

[7] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/09/peace-disruption-by-weaponisation-of-water-security-through-the-passage-of-time-part-2/

[8] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/08/palestinophobia-and-africanophobia-apartheid-parallels-in-contemporary-history/

[9] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/09/heavenly-peace-of-the-oppressor-and-hellish-peace-of-the-oppressed/

[10] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/06/international-criminal-court-advancing-global-injustice-unaccountability-and-criminal-agenda-against-guardians-of-peace/

[11] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/06/peace-disruption-part-2-palestines-killing-fields-the-end-must-go-on/

[12] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/05/peace-disruption-part-1-palestines-killing-fields-ignominious-beginnings/

[13] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/05/peace-disruption-multipronged-treatment-for-this-cancerous-malady/

[14] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/02/apocalypse-the-end-of-the-current-humanoid-civilisation-on-earth-armageddon-guaranteed/

[15] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2023/01/peace-disruption-incursion-insurrection-intifada/

[16] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2022/12/the-forgotten-journalists-part-1-the-assassination-of-shireen-abu-akleh/

[17] https://www.transcend.org/tms/2022/09/the-children-of-the-gods-of-war-part-3-the-lost-innocence-of-a-generation-of-syrian-children/

[18] https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/genocide

[19] https://www.thefinertimes.com/the-assyrian-genocide

[20] https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/carthage/

[21] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian_Crusade

[22] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R2IYDWFJwU

[23] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade

[24] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide

[25] https://www.britannica.com/dictionary/holocaust

[26] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_genocide

[27] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_genocide

[28] https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/darfur

[29] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rohingya_genocide

[30] https://www.un.org/en/

[31] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Criminal_Court

[32] https://www.britannica.com/summary/Moses-Hebrew-prophet

[33] https://www.bing.com/search?q=ramesses+ii&filters=dtbk:%22MCFvdmVydmlldyFvdmVydmlldyE2MTViODY2Zi0zZmIxLWY2NjEtYjEzNi0wOTc3MmQ0ZWNkODM%3d%22+sid:%22615b866f-3fb1-f661-b136-09772d4ecd83%22+tphint:%22f%22&FORM=DEPNAV

[34] https://www.bing.com/search?q=book+of+exodus&filters=dtbk:%22MCFzdW1tYXJ5IW92ZXJ2aWV3ITVkMmI1NjY5LWVlMWQtNmZkNS0yMDk1LWUyNTA5Njk2NWE2ZA%3d%3d%22+sid:%225d2b5669-ee1d-6fd5-2095-e25096965a6d%22+tphint:%22f%22&FORM=DEPNAV

[35] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_the_Innocents

[36] https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/abrahamic

[37] https://archive.org/details/pdfy-Uy_BZ_QGsaLiJ4Zs

[38] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Masada

[39] https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/genocide-convention.shtml

[40] https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/documents/atrocity-crimes/Doc.1_Convention%20on%20the%20Prevention%20and%20Punishment%20of%20the%20Crime%20of%20Genocide.pdf

[41] https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2023/10/14/this-is-genocide

[42] https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/netanyahus-government-takes-a-turn-toward-theocracy#:~:text=Prime%20Minister%20Benjamin%20Netanyahu’s,of%20conservatism%20in%20a%20democracy.

[43] https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/international_criminal_tribunals#:~:text=International%20criminal%20tribunals%20are%20special,humanity%2C%20among%20other%20international%20crimes.

[44] https://www.un.org/en/about-us/un-charter

[45] https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Publications/CoI_Guidance_and_Practice.pdf

[46] https://arabcenterdc.org/resource/a-timeline-of-the-yemen-crisis-from-the-1990s-to-the-present/

[47] https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/india-muslims-marginalized-population-bjp-modi

[48] https://study.com/learn/lesson/geopolitics-foundations-examples.html

[49] https://www.chathamhouse.org/2016/12/geoeconomics-explained

[50] https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/peloponnesian-war#:~:text=The%20Peloponnesian%20War%20was%20a,city%2Dstate%20in%20the%20region.

[51] https://www.britannica.com/event/Punic-Wars#:~:text=Punic%20Wars%2C%20(264%E2%80%93146,hegemony%20over%20the%20western%20Mediterranean.

[52] https://www.history.com/topics/middle-ages/crusades

[53] https://faculty.washington.edu/dwaugh/hist225/225chron/mongchr.html

[54] https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i#:~:text=For%20four%20years%2C%20from%201914,of%20Austria%20ignited%20the%20war.

[55] https://www.historytoday.com/reviews/beyond-balfour-and-sykes-picot

[56] https://www.britannica.com/event/German-Soviet-Nonaggression-Pact

[57] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_War

[58] https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/a-timeline-of-the-iraq-war#:~:text=In%20March%202003%2C%20U.S.%20forces,and%20democratic%20elections%20were%20held.

[59] https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-global/south-china-sea-dispute-8957602/

[60] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_philosophy

______________________________________________

Professor G. Hoosen M. Vawda (Bsc; MBChB; PhD.Wits) is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment.
Director: Glastonbury Medical Research Centre; Community Health and Indigent Programme Services; Body Donor Foundation SA.

Principal Investigator: Multinational Clinical Trials
Consultant: Medical and General Research Ethics; Internal Medicine and Clinical Psychiatry:UKZN, Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine
Executive Member: Inter Religious Council KZN SA
Public Liaison: Medical Misadventures
Activism: Justice for All
Email: vawda@ukzn.ac.za


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