Time Israel is punished for Gaza war crimes


AS PALESTINIANS prepare to approach the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors for investigating Israeli war crimes in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rushed to the United States to discuss ways of keeping the spotlight off its actions in Gaza, according to The New York Post.

Netanyahu met a delegation of US lawmakers and requested that the US must use all the tools it has at its disposal to make sure the world knows that war crimes were not committed by Israel.

This is not new as the entire world knows that for decades, the US has always protected Israel by its veto at the UN Security Council. The US, the greatest upholder of human rights and individual freedom, has always looked the other way when it comes to Israeli crimes.

Ramsey Clark, an American lawyer, activist and former public official, once said that the greatest crime since World War II has been US foreign policy.

What has happened in Gaza is the best example of this foreign policy. Instead of condemning, the Israeli crimes, the US officials and media like Joseph Goebbels, kept repeating lies of Israel’s right to defend itself but all their lies fell flat.

From President Obama to Secretary of State John Kerry to the lowest US foreign policy official, all did not mention the right of defenceless people of Gaza whose families, homes, schools, hospitals were wiped out by the Israel bombing.

What Israel has done in Gaza, if it had happened in any other part of the world, the US would have been the first one condemn it, impose sanctions and order punitive military strikes. The irony is that the entire US public relations machinery has been working overtime to defend Israeli crimes.

The US officials have not spoken a single word about the illegal blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza for more than five years, reducing it to world’s biggest open jail.

This illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade in itself constitutes a permanent act of war.

According to the Nuremburg War Crimes Tribunal, this is the supreme crime that contains within itself every other crime, including terrorism.

But Kerry, in his interview to BBC Hard Talk, gave carte blanche to Israel by saying “the United States stands squarely behind Israel’s right to defend itself in those circumstances. Period”.

However when asked about the illegal Gaza blockade, like a seasoned diplomat, he refused to give a clear answer.

The hypocritical US human rights policy can be gauged from the fact that it has two policies – one for Israel and one for others.

But the Gaza war crimes is an open and shut case. One does not need any evidence as in this age of 24/7 television, the entire world witnessed Israeli war crimes in Gaza as it killed more than 2,000 defenceless Palestinians, including 400 children, injured more than 9,000 and made the Gaza residential areas look like Hiroshima.

It’s estimated that it will take 10 years and US$10 billion to rebuild the city.

Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, says for decades, Israel has slaughtered Palestinians with impunity, always protected by the US government and its veto at the UN Security Council.

But the latest bloody assault on Gaza has prompted more open talks about Israeli war crimes — and US complicity.

She says that by sending vast amounts of military aid to Israel, members of the US Congress, President George W Bush, President Barack Obama and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials and commanders in Gaza.

Cohn says an individual can be convicted of a war crime, genocide or a crime against humanity in the International Criminal Court (ICC) if he or she “aids, abets or otherwise assists” in the commission or attempted commission of the crime, “including providing the means for its commission”.

It’s high time that Israel be taken to task for violation of human rights of Palestinians by the United Nations.

The US, which has always come to the rescue of Israel by using its veto power, cannot practice double standards on the issue of human rights.

If it allows Israel to get away with war crimes, then it will lose moral rights to preach others about human rights.

Israel is an illegal occupier of Palestinian lands and the US must recognise this fact. Unless Israel withdraws from Palestinian territories, the Middle East will remain in turmoil.

The US has to respect and acknowledge the Palestinian sovereignty over their land otherwise it will not be seen as an impartial arbitrator.

The Brunei Times/Editorial
Monday, August 11, 2014



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