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Hamas Oct 7 massacre has legal scholars creating new war crime category

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FIRST ON FOX — Israeli scholars and international legal experts have determined a new type of war crime that was committed by the Iranian-backed terror group Hamas during its brutal Oct. 7 attacks on southern Israel: «kinocide,» the deliberate weaponization or destruction of families. 

Eight months after the attack in which more than 1,200 people were murdered and about 250 taken hostage to the Gaza Strip, researchers are piecing together evidence that the Palestinian terror organization perpetrated horrific crimes specifically terrorizing families on kibbutz and other civilian communities in Israel. 

And much of it was captured on film by the terrorists themselves, say those documenting all the evidence.

«We have been building the case of war crimes committed on Oct. 7 and have been exposed to very, very traumatic material, especially against women and children,» Cochav Elkayam Levy, an international law, human rights and gender expert from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told Fox News Digital.

UN FINALLY RECOGNIZES THAT ISRAELI WOMEN WERE RAPED, SEXUALLY ATTACKED BY HAMAS TERRORISTS

This image from undated bodycam video footage taken by a downed Hamas terrorist and released by the Israel Defense Forces shows a Hamas terrorist walking around a residential neighborhood at an undisclosed location in southern Israel on Oct. 7. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

Elkayam Levy, who was interviewed for the first time on this topic, said that going through all the videos filmed by Hamas using go-pro cameras and cellphones, «[T]he hardest crime to document and witness is to see women and children who are the most vulnerable.» 

«The most difficult videos that we have collected in our archives are those of families when terrorists entered their homes, the parents are terrified and the children are screaming,» she said, describing one video clip taken just after the eldest daughter of one of the families has just been murdered by the terrorists and the mother is trying to console her other children by telling them that it did not happen.

«It is truly heartbreaking, and we are seeing only a fraction of what they went through for hours and hours, with some of them then taken hostage,» said Elkayam Levy, who has also been at the forefront of documenting some of the most horrific crimes – including extreme sexual violence – carried out by Hamas on that day.

Kibbutz Re'im

An aerial picture shows the site of the weekend attack on the Supernova desert music festival by Hamas terrorists near Kibbutz Reim in the Negev desert in southern Israel on October 10, 2023.  (Jack Guez/AFP)

After reviewing hours of footage, the law professor told Fox News Digital that she realized there are no appropriate definitions in international law that capture this type of human suffering, meaning the perpetrators cannot be tried for systematically targeting families. 

«We decided to take it upon ourselves to document the unique harm that was caused to families or the weaponization of families,» Elkayam Levy said, adding that her team has also been researching similar atrocities targeting families from conflicts worldwide.

The targeting of families in wartime is not a new phenomenon. In the genocide carried out during the 1994 civil war in Rwanda, extremist elements of the African country’s majority Hutu population targeted families in the minority Tutsi population. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, also in the mid-1990s, families were specifically attacked, and even during the Holocaust in World War II, the Nazis separated families as they sent Jews to labor and concentration camps.

‘I WILL BE HAUNTED FOREVER’: ISRAEL’S HORRIFIC VIDEO OF HAMAS ATROCITIES LEAVES VIEWERS SHOCKED AND SICKENED

Nir Oz bloodied hand

A bloodied handprint stains a wall in a Nir Oz house after Hamas terrorists attacked this kibbutz days earlier near the border of Gaza. (Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

However, what stands out in the Hamas attack, Elkayam Levy pointed out, is that the thousands of terrorists who infiltrated into Israel on Oct. 7 filmed their actions, not only enhancing the psychological terror of their crimes but also providing researchers, like her – and law enforcers – with clear evidence of their actions. 

While many videos from that day were immediately uploaded to social media, with the terrorists even using the victim’s cellphones to broadcast their murders live to relatives, eight months later, new footage continues to surface. 

Last week, Israeli news outlet Keshet 12 News broadcast for the first time an emergency call made by Sharon Aloni Cunio, 36, as terrorists set her family’s home on Kibbutz Nir Oz on fire. In the audio, Aloni Cunio can be heard coughing as she tells the dispatcher that her home is on fire and that the terrorists were outside. The smoke, she says, is suffocating. In the background, one of Aloni Cunio’s 3-year-old twins can be heard screaming: «Mommy, don’t die.»

