on war crimes in gaza

british visa application
british visa application

so i spent the past hour helping a friend in gaza with his visa application to speak in the united kingdom. most of the questions were typical about family, employment, etc. but then i got to this page in which it asked things like have you “ever been involved in, or suspected of involvement in, war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide?” the same with the following two questions about terrorism. so i have a question: does that mean that ehud barak is no longer allowed to go to the united kingdom?

barak-war-criminal

because barak is a wanted man. as are his partners in crime tzipi livni, ehud olmert, you know the list. i’ve written about them regularly. i have reported their crimes daily. and i love it that the israeli terrorists are worried right now. they are trying to protect their terrorists masquerading as soldiers (and making them look even more guilty):

Israel will give legal protection to soldiers who fought in the three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip, Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, has said.

“The commanders and soldiers sent to Gaza need to know that they are completely safe from different tribunals and Israel will help and protect them,” he said on Sunday.

anita rice wrote for al jazeera about the different options of trying these war criminals in an international court of law:

There are four main options open to states, groups or individuals seeking to launch legal proceedings against suspects should investigators find war crimes have been committed during the 22-day assault on the Strip, Ellis says.

All four routes are fraught with complexities, particularly in relation to the Gaza conflict.

First, individual war crime cases would ordinarily be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“The ICC simply doesn’t have jurisdiction over this conflict,” says Ellis, “because Israel has not signed up to the Rome Statute [that enshrined the ICC].”

As the ICC requires states to adopt the court’s jurisdiction, it is unable to bring any actions against non-signatories itself, unless the UN Security Council votes to refer specific cases for potential prosecution.

While that happened when ICC prosecutors accused Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan – another non-signatory state – of committing war crimes in Darfur, it is unlikely to occur in relation to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Gaza is not formally recognised as a state by the UN and “the US, and perhaps other [security council] member states, would veto any resolution that would ask for the ICC to investigate Israel,” says Ellis.

“The ICC option is effectively closed.”

The second route would be for the UN General Assembly to request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also based in The Hague, on the legality of specific actions taken by states.

However, the ICJ has no enforcement powers, as was witnessed by its inability to act following its ruling that Israel’s construction of a separation barrier breached aspects of international law.

The ICJ requested Israel rectify elements of the construction, which Tel Aviv ignored – something any state can choose to do, Ellis notes.

The third option involves states trying their own citizens or soldiers for war crimes – a requirement under the Geneva Conventions.

“That’s unlikely to happen on both sides, but that is still a responsibility of the state, body, or entity that’s responsible for, or has authority over, the individuals who have committed these crimes,” says Ellis.

Finally, Ellis points to a legal concept referred to as “universal jurisdiction”, where any state can choose to launch legal proceedings against any person, anywhere in the world, who is suspected of committing crimes such as genocide, torture, and other grave breaches of international law.

But states have already proven themselves reluctant to take responsibility for holding individuals to account for crimes committed in other countries and Ellis believes it is “highly unlikely that a third party is going to step up and bring actions against Israeli or Palestinian individuals”.

Despite this, lawyers across the globe, and particularly in the Arab world, are seeking ways to take legal action in relation to events they believe constitute war crimes.

but the evidence is mounting. now the israeli terrorists are admitting they used white phosphorous (though to be clear either way they committed war crimes. they exist in a perpetual state of committing war crimes):

After weeks of denying that it used white phosphorus in the heavily populated Gaza Strip, Israel finally admitted yesterday that the weapon was deployed in its offensive.

The army’s use of white phosphorus – which makes a distinctive shellburst of dozens of smoke trails – was reported first by The Times on January 5, when it was strenuously denied by the army. Now, in the face of mounting evidence and international outcry, Israel has been forced to backtrack on that initial denial. “Yes, phosphorus was used but not in any illegal manner,” Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told The Times. “Some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is holding an investigation concerning one specific incident.”

and the list of people naming these war crimes is increasing every day:

Never before in the 60-year-old history of Israel has it been the subject of such intense and vigorous condemnation for what it has been doing since coming into existence: genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. While most critics point an accusing finger at its “war crimes” alone, some, like ex-judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Fouad Riad, have the courage to brush diplomatic language aside and call things by their name.

“What Israel did in Gaza is genocide,” Riad tells Al-Ahram Weekly. It “deliberately killed Palestinian children” with the aim of exterminating the population, he says.

Riad served on the ICTY in The Hague for seven years. In February 2001, Riad and others judged that the 1995 Srebrenica massacre committed in the former Yugoslavia was “genocide”. Nothing in the language of international law matches the magnitude of genocide, which is considered the “crime of crimes”. It is the most extreme consequence of racial discrimination and ethnic hatred.

i spoke with caoimhe today who is in gaza. she told me such horrible stories, one after another. many of them you will find in an amnesty international report in the near future. but there were many stories from all parts of gaza in which palestinians were holding white flags and israeli terrorists came up to them and shot them anyway. or israeli terrorists who came up to families and asked parents to choose which child they would shoot. this is NORMAL behavior. this is how israeli terrorists behave. here is a lovely video montage of some of their war crimes in gaza that shows once again how callous and evil israeli terrorists are:

and here is an al jazeera report by zeina awad documenting the situation of the homeless palestinians in gaza. people who cannot even stay in the united nations schools because schools have started again:

samera esmeir wrote in al-ahram this week a brilliant piece called “the horrors of israel’s peace.” she sums up the situation beautifully:

There are at least two lessons to be gleaned from the war on Gaza. The first is to consider how both war-making and unilateral ceasefires constitute strategies for the extension of Israel’s power over the Palestinian population in Gaza, as well as for the transformation of that population. Israel unilaterally demands peaceful co- existence with the Palestinians who must resign themselves to imprisonment, or otherwise threatens them with — and practices — the destruction of their lives. The Palestinians have two “choices” in the Israeli script: obedience or annihilation. Obedience is not an alternative to destruction, but another way that a population can be deadened within life. It entails remaking the Palestinians of Gaza into a needy recipient of humanitarian aid, thus docile and dependent. Worse, this humanitarian aid is more often denied than granted. Israel, in other words, demands that Gazans learn to live in their territorial prison for decades to come, while remaining under Israeli occupation and revealing no sign, in the form of a missile or otherwise, of their deprived existence in this world. Instead, they are commanded to remain statistics in international humanitarian agency reports, as well as stories feeding compassionate journalists. Such is the meaning of the initial Israeli and Egyptian proposals to establish a ” hudna “, or truce, (meaning no Palestinian resistance) with Hamas for 15 to 30 years. A great scenario for two states in a state of war, but far from a just one when one state is occupying the land of the other party. Hamas’s proposal for a one-year hudna was, in some sense, an attempt to avoid the equally disastrous options of obedience or annihilation.

rami posted a translation of an article by palestinian poet ‘ezzeddeen manasira in al hayat:

Once, after I returned from the International Poetry Festival in Holland in 2003, after I avoided a trap laid by the organizers to get me to share a platform with an Israeli poet, I got a phone call from the late Mahmoud Darwish from his house in Amman, asking me about the noise that had been raised in the Dutch newspapers about this matter. After telling him what had happened, I asked him: “Mahmoud, you know that I am personally opposed to dialogue with them, and I want you to answer frankly: do you believe that dialogue with them is useful for our common cause?” He answered literally: “You know that I was forced to talk to them, because of my special case. I am personally against the visit of Arab intellectuals to Israel because I am against gratuitous normalization. The outcome of dialogue with them was depressing, they are all racists and liars.”

In 2003, I told the director of the International Poetry Festival in Holland: When Nazi Germany was occupying your country, would you have agreed to share an open platform with an intellectual of the occupation? She answered: Of course not! I told her that I was ready to appear with a Jewish poet who supports my cause. She told me that she fully understood me. Those who did not understand my position were Arab poets who did not tell the truth when they came back to their newspapers. This is when I sadly realized that many Arab poets understood the condition of the Palestinians, but that they felt it was in their interest to show that they did not, in order not to lose the invitations to the European festivals.

And here I say: What was before the massacre does not resemble what is after the massacre. No Arab intellectual can visit (Israel) with a with a political or intellectual cover by the Palestinians, because the “democratic oasis” in the Middle East has proven to be a lie and a fake, and because Occupation is the opposite of Democracy, and because there cannot be any dialogue with Israeli intellectuals because they are against true modernity.”

manasira is eloquent. is brilliant. normalization = death.

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