Is Israel Committing Genocide?

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.

“Occupation” refers to a situation in which a state forcibly takes territory belonging to another state. 

Israel is not an “occupying power” in Judea, Samaria, or Gaza. When the State of Israel was born in 1948, Jordan and Egypt declared war and unlawfully captured those territories. No Palestinian state was ever created. In 1967, Israel took control of the territories during a defensive war. Because there never was a Palestinian state, and because the land belonged to neither Jordan nor Egypt, Israel is not an “occupying power” of any other state’s land. 

Israel and much of the international community believe that the final status of the territories can only be settled with a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Despite numerous offers, Palestinian leadership has repeatedly rejected offers of statehood. Nonetheless, the Palestinian Authority has significant autonomy over Palestinian areas in Judea & Samaria. Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and since 2007, it has been ruled by Hamas. 

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. 

Rev. Alex Awad agreed to remove a quote falsely attributed to Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion from a DVD of his presentation “A Palestinian Perspective on the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” One of the more egregious problems of his presentation is his use of a quote falsely attributed to Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion.