Genocide has a very specific definition, which has become muddied in the waters of the Gaza conflict. The best illustration of why this conflict does not meet the legal standards of a genocide was provided by the Jan. 26 International Court of Justice ruling in the case South Africa brought against the government of Israel. In that ruling, they were careful to *not* rule that Israel is committing genocide. Indeed, while the court expressed concern that some of the acts alleged by South Africa (who filed the suit) taken by Israel, “appear to be capable of falling within the provisions of the Genocide Convention,” the ICJ didn’t even go as far as to order a ceasefire. The ICJ abides by the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948 and the definition of the term therein. Here’s that definition as laid out in Article II of the Convention:

“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

a. Killing members of the group;

b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

And while it could be argued that the Gaza war meets the conditions of a and b, what it’s missing — on the side of the Israeli Defense Forces — is “intent.” The intent, stated and acted upon by the IDF, is to destroy Hamas — a terrorist organization — and retrieve the hostages still in Hamas captivity. Israel’s intent isn’t to kill Palestinians en masse. 

Clearly, this is a goal that is purposefully confounded by the last 20 years of Hamas’ singular focus on building an internal terror apparatus consisting of hundreds of miles of tunnels beneath civilian population centers — most notably schools, hospitals and mosques — and its ongoing criminal application of using such locations as launch points for their attacks

Simultaneously, there are other issues at play that have fueled public sentiment here in the West and created a maelstrom of misunderstanding as well as both righteous and unfounded anger. For the righteous, there is no arguing that the biggest victims in terms of the number of casualties are Palestinians, and likely the largest demographic therein is children. As to the actual numbers, that will likely always remain in question. The number of people killed in this conflict has been reported only by the Gaza Health Ministry, which is run by Hamas, and they have never shied away from outright lying about these numbers as well as the cause of death. There is a principle codified in the Quran called “taqiyya.” Taqiyya allows Muslims to commit a sinful act — such as lying — for a pious goal. Hamas and other Islamist terror organizations wield taqiyya as an “ends justify the means” philosophy that they employ in the course of their actions. We all witnessed a perfect example of this approach in regard to the explosion at Al-Alhi Hospital on Oct. 17, 2023. 

Immediately following the explosion, Hamas claimed an IDF missile had targeted the hospital, killing an estimated 500 people — which was the lead story by Qatari-funded Al-Jazeera. Since then, myriad sources have debunked these claims, up to and including Human Rights Watch. These sources agree that it was most likely a rocket fired from Gaza that failed and hit the parking lot outside of the hospital. Additionally, many sources have revised the supposed casualty count down to as low as 200 or fewer.

But, the damage was done, as far as those predisposed to cast Israel as the “evil empire.” This is a microcosm of the full scope of this war, in which with every military objective achieved by the IDF, it suffers another loss in the propaganda fight against the deeply embedded and highly funded propaganda campaign waged by Qatar and Iran.  

And while the ruling Likud party coalition in the Israeli Knesset has basically given up on the idea of a peaceful 2-state solution, they also have understandable reasons for this position — more than a century of consistent terror attacks against Jewish civilians. That’s been the M.O. for so-called resistance to the mere existence of the Jewish state by myriad factions in Palestine. Indeed, the Oct. 7 attack has done more to torpedo that idea than anything in history among the general Israeli populace as well. (Worse, it has bolstered more support for ultra-nationalist right-wingers like Israeli Finance Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, whose own Otzma Yehudit party would like to see 90% of Gaza’s Palestinian population resettled elsewhere.)

So who really is committing genocide?

The Palestinian Authority has what is called “The Martyrs’ Fund,” also referred to as “pay-to-slay.” The fund pays out well over $300 million every year to the families of terrorists who kill Jews and other Israeli citizens and are either killed themselves in the act or incarcerated. The more Jews killed in the attack, the more money they pay out. This is all a matter of public record. And yes, the terrorists involved in the Oct. 7, 2023 attack are beneficiaries of this fund. 

Read the above paragraph again. As the Western Left decries every U.S. dollar of assistance sent to Israel to defend itself, not a single protestor has had a word to say about U.S. funds that the Palestinian Authority channels into this program. Since 1993, U.S. taxpayers have provided more than $7.6 billion to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, responsible for governing the West Bank and Gaza, respectively — and that number has ballooned to more than $600 million annually in recent years. This makes the U.S. their single largest financial supporter. (And the U.S. is Israel’s largest benefactor as well—providing $3.6 billion for Israeli defense in 2023.) And while the Taylor Force Act (introduced by Colorado District 5 House Representative Doug Lamborn) — signed into law by Donald Trump on March 23, 2018; along with the Anti Terrorism Clarification Act of 2018, signed into law on Oct. 3, 2018 — halted assistance to the PA as of Feb. 2019, President Biden renewed foreign aid to the PA in 2021

It’s also important to note that ⅔ of the money the Biden Administration sent to the PA was earmarked for UNRWA, the Palestinian refugee organization that appears to have also had employees who were involved in both the Oct. 7 attack as well as involved in holding Israeli hostages captive subsequently.

And still, pro-Palestinian mobs lob the charge of genocide in only one direction — as well as at random falafel shop owners more than 5,700 miles from Ramallah.

It is the father of Greek tragedy, Aeschylus, who is generally credited with the adage, “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

It’s entirely fair to question any number provided by either side of any war. We should absolutely do that. But why wouldn’t we hold Israel AND Palestine to the same standards we apply to every other entity engaged in war on Earth? No one is denying the imbalance of power that exists between Hamas and the IDF. No one is denying that the loss of non-combatant life is heartbreaking.

Taking their numbers at face value, it’s reasonable to assume that many thousands of non-combatant Palestinians have perished in the Gaza war, and among those, thousands of children. It’s heartbreaking for any human with any hint of compassion in their soul. Yet, only one side literally pays to incentivize the murder of children: the Palestinian Authority.

But while the Western left continues to amplify whatever number Hamas provides, it’s also apparent that the IDF is beating the odds in a profound manner.

Both the United Nations and the Center for Civilians in Conflict cite the same statistics for urban warfare: the average civilian-to-combatant casualty ratio is 9:1. That means out of every 10 people killed, only one of them is a combatant, and the other nine are civilians.

Hamas doesn’t separate their combatant from non-combatant casualty count. They also don’t report how many Palestinians have been killed by Hamas, either intentionally or unintentionally (Hamas rockets fail on a surprisingly frequent basis and end up crashing into Gaza, killing Palestinians), as in the hundreds killed at the Al-Alhi Hospital debacle.

Regardless, even looking at the numbers as reported: Hamas estimates approximately 30,000 Gazans have been killed. The IDF reports that an estimated 12,000 Hamas militants have been killed. 

That’s nearly a 2:1 ratio of non-combatants to combatants. 

Conversely, “In the Iraq War, it is estimated that from 2003-2023 approximately 174,000 civilians were killed vs. 39,900 combatants.” That’s the equivalent of about a 4.5:1 ratio of non-combatants to combatants. It’s clear that the IDF has done more to avoid civilian deaths than even the United States has in the recent past.

(And while we’re at it, you should ask yourself, “Why don’t I know how many Israeli civilians have been killed?” Do the deaths of the Israeli civilians killed on Oct. 7 — or the hundreds killed by Gaza rocket attacks since, including dozens of children — matter less? At what point do you start to care about them? How many dead Jews do you need?)

By any definition, and by any reasonable metric, the term “genocide” only applies to one side of the conflict: Hamas, and by extension of their pay-to-slay doctrine, the PA.