Thursday, 7 January 2010

One year on, we need progress in Gaza

 From no2genocide

28 Dec 2009, 5:20PM

Every person opposing war crimes should publicly condemn the Israeli wanton destruction and phosphorous attacks at Palestinian civilians in Gaza. It is disgrace to attack those who condemn it and those who did so in this debate should apologise.

The Israeli wanton destruction of neighbourhoods in Gaza was a war crime. Similarly, Israel's use of white phosphorous against Palestinian civilians in Gaza was a war crime and thus Lt. Col. David Benjamin, who is thought to be behind this, is therefore a war crime suspect.

Crimes under international law are defined in treaties and also in customary international law. Violations of fundamental humanitarian rules applicable in all types of conflict entail individual criminal responsibility under customary law. They encompass crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. Other crimes not necessarily committed as a war crime or crime against humanity are torture and enforced disappearance.

I believe Israel is committing each of these crimes.

Those in this discussion who fail to condemn the Israeli siege of Gaza, should be aware that it constitutes collective punishment of a civilian population, which is prohibited in international humanitarian law under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Denying civilians the food, fuel and medicine needed to survive, is a policy amounting to collective punishment. Israeli officials acknowledge that the siege amounts to collective punishment.

Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention places a duty on an occupying power to ensure the food and medical supplies of the population, as well as to permit and facilitate the consignments of humanitarian relief. A deliberate refusal to permit access to these supplies constitutes collective punishment or an illegal reprisal against the civilian population

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Vanunu: our duty to speak up

 From BTBLondon


Re land theft, the land around Beilin was where the Hasmoneans defeated the Greek-Syrian armies over 2,000 years ago, and recently commemorated again in the festival of Chanukah. If arabs don't like the Jews being in that part of the world i understand it, but it's not exactly theft now is it?

If restoration of land rights lost in battle up to  2000 years ago is to be the basis for current legal rights we have some interesting effects.

First of all are the restoration of the whole of the USA (indeed all of the Americas), Australia etc. to the native peoples the Europeans kicked out. Indeed, I suspect there are some people in Powys who would have a claim to my London house after their distant ancestors unfortunate defeat by the Romans.

This is why the Geneva conventions were incorporated into international law to stop this chaos, conventions that Israel breaches every day in the occupied territories and indeed in 48 Israel in the Galilee and elsewhere. Unlike the NPT [Nuclear Proliferation Treaty] Israel cannot opt out of these.

Vanunu was kidnapped, again in breach of national and International law, and imprisoned. On release, oppressive restrictions were placed on him for vindictive not 'security' reasons.

If Israel wants to be treated like a civilised state it needs to start acting like one. Until then refusing to do business or have normal contact with it and its institutions is a requirement for global civil society