No signs of genocide in Gaza – US
US President Joe Biden’s administration has rejected genocide allegations against Israel made by multiple nations, including a NATO ally. Washington has insisted that it sees no indication West Jerusalem’s forces are committing atrocities as they pound Gaza in a campaign to destroy Hamas.
South Africa’s government filed a genocide case against Israel last week in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and NATO member Türkiye announced its official support for the charge on Wednesday. US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller denounced the allegations at a press briefing later on Wednesday, saying there was no indication that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were committing genocide against the Palestinians.
“Genocide is of course a heinous atrocity, one of the most heinous atrocities that any individual can commit,” Miller said. “Those are allegations that should not be made lightly, and as it pertains to the United States, we are not seeing any acts that constitute genocide.”
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was more pointed in his response, saying the allegations against Israel were “meritless.” He added that the ICJ case filed by South Africa was “counterproductive and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.”
More than 22,000 Palestinians have been killed since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, according to Gaza health authorities. The UN warned last month that more than 500,000 Gazans were starving amid the Israeli bombardment, and 85% of the population had been displaced. The conflict began when Hamas militants launched surprise attacks against villages in southern Israel, killing more than 1,100 people, including nearly 700 Israeli citizens, and taking hundreds of hostages back to Gaza.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has likened Israel’s military campaign in the Palestinian enclave to Nazi Germany’s Holocaust against the Jewish people. He also has blasted Western nations for supporting Israel’s tactics, and he suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was just as genocidal as Germany’s Adolf Hitler.
Türkiye’s foreign minister, Hakan Fidan, argued on Wednesday that by giving “unconditional support” to Israel, Western nations had lost all credibility to talk about “principles, virtue and morality.” He added, “I see that all of this is paving the way for a huge geostrategic rupture.”
Miller’s comments came one day after the US State Department rebuked “inflammatory and irresponsible” statements by two Israeli politicians calling for the removal of Palestinians from Gaza. Israeli Defense Minister Ben Gvir doubled down on his statement later on Tuesday, saying, “With all due respect, we are not another star on the American flag.”
Calls for mass displacement of the Palestinians are contrary to official Israeli government policy and the US view, Miller told reporters on Wednesday. “They are in direct contradiction of his own government’s policy, and we believe those statements should stop,” he said of Gvir’s rhetoric.
However, Miller added that it was appropriate for the IDF to ask Gazans to “temporarily” evacuate their homes when Israeli forces carry out “legitimate military operations” in their neighborhoods.