Israeli and Palestinian representatives at the United Nations exchanged accusations of “genocide” on Monday regarding the ongoing war in Gaza, with both sides calling for an international response.

Israeli and Palestinian representatives at the United Nations traded accusations of “genocide” on Monday over the war raging in Gaza, with both sides demanding an international response.

Israel’s war against Hamas was repeatedly mentioned during an event at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva ahead of the 75th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

“The attacks by Hamas on October 7 were motivated by a genocidal ideology,” Yeela Cytrin, a legal advisor at the Israeli mission in Geneva, told the diplomats gathered at the UN’s European headquarters.

Meanwhile, Palestinian representative Dima Asfour insisted to the council that the “man-made catastrophe” resulting from Israel’s massive bombing campaign and ground offensive was “a textbook case of genocide.”

The genocide convention, signed on December 9, 1948, was the first human rights treaty in the history of the UN, adopted even before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It was adopted after World War II, highlighting the horrors of the Holocaust and emphasizing humanity’s obligation to prevent and punish all such genocidal acts.

Iran’s representative said that it was Israel which was carrying out a “horrifying genocide” against Palestinians, while other Muslim countries accused Israeli officials of “incitement” to genocide.

Asfour stressed that under the genocide convention, “early warning to genocide must compel us to act.”

Khalil Wakim, with AFP