No, Israel is not committing genocide. It is targeting Hamas, the genocidal terrorist organization which routinely puts its own civilians in harm’s way. Hamas terrorists captured by Israel have testified that they specifically hide in hospitals, and build their tunnels under them because they know the IDF will not attack them. Furthermore, Hamas has made many attempts to prevent civilians from evacuating and has stolen crucial humanitarian aid sent by Israel and the International Community specifically meant for Palestinian civilians.
Genocide is the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular national or ethnic group with the intent to destroy that national or ethnic group. It is not just any conflict with many casualties; the essence of genocide is in the intent behind the killing.
If a thousand civilians from a particular national group are killed by errant airstrikes or in the crossfire during a military operation, there is no act of genocide. But if a thousand civilians from a particular national group are deliberately targeted by roving bands of terrorists seeking to eradicate that national group, that likely amounts to genocide. Hamas’ antisemitic charter, and the statements of its leaders, evidence a genocidal intent.
In May 1948, the modern state of Israel was established in the historic homeland of the Jewish people. Israel’s founders drafted the Declaration of Independence to guarantee rights for all future inhabitants:
“[The State of Israel] will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education, and culture…”
—Declaration of Independence, Provisional Government of Israel, May 14, 1948
The War of 1948 and the consequent refugee crisis did take place during the war, but was due to Arab leaders who sought the destruction of the Jewish state.