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UN’s New York human rights director quits citing US, UK collusion in Gaza genocide

Craig Mokhiber follows up resignation letter condemning ‘successive waves of murder and persecution against the Palestinians throughout the life of the UN’ with social media post about ‘decades of Israeli impunity’ for ‘war crimes’

Craig Mokhiber, the now-former director of the UN’s human rights office in New York, has resigned with a withering blast at the governments of the UK, US and other countries who are enabling Israel’s ‘text-book case of genocide’ against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

And he followed up his resignation with a condemnation of the ‘decades of impunity’ given by the international community to an Israeli state that flouts international law and is now engaged in genocide.

In his letter to Volker Turk, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mokhiber states:

Dear High Commissioner,

This will be my last official communication to you as Director of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

I write at a moment of great anguish for the world, including for many of our colleagues. Once again, we are seeing a genocide unfolding before our eyes, and the Organization that we serve appears powerless to stop it. As someone who has investigated human rights in Palestine since the 1980s, lived in Gaza as a UN
human rights advisor in the 1990s, and carried out several human rights missions to the country before and since, this is deeply personal to me.

I also worked in these halls through the genocides against the Tutsis, Bosnian Muslims, the Yazidi, and the Rohingya. In each case, when the dust settled on the horrors that had been perpetrated against defenseless civilian populations, it became painfully clear that we had failed in our duty to meet the imperatives of prevention of mass atrocities, of protection of the vulnerable, and of accountability for perpetrators. And so it has been with successive waves of murder and persecution against the Palestinians throughout the entire life of the UN.

High Commissioner, we are failing again.

As a human rights lawyer with more than three decades of experience in the field, I know well that the concept of genocide has often been subject to political abuse. But the current wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people, rooted in an ethno-nationalist settler colonial ideology, in continuation of decades of their systematic persecution and purging, based entirely upon their status as Arabs, and coupled with
explicit statements of intent by leaders in the Israeli government and military, leaves no room for doubt or debate. In Gaza, civilian homes, schools, churches, mosques, and medical institutions are wantonly attacked as thousands of civilians are massacred. In the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, homes are seized and reassigned based entirely on race, and violent settler pogroms are accompanied by Israeli military units.
Across the land, Apartheid rules.

This is a text-book case of genocide. 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 in Palestine. What’s more, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe, are wholly complicit in the horrific assault. Not only are these governments refusing to meet their treaty obligations “to ensure respect” for the Geneva Conventions, but they are in fact actively arming the assault, providing economic and intelligence support, and giving political and diplomatic cover for Israel’s atrocities.

In a social media post, Mokhiber added:

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. Both must end now. Speak up for #HumanRights

Since Mokhiber’s letter, Israel has continued and even intensified its bombing of civilians, including the massacre of hundreds of civilians in the Jabalia refugee camp. Israel has admitted deliberately bombing Gaza’s largest refugee camps, claiming it did so to kill a single Hamas leader.

Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar summed up the viciousness of this conduct and the complicity and hypocrisy of western governments and media well when she noted sarcastically that the UK’s response would be very different if Israel bombed a UK shopping centre to get at a single terrorist:

I’m sure we’d all feel that it was very reasonable to drop bombs on a shopping centre if, for instance, someone said that Bin Laden was chilling in Westfield.

Jewish former ANC MP Andrew Feinstein, who now lives in England, asked his followers to read the letter, particularly the final passage about UK complicity:

Israel has so far slaughtered more than 8,000 Gazan civilians, about half of them children, and wounded and traumatised tens of thousands more, bombing hospitals, schools and other civilian infrastructure. The UN relief agency has lost at least 59 personnel, with many more missing. It has also killed dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank, where Hamas is not a factor but illegal Israeli settlements are proliferating.

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