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Attorney Ziyaad Ebrahim Patel

International Human Rights Lawyer and Lawfare Advocate

11 October 2023

Palestinians in Gaza face an escalation in ultra-right fascist military annihilation, in the longstanding belligerent occupation by Israel of the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank and its effective military control of the land, air and sea borders surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Recent events emerging from occupied Palestine where Hamas fighters successfully breached the heavily secured Gaza border fence in an orchestrated and well- planned paramilitary operation, into Southern occupied Palestine, the Al- Aqsa Flood Operation has been hailed in all quarters as unprecedented.

For the oppressed a valiant act of defiant resistance to Zionist occupation of Palestinian land.

The Western democratic world in utter hypocrisy of democratic values it espouses, have given the blood thirsty Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the carte blanch and his ultra-right cronies the green light to retaliate, as he deems necessary on the collective civilian population of Gaza.

Hamas resistance groups which carried out the attack must however be evaluated in context. Questions of what led to this turning point in the conflict must be scrutinised in the policymaking decisions of successive Israeli governments, which have perpetually failed to recognise Palestinians as human beings with rights to safety and  security and the protection of their fundamental human rights.

The daily lives of Palestinians under Israeli belligerent military occupation are mired in uncertainty as they have no personal safety and security and stripped of their most basic human rights. The Zionist ideology, which is racist to the core, have systematically dehumanised multiple generational layers of Palestinians with the effect that settler colonialism in the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT’s) regard Palestinians as subhuman.

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) is in effect carrying out in Gaza the extermination of Palestinian life and culture in the regime’s bloodthirsty madness of Israeli styled Zio-Nazi neofascism.

Western leaders condemnation of Palestinian resistance is cowardly, but expected as they are  well renown supporters, aiders and abetters of Israeli apartheid and the most egregious crimes against humanity perpetrated with impunity.

It is widely reported that the United States contributes to the IDF at least 3 billion dollars of aid annually.

Ironically, Western media channels like the BBC and CNN are bias in their reporting in favour of Israel   and in this current conflict, whereby Palestinian rights of self-determination, right to security, life and human dignity are completely ignored and alienated from their very own espoused democratic values,  effectively denying Palestinian rights to political justice.

These same media agencies represent countries who have historically, immorally and unethically supported and propped up Israel which has now effectively morphed into a Zio-Nazi fascist state.

The evident hypocrisy within the pro Zionist machination are the indicators of an already unfolding genocide and another blotch in humankind history in the 21st century. Already, Palestinian civilians are likened to animals living in the Gaza Strip by Netanyahu, whose current actions are endorsed by duplicitous leaders, Biden, Sunak and Macron under the misconstrued contention to retaliate against an entire civilian population is consistent with international law.

In plain Netanyahu, must be judged by what he truly is, that is a war criminal who should be indicted and prosecuted at the Hague or such special tribunal or forum for the dastardly acts of war he has inflicted on the people of Gaza, the thousands murdered under his watch by the IDF including the atrocious policies carried out in the subjugation of the Palestinian people living in Gaza, the West Bank and OPT’s.

“No electricity, No fuel, No food and No water”, says ultra-right fascist Israeli Defence Minister – Yoav Gallant to Palestinian civilians living in Gaza.

The apartheid fascist state is oblivious to international humanitarian law where ordinary Palestinians have endured decades long collective punishment and war crimes perpetrated against them. The evidence is insurmountable.

This is the de facto reality imposed. The hubris of this arrogant Zionist official, oblivious that Gaza was already under siege and blockade by Israel controlling the everyday life of the Palestinian population since 2006, as collective punishment for electing the Hamas leadership.

Gaza itself is a refugee ghetto of the Palestinian diaspora when Israel in 1948 ethnically cleansed Palestinians from their lands and homes.

It is well documented, Gaza’s status of a large open-air prison. In 2023, the population of Gaza is estimated at 2.1 million people. Gaza ranks as the most densely populated place in the world, with its population living on only 365 square kilometres of land.

At least 69% of the population is under the age of 30, and 22% (1.14 million) of the population are youth between the ages of 18-29 (23% in the West Bank and 22% in the Gaza Strip).

Food, energy, health and education insecurity, restrictions of movement in freedom of trade and association, and the insecurity of persons is part of normal life.

Palestinians have been victims of ultra-right widescale Israeli state terrorism backed by billions of US dollars in military aid and the support of countries such as the UK, Belgium and France under the watchful eye of the European Union.

In 2018 Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International , said:

 “For four weeks the world has watched in horror as Israeli snipers and other soldiers, in full-protective gear and behind the fence, have attacked Palestinian protesters with live ammunition and tear gas. Despite wide international condemnation, the Israeli army has not reversed its illegal orders to shoot unarmed protesters.”

 “The international community must act concretely and stop the delivery of arms and military equipment to Israel, and that inaction would continue to fuel serious human rights abuses against thousands of men, women and children suffering the consequences of life under Israel’s cruel blockade of Gaza. Israel is one of Washington’s closest allies and a major buyer of US-made military equipment, but European Union nations, including, France, Germany, the UK and Italy, have licensed large volumes of military equipment for Israel”.

The same weapons unleashed in the West Bank against innocent Palestinians are sold cynically back to western democratic states and regimes as, ‘battle tested’.

The unprecedented acts of resistance by Hamas, cannot be a comparison of equal armed forces, where the military industrial complex of the US and western states has armed the IDF with nuclear warheads to ward off attacks from its neighbours and to terrorise Palestinians.

Backers of Hamas have repeatedly related, that following the normalisation of some Arab states with Israel, Palestinians have had to rely on their own means necessary in acts of resistance.

The battle ground is not equal, despite the false comparisons made by Western media. War mongering bullies are aiding Israel to bombard a densely populated ghetto with frugal means and resources.

The present IDF war in Gaza, is the grand Zionist masterplan to ethnically cleanse Palestinians and wipe Gaza completely off the map in delineating Israel’s new borders.

Indiscriminate attacks and disproportionate use of force, the IDF’s latest attack on the Jabalia Refugee Camp, and razing entire residential buildings in Gaza City to the ground constitutes war crimes. Collective Punishment is a flagrant violation of international law which the world leaders supporting Israel refuse to acknowledge, putting further constraint on multilateralism mechanisms to resolve regional conflict.

Thousands of Palestinians have been killed, maimed, and injured in Gaza. There are ongoing IDF air strikes with little to no warning to residents. These air strikes are disproportionate and without distinction of military targets from civilian population in IDF operations and wars perpetrated over the last decade or more. These actions fulfil the requirements of war crimes under international criminal law.

Since the Nakba (Palestinian catastrophe) in 1948, Palestinian land has been usurped, holy sites desecrated including the holy Al Aqsa compound, Zionist colonial settlers have taunted, tortured and ridiculed Christian and Muslim worshippers and provoked Palestinians on religious holy days.

The Judaization in the West Bank is absolutely unjust and  inhumane and a blemish on the sanctity of the Abrahamic faiths.

Israel as an occupying force is a habitual violator breaching the Geneva Conventions, international law and international humanitarian law in failing to recognise and protect the rights of the occupied.

The Netanyahu coalition has intensified its campaign through arming, aiding and abetting settler colonial pogroms through land grab, theft, and destruction of Palestinian property in the occupied Palestinian territories including Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and the Jenin refugee camp.

In February this year, a mob of around 400 Israelis attacked the Palestinian town of Huwara in the southern district of Nablus. Dozens of homes and cars torched, leaving one dead and hundreds wounded.

This support comes from the ultra-right coalition, where a senior Israeli Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrich, also civil administrator in the occupied West Bank, was quoted by Israeli media days after the rampage, “I think the village of Huwara needs to be wiped out. I think the state of Israel should do it”.

The arming, aiding and abetting of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, and occupied territories sustaining the settler colonialism ideology by the Israeli regime, its security police and the IDF breeds fertile ground for the intensification of pogroms and ethnic cleansing Palestinians from their homes.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights defines genocide of the Palestinian people, not by a particular form of violence, but by general and pervasive violence. Settler colonial regimes are structurally prone to genocide and may indulge in ‘genocidal moments’ when they become frustrated by the resistance of a colonized or occupied people. Prominent human rights advocates and scholars have argued that the killings of Palestinians and their forceful expulsion from Mandate Palestine in 1948, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza as well as the violence and discrimination directed at Palestinians by the Israeli government have violated a number of human rights protections contained in international human rights, with genocide being among them which is a violation of the Genocide convention under international law.

The conditions of settler colonial policies and findings of the crime of apartheid – a crime against humanity, by reputable rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Al Haq in over a decade of wars in the Gaza strip where war crimes and crimes of aggression  have been perpetrated.

Similarly reputable rights groups , have documented the ongoing violations in the processing and treatment of Palestinian prisoners and child prisoners denied of their basic legal rights of representation and presence of legal guardians, forcible confessions, home confinement and being unlawfully transferred from the OPTs where torture and other inhumane practices are administered by the Israeli Prison Services, constitute egregious crime against humanity. The UN Human Rights Council in its resolutions have also called upon Israel to respect the fundamental human rights of prisoners .

On the strength of UN Security Council resolution 2334 which specifically prohibits the expansion of settlements in the OPTs. Michael Lynk in July 2021, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the OPTs – In his report to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), settlements are to be classified as war crimes. Lynk asserts that the settlements are a violation of the absolute prohibition against “settler implantation” and insisted that UN member states not ignore Israeli transgressions.

The South African government has also failed on a domestic level to create enabling legislation, such as the IPPRSA Bill (Implementation and Protection of Palestinian Solidarity Rights), in protection of Palestinian solidarity rights and also South African investigative and prosecutorial authorities – the National Prosecuting Authority have shamefully evaded, despite many years of collation of evidence by human rights lawyers, in the various criminal complaints lodged documenting the mounting evidence of Israeli war crimes and apartheid constituting crimes against humanity.

In March 2022 the SA Zionist Terrorism Corridor Probe was launched that spotlighted the grave danger and risk to South Africans, whereby impressionable Jewish youth are being  paramilitary trained and recruited by complicit Zionist institutions.

The First Part of this Probe is the investigation into South African nationals and/or citizens who have either previously served or are currently serving in the IDF in direct violation of the provisions of the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act . The Second Part consists of the accused having contravened through their military service in the IDF in a broader scheme of wilful and culpable acts of wide scale state terrorism, violating provisions of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist  And Related Activities Act  and the Prevention of Organised Crime Act , in respect of property that is either owned or controlled by, or on behalf of an entity involved in terrorist related activities.

The IDF is now calling up for the present onslaught and combat invasion of Gaza, at least 300 000 military reservists. Without any reason to desist enlistment, due to gross failures of our authorities and government to reasonably act, South African nationals and citizens will certainly render unlawful foreign military service to the IDF.

The South African government and the Authorities are derelict in their constitutional mandate and  in terms of their international obligations failed to protect the Palestinian people from this impending holocaust.

A blemish of our illustrious history in defeating apartheid and humiliation upon the incumbent political leadership. There should be mass protests by civil society, and Palestinian solidarity groups in  demanding  the rule of law be upheld and the protection of Palestinian rights from the effects of organised structural violence emanating from colonialism, apartheid practices, perpetration of war crimes, and genocide. To demand such steps are undertaken in holding Israel accountable for its crimes perpetrated with impunity.

The US President Biden and his European counterparts continue to support this ultra-right fascist regime with unbridled military aid and to collectively punish the civilian population of Gaza with disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force, causing wanton destruction on civil infrastructure,  schools, hospitals, clinics and residential buildings over the last decade of  wars since 2008.

The health ministry in Gaza reported that retaliatory IDF air strikes already resulted in the loss of 830 lives and left 4,250 individuals injured and thousands more displaced.

As reported on Al Jazeera, the US announced the despatch of a naval fleet with multifaceted capabilities for ground and aerial support, to aid the IDF already weaponised to inflict even more grievous harm, and collective punishment, to terrorise a civilian population with the purpose of ethnically cleansing and exterminate the civilian population in Gaza.

The US and its allies must be reminded that like past wars and the ones to ensue until justice of Palestinians is not restored with the legitimate aspirations and fundamental human rights of Palestinians  entrenched, the right to safety and security of persons, right to life, human dignity, the right of return to their lands and properties, freedom to trade and associate, protection of their holy precincts, resistance shall be the only alternative means.

The cowardice of supplying conventional weapons of mass destruction to the IDF controlled by an ultra-right-wing Israeli regime have bloodied the hands of these hypocritical leaders. The tragedy  and loss of innocent human life must apply fairly where Palestinian lives must matter.

What is expected when the occupier has taken so much from an occupied people, their  human dignity, their lives, property and even wiped out their entire families, communities and Palestinian society, the cantonisation of Palestinian neighbourhoods and isolation of business districts from economic activity through incessant military checkpoints for purposes of unlawful settlement expansion.

The bitterness of resistance fighters can never be ignored, and all conflict ends in human tragedy. Violence precipitates violence on both sides of hostile conflict. The context is everything, and judgment certainly does not rest with only the recent attacks carried out by Hamas fighters, where Israeli settler colonial pogroms have been the preceding norm, and the architects of Israeli policy of apartheid, colonialism, belligerent occupation coupled with grand scale state terrorism since 1948 against the Palestinian people, which  have the set the agenda and pace of the current human catastrophe unfolding in Gaza.

International diplomatic multilateralism through the establishment of the United Nations and the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court have failed to curtail this Zionist monstrosity.

Operation Al Aqsa Flood under these conditions, where resistance is the only available tool in the struggle of the existence of the oppressed, is a significant achievement in carrying out the rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people.

The valiant freedom fighters of Hamas and its armed groups of resistance in this context are carrying out both their moral, religious and national duty in liberating their people from a detestable occupation who fails to recognise Palestinian’s legitimate rights and aspirations in protection of their fundamental human rights in attaining a just political solution.

In conclusion, I share the words of a revered anti colonial liberation fighter, Omar Mukhtar when protecting two surviving Italian prisoners, when he said, “We do not kill prisoners” His fellow warrior retorted, “They do it to us”. Omar Mukhtar responded with these words, “They are not our teachers.”

And to the gallant holocaust survivors of Gaza and Palestine, the same brave warrior words resonate once again, ‘We will never surrender. We win or we die. And don’t think it stops here. You will have the next generation to fight; and after the next, the next…”