Draft UN Report Calls for Arms Embargo on Israel

The U.N. Human Rights Council’s advance, unedited report calls for an immediate arms embargo on Israel and international protection for Palestinians in the occupied territories, among other recommendations.

U.N. Human Rights Council room in Geneva. (U.N/ Photo/Jean Marc Ferré)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

The United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday published a draft report that found “reasonable grounds to believe” that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, a move that came on the same day as the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in the ongoing war.

The advance, unedited version of the report — entitled “Anatomy of a Genocide” — concludes that Israel’s far-right government and military “have intentionally distorted jus in bello principles, subverting their protective functions, in an attempt to legitimize genocidal violence against the Palestinian people.”

“The overwhelming nature and scale of Israel’s assault on Gaza and the destructive conditions of life it has inflicted reveal an intent to physically destroy Palestinians as a group,” the draft report states, enumerating Israeli actions that violate Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: 

“Killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to group members; and deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

“Israel has de facto treated an entire protected group and its life-sustaining infrastructure as ‘terrorist’ or ‘terrorist-supporting,’ thus transforming everything and everyone into either a target or collateral damage, hence killable or destroyable,” the paper continues.

“In this way, no Palestinian in Gaza is safe by definition. This has had devastating, intentional effects, costing the lives of tens of thousands of Palestinians, destroying the fabric of life in Gaza, and causing irreparable harm to its entire population.”


Israel rejected the report as “an obscene inversion of reality.” 

According to Palestinian and international humanitarian officials, Israel’s 171-day Gaza onslaught has killed at least 32,333 Palestinians, most of them women and children, while wounding nearly 75,000 others and displacing around 90 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million people. 

Thousands more Palestinians are missing and believed to be dead and buried beneath the rubble of bombed buildings. Disease and deadly starvation caused and exacerbated by Israel’s siege and blockade of Gaza are spreading rapidly.

“Israel’s genocide on the Palestinians in Gaza is an escalatory stage of a long-standing settler-colonial process of erasure,” the draft report asserts. “For over seven decades this process has suffocated the Palestinian people as a group — demographically, culturally, economically, and politically — seeking to displace it and expropriate and control its land and resources.”

Referring to the flight and ethnic cleansing of more than 750,000 Arabs from Palestine during the foundation of the modern state of Israel in 1948, the paper contends that “the ongoing Nakba must be stopped and remedied once and for all. This is an imperative owed to the victims of this highly preventable tragedy, and to future generations in that land.”

“The ongoing Nakba must be stopped and remedied once and for all.”

The draft report urges U.N. member states to “enforce the prohibition of genocide in accordance with their… obligations” under international law.

An Israeli Merkava Mk IV tank on a street in Gaza, Jan. 4. (Yairfridman2003, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

In January, the U.N.’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) found that Israel was “plausibly” perpetrating genocide in Gaza and ordered the country’s government to “take all measures within its power” to prevent genocidal acts. Human rights defenders say Israel has ignored the order.

“Israel and those states that have been complicit in what can be reasonably concluded to constitute genocide must be held accountable and deliver reparations commensurate with the destruction, death, and harm inflicted on the Palestinian people,” the publication argues.

The draft report recommends measures including:

  • Immediate implementation of an arms embargo on Israel, as it appears to have failed to comply with the binding measures ordered by the ICJ;

  • Immediate referral of the situation in Palestine to the International Criminal Court in support of its ongoing investigation

  • Ensuring that Israel, as well as states who have been complicit in the Gaza genocide, acknowledge the colossal harm done, commit to nonrepetition, with measures for prevention and full reparations, including the full cost of the reconstruction of Gaza;

  • Deploying an international protective presence to constrain the violence routinely used against Palestinians in the occupied territories; and 

  • Ensuring that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is properly funded to enable it to meet the increased needs of Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel on Monday informed the U.N. that it will no longer allow UNRWA convoys carrying food aid into northern Gaza, even as the Palestinians are starving to death, a move that one humanitarian campaigner called a “death sentence.”

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

8 comments for “Draft UN Report Calls for Arms Embargo on Israel

  1. anaisanesse
    March 27, 2024 at 02:42

    How Israel can deny this when they are so proud of all the actions and words we have been witnessing since the “7 October” resistance is a mystery. Watch “Kill them all; Inside the Israeli Aid Blockade” a new film by Jeremy Loffredo showing the settlers proudly preventing any aid entering Gaza and telling us why and how much they deserve to have the whole of “Israel” and kill or remove every “Arab” from “their land”. Holding their healthy well-fed children and speaking of making Gaza into a beach paradise for Jewish families they trample on any possible future for any Palestinian.

  2. Michael Cosenza
    March 26, 2024 at 22:42

    I absolutely agree with both Vera and Mary-Lou. A total enforced arms embargo has to be implemented immediately. Additionally, block their banking. It’s time for the world to force Israel to stop the genocide by whatever means available just as they did in S. Africa to eliminate apartheid which just what Israel has been employing for far too many years.

  3. March 26, 2024 at 21:32

    It’s about time. Every word in the draft UN report rings true. It is essential that all people throughout the world who are opposed to Israel’s 75 years of apartheid mistreatment and denial of basic human rights to the Palestinians give their full support to this UN draft report.

  4. March 26, 2024 at 16:24

    Vera, I absolutely agree. Though I don’t want a single innocent harmed–far too many have been already–it’s hard for me to envisage stopping this genocide without defeating Israel. Hopefully, BDS will actually work. I am deeply ashamed of my government (that of the United States). It is cowardly and corrupt.

  5. Vera Gottlieb
    March 26, 2024 at 11:50

    How many more thousand Palestinians (adults/children) have to perish before something is REALLY done – not just more of the same hot air? Boycott israel – shun israel – break off diplomatic relations with israel. Grow some backbone, Anglo/Saxon world…and have the fortitude to stand up to barbarism. Take South Africa’s actions as example.

    • mary-lou
      March 26, 2024 at 15:37

      so true! our voices against barbarism are loud and heard and struggle up to the higher layers of the power-pyramid, and yet….? voices for peace are heard in Israel too, but they’re met with brutal state-violence, arrested and detained…. which force will make the perpetrators return to sanity?

    • Mike
      March 26, 2024 at 22:11

      Vera you’re absolutely correct. Biden had better grow a pair to deal with Israel if he really intends to win in Nov. An absolute arms embargo needs to be implemented & lock up their money wherever its located. It’s time for the tail to stop wagging the dog!!

    • Bob Martin
      March 26, 2024 at 23:15

      IMHO it’s not a matter of backbone. The US power structure is in full agreement with Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians and has been since at least the 60s. And why wouldn’t it be? The US does the same things as Israel, just (maybe) a smidgen less blatantly. Look at Iraq. The US killed 500,000 children there just in the 90s and was fine with it. The murderousness of the Anglo-Saxons goes back centuries and hasn’t diminished at all. So Israel’s murderousness is right up its alley.

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