40 Israeli Commanders Named by Advocacy Group for Gaza War Crimes Investigation

40 Israeli Commanders Named by Advocacy Group for Gaza War Crimes Investigation

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), founded by the late Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, released a list of 40 Israeli military commanders deemed "prime suspects" for an international war crimes investigation, as the Palestinian death toll in Gaza nears 24,000.

In late December, DAWN submitted a dossier to the International Criminal Court (ICC) outlining the roles of these commanders in executing Israel's war on Gaza.

"These 40 IDF (Israeli military) commanders who have been responsible for planning, ordering, and executing Israel's indiscriminate bombardment, wanton destruction, and mass killing of civilians in Gaza should be prime suspects in any ICC investigation," DAWN executive director Sarah Leah Whitson stated. "While Israel has done its best to conceal the identities of many of its officers, they should be put on notice that they face individual criminal liability for the crimes underway in Gaza."

While Israel is not an ICC signatory, the court's jurisdiction covers Palestine, subjecting individuals committing war crimes there to prosecution.

Israeli minister Yoav Gallant tops the list, accused of ordering a complete siege on Gaza City and cutting off essential supplies. Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, head of COGAT, responsible for Gaza's siege, is also included. DAWN alleges intentional war crimes, including targeting civilians and vital facilities.

The list includes only Israeli officers "from the rank of lieutenant-general and up who command units no smaller than battalion level forces."

The list of officers submitted by DAWN for an international war crimes investigation includes Brig. Gen. Dan Goldfuss, Maj. Gen. Oded Basyuk, Lt. Col. Almog Rotem, Lt. Col. David Cohen, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar, Lt. Col. Daniel Ella, Lt. Col. Or Klasser, Col. Ehud Bibi, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, Col. Elad Tzuri, Col. Edo Kass, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Lt. Col. Dvir Edri, Lt. Col. Katy Perry, Lt. Col. Adoniram Sharabi, Yoav Gallant, Brig. Gen. Gilad Keinan.

The group published individual "Prime Suspect" cards identifying each officer on its website.

According to the Advocacy Group:

At the top of the list of suspects is Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant. On October 9, 2023, Gallant ordered a complete siege on Gaza City, cut off the supply of potable water to the entire population of the Gaza Strip—over 2 million people—and blocked the entry of humanitarian aid. "We are fighting human animals and we'll act accordingly," the defense minister said, explaining the decision. One day later, he told Israeli troops on the Gaza border: "I have released all the restraints... Gaza will never return to what it was."

Also included is the head of COGAT (the Israeli military's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories), Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian. Maj. Gen. Alian is responsible for administering the siege of Gaza, and was responsible for cutting off the supply of water, food, and fuel in the early days of the war. On October 10, 2023, Alian said in an Arabic-language video message to the civilian population of Gaza that Israel was imposing a total blockade, "no electricity, no water, just damage," adding a chilling warning, "You wanted hell, you will get hell."

"Intentionally depriving civilians of basic necessities, including by blocking or even impeding the provision of humanitarian relief supplies, is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the ICC," DAWN noted. "Intentionally targeting medical facilities, ambulances, places of worship, places of culture, and most seriously the indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas, are crimes in the Rome Statute."

Each "Prime Suspect" card includes the name, rank, photo, and role of an individual Israeli commander. DAWN compiled the list of officers exclusively from official Israeli military publications that confirmed the presence of specific military units in specific locations at specific times. (One entry only was verified through a television interview with a commanding officer of the unit in question.) The list includes officers from the rank of lieutenant-general and up who command units no smaller than battalion level forces. It covers nearly all branches of the Israeli military, as well as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the unit that administers the siege on Gaza.

South Africa submitted documents to the ICC, joining Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros, and Djibouti in seeking war crimes charges against Israel. NGOs like Reporters Without Borders and Al Jazeera have also requested ICC probes into Israeli actions.

In a case that strikes at the heart of the Israeli regime’s murderous identity, South Africa formally accused the entity of committing genocide against Palestinians and pleaded Thursday with the United Nations’ top court to order an immediate halt to Israeli military atrocities in Gaza.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan has faced criticism for perceived disinterest in investigating Israel's policies. The ICC, criticized for focusing on non-Western individuals, is urged to address war crimes in Palestine during the recent conflict.

During opening statements at the International Court of Justice, South African lawyers said the latest Gaza war is part of decades of Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

The court “has the benefit of the past 13 weeks of evidence that shows incontrovertibly a pattern of conduct and related intention” that amounts to “a plausible claim of genocidal acts,” South African lawyer Adila Hassim told the judges and audience in a packed room of the Peace Palace in The Hague.

The case is one of the most significant ever heard in an international court, and it goes to the core of one of the world’s most intractable conflicts.

South Africa is seeking preliminary orders to compel Israel to stop its military campaign in Gaza, where at least 23,708 people have died, according to the Health Ministry in the territory.

“Nothing will stop the suffering except an order from this court,” Hassim said.

A decision on South Africa’s request for so-called provisional measures will probably take weeks. The full case is likely to last years.

The case focuses on the core of Israeli identity and the regime's creation as a Zionist state in a colonial act carried out more than a century ago, when on November 2, 1917, Britain's then-foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, wrote a letter addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community, which had a seismic impact on Palestine that is still felt today.

It also evokes issues central to South Africa’s own identity: Its governing party, the African National Congress, has long compared Israel’s policies in Gaza and the West Bank to its own history under the apartheid regime of white minority rule, which restricted most Blacks to “homelands” before ending in 1994.

The two-day hearing concluded Friday as South Africa attempted to widen the case beyond the Israeli war on Gaza.

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