genocide

Egypt fears Israel pushing Palestinians to Sinai

Since the "humanitarian pause" ended, Israel has focused its air-strikes on Gaza's southern city of Khan Younis—now swelled with hundreds of thousands displaced from the north of the Strip. Along with the strikes, Israeli planes are dropping leaflets on the city, warning the populace to flee further south to Rafah on the Egyptian border—despite having earlier declared the southern Strip a "safe zone." Most of the Strip's 2.3 million population has already fled to the south, and Egyptian officials believe that Israel is preparing to next drive them across the border into the Sinai desert. The aim of the Khan Younis strikes is to "disrupt the mass of the population from the south and push it towards Egypt," one Cairo official told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has categorically rejected a forced resettlement, and the idea is generating anger among Egyptians. (The New Arab, BBC News)

UN experts call for Gaza war crimes investigation

UN experts Nov. 27 called for prompt, transparent and independent investigations into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the Gaza Strip, since Israel's new military offensive began last month. "Independent investigators must be given the necessary resources, support and access required to conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into crimes allegedly committed by all parties to the conflict," the experts said, calling on Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the de facto authorities in Gaza to cooperate fully with investigations.

China expands mosque closure campaign

The Chinese government has increased mosque closures in the northern Ningxia region and Gansu province, home to significant populations of Hui Muslims, according to a report released Nov. 22 by Human Rights Watch. The campaign of closures marks an expansion of the policy beyond the Uyghur people of Xinjiang region.  Officially termed "consolidation," the campaign calls for shutting down mosques or modifying their architectural features to align with more typically Chinese aesthetics. The Hui Muslims, a distinctive ethno-religious group in China numbering over 10 million, are now at the forefront of concerns regarding the government's broader campaign to "consolidate" mosques.

World Court censures Syria for torture

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague issued an interim order on Nov. 16 directing the Syrian government to "take all measures within its powers" to prevent torture. This development stems from a case brought by the Netherlands and Canada, accusing Syria of engaging in a prolonged campaign of torture of its own citizens. The court's order seeks to safeguard potential victims as the case proceeds. Syria is accused of breaching the Convention against Torture & Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

ICC receives Palestine referral from Rome Statute parties

The International Criminal Court (ICC) released a statement on Nov. 17 saying it received a referral from Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros, Djibouti and South Africa regarding the Situation in the State of Palestine. ICC prosecutor Karim AA Khan KC affirmed that an investigation is currently ongoing with its own dedicated team. The five countries made the ICC referral in accordance with their powers under the Rome Statute. All five of the referring countries are party to the Rome Statute, as is the State of Palestine; Israel is not.

Suit charges Biden admin with genocide complicity

Palestinian human rights organizations and others have sued US President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd James Austin and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken for complicity in genocide and violating the duty to prevent genocide in relation to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The Center for Constitutional Rights filed the case Nov. 13 on behalf of Defense for Children International-Palestine, Al-Haq and individual plaintiffs affected by the conflict, asserting violations of the 1948 Genocide Convention and the 1988 Genocide Convention Implementation Act.

Gaza & Yarmouk: forbidden symmetry

As Israel crosses the genocidal threshold in Gaza, a regional summit in Riyadh protests, and issues an urgent call for a ceasefire. Yet the regional powers at that summit are guilty of equivalent crimes—Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and Iran and the Basar Assad regime in Syria. Assad's propaganda chief Bouthaina Shaaban especially decried Israel's targeting of hospitals in Gaza. Yet as recently as last month, the Assad regime bombed hospitals in Syria's rebel-held north. Indeed, the Assad regime also savagely bombed and besieged Palestinians for months, at Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus. In Episode 200 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes with chagrin that key organizers of this month's National March on Washington for Palestine included pseudo-left "tankie" formations that actively support the genocidal Assad regime. They also now abet Russia's genocidal campaign in Ukraine, in which hospitals have been repeatedly targeted. This moral contradiction undercuts our effectiveness in advancing the urgent demand for a ceasefire in Gaza.

France issues warrant for Assad on war crimes

France issued arrest warrants on Nov. 15 for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his brother Maher al-Assad, de facto chief of the regime's elite 4th Armored division, as well as two high-ranking military generals. The warrants stem from an investigation into two chemical weapons attacks that occurred in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in August 2013, resulting in the death of over 1,000 people. French officials launched the investigation in 2021 after the Syrian Center for Media & Freedom of Expression (SCM) and other nongovernmental organizations filed a complaint with the Specialized Unit for Crimes against Humanity & War Crimes of the Paris Judicial Court. The SCM argued that the use of chemical weapons is a jus cogens crime, implying an absolute prohibition with no immunity based on state sovereignty.

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