Wednesday, September 16, 2009

UN Gaza report accuses Israel and Hamas of war crimes.

A United Nations investigation into Israel's assault on Gaza has found that it was "a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population", for which some Israelis should face "individual criminal responsibility".

The inquiry, led by the former South African judge Richard Goldstone, concluded that both the Israeli military and Hamas committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the three-week conflict, but singled out Israel and its policy towards the Palestinians of Gaza for the most serious condemnation. The inquiry rejected Israel's argument that the war was a response to Palestinian rocket fire and therefore an act of self-defence.

In a 575-page report (pdf), released tonight, the inquiry said Israel should be required to investigate the allegations raised and if it fails to do so the case should be passed to the prosecutor of the international criminal court. It accused Israel of "grave breaches" of the fourth Geneva convention and of a war crime for using Palestinians as human shields during the fighting.

The Israelis have predictably said that the UN is biased against them, ignoring the fact that Goldstone, the judge in charge of the investigation, is both Jewish and a person with strong ties to Israel.

Goldstone has belittled Israel's objections:
He rejected any suggestion of bias: "To accuse me of being anti-Israel is ridiculous." He said it was in the interests of both Israel and the Palestinians for the truth to be established.

"There should be no impunity for international crimes that are committed," he said. "It's very important that justice should be done."
Of course, what makes the Israeli objections so ludicrous is that we all remember this attack. We all remember the disproportionate use of force and the way that the international community united in condemnation of it.

We all remember incidents like this one:

It studied the deaths of 22 members of the Samouni family who, following instructions from Israeli soldiers, were sheltering in a house in Zeitoun, east of Gaza City. The house was then hit by Israeli fire. The killings were a grave breach of the fourth Geneva convention, the inquiry said.

It found seven incidents in which civilians were shot while leaving their homes, waving white flags and sometimes following instructions from Israeli soldiers.A "direct and intentional attack" on the al-Quds hospital, in the south of Gaza City, which left the building seriously damaged and forced the evacuation of patients, may amount to a war crime./

It will be interesting to see how much room Obama chooses to give Israel at this time.

After all, he has made it perfectly clear that he wishes the building of illegal settlements to stop and Netanyahu has treated him with contempt.

Normally, in this kind of situation, it is the fact that the US will offer Israel unconditional support which means that Israel can ignore trifles such as international law. I wonder if Obama will feel as duty bound to do continue this practice whilst the Likud party treat his policies towards Israel with such open contempt.

After all, Obama has promised to return the United States to being "a country of laws". I wonder if that includes international law?

For, if it does, surely Obama will now insist that Israel investigate the charges which Goldstone has laid out; and, if not, pass this evidence to the international criminal court.

I don't believe for a second that Obama will do so. If he can forgive the Bush regime's war crimes I don't imagine he is going to use any political capital pursuing the war crimes of the Israelis.

But, when it comes to Netanyahu and the illegal settlements, Obama has been handed a powerful card. It's now a question of whether or not Obama wishes to play it.

Click title for full article.


Anonymous said...

It is taken for granted that the Obama Government will not seek to protect alleged war criminals.

Israel today stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Using civilians as human shields to terrorize the population, being one such horrific allegation.

The U N Human Rights Commission report today recommends that the Security Council take this matter before the International Criminal Court.

It is taken for granted that the Obama Government will not seek to protect alleged war criminals by allowing LOBBY GROUPS to exert pressure on it to use its VETO to frustrate international justice, the rule of law and democracy.

That would be condoning war crimes, an act from which no Western government could completely recover.

Obama is not likely to take America back 50 years. This is the 21st century and neocons and neozionists are minority groups that may be tolerated but must not be allowed disproportionate influence over the majority, either in the House of Representatives or in society as a whole.

Kel said...

It is taken for granted that the Obama Government will not seek to protect alleged war criminals.

I don't take that for granted at all. The US has a long history of making exceptions for Israel when it comes to international law.

That would be condoning war crimes, an act from which no Western government could completely recover.

Obama is currently ignoring the war crimes which both Bush and Cheney are on public record admitting, so why would he pay any special price for ignoring these latest war crimes?

Don't get me wrong, I agree with the principles which you are demanding be upheld, I am just cynical that they ever will be.

primerica insurance said...

In my opinion this matter should be judged by the International Criminal Court without the USA trying to meddle into this, so that Israel can obtain suitable punishment for the war crimes and the violation of human rights during this conflict, despite objecting the UN report being biased, one-sided and in "a better" case alleging that the whole conflict was based on the self-defence. I mean - PLEASE! - no one, not even Obama, can justify these lies. Lorne

Kel said...


I am with you 100%. Maybe Obama will stun me and allow these charges to go ahead. I seriously doubt it though, as most of the US Senate would instantly label him an anti-Semite.

I am with you. I think international law should apply equally to everyone. Unfortunately, the US system appears to be designed to make that utterly impossible.

Certain US politicians show more concern for the citizens of Israel than they did for the victims of Katrina.

To a non-American like myself, that fact is almost impossible to comprehend. Not only that they do it, but that they get away with it.

life insurance broker Toronto said...

thanks for your support. Lorne