Saturday, January 10, 2009

WSJ: "Israel is committing war crimes"

There is an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning saying that Israel is committing war crimes. It is powerful, and I recommend reading the whole piece.

But here is my review and some clips.

It starts by saying that Israel cannot justify this assault on Gaza by claiming self-defense. It goes on to say that Israeli political and military leaders may be liable for war crimes, and while Hamas has also violated the laws of warfare, that fact does not justify Israel’s acts.

The writer of this op-ed, Mr. Bisharat, explains that the UN charter allows the right of a state to self-defense, but Hamas attacks do not rise to the level of an “armed attack” that threatens Israel, and therefore launching a war of aggression is not allowable.

He says that neither side kept the six month truce perfectly, but it was Israel who broke the truce in a major way.

Israel then broke the truce on Nov. 4, raiding the Gaza Strip and killing a Palestinian. Hamas retaliated with rocket fire; Israel then killed five more Palestinians. In the following days, Hamas continued rocket fire -- yet still no Israelis died. Israel cannot claim self-defense against this escalation, because it was provoked by Israel's own violation.

And this is an important part of his argument:

An armed attack that is not justified by self-defense is a war of aggression.

Now, at this point, I have to point out that there was no attack whatsoever from Iraq on the USA, so the US war and occupation of Iraq was also a war of aggression. I am wondering when the Wall Street Journal will have an op-ed about THAT??

But, regardless, this op-ed does a fine job of detailing other aspects of Israel’s recent behavior:

Israel has also failed to adequately discriminate between military and nonmilitary targets. Israel's American-made F-16s and Apache helicopters have destroyed mosques, the education and justice ministries, a university, prisons, courts and police stations. These institutions were part of Gaza's civilian infrastructure. And when nonmilitary institutions are targeted, civilians die. Many killed in the last week were young police recruits with no military roles. Civilian employees in the Hamas-led government deserve the protections of international law like all others. Hamas's ideology -- which employees may or may not share -- is abhorrent, but civilized nations do not kill people merely for what they think.

The author then describes a bit of history about Palestinians and the abuse of human rights that they have been forced to live under, including the latest one – an 18 month siege.

It ends with this:

Israel should be held accountable for its crimes, and the U.S. should stop abetting it with unconditional military and diplomatic support.

Now, if only we could get an op ed in the WSJ that points out the war crimes committed by the USA in the last few years.

And here is a song about Gaza that gives me hope, called Song for Gaza: