Monday, October 26, 2009

Netanyahu Refuses to Investigate War Crimes.

Netanyahu has set up a small task force, not an inquiry committee, to look into the accusations brought against the IDF in the Goldstone commission.

Netanyahu instructed Justice Minister Ya'akov Ne'eman to coordinate the task force, which will present its recommendations as to Israel's course of action on the Goldstone report and its ramifications.

The team will make recommendations on what should be done in the diplomatic, legal and public relations planes. The prime minister said during the meeting that the establishment of an investigation committee was "not an option."

"IDF soldiers and officers will not be subjected to investigation," he stressed.
An official at the prime minister's office said that there were "differing opinions on what should be done." Barak added that "we sent the fighters on the mission, and they deserve our full support."
This falls well short of what is required by the Goldstone commission, which demanded that Israel begin credible investigations of persons suspected of carrying out war crimes. Instead we have this.
"Israel is prepared to fight against the legitimacy of the Goldstone report. In addition, Israel will act to amend rules of war to adjust them to the battle against terrorists who fight from among civilians," he said.
Instead of looking into the possible war crimes, Netanyahu now seeks to make what Israel did legal in retrospect.

Let's remember how this war came into being.

After Hamas were democratically elected as the representatives of the Palestinian people, Israel began a blockade against the Gaza Strip, with the clear goal of bringing down the people whom the Palestinians had voted for. Israel and the US then started sending arms to Abbas and Fatah with the intention of making Fatah strong enough to militarily defeat Hamas. Not surprisingly, Hamas launched an early attack, leaving Fatah in charge of the West Bank and Hamas controlling the Gaza Strip.

When Hamas offered to extend a ceasefire which existed between it and Israel, on the understanding that the blockade must end, the Israelis refused.

Instead, claiming to be fighting to stop rocket launches into Israeli territory, the Israelis embarked on a mission to defeat Hamas. Of course, these rockets only began dropping into Israel after Israel broke a ceasefire which existed between itself and Hamas.

So, one of the reasons why this war attracted so much international disapprobation, was the feeling that this was never a truly defensive war; it was rather a war which Israel sought in order to bring down the Palestinian people's democratically elected government, because Israel disagreed with the choice which the Palestinians had made.

This is what makes such a mockery of Israel's claims that she was fighting to stop rocket attacks. The rocket attacks had stopped. The ceasefire was working - as even the Israeli governments own website attests - and it was only after Israel launched an attack and refused to agree to continue the ceasefire, that the rocket attacks resumed.

Netanyahu continues to insist that this is about Israel's right to defend itself, but many of us see this as Netanyahu insisting on Israel's right to do as it pleases within the Palestinian territories as long as it can claim that it is doing so to defeat terror. What Netanyahu sees as defence many others saw as simply persecution.
"Finally, the Mission considered whether the series of acts that deprive Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of sustenance, employment, housing, and water, that deny their freedom of movement and right to enter and leave their country, that limit their access [to] a court of law and an effective remedy, could be considered persecution, a crime against humanity."
It's no great surprise that Netanyahu should have chosen this route, but the international community - including even allies such as the United States, Britain and France - have all urged Israel to take these accusations seriously and launch investigations.

Netanyahu has given his response. I don't doubt that he has done so because he assumes that the Obama administration won't dare not to veto this when it comes in front of the Security Council. And, from the noises coming from the Obama team, Netanyahu has probably called that correctly.

Obama can't expect change in Israel's behaviour as long as there is no change in the behaviour of the US when it comes to employing it's veto in the Security Council.

Click here for full article.

No comments: