Saturday, January 10, 2009

UN human rights chief accuses Israel of war crimes.

International law is very powerful when people like Milosovic or Saddam Hussein are found to have breached it. However, it's simply ignored if the transgressor is George Bush or one of America's allies. It's the ultimate victor's justice as it currently operates, which is why the United Nations' most senior human rights official, Navi Pillay, is very brave to state that he thinks Israel may have committed war crimes during the recent conflict with Hamas, as he will only be dismissed as anti-Semetic, he certainly won't see the perpetrators brought to anything resembling justice.

He has called for "credible, independent and transparent" investigations into possible violations of international law, which we all know - like the proposed investigation into what took place in Jenin - Israel will simply refuse to comply with.

Pillay has singled out an incident this week in Zeitoun, south-east of Gaza City, where up to 30 Palestinians in one house were killed by Israeli shelling.

The IDF apparently evacuated about 100 Palestinians to a house in Zeitoun for their safety, about half of whom were children. The IDF later shelled the house and refused to allow medical teams to enter the area to evacuate the wounded.

Pillay, a former international criminal court judge from South Africa, told the BBC the incident "appears to have all the elements of war crimes".

It was "one of the gravest incidents" since Israel's offensive began two weeks ago, the UN office for the co-ordination of humanitarian affairs said yesterday.

"There is an international obligation on the part of soldiers in their position to protect civilians, not to kill civilians indiscriminately in the first place, and when they do, to make sure that they help the wounded," Pillay told Reuters. "In this particular case these children were helpless and the soldiers were close by," she added.

An Israeli military spokeswoman, Avital Leibovich, said the incident was still being examined. "We don't warn people to go to other buildings, this is not something we do," she said. "We don't know this case, we don't know that we attacked it."

Among the dead were nine members of the Samouni family; a picture of three of the family's children in blood-stained clothing laid on a morgue floor and in front of their grieving father was shown in the Guardian on Tuesday. The father, Wael Samouni, said dozens of people had been sheltering in the house after Israeli troops ordered them and neighbours to stay inside.

"Those who survived, and were able, walked two kilometres to Salah Ed Din road before being transported to the hospital in civilian vehicles," the UN said.

Rescuers from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said they were able to reach the area on Wednesday only after being allowed safe passage by Israel.

The ICRC issued a statement on the incident yesterday, accusing the Israeli military of "unacceptable" delays in allowing medics safe access to injured Gazans.

But no matter what took place here, the very fact that this incident involves an American ally means that no action will ever be taken.

It will be the same as when Olmert dropped cluster bombs into Lebanon during the final days of that conflict, when everyone knew a peace deal was coming, an act which horrified even some commanders in the IDF:
"What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs," the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.

Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets.

In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army used phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by international law. According to their claims, the vast majority of said explosive ordinance was fired in the final 10 days of the war.
Olmert was not even rebuked for that act. So, Pillay is brave to point out these most recent transgressions, but I have no faith that any effective investigation will ever be carried out, and am positive that no-one will ever be punished.

Related Articles:

Massacre of a family seeking sanctuary.


Ron Paul talks great sense by reminding us that Israel actually helped to form Hamas, the group that they now tell us they can't deal with.

Click title for full article.


daveawayfromhome said...

If not supporting Israel, no matter what they do makes me an anti-semite, well, sign me up, I guess. If semitism = war crimes, then we need to be against them.

Kel said...

It really is disgraceful the way that this slur is pointed at anyone who dares to question the actions of the Israeli government, especially as they are currently collectively punishing a group of people who have done nothing wrong. Other than to have the misfortune to have been born Palestinian.