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BADIL releases its latest research paper: Forced Displacement and Transfer as an Act of Genocide in the Gaza Strip
BADIL releases its latest research paper: Forced Displacement and Transfer as an Act of Genocide in the Gaza Strip



Forcible transfer, defined as a war crime by the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV), is one of the primary pillars of the Israeli regime, alongside colonization and apartheid. Israel’s existence as a colonial-apartheid regime necessitates the forcible transfer, destruction, and erasure of the Palestinian people, followed by its replacement by the colonizer. 

The use of forcible population transfer and forced displacement as a vehicle of genocide has been explicitly apparent in the conduct and expressed intent of Israel in the Gaza Strip. Indeed, from the very early hours of 7 October 2023, Israeli politicians, representatives, and military personnel alike, have made blatantly clear what their intention is: to eradicate the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s ongoing destruction of homes, infrastructure, and the healthcare system, along with its attacks on shelters and aid distribution convoys will have enduring consequences, contributing to the slow death of Palestinians in Gaza for years to come. These genocidal conditions have been imposed for over 7 months, however, even in the event of a ceasefire, IDPs are set to experience lack of shelter, food, and proper sanitation long-term. As a result, United Nations (UN) officials and international experts have issued warnings  since October 2023 of impending genocide being carried out in the Gaza Strip

This paper makes the case that Israel, through its actions and intent, is committing genocide against the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip via its policy of forced displacement and population transfer and the subsequent conditions of life it brings about that result in the destruction of the group. First, it establishes the general legal framework on forced displacement and transfer under international law. Then, it delves into the legal framework and international criminal law’s jurisprudence on forced displacement and population transfer as an act of genocide. By studying the actus reus (acts) and mens rea (intent) elements of genocide, the paper lays out the legal foundations and precedents around establishing this policy as an act of genocide under Article 2(c) of the Genocide Convention. 

The paper then provides an overview of the situation in the Gaza Strip, highlighting the already dire and vulnerable situation Palestinians have been exposed to prior to the genocide. Finally, the paper proves that Israel is utilizing forced displacement and population transfer as a component of genocide, demonstrating the illegality of Israeli evacuation orders, and establishing the mens rea element around the direct targeting of displaced Palestinians, as well as the actus reus element by analyzing the various acts accompanying the mass forced displacement of the Palestinians in Gaza. Finally, the paper underpins the severity of this genocidal act given the vulnerability of the group, the nature of the imposed conditions, and the duration of exposure. The information provided in this edition of the paper is as of late April 2024.