Opinion from the desk of the Editor
It appears that the hostilities are silent, at least for now….Israel is pulling its troops back across the border but they will be close at hand in case they are needed……and now a serious batch of finger pointing will begin.
The trending thing is that Israel should face a legal challenge for war crimes. There will be lots of justification and innuendo thrown at each side…..what do we know for sure? The was a conflict what the media called a war filled with death, destruction and injuries…..most of which was inflicted on the Palestinian people….so should Israel face war crimes charges will be debated in the coming days.
The story so far…….
Newser) – Israel’s attack on Gaza—which has reportedly killed more than 1,500 civilians—was indeed a war crime that flagrantly violated rules of international law, writes Manal Tellawi at Salon. Three of his main arguments:
- While Article 51 of the UN Charter allows for self-defense, Israel can’t make that case regarding an occupied territory. Israel’s supporters say the country doesn’t occupy Gaza—it pulled out 8,000 settlers in 2005—but Tellawi notes that Israel “maintains control over its borders, water sources, electricity, [and] population registry.”
- A protocol of International Humanitarian Law states that a military can only fire on military targets, or occasionally civilian establishments being used by the military. “In violation of this article,” Israel has attacked churches, mosques, homes, and residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, “one of the most densely populated places on Earth.”
- As per a Geneva Convention protocol, warnings to civilians “must be clear, credible and allow [a] reasonable amount of time,” writes Tellawi, but witnesses to one Gaza attack say people who fled were at times arrested or blocked by IDF tanks.
Among those who disagree are Israel’s former UN ambassador Dore Gold, who argues in the LA Times that the Shajaiya neighborhood targeted by the IDF is full of underground bunkers and tunnels that “allow Hamas to cross under the border fence and penetrate Israeli territory to carry out attacks on civilians.” Meanwhile, human-rights defenders are gathering information in Gaza for a possible war-crimes case at the International Criminal Court—but the US and Israel will oppose such a move, and the AP notes that if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas makes the case, he could “expose Hamas … to the same charges.”
But first, just what constitutes a war crime? according to the International Criminal Court (ICC)………
“War crimes” include grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict and in conflicts “not of an international character” listed in the Rome Statute, when they are committed as part of a plan or policy or on a large scale. These prohibited acts include:
mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
taking of hostages;
intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population;
intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historical monuments or hospitals;
rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy or any other form of sexual violence;
conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities.
Now that we have an official definition the question should be did Israel violate any of the conditions that constitute a war crime?
In my opinion Israel was violated at least 4 of the conditions……murder, cruel punishment, attacking civilians, attacking public buildings such as schools, hospitals, churches, colleges…….now we have to see what justification they can offer……I am sure they will use the “just defending ourselves” defense.
The question now is where would Palestinians go to air their grievances?
The most logical would be the United Nations…..but that would be a waste of time….why? The US has veto power and they will NEVER do anything to jeopardize losing their pimp, Israel. The Palestinians although have official recognition will get NO justice from the organization that the US has veto power……however the Palestinians need to work with the countries that are showing support in this time of need…..involve these countries in every aspect of the rebuilding….the more capitalists they have helping the more it will deter Israel on any future incursions.
The most useful place to take on Israel for the Palestinians is the International Criminal Court (ICC)……..the US cannot run rough shod over the proceedings and since they cannot then the Palestinians may have a 50-50 chance of a conviction.
My suggestion to the Palestinians is to document everything and then contact your evidence to the ICC and let the chips fall where they may. But be prepared for a Western push back in favor of Israel….not because Israel is considered right but rather because of a recent past event…….Israel defenders argue that the war crimes issue is rife with subjectivity and politics, and that if the standard were applied consistently, Western countries like the United States and Britain would be called to task for their actions in Iraq and elsewhere that also resulted quite predictably in loss of civilian life.
Personally, I would like to see Israel held responsible for war crimes………..I fear that little will come out of this hearing other than some PR successes…….in other words……….Palestine is screwed….as usual.