Demolition of Gaza's Israa University, January 17, 2024

Genocide By Another Name

GPM # 63

Wanna destroy a people in whole or in part? In other words, commit genocide – as genocide is defined under international law?

You don’t need gas chambers or firing squads and deep ditches. Just destroy their schools and universities.

Bomb their libraries, archives and cultural institutions; seize their historical records. Make it as hard as possible for their kids to go to school.

“With more than 80% of schools in Gaza damaged or destroyed,” a group of UN experts declared in an April 18 statement, “it may be reasonable to ask if there is an intentional effort to comprehensively destroy the Palestinian education system, an action known as ‘scholasticide’.” 

The GPM spoke with the statement’s lead author.

First, listen to this: two attorneys for the government of South Africa, this past January, arguing South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, in The Hague.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi is a South African lawyer and legal scholar, and a member of South Africa’s Judicial Services Commission. Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh is an Irish human rights and international law expert at Matrix Chambers, in London.

Listen to Ngcukaitobi and Ní Ghrálaigh in today’s podcast. Click on the play button above, or go here.

Little kids go to school in Hebron, occupied Palestine (David Kattenburg)

Numbers speak louder than words.

Since Israel’s assault on Gaza began, back on October 7, at least 60 percent of the besieged enclave’s educational facilities have been damaged or destroyed.

Israa University, the last remaining higher educational institution in Gaza, was demolished on January 17.

Today, over 600 thousand Gazan students have no access to education.

Or books. Thirteen Gaza public libraries are now in ruins.

Some 200 heritage sites, 227 mosques and three churches have also been damaged or destroyed. Among these, Gaza 7th century Omari Mosque, a center of Islamic faith and learning, demolished in an Israeli airstrike back in December.

A Hamas stronghold, the Israeli military said.

Gaza’s Central Archives, repository of 150 years of Palestinian history, is reportedly in ruins.

In the course of all this physical annihilation, Israeli military forces have killed at least 5500 students, 260 teachers and 95 university professors.

These figures were contained in an April 18 statement by two dozen UN Special Rapporteurs and subject experts. The GPM reached out to the statement’s lead author, Farida Shaheed. Shaheed is the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education.

Listen to our conversation in today’s podcast. Click on the play button above, or go here.

Yousef Najajreh in his lab, Al-Quds University (David Kattenburg)

Getting an elementary, secondary or university education in Palestine these days is one thing. Doing top-drawer scientific research is another.

That’s what Yousef Najajreh has been doing for quite a number of years, under Israel military occupation and apartheid. Najajreh is a medicinal chemist in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Al-Quds University, in occupied Palestine.

The GPM has spoken and hung out with Yousef on a host of occasions, most recently this past May. Here’s a conversation of ours from back in 2022 – in the midst of Covid – and in the wake of Israeli government legislation clamping down on visits by foreign academics to Palestinian campuses.

From Yousef, we’ll segue to Palestine’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, speaking to the International Court of Justice back in February, on the opening day of hearings on the legal consequences of Israel’s ‘prolonged’ occupation of Palestine.

Listen to these voices in today’s podcast. Click on the play button above, or go here.

Al-Quds University Students (David Kattenburg)