Hamas terror attacks

Hamas terrorists killed civilians, including women, children and the elderly, when they attacked Israel on Oct. 7.  (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

Aloni Cunio, along with her husband, David, their 3-year-old daughters, Emma and Yuli, as well as her sister, Danielle, and her 6-year-old daughter, Amelia, were all kidnapped by Hamas to Gaza.

Sharon, who turned down a Fox News Digital request for an interview, Danielle and the three children were all released in a weeklong cease-fire last November. Meanwhile, David Cunio remains a hostage along with some 120 other people, many of whom are now assumed to be dead.

Elkayam Levy said that this was just one of a string of similar stories where families specifically were violently attacked by the terrorists in their homes and then either murdered or kidnapped. 

Kibbutz Alumim

Charred debris and objects are scattered inside a building in Alumim, following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel near the Gaza Strip, on October 18, 2023. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

«You have to understand that family members were murdered in front of one another, parents were murdered in front of their children and children were murdered in front of their parents,» she said, «families were separated, and some remain separated with fathers left behind in captivity.» 

«What we are seeing is a new crime against humanity,» Elkayam Levy said, adding, however, that every mass atrocity brings with it a lesson for humanity. 

«Kinocide» – a play on the word «kin,» meaning relative, and ‘ocide,’ referring to genocide or intentional destruction of a people in whole or in part – was coined by Elkayam Levy and her team as they worked through all the evidence from Oct. 7 and noticed a systematic «weaponization of the family unit» by Hamas. 

STORIES OF TORTURE, TORMENT REVEALED BY ISRAELI CHILDREN KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS TERRORISTS

A Palestinian fighter from the armed wing of Hamas takes part in a military parade

A terrorist from Hamas takes part in a military parade to mark the anniversary of the 2014 war with Israel, near the border in the central Gaza Strip on July 19, 2023. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/File Photo)

Now, she has now teamed up with professor Irwin Cotler, the international chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, to find a way for this type of war crime to be recognized in international humanitarian law circles.

In an interview, Cotler, a former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada as well as an expert in international law, told Fox News Digital that three possible steps could be taken in order for «kinocide» to become an officially recognized term, not only as it relates to the Hamas attack but also applicable to any such atrocities anywhere. 

«Firstly, we need to raise public awareness of the notion itself,» he said, noting that as well as writing about it in the media, he plans to raise the matter with other scholars in international humanitarian law at an annual meeting at the Raoul Wallenberg Center, a Canadian NGO, this summer. 

Another step, Cotler said, would be to amend the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court, who’s chief prosecutor recently announced he would be seeking arrest warrants for both Hamas and Israeli leaders for committing war crimes on Oct. 7 and during the ensuing war. 

Hague Netherlands Headquarters

A general view of the International Criminal Court building in The Hague, Netherlands, on April 30, 2024. (Selman Aksunger/Anadolu via Getty Images)

«To amend the Rome Statute would be difficult,» Cotler said. «However, the statute does contain a reference to ‘other inhumane acts,’ and ‘kinocide’ could be included in there; it would not be a new crime but would be recognized within the framework of existing war crimes.»

Incorporating «kinocide» as other inhumane acts, he said would allow the court to prosecute for war crimes that specifically target the family unit. 

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Cotler also said it might be possible to get a country with universal jurisdiction law, such as Canada, to «amend its own statute,» setting a precedent in international law for this type of crime. 

«Certainly, the public awareness goal can be achieved. The other two will depend on the initiative of a national prosecutorial authority and the international prosecutors authority at the ICC,» he said. «There is a general reluctance to do this, but I still think it’s worth trying to bring this about.» 


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INTERNACIONAL

Hezbollah bigger challenge than Hamas to Israel: ‘Crown jewel in the Iranian empire of terror’

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JERUSALEM — With Israel on the verge of a third full-blown war against Hezbollah because of the Lebanese organization’s constant firing of deadly missiles, drones and rockets, the differences and similarities between Hezbollah and Hamas are now under the microscope. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran finances the Mideast terrorist movements Hamas and Hezbollah, who have declared war on Israel and who are also responsible for committing numerous terrorist attacks against American civilians and military service personnel.

Fox News Digital contacted experts for a tale-of-the-tape analysis on Hamas, which is situated in the southern Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah, which is the de facto ruler of the Lebanese state on Israel’s northern border. Israel has fought two wars against Hezbollah, in 1982 and in 2006.

«Hezbollah is the crown jewel in the Iranian empire of terror and evil and is by far the most powerful Iranian proxy equipped with nation state capabilities and even with more firepower than several European militaries have today,» Jonathan Conricus, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former IDF spokesman told Fox News Digital.

HEZBOLLAH TERRORISTS LAUNCH MASSIVE ROCKET ATTACK ON ISRAEL AMID MOUNTING TENSIONS

In this Feb. 13, 2016, file photo, Hezbollah fighters hold flags as they attend the memorial for slain leader Sheik Abbas al-Mousawi, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike in 1992, in Tefahta village, south Lebanon. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)

Despite widespread poverty and economic instability in Iran, the Islamic Republic is also a generous funding source of Hezbollah, providing the Lebanese terrorist organization with over $700 million a year, according to the Israel Defense Forces and the U.S. State Department. Joint military cooperation between Iran’s regime and Hezbollah has been a longstanding feature in Lebanon, Syria and throughout Europe with respect to terrorism and war planning.

«In a military comparison, Hezbollah is far more powerful than Hamas across the board in every military metric. In terms of the amount of rockets they have, the range, the accuracy or the payload or size of the warhead, also in terms of the amount of personnel, armed fighters, their training and their equipment,» Conricus added.

Israeli artillery

Israeli soldiers fire a mobile howitzer in the north of Israel, near the border with Lebanon Jan. 15, 2024.  (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

Hezbollah has amassed a massive arsenal of an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles that are aimed at the Jewish state. The IDF has degraded Hamas’ supply of 20,000 rockets and missiles since the start of the war. However, Hamas was capable of launching eight rockets from the city of Rafah into Israel two weeks ago. Fox News Digital reported last week that Hezbollah launched over 200 missiles, rockets and drones into Israel.

The economics of Hamas and Hezbollah have similarities and differences in the scope of funding and military training from Tehran.  

«Hezbollah and Hamas are both terror organizations funded mainly by Iran. Hezbollah’s loyalty is only to Iran. Hamas is for everyone who helps it,» said Edy Cohen, a Lebanese-born Israeli scholar of Hezbollah.

HEZBOLLAH BOMBARDS ISRAEL WITH ROCKETS, DRONES

Hezbollah terrorists training.

Hezbollah terrorist organization’s Radwan forces in training video. (Memri.org)

Cohen, a researcher at the Eitan, the Israeli Center for Grand Strategy, said «Hamas is under a sea blockage and cannot fly to other countries and cannot receive goods or arms easily. Hezbollah can.»

The number of terrorists fighting for both organizations varies. The IDF has reduced Hamas’ terrorist force by nearly 50% since the start of the war to between 9,000 and 12,000 combatants.

«Under the guidance of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, the group boasts a troop strength of 20,000 to 25,000 full-time fighters, with additional tens of thousands in reserves,» the IDF wrote on its website. «Hezbollah’s elite Radwan Unit is particularly noted for its combat proficiency and strategic importance in conflicts across the region. This particular unit … was established with assistance from Iran’s Quds force.»

Walid Phares, co-president of #EducateAmerica and a professor of Middle East Studies, told Fox News Digital the first principal difference between Hamas and Hezbollah is «Hamas comes from the Muslim Brotherhood organizationally and ideologically, so it is a Sunni extremist group, a chapter of Ikhwan among many chapters in the region.» 

Ikhwan is an Arabic word for the Muslim Brotherhood.

A Palestinian fighter from the armed wing of Hamas takes part in a military parade

A terrorist from Hamas takes part in a military parade to mark the anniversary of the 2014 war with Israel near the border in the central Gaza Strip July 19, 2023. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/File Photo)

He added that «Hezbollah comes from an opposite side. They are Shiites, but Jihadi Shiites, made of Lebanese Shia Islamists who have been recruited (and funded) by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, or the Sepah Pasdaran as early as 1980. They were launched by the Islamic Republic in northern Bekaa that year and marched south all the way to the southern suburb of Beirut and then to the south after Israel started to withdraw.»

ODDS OF ISRAEL-HEZBOLLAH WAR ‘INEVITABLE,’ EXPERTS FEAR: ‘TOTALLY PESSIMISTIC’

Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the IDF Gibor base in Kiryat Shmona, where he was briefed by 769th Brigade Commander Avraham Marciano and Northern Command Home Front coordinator Brig.-Gen. (Res.) Alon Friedman June 5, 2024. (Israeli Government Press Office)

Phares, co-host of the popular «War and Freedom» podcast, said Hamas’ «ultimate goal is to destroy Israel, establish a Taliban-like emirate or state in Palestine, but, more importantly, have that Islamic entity join a new Caliphate across the region. Hamas as such is not a ‘nationalist’ group, but a Pan-Islamist organization.»

In contrast to Hamas, Phrase noted that Hezbollah believes «in exactly the doctrine of the Iranian regime. That is to establish a Khomeinist republic in Lebanon to join the sister Islamic Republic in Iran, and also in Iraq and Yemen, and eventually form a ‘parallel’ Shia Khomeinist (Jihadist) type of Caliphate, known as Imamate, Shia Islamists reject the Sunni Caliphate.» 

Terrorists from Hezbollah train in Lebannon

Hezbollah Radwan forces training in Southern Lebanon near the Israeli border. (AP/Hassan Ammar)

The Islamic revolutionary Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini founded the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, with a mission to export his Shia Islamism across the world.

«So, they are at polar opposites ideologically, how did they come together and what is common between them. What is common is, first, that they both want to destroy the Zionist entity [Israel]. That’s the ultimate joint goal. Then, they both want to bring down all Arab regimes who are with peace or are obstructing their jihad. They are both enemies of America,» Phares said.

Iran military parade

An Iranian military truck carries surface-to-air missiles past a portrait of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a parade on the country’s annual army day April 18, 2018, in Tehran. (Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

The Iranian regime’s financing of both terrorist movements is a crucial factor, according to Mideast experts, in understanding jingoism in the region and the destabilization of the Levant and the Islamic heartland in the Middle East. 

Qatar hosts the Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh, who told the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera network in 2022— two years before Hamas launched its Oct. 7 invasion into southern Israel — that Tehran funnels at least $70 million to Hamas each year.  

«Iran stands at the forefront of supporting the cause and [the] people of Palestine,» Haniyeh said in March.

NETANYAHU SAYS ISRAEL ‘PREPARED FOR VERY INTENSE ACTION’ AGAINST IRAN-BACKED HEZBOLLAH AMID RISING TENSIONS

The intense relations between Hamas and Hezbollah stem from the mid-1990s.

Counterterrorism expert Bruce Hoffman also noted in a June 14 article on the website of the Council of Foreign Relations that «some five hundred Hamas fighters were trained in Iran in preparation for the October 7 attacks, a reflection of Iran’s longstanding support of Hamas.»

Phares explained that Hamas and Hezbollah came together in 1994-1995 when «hundreds of Hamas cadres and leaders were exiled by Israel to south Lebanon. They were hosted by Hezbollah, who linked them up with the regime in Tehran. They were received, funded and armed. They were told the two Jihadisms can work together despite the Sunni and Shia divide. «

Hamas leader Sinwar.

Yahya Sinwar, center, the elected leader of Hamas, appears during a ceremony for fighters killed by Israeli air strikes at Yarmouk football stadium May 24, 2021, in Gaza City, Gaza.  (Laurent Van der Stockt/Getty Images)

He said Hamas embraced the Shia side to the «point that in 2011 they eventually sided with [Syria President Bashar] Assad’s (pro-Khomeinist) regime against Sunni Salafi Jihadi factions. That was a major crisis for Hamas, accused by Sunnis of betraying them. But, eventually, when Assad regained ground in Syria, and the Islamic Regime shifted the fight to Gaza, Hamas regained ‘Jihadi notoriety’ in the region.»

«Strategically speaking, Hezbollah is currently enjoying a situation where it has Israel exactly where it wants it. And Israel has indeed achieved quite a lot of military achievements. But, on the strategic level, Hezbollah is benefiting from an attrition in Israeli capabilities and from a very challenging diplomatic situation,» Conricus, the former IDF spokesman, noted.

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A mural of Hassan Nasrallah with a red background and people cheering in front of it

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks via a video link as his supporters raise their hands during the Shiite holy day of Ashoura in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

«As long as the international community fails to understand the severity and acts with urgency in order to facilitate a diplomatic deal that will return Israeli civilians to their homes safely, the only other option that remains is the military one, which Israel, unfortunately, will have to use in order to implement the responsibility of any government to safeguard the lives of its civilians. I hope that can be avoided, but currently that does not seem to be the case.»

The U.S. has sanctioned both Hamas and Hezbollah as foreign terrorist organizations. The EU has merely sanctioned Hezbollah’s so-called «military wing,» a terrorist entity, while France has blocked the designation of a full terror proscription of Hezbollah. The EU sanctioned Hamas as a terrorist organization in 2003.


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