on israeli war crimes

War Crimes. “Article 51 of the first additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions … outlaws attacks that ‘may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life’ which would be ‘excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage'” (The Economist, July 29, p.44). That would describe actions that have “cost 10 times as many Lebanese lives as Israeli ones and ravaged the country” (The Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 10, p.1). Lebanon’s acting foreign minister, Tarek Mitri, made a telling argument to the UN: “We have heard ad nauseam that in war mistakes are committed. When mistakes become a pattern of behavior they then deserve another word; they qualify as crimes” (The New York Times, Aug. 1, p.1).

Mitri was attempting to revive a high-profile statement by the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, former Canadian Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour: “The scale of killings in the region, and their predictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in position of command and control.” She was supported by the International Red Cross, which stated, “Israel violated the principle of proportionality provided for in the Conventions and their protocols” (The New York Times, July 20, p.11).

After those statements, a clearly marked UN post well known to all – it’s been there for 57 years – was blasted to hell by the Israelis, with four UN deaths. Broadcast news covered this as another “mistake”; print news was more specific. “No Hezbollah activity was reported in the area,” and while the UN “protested for 6 hours,” the site was “subjected to 21 strikes, 11 of them aerial bombardments and at least 6 artillery rounds” (The New York Times, July 27, p.14). That’s no mistake. In addition, after Ms. Arbour’s statement, UN observers were subjected to “145 ‘close firings’ … with several patrol bases taking direct hits” (The New York Times, July 27, p.14). “Although [UN observers are] in constant contact with the Israeli military, informing them of the movement of their convoys, they have not been spared from the onslaught” (The Christian Science Monitor, July 20, p.6).

The United Nations got the message. If it didn’t want unarmed UN observers to die, best shut up about Israeli war crimes. It shut up. I’ve seen no further official UN charges. As for the International Red Cross, every news outlet has reported clearly marked ambulances blown off the roads. The Red Cross, too, has gone mum. But some brave souls are still talking. An eyewitness study by Human Rights Watch observer Peter Bouckaert concluded, “In many of these [Israeli] strikes there is no military objective anywhere in the vicinity. Day after day we are documenting these strikes where they clearly hit civilian targets” (The New York Times, Aug. 3, p.10).

from Michael Ventura‘s Middle East notebook, kind of a must read column.

No Responses to “on israeli war crimes”

  1.   d3vo
    August 23rd, 2006 | 10:16 pm

    The Israeli dog is at the end of its chain, exactly where it’s masters want it.

    What kind of person trains and owns an aggressive dog? An aggresive soul who harbours deeper anger than they can show the world.

  2.   Pearce
    August 24th, 2006 | 10:11 am

    Or someone who has something to hide and who uses the dog to protect it.

  3. August 27th, 2006 | 8:34 am

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