Following an extraordinary session in Brussels to address Israel’s recent Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) held a press conference on Thursday in which they demanded the international community’s mobilization in helping end the Israeli occupation. Amongst the resolutions from the two day session was that there was a case for Israel to answer for the ‘incitement of genocide’.
The RToP called on Palestine to become a signatory of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which afford the ICC jurisdiction to address any claims of war crimes in the region. They also called for the intensification of boycott campaigns against the state of Israel.
With more than 500 people having taken part in the session, RToP coordinator, Frank Barat, described the sitting as incredible and empowering. He noted that upon the conclusion of the session, the jury had brought their findings forward to the European Parliament.
Despite the resolutions taken by the tribunal, Barat said the jury was careful to refrain from describing the conflict as an outright genocide. Rather, they had resolved that there was definitely a case to answer for incitement of genocide.
“We can see with the tribunal that what happened in Gaza was a step too far. It would be light to say that, but it did indeed cross a sort of threshold,” he said.
The jury had further concluded that all ‘third parties and states’ had a duty to ensure that an end was brought to Israel’s oppressive occupation in the Palestinian territories. He said there was clear evidence of “creeping genocidal tendencies” in Israeli society that needed to be addressed.
“Now it is a matter of making sure the policies change. Enough talk, enough good statements, we need policies to change when it comes to Israel,” he said.
The Russell Tribunal panel of jurists consists of former UN human rights chief Prof. Richard Falk
South African legal scholar Prof. John Dugard, South African politician Ronnie Kasrils, Scottish lawyer Paul Lawert, Indian environmental activist Vandana Shiva, English socialist Michael Mansfield, Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif, English film and television director Ken Loach, English musician and co-founder of rock band Pink Floyd Roger Waters.
Amongst the list of eyewitnesses providing testimony at the tribunal were Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, who worked at Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital, Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer, American author Max Blumethal, Channel 4 News’ Paul Mason, former Israeli soldier Eran Efrati, and genocide scholar Paul Behrens.
Addressing the conflict itself, Barat said the huge numbers that had come out to protest Israel’s assault on Gaza, was clear evidence that people were now seeing through the states Hasbara propaganda campaign.
“Even though it is very dark times, we need to celebrate that people from all across the globe, from various walks of life, are joining together hand by hand to take a stand against injustice in Palestine and all over the world,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)