Will UN try war crimes in Gaza?

Abu Hena

According to AFP, Geneva report, UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay, on Thursday 31 July, slammed Israel’s “deliberate defiance” of international law during the Gaza conflict. “There appears to be deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel,” Pillay told reporters adding that repeated calls to respect the laws of war had gone unheeded during the latest crisis in Gaza and on previous occasions in the Israeli – Palestinian conflicts.

“The same pattern of attacks is occurring now on homes, schools, hospitals, UN premises. None of this appears to me to be accidental,” she said after Israeli shells killed 16 people in a UN school in Jabaliya which was sheltering some 3300 homeless civilians. “It is completely unconscionable that the proportionality and precaution that international law requires is being ignored,” Pillay deplored. She also condemned Israel’s strikes on Gaza’s only power plant as well as water and sewerage systems which plunged the Gaza Strip into ghostly darkness and rendered the remaining 15 hospitals inoperative.
During the week preceding Israel’s brutal attack on Jabaliya the UN Human Rights Council voted a resolution authorizing an inquiry into the Gaza carnage, despite fierce opposition from the United States and the apartheid occupation regime of Israel. Twenty nine members voted in favour of the resolution with 17 abstentions and the United States voted against it as the lone member. “We cannot allow impunity. We cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on. I join the world on condemning the aggression that is taking place in Gaza, and particularly the killing of civilians,”   Pillay, the South African former judge of the ICC declared in clear terms.

Israel knew UN school locations
On the 24th day of the cold- blooded massacre perpetrated by the Israeli occupation hordes, a humanitarian crisis of monstrous proportion forced the UN to appeal for humanitarian aid and assistance to respond to shelter, food, emergency and intensive care units. The UNRWA spokesman in Gaza, Chris Gunness broke down in tears Wednesday, when Al–Jazeera television interviewed him after 16 people were killed by Israeli shelling in a UN shelter. “The rights of Palestinians, even their children, are wholesale denied and it’s appalling,” Gunness said in a voice choked with emotion, before burying his face in his hands and sobbing uncontrollably.
When Gaza’s UN shelters were piled high with corpses of 449 children and 400 women, and another 10,000 civilians were killed and wounded with 65,000 homes and facilities razed to the grounds by ‘indiscriminate ‘Israeli shelling, the United States, ‘the leader of the free world’, allowed Israel to tap a local US arms stockpile to resupply it with grenades and mortar rounds. The munitions were located inside Israel as part of a program called War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel [WRSA-1] which stores munitions for US use that Israel can also access in ‘emergency’ situations.
Condemning the Israeli strike in a UN designated shelter, UN secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, “All available evidence suggested that Israeli artillery was the cause. It was yet another gross violation of humanitarian law,” he said adding that the Israeli Defense Forces had been informed at least 33 times about the location of the UN sites. The UN which had been sheltering over 260,000 people at that point of time in 90 UN schools emailed the Israeli authorities with their exact locations twice a day.

‘US comfortable’: Kerry
While visiting Gaza, Cat Carter of Save the Children, said, “One in four casualties is a child. It’s a horrifying scene. One child dying every hour.” The Israeli’s have turned the Gaza Strip of 1.8 million people into a hell on earth by their blockade,” said British MP Gerald Kauffman. When asked to comment on the Gaza tragedy, Bill Clinton said, “Israel is isolating itself from the world opinion. I hope, there will be a soul- searching.”
It needs a UN judicial court to judge the defence argument advanced by Netanyahu and do justice to the 2000 civilians killed and 10000 wounded and another half a million who lost their homes and livelihood because of brazen Israeli atrocities. John Kerry also praised the Israeli operation calling it a “hell of a pin-pointed operation. US is comfortable with the Israeli action,’ Kerry said. Visiting Gaza after the Israeli carnage Peter Maurer, the Red Cross President said, “I have a deep feeling of shock.”
It is crucial at this stage to note the alarming turn in the rhetoric used by some section of Israelis and Diaspora Jews to justify Israeli savagery in Gaza. A right wing member of Israeli Knesset wanted that civilians in Gaza should be ‘erased’ on the grounds that no one there was innocent. Another member for the Jewish Home Party, called on the Israeli army to destroy the homes of the terrorist ‘snakes’ and to murder their mothers as well, so that they would not be able to bring ‘little snakes’ into the world. Israel occupies 78 percent of the Palestinian land by force, violating UN resolutions 242 and 338 and disregarding world opinion. The remaining 22 percent which comprise Gaza and the West Bank is recognized by the UN as an occupying power due to its complete control of Gaza’s airspace, access to sea and land borders.
The Israeli occupation forces have exterminated 65000 Palestinians since 1930 and expelled million others. They have demolished more than 65000 Palestinian homes and forcibly displaced the inhabitants violating the obligations under the Geneva Convention.

13 centuries of Arab-Jew peace under Muslims
The British colonialists have created Israel to preserve their imperial interests and invented the new Palestine question to make entire Middle East unstable. They along with the Zionists precipitated the new conflict between the Arabs and the Jews. During the Muslim rule which started in 634 and culminated in 1924 with the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, there was no such conflict. Europe and not the Middle East was the home of Anti-Semitism which peaked in the 20th century with the mass murder of the Jews by the German National Socialists.
Contrary to the Shephardic Jews of the Iberian Peninsula, who were socially integrated under the rule of the Muslims, the Jews of central and eastern Europe lived in a society characterized by widespread animosity. It was in the year 1516 that the Jews who were driven out from Spain and Portugal came to Venice. They were allowed to live in the island of ‘Ghetto’. Later on the word ‘Ghetto’ became associated with exclusion and persecution. The Germans indiscriminately bombarded the ghettos when the Jews rose in revolt.
Now the Jews have turned the Gaza Strip and the West Bank into ‘ghettos’ for exclusion, persecution and killings of Palestinian Arabs oblivious of the fact that the glorious culture of the Muslims who ruled the world for 1300 years is not associated with ‘ghettos’. The Israeli Jews want Palestine without the Palestinians and their great weakness lies in the debased Zionists’ moral bankruptcy. It is absurd to say that Palestine which remained under Muslim rule since 634 belongs to the Jews who left the land after the Assyrians and the Babylonians occupied it in the 8th and the 6th centuries B. C. Einstein warned the Jews in Israel long ago about this moral failure if they fail to live in peace with the Arabs.

Rise against Israeli Apartheid regime 
Andrew Exum, a former US army officer and defence department special adviser on ME says: “There are good strategic reasons to avoid using air power and artillery in these conflicts; they tend to be pretty indiscriminate in their effects and make it difficult for the population under fire to figure out what they’re supposed to do to be safe.”
From this it is crystal clear that Israel was committing war crimes by definition, every time it carried out one of the thousands of airstrikes that marked the beginning of the so-called ‘Operation Protective Edge’ that continues to this day. Israel’s 155th howitzer shells, according to experts, have a lethal radius up to 150 meters and causes injury up to 300 meters from its point of impact. Furthermore, such indirect artillery fire [meaning it is fired out of direct sight of the target] has a margin of error of 200 to 300 meters ­ that’s an injury zone of close to half a kilometer from intended ‘precise’ site of impact–in a territory like Gaza that is only few kilometers wide and long.
Time has come for the international community to rise up and declare that Israel cannot continue to be an exception to the rule of international law and human rights. The international community must hold Israel accountable for its actions and treat it like all other countries. It can no longer be allowed to defy the world in the manner Nazi Germany did and enjoy its state of exceptionality to wreck wanton destruction on Palestine and its people.
The Writer is a former Member of Parliament, an author, columnist and activist

Source: Weekly Holiday

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