Man in Gaza
A man reacts as Palestinians search for casualties a day after Israeli strikes on houses in Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, 1 November. REUTERS/Mohammed Al-Masri

A top United Nations (UN) official has written a letter accusing the organisation of "failing" in the face of "a genocide unfolding before our eyes" as a parting shot prior to stepping down.

Craig Mokhiber, former Director of the New York Office for the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, has said that the situation in Gaza is a "text-book case of genocide", in a letter written days before his retirement on 1 November.

Referencing his own experience, Mokhiber said: "As someone who has investigated human rights in Palestine since the 1980s, lived in Gaza as a UN human rights advisor in the 1990s, and carried out several human rights missions to the country before and since this is deeply personal to me."

Describing the occupation of the Palestinian Territories and the ongoing situation in Gaza in stark terms, Mokhiber said: "The European ethno-nationalist, settler colonial project in Palestine has entered its final phase, towards the expedited destruction of the last remnants of indigenous Palestinian life in Palestine."

Mokhiber went on to implicate various "governments" and "Western media" in the "horrific attack" on Gaza.

He said: "The governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and much of Europe are wholly complicit in the horrific attack", expanding that "not only are these governments refusing to meet their treaty obligations to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions, but they are in fact actively arming the assault, providing economic and intelligence support, and giving political and diplomatic cover for Israel's atrocities."

Mokhiber, a human rights lawyer by training, excoriated the media over its role in the ongoing bloodshed, saying that the "Western corporate media, increasingly captured and state-adjacent, are in open breach of Article 20 of the ICCPR", referring to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Mokhiber said the media is "continuously dehumanising Palestinians to facilitate the genocide and broadcasting propaganda for war".

Mokhiber, who is American, recalled occasions when the US government and much of the US media "were supporting or justifying South African apartheid, Israeli oppression, and Central American death squads, (yet) the UN was standing for the oppressed people of those lands... but no more".

In a damning indictment, he said that "key parts of the UN have surrendered to the power of the US".

Mokhiber's letter follows the stunning resignation of senior US State Department official, Josh Paul, over what the latter called "shortsighted, destructive, unjust and contradictory" policy decisions by the United States.

Paul was Director of Congressional and Public Affairs at the State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs – a role in which he was responsible for the provision and transfer of arms to US partners and allies.

Paul noted the "many moral compromises" he felt he had made in his eleven years at the State Department, nevertheless saying that the "provision of lethal arms to Israel" led him to conclude that he had "reached the end of that bargain".

Paul did not mince words, saying the "(US) Administration's response... is an impulsive reaction built on confirmation bias, political convenience, intellectual bankruptcy, and bureaucratic inertia".

Speaking to CNN on his resignation, Paul said: "I have never seen a circumstance before in which there is a clear risk of civilian casualties resulting from US arms transfers. And in fact, we are seeing that manifesting on the ground with thousands of Palestinian civilian casualties.

"And yet, no questions asked, not even a debate about whether or not we should provide the arms that are being used to commit those, I believe, human rights violations, but certainly to kill those civilians."

Paul went on to emphasise the failure of US policy in regards to Israel, saying: "I also believe that the policy has not led to peace for Israel or for Palestinians. It has been a dead-end policy but absent the ability to even have a discussion about that before shipping arms, I felt I had to resign."

In response to a question, Paul contrasted past occasions where he oversaw arms transfers to the current situation, saying that in "all of those previous circumstances, there has been extensive debate and discussion within Administrations present and past about what we should do...that has not been the case in the context of Israel in recent weeks".

Paul went on to emphasise that "on the contrary, there has been no debate. There has been a chilling effect with the State Department, I am told by colleagues who remain there, so I think there's clearly a different case here".

He said former colleagues who raise concerns about current policy are simply told: "They can seek emotional counselling or they can give their portfolio to someone else for a while, but do not ask us about the policy."

Meanwhile, Craig Mokhiber spoke to Al-Jazeera about his parting letter, emphasising his belief that a genocide is underway in Gaza: "Usually, the hardest part of proving genocide is destroy in whole or in part a particular group.

"In this case, the intent by Israeli leaders has been so explicitly stated and publicly stated by the Prime Minister, by the President, by senior cabinet ministers, by military leaders, that that is an easy case to make. It's on the public record."