FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Where’s the Accountability for Israeli War Crimes?

by AUDREY BOMSE and JAMES MARC LEAS

Gaza City.

The Palestinian Authority would be “traitors” if they agreed to a condition the UK is seeking to impose in exchange for agreeing to  support Palestine upgrading its membership in the UN. So said Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestine Center for Human Rights (PCHR) at a meeting with lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) in Gaza City today.

The condition is that Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, pledge not to pursue Israeli government and military officials for war crimes at the International Criminal Court. An article in the Guardian yesterday describes the pressure on Abbas to agree to the condition. Sourani said the entire Palestinian public knows that the Palestinian Authority would condemn itself–and that PCHR would make such a public condemnation–if the PA accepted that condition.

The article, “Britain ready to back Palestinian statehood at UN–Mahmoud Abbas pledge not to pursue Israel for war crimes and resumption of peace talks are UK conditions, states, “Whitehall officials said the Palestinians were now being asked to refrain from applying for membership of the International Criminal Court or the International Court of Justice, which could both be used to pursue war crimes charges or other legal claims against Israel.”

The key problem Sourani sees facing Gaza and the West Bank is no accountability for Israeli war crimes. Israeli political and military leaders know that if a tribunal considers the facts and the applicable international law, the tribunal could rule that Israeli conduct is illegal. Thus, the strong efforts to keep out of tribunals and to continue Israel’s ability to engage in military assaults.

The condition that the UK government is seeking to impose on the Palestinian Authority would guarantee the continued impunity and immunity Israeli officials enjoy. The trauma for Palestinians would would be repeated every few years, said Sourani.

What is needed first is for international law to apply to territories ruled by Israel and for those violating international law to be subject to criminal prosecution, according to PCHR.

PCHR is documenting the facts about violations of human rights. All 1.8 million people in Gaza, including PCHR staff, Sourani said, were traumatized by what they lived through during the 8 days of bombing and in conducting the interviews to prepare files for court.

US lawyers Audrey Bomse and James Marc Leas are in Gaza along with a large number of internationals to help bring the human stories of the bombing of Gaza to a wider public. Israeli forces killed 163 people and wounded over 1200 during its 8-day campaign. They also destroyed many private homes and civilian infrastructure, including government buildings in violation of Israel’s responsibilities as occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. All this is happening at a time when the US is supplying many of the weapons used. The NLG calls for an end to US military aid to Israel until the Israeli government complies with international law.

Audrey Bomse and James Marc Leas are co-chairs of the NLG Free Palestine Subcommittee

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
Susan Babbitt
Don’t Raise Liberalism From the Dead (If It is Dead, Which It’s Not)
Uri Avnery
Palestine’s Nelson Mandela
Fred Nagel
It’s “Deep State” Time Again
John Feffer
The Hunger President
Stephen Cooper
Nothing is Fair About Alabama’s “Fair Justice Act”
Jack Swallow
Why Science Should Be Political
Chuck Collins
Congrats, Graduates! Here’s Your Diploma and Debt
Aidan O'Brien
While God Blesses America, Prometheus Protects Syria, Russia and North Korea 
Patrick Hiller
Get Real About Preventing War
David Rosen
Fiction, Fake News and Trump’s Sexual Politics
Evan Jones
Macron of France: Chauncey Gardiner for President!
David Macaray
Adventures in Labor Contract Language
Ron Jacobs
The Music Never Stopped
Kim Scipes
Black Subjugation in America
Sean Stinson
MOAB: More Obama and Bush
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail