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October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘war crimes.’

PLO Calls for War Crimes Investigations

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Maliki has called on foreign governments to investigate their citizens who serve in the IDF for war crimes in Gaza, according to a report in Britain’s The Guardian.

The newspaper reported that Malki, a member of Fatah, the supposedly “moderate” Palestinian movement, has approached the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Canada, South Africa and five Latin American countries on Tuesday, as well as to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In a letter to the 11 heads of state, Maliki said that under international law they are required to investigate their citizen’s alleged violations of international law.

Maliki is a close ally of Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen, tauter by left-wing Israelis as Israