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Kinocide: Hamas targeting of families is a new crime against humanity

"On October 7, Hamas committed atrocities deliberately targeting the family unit, a crime that is not defined in international law but should be."
Cochav Elkayam-Levy, Irwin Cotler
Dr. Cochav Elkayam Levy is a research fellow of the Kogod Research Center at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. She is the founder and chair of the Dvora Institute for Gender and Sustainability Studies, as well as the Civil Commission on Oct. 7th Crimes by Hamas against Women and Children, where she was the principal author of the National Report on Gender Mainstreaming in Times of Emergencies, a document adopted by the Israeli government

Irwin Cotler

“The brutal abuse of families during Hamas’s October 7th attack compels us to consider a haunting question: Does the weaponization of the family unit constitute a new crime against humanity? It’s imperative to acknowledge the heinous nature of familial abuse as crimes against humanity, drawing parallels with other historical atrocities. The current peak of cruelty in such attacks unequivocally warrants this recognition.

In the early hours of that Saturday morning, which marked the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah when families join together in celebration, horror descended upon southern Israel as Hamas terrorists launched a ruthless and premeditated attack on civilian homes in kibbutz communities, cities, and villages. While families slept in their beds, Hamas unleashed an onslaught of terror, perpetrating unspeakable atrocities.

They violently broke into homes and proceeded to execute people mercilessly. Parents were murdered in front of their children, children in front of their parents. Siblings were torn apart. Children, even infants, were gunned down in their bedrooms. Entire families were slaughtered. Many were burned alive. Hamas committed violent sexual crimes against women, men, and young girls, and tortured family members in front of each other before killing them or abducting them into Gaza.

These heinous acts were not random. Hamas’s modus operandi on October 7th was as calculated as it was cruel; it was a deliberate strategy to exploit the family unit as a weapon of terror. This form of weaponization is as yet undefined in international law, though the atrocities committed on October 7th clearly constitute crimes against humanity, specifically the weaponization of familial bonds for strategic ends. These atrocities require new ways of thinking. For this purpose, we wish to offer to define a new term, “Kinocide,” which aims to reflect this concept. Kinocide describes the deliberate weaponization or destruction of families. It involves a coordinated plan aimed at the devastation of a nation or an ethnic group by targeting families through, among possible methods, mass killings, cruelty, and torture. Like genocide, it does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation but is intended to denote various forms of violence against the family unit, targeting the core of a nation or society.”

Read the full article on Times of Israel here.

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