'Genocide unfolding before our eyes' in Gaza , says ex-UN official

'Genocide unfolding before our eyes' in Gaza , says ex-UN official
'Genocide unfolding before our eyes' in Gaza , says ex-UN official

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW YORK — A senior UN official strongly criticized the United Nations in a retirement letter for not stopping what he called “a genocide unfolding before our eyes” in Gaza.

Craig Mokhiber, a US human rights lawyer, claimed “the current wholesale slaughter of the Palestinian people” is rooted in decades of persecution by Israel “based entirely upon their status as Arabs and coupled with explicit statements of intent by leaders in the Israeli government and military.”

Mokhiber left his job heading the New York office of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 31 October.

His four-page letter to UN human rights chief Volker Türk makes no mention of Hamas' surprise attack on Israel on 7 October, which killed 1,400 people.

Mokhiber had informed the UN in March he was going to retire.

In the letter, Mokhiber accused the US, UK and much of Europe of being “wholly complicit in the horrific assault” on Gaza by Israeli forces.

Mokhiber, who joined the UN in 1992 and said he has investigated Palestinian human rights since the 1990s, also wrote that a two-state solution for the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an impossibility.

He called for the dismantling of Israel and the establishment of “a single, democratic, secular state in all of historic Palestine, with equal rights for Christians, Muslims, and Jews.”

The US president has said there should be a humanitarian “pause” in the Israel-Hamas war after a campaign speech Wednesday evening was interrupted by a protester calling for a ceasefire.

“I think we need a pause,” Joe Biden said.

The call was a subtle departure for Biden and top White House aides, who throughout the current crisis have insisted they will not dictate how the Israelis carry out their military operations.

However, the Democrat leader is facing intensifying pressure from human rights groups, fellow world leaders and even liberal members of his own Democratic Party, who say that Israel's assault is a collective punishment for Hamas' actions and that it is time for a ceasefire.

In his comments, Biden was exerting pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give Palestinians at least a brief reprieve from the relentless military operation that’s left thousands dead and mired the 141-square-mile strip in a devastating humanitarian crisis.

Will the United States limit itself to financial support for Israel? Or will they adopt the staggering package wanted by President Biden with funds for Gaza, Ukraine and partners in Asia?

The US Congress begins on Thursday to discuss this thorny issue.

Congress, finally functional with its new "speaker", is split in two on the type of support to provide to its allies abroad.

Democrats and Republicans alike want to immediately adopt military aid for Israel, a long-time partner of the United States, as it battles Hamas.

However, things get complicated when it comes to Ukraine.

Calls are growing within the right-wing camp to cut assistance to Kyiv, which runs in the billions.

Aware of this growing weariness among some in the political class, Biden decided to combine his request for aid for Ukraine — more than 61 billion dollars (57.5 billion euros) — with that for Israel, around 14 billion (13 billion euros).

The 80-year-old leader also estimates that he would need a little more than 9 billion dollars (8.5 billion euros) to respond to international humanitarian crises, including in the Gaza Strip.

That's a total of nearly 106 billion (100 billion euros).

The Republican leadership in the House wants to stand up to the US president, and plans to organise a vote on Thursday on an envelope intended only for Israel.

“We cannot allow the brutality currently occurring against Israel to continue,” said new speaker Mike Johnson.

Multiple countries have announced the evacuation of the first group of their citizens from Gaza into Egypt through the Rafah crossing.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said 20 Australians, along with three people who were either permanent residents or immediate family members of a citizen, had been evacuated Wednesday through the crossing.

But Australian Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts said 65 citizens, residents and close relatives have yet to be evacuated.

“We are continuing to push for them to be able to make that passage across the Rafah crossing as soon as possible,” Watts said.

Bulgaria’s government also announced that 36 Bulgarian citizens and their family members had successfully left Gaza.

Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mariya Gabriel said the evacuation through the Rafah crossing was implemented “in a complex and extremely dynamic situation” and all Bulgarian nationals in the first possible group allowed to leave the Gaza Strip “were in good condition.”

Earlier Wednesday, France, the UK and US announced the first of their citizens were able to evacuate Gaza through the Rafah crossing. — Euronews

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