Israel Palestine Conflict

Top UN human rights official resigns over ‘textbook case of genocide’ in Gaza

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The director of the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has resigned over the organization’s response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza, which he described as a “text-book case of genocide.”

In a public letter, dated October 28, Craig Mokhiber said that he is writing “at a moment of great anguish” as the world sees “a genocide unfolding before our eyes.”

“The European, ethno-nationalist, settler colonial project in Palestine has entered its final phase, toward the expedited destruction of the last remnants of indigenous Palestinian life,” he wrote in the letter publicly shared on Tuesday, and addressed to Volker Turk, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“This is a text-book case of genocide,” Mokhiber said, adding that Western governments “are wholly complicit in the horrific assault.

The former UN human rights official said that the US, UK and much of the Europe are not only “refusing to meet their treaty obligations,” under the Geneva Conventions, but also supporting Israel by providing it arms and political and diplomatic support.

US President Joe Biden is welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 18, 2023. (Reuters)
US President Joe Biden is welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 18, 2023. (Reuters)

Mokhiber’s resignation comes more than three weeks into the Israel-Hamas war and echoes a similar sentiment shared on his most recent social media post.

“The genocide we are witnessing in Palestine is the product of decades of Israeli impunity provided by the US & other western governments & decades of dehumanization of the Palestinian people by western corporate media,” he wrote on X. “Both must end now. Speak up for human rights.”

Mokhiber has worked for the United Nations since 1992, in a number of prominent roles.

He led the high commissioner’s work on devising a human rights-based approach to development, and acted as a senior human rights adviser in Palestine, Afghanistan and Sudan. A lawyer who specializes in international human rights law, he lived in Gaza in the 1990s.

His letter called for the effective end to the state of Israel.

"We must support the establishment of a single, democratic secular state in all of historic Palestine, with equal rights for Christians, Muslims, and Jews,” he wrote, adding: “and, therefore, the dismantling of the deeply racist, settler-colonial project and an end to apartheid across the land.”

Thousands killed

The decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians erupted once again after Hamas launched its attack on Israel on October 7, which was met with non-stop air strikes and bombardments on the Gaza Strip.

A mourner carries the body of a child, during the funeral of Palestinians from al-Astal family, who were killed in Israeli strikes, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, October 22, 2023. (Reuters)
A mourner carries the body of a child, during the funeral of Palestinians from al-Astal family, who were killed in Israeli strikes, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, October 22, 2023. (Reuters)

Israel said 1,400 people were killed in the Hamas attack, while the Palestinian Ministry of Health said more than 8,000 people – the majority of which are children – have been killed in the Gaza Strip.

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