Thursday, January 29, 2009

War Crimes Indictments Sure to Arise from Israel’s war against Gaza.

The Israeli government is making serious preparations to defend itself from war crimes accusations and indictments. As well it must because the other side is working feverishly to prepare them.

As the case of Pinochet, who was indicted in Spain and apprehended in England for crimes committed in Chile, there is no escape from justice aside from never leaving Israel.

In the Gaza offensive three UN schools were bombed. In one case, Palestinian civilians were told to evacuate their neighborhood because it was going to be targeted. The took shelter in a UN compound which was then hit by Israeli shells resulting in 40 deaths and many more injuries.

In another case a UN school was hit by phosphorus bombs. They are made of many pieces of felt soaked in phosphorus which burns in contact with air. When the shells explode in mid air many burning fragments spread over a wide area.These are legal but only in open areas away from civilians. They cause horrible burns which essentially melt flesh they come in contact with.

In both cases large numbers of people were sheltering from combat zones. Israeli authorities insist their troops were responding to fire from the area (the UN insists not). And if they were being fired on, do you take a chance on killing large numbers of civilians in response to a small number of fighters with only small arms? Not if you care about the laws of war, not to mention human life.

Which only brings up the impossibility of fighting insurgents with a conventional army. Which, unless your intention is indeed to kill civilians, shows the utter and absolute futility of Israel’s war against Gaza.

If anything Hamas was strengthened. If anything, Israel’s callous disregard for non-Jewish life was broadcast to the world.

Seventeen mosques were hit, every one, according to Israel, being used to store munitions. Big deal; Hamas can always get more arms. Consider the impression Israel made upon the Muslim world by purposely hitting houses of worship. Imagine the uproar if Hamas were able to target synagogues in return.

Now less than two weeks after it declared a unilateral cease fire, an Israeli soldier was killed on the Israeli side of the Gaza border by a militant group not affiliated with Hamas. Israel’s response? Kill a nearby farmer and bomb smuggling tunnels. As if that will bring peace and security to its country. After 60 years of ignoring the plight of Palestinian refugees it created and 40 years of murderous suppression of those under its control it still hasn’t learned the essential lesson; that is, it’ll never bring peace to its country through force of arms.

Even if Israel magically turned into a country of peace loving pacifists tomorrow, the hatred it has engendered to date is so strong there will always be some who seek revenge. However, once again for the umpteenth time, it will never have peace until it begins to treat the Palestinians respectfully and fairly as equal members of the human race.

Meanwhile, my fervent hope is that the threat of war crimes indictments will somehow affect the upcoming Israeli elections in a positive manner… but I’m not holding my breath. At this point, considering their overwhelming approval of the Gaza attack and their casual acceptance of its terrible cost in Palestinian lives, I can’t imagine the great mass of Israelis caring one whit about what anyone else in the world thinks.

Hopefully there will be indictments and those in power will think twice the next time before undertaking another bloody rampage.

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