Below is the text of an open letter written to the Irish Government, pleading with them to invoke the Genocide Convention as the Israeli onslaught on Gaza continues.

WE, the undersigned organisations and concerned individuals watch with increasing horror the growing death toll and ongoing humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza. We believe there is an urgent need for action under the Genocide Convention. A public statement, signed by 880 scholars on October 15,  2023, has highlighted the overwhelming evidence suggesting that the Government of Israel has carried out acts of genocide against civilians in Gaza.

The evidence includes disproportionate attacks, indiscriminate bombing, the destruction of residential neighbourhoods, the use of starvation as a weapon, and the deliberate cut-off of humanitarian supplies. The ongoing Israeli siege of Gaza, which began in 2006, has created conditions that are alarmingly reminiscent of a slow-moving precursor to genocide.

It is reported that since October 7, 2023, over 14,000 Palestinian people have been killed or gone missing under the rubble in Gaza. Israeli air strikes have targeted water supplies, churches, mosques, hospitals, schools and universities. Entire Palestinian families have been wiped out and residential neighbourhoods have been levelled. Israel has forcibly displaced 1.1 million residents of Gaza City and northern Gaza areas.

Israel has collectively punished the people of Gaza by cutting all of life’s essentials. Over 2.3 million people living in the Gaza Strip have been denied access to basic supplies, including food, water, electricity, medicine and fuel, leading to a severe humanitarian crisis, with Gaza’s population being deliberately starved and facing dehydration and disease.

This assault on Gaza continues alongside the backdrop of ongoing threats and forced expulsion of Palestinians from their villages in the West Bank by extremist settlers supported by the Israeli military.

Israel's inflammatory statements accompanying the aggressio, include speeches from both the Israeli President and Prime Minister, who have both repeatedly used language that dehumanises Palestinians and supports collective punishment. Israeli Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant’s declaration on October 9 that “We are imposing a complete siege on Gaza. No electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we will act accordingly” and later on the October 10 that “I have released all the restraints, we have [regained] control of the area, and we are moving to a full offence... Gaza will never return to what it was, we will eliminate everything” reflect an intention to commit genocide crimes.  

Also, on October 10 IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari made the startling admission that “hundreds of tons of bombs” had already been dropped Gaza with an “emphasis on damage and not on accuracy”, actions that go against the principles of humanity and international law.  

The Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide protects “national, ethnical, racial and religious” groups from intentional physical destruction. UN experts, including the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, confirmed that the “Palestinian people are at risk of genocide.” The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide has been relentlessly violated by Israel, as it collectively targets the people of the Gaza Strip for merely being Palestinians.

Article 1 of the Convention clearly states that genocide is a crime under international law that must be prevented and punished. Article 2 outlines acts that constitute genocide, including causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group and deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction in whole or in part.

Ireland’s own history, marked by dispossession, discrimination and political subjugation, has left a lasting legacy and a deep empathy for those facing similar struggles around the world.  We call upon the Government of Ireland to stand on the right side of history and invoke the Genocide Convention to protect Palestinians from genocide.  We urge Ireland to take immediate and concrete steps to put an end to this horrific crime imposed on Palestinians by applying pressure in all international forums to hold Israel accountable for its actions. We also call on relevant international bodies, including the Office of Genocide Prevention and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Court of Justice, to intervene immediately, conduct investigations and take the necessary measures to protect Palestinian civilians from genocide.

The world is watching, and we implore you to act swiftly in the name of justice, human rights, and international law.

Noble Laureate Mairead Maguire, Peace People Northern Ireland
Dr. Raied Al-Wazzan, Vice-Chair Northern Ireland Council for Racial Equality
Professor Francis A. Boyle, human rights lawyer and Professor of International Law
Dr. Edward Horgan, Commandant (Retd), Irish Defence Forces
Gerry Carroll, MLA
Gerry Grehan, Peace People, Chairperson
Sue Pentel, Jews for Palestine-Ireland
Becca Bor, Jews for Palestine-Ireland
Annie de bhFal, Jews for Palestine-Ireland
Dr. Brian Kelly, Reader in History, Queen’s University Belfast
Mr. Muhammed Arshed, Chairman, Belfast Islamic Centre
Zoe Lawlor, Chairperson, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Cailín McCaffery, Belfast Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Nada Ahmed, Belfast Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Rose McMahon, Belfast Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Hans Von Sponeck
Professor Monica McWilliams
Joe Murray, Director of AFRI
Ann Patterson, Peace People
Rodger Cole, PANA
Rita Duffy, Irish Artist
Clare Grehan-Toland, Peace People
Tools For Solidarity
Rob Fairmichael, Innate