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Israel's War Crimes and "Change we can believe in"

Andrew Hughes | 03.01.2009 10:58 | Anti-militarism | Globalisation | Repression | World

What makes Israel immune to prosecution for crimes that are broadcast live on TV? Millions are bearing witness, millions are protesting in all corners of the world but we are left with the official judgment that Israel is only reacting to threats to its national security.

Once again, Israel is in the midst of murder and wanton destruction in Palestine. Gaza, after being starved of food, shelter, medical supplies and electricity, is again the stage for mass murder, the likes of which would normally elicit cries of protest the world over. However, the warped zeitgeist that currently pollutes reactions to Israeli violence has led to the usual commentaries of moral equivalency. The fact that the Palestinians had abided by the ceasefire agreement since the Fatah Hamas conflict in June 2007, but Israel broke it on November 5th this year is never mentioned in mainstream media. The same selective reporting was dominant during Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 2006 as Israel unleashed carnage and destruction upon a defenseless civilian population.

What makes Israel immune to prosecution for crimes that are broadcast live on TV? Millions are bearing witness, millions are protesting in all corners of the world but we are left with the official judgment that Israel is only reacting to threats to its national security. After turning the Gaza strip in to the world's largest open air prison for 1.4 million souls and bleeding the inmates dry, unleashing a multibillion dollar military onslaught is now officially, in the western media, legitimate self defense. And all because the Palestinian people actually had the temerity to vote for Hamas instead of the Israeli controlled Fatah party. Democracy in action in the "only democracy in the Middle East".

The time for any sympathy for Israel has long since passed. The approval from George Bush, the cowardice of Gordon Brown, Nicholas Sarkozy and "there is only one President" Obama constitute an abrogation of moral law and acquiescence to mass murder. It's no big surprise from the first three in the list but Obama's "no comment" on this matter compared to his endless hours of speeches on his new vision for America, bodes ill for the universally expected "Change". The U.S. has paid Israel over $1 Trillion since its inception and, by continuing to support this apartheid regime, is complicit in Israel's crimes. The latter charge, though morally obvious, is difficult to prove in a court of law but Israel's crimes are not.

Israel signed the Geneva Convention on 7th June, 1951. For the Convention to have any value, Israel must be charged and made to stand trial in The Hague under the following sections.

Article 3 states "that even where there is not a conflict of international character the parties must as a minimum adhere to minimal protections described as: noncombatants, members of armed forces who have laid down their arms, and combatants who are hors de combat (out of the fight) due to wounds, detention, or any other cause shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, with the following prohibitions:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b) Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment

(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples."

(a) Bombing of police stations, schools, ambulances, power plants and hospitals
are designed to murder civilians indiscriminately.

(b) Israel's routine abduction of men, women and children in to Israeli detention camps. The number of such prisoners is 700,000 since 1967.

(c) Israeli soldiers routinely prevent pregnant women from receiving proper hospital treatment resulting in infant mortality, miscarriages and death.

(d) Israel's "targeted killings" of Hamas leaders constitutes murder.

Article 33 states "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

Pillage is prohibited.

Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited."

The unrelenting and merciless collective punishment of the Palestinian people has taken the form of..

(a) Destruction of Palestinian dwellings to make room for illegal settlements

(b) Destruction of Olive groves on Palestinian land and its resultant decimation of livelihoods.

(c) Bombing of a Palestinian power station collectively punished all Gaza inhabitants. Basic sanitation works were severely impacted.

(d) Blockading of medical supplies and food which left Palestinians eating grass for sustenance.

Israel has had resolutions passed against it since 1947 without any real enforcement. The sequence of resolutions below illustrates the complete lack of commitment of the United Nations to force Israel to comply with anything..

Resolution 636: " ... 'deeply regrets' Israeli deportation of Palestinian civilians.

Resolution 641: "... 'Deplores' Israel's continuing deportation of Palestinians.

Resolution 672: "... 'Condemns' Israel for "violence against Palestinians" at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.

Resolution 673: "... 'Deplores' Israel's refusal to cooperate with the United Nations.

Resolution 681: "... 'Deplores' Israel's resumption of the deportation of Palestinians.

Resolution 694: "... 'Deplores' Israel's deportation of Palestinians and calls on it to ensure their safe and immediate return.

Resolution 726: " ... 'strongly condemns' Israel's deportation of Palestinians.

Resolution 799: ". . . 'Strongly condemns' Israel's deportation of 413 Palestinians
and calls for their immediate return.

The proposed resolution to stop the current round of carnage was vetoed by the U.S. right on cue. Once again Israel is given the green light to destroy everything in its path.

If we are to believe in the "change" so vociferously expounded upon then let it start with justice. Justice with regard to Israel has not been served. The new administration has a chance in 2009 to rectify this egregious breach of common decency and to inspire the world with hope. If it continues to morally and financially support this murderous, apartheid regime, how is anyone expected to believe that "change" is really on the horizon?

Andrew Hughes
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