Sunday, August 3, 2014

Netanyahu needs to be punished for his crimes against humanity

As I stated last week, I have almost stopped watching TV news these days. It is too depressing to watch the cries of Palestinians who have lost their loved ones in a genocidal campaign launched by the rogue state of Israel. Probably by now more than 1800 Palestinians in Gaza have died – almost all civilians. Gaza officials said last week that at least 7,000 Palestinians were wounded. At that time 56 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza clashes including 3 civilians due to Palestinian shelling in Israel.


Thus, 95% of the dead Israelis are from the military – the IDF. So, no matter how the war criminal Netanyahu government tries to hide its war crimes under propaganda barrage, no one is getting fooled. Even some Israeli soldiers and pilots have refused to be part of this mayhem.


Navi Pillay, the United Nations' senior human rights official said on Thursday she believed Israel was deliberately defying international law in its military offensive in Gaza and that world powers should hold it accountable for possible war crimes.


Israel has attacked homes, schools, hospitals, and UN premises in apparent violation of the Geneva Conventions, Pillay said, a week after her Human Rights Council resolved to open a commission of inquiry into Israel's alleged crimes against humanity.


"Therefore I would say that they appear to be defying... deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel," Pillay told a news briefing. "This is why again and again I say we cannot allow impunity; we cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on."

She also criticized the United States, Israel's main ally, for failing to use its influence with the Jewish state to halt the carnage.


"Many of my remarks have been directed to the United States since they are a party with influence over Israel to do much more to stop the killing, to bring the parties to the negotiating table. I've called also for an end to the blockade and an end to the occupation."


Pillay said that she was appalled at Washington consistently voting against resolutions on Israel in the Human Rights Council, General Assembly and Security Council.


"They have not only provided the heavy weaponry which is now being used by Israel in Gaza but they've also provided almost $1 billion in providing the 'Iron Domes' to protect the Israelis from rocket attacks," she said. "But no such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling."


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing international alarm over a rising civilian death toll in Gaza, said on Thursday he would not accept any cease-fire that stopped Israel completing the destruction of militants' infiltration tunnels.


Pillay said that as Israel prosecuted only four Israeli soldiers for its 2008/09 Operation Caste Lead, including one for alleged theft of a credit card, she did not expect it to investigate properly violations committed during its air strikes and ground assault on Gaza, now in its fourth week.


"But international law is clear that where a state is unable or unwilling to carry out investigations and prosecutions, the international (criminal justice) system applies," she said.


Previous UN commissions of inquiry into Israel incursions into Gaza have called for the UN Security Council to refer the situation to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to Pillay, a former UN war crimes judge.


"Accountability and justice cannot be expected to be achieved through (Israeli) domestic proceedings. This is evident from the lack of adequate investigations by Israel and no attempt whatsoever made by the international community to implement the recommendations made by the Gaza fact-finding mission report," Pillay said.


Israel’s massacre of unarmed Palestinians has been condemned throughout the world, even within the USA, which has been the loudest cheerleader for Israel, thanks to its morally bankrupt media and the ‘Amen’ corner within the Capitol Hill. Tens of cities have seen massive rallies against the Israeli extermination campaign in Gaza. Interestingly, many of these events have been organized by Jewish Americans.


In New York City, a group of demonstrators recently blocked traffic by laying down in the streets outside Israel’s Mission to the United Nations. Twenty-six people were arrested after refusing police orders to disperse. The action was organized by the author and scholar Norman Finkelstein. He said, "Well, I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for the past 21 days, morning and night, watching the horror unfold, and I felt I wasn’t doing enough, I wasn’t rising to the occasion, I wasn’t acting commensurate to the horror. So I decide it’s time to do something more, time to go past the computer, remove myself from the computer and get arrested." 


Last Tuesday’s act of civil disobedience came a day after nine Jewish peace activists were arrested protesting the Israeli assault outside the office of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. The group of mostly young activists called themselves "If Not Now, When?" In Seattle, peace activists held a "die-in" outside the headquarters of Boeing, which manufactures weapons supplied to the Israeli military.

Many of the Jewish peace activists carried posters that said, "Jews for Justice in Palestine," "Not in our name."

American Jewish leader Henry Siegman is also very critical of Israeli action. From 1978 to 1994, he served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s "big three" Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project and is a vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories. In his recent interview with Democracy Now, he said, "When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis — and should be a profound crisis in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success." Responding to Israel’s U.S.-backed claim that its assault on Gaza is necessary because no country would tolerate the rocket fire from militants in Gaza, Siegman said: "What undermines this principle is that no country and no people would live the way that Gazans have been made to live. … The question of the morality of Israel’s action depends, in the first instance, on the question, couldn’t Israel be doing something [to prevent] this disaster that is playing out now, in terms of the destruction of human life? Couldn’t they have done something that did not require that cost? And the answer is, sure, they could have ended the occupation."

In this interview Siegman mentioned how Israeli leaders like Ben Gurion had instructed his generals to kill Palestinian civilians in Israel's so-called War of Independence. They were ordered to line the Palestinians up against the wall and shoot them, in order to help to encourage the exodus, that in fact resulted, of 700,000 Palestinians, who were driven out of their homes, and their towns and villages were destroyed. [Ref: Righteous Victims by Benny Morris; My Promised Land by Ari Shavit] From top to bottom, none of the Zionist leaders of the pariah state has been a saint, but were cold-blooded murderers who used every means possible to grab Palestinian land illegally and expand in subsequent campaigns.


Ilan Pappé, a professor of history and the director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter, has also been critical of Israel. He is the author of several books, including most recently, "The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge." He said, "I think Israel in 2014 made a decision that it prefers to be a racist apartheid state and not a democracy." Pappé said, "It still hopes that the United States will license this decision and provide it with the immunity to continue, with the necessary implication of such a policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians wherever they are."

No, Israel does not need to hope. She actually knows that the US Congress is – so to speak - under her skirt. So, she can go on behaving as an apartheid state, and still be rewarded for her crimes against humanity. It is no surprise that while the world condemns her brutality, Israel was replenished with arms and ammunitions in this time again by the Obama Administration. As they say, only in the USA, can one see such a double standard! It says that it is for de-escalation of the war, but goes on to do just the reverse by rewarding the mass murderer with the supplies of weapons needed to finish the job of extermination!


In so doing, as I have repeatedly mentioned, the Obama administration, like his predecessors, have once again shown that it cannot be a trusted mediator between the two parties. Rashid Khalidi, who is Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University’s Department of History and the author of several books, has shown exactly that in his latest work, Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East. In this book, Professor Khalidi draws on his research as a historian, and on his own experience as an adviser to Palestinian negotiators, to argue that far from being an impartial broker, the United States has effectively acted as Israel’s lawyer. 


It is time for the Palestinians to call a spade a spade, and take her case against Israel to the International Criminal Court and let the conscionable people around the world say in unison, enough with Israel, it is time to dump her and punish her leaders for committing unfathomed crimes against humanity. One simply cannot expect an evil beast to be sobered by carrots only.


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