News Release

UN Official Resigns, Calling Israel’s Attack “Genocide” — Will a Nation Invoke the Genocide Convention?


The director of the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Craig Mokhiber, resigned on Tuesday, writing: “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.” See full letter, news report and interview from Wednesday morning with Mokhiber.

A number of global leaders have also called Israel’s attack “genocide” including Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Bolivia has just severed diplomatic relations with Israel while Chile and Colombia just recalled their ambassadors.

Boyle is professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. His books include The Bosnian People Charge Genocide (1996) Palestine, Palestinians and International Law (2009) and World Politics, Human Rights and International Law (2021).

He was recently featured on the IPA news release: “On Israel: Lawyer Who Applied Genocide Convention for Bosnia Recommends it Now for Palestinians.” See his talk “Stopping Zionist Genocide Against The Palestinians” and his appearance on Tuesday on the program “Flashpoints.”

He states: “With the International Criminal Court refusing for years to hold Israel accountable and with the U.S. government blocking everything at the Security Council, the application of the Genocide Convention may be the only remaining legal mechanism to stop what Israel is doing. All that’s needed is a State Party to invoke it to start the process at the World Court.”