Renowned Jewish academic joins UN in condemning Israeli ‘war crimes’

Norman Finkelstein
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A new report from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) says that Israeli soldiers may be guilty of “war crimes” for ‘killing and maiming’ Palestinian protesters in 2018. Now, renowned Jewish academic Norman Finkelstein has joined the UN in condemning Israel’s actions.

A “remarkably honest” report

Finkelstein, whose parents were survivors of the Nazi holocaust, appeared on Democracy Now! on 5 March. In the interview, he commended the UN report for its honesty and straightforwardness. He said:

What most struck me about the report was it was remarkably honest. It was very forthright in its conclusions. And it didn’t fake this kind of balance, which most human rights organizations, even reputable ones, attempt.

He also pointed out that the report unequivocally states that Israeli soldiers intentionally targeted children, medical professionals and journalists during protests in Gaza in 2018. In terms of avoiding “fake balance”, he pointed out that its authors devoted 10 pages of the report to Israel’s actions and just three paragraphs to the “impact on Israel”. And he said:

that’s exactly what the reality shows, that overwhelmingly—in fact, virtually entirely—all the infliction of death and destruction is on the Palestinian side.

Israeli military responsible for ‘massacres, not conflicts’

Finkelstein was also scathing about the actions of Israeli soldiers in occupied Palestine, saying:

These are massacres. They’re not conflicts. They’re not engagements. They’re just outright massacres of overwhelmingly unarmed, nonviolent demonstrators.

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And he insisted:

It’s time to indict Israel.

183 Palestinians killed, 6,000 injured

He was joined during the Democracy Now! interview by Sara Hossain, one of the members of the UN independent commission that conducted the investigation in Gaza. Hossain said of the commission’s findings:

There are 183 Palestinians who have been killed in the course of the period that we have investigated, which is from the 30th of March to the 31st of December [of 2018]… We also found… over 6,000 injuries to Palestinians caused by live fire.

Hossain concluded:

[I]t’s very important that the international community take action to ensure that this death toll and this injuries toll doesn’t continue. We’re calling for protective monitoring to be put in place. We’re calling for action to end… this terrible death toll and injury toll that has been continuing over the last year and continuing even now.

The full report is expected to come out on 18 March.

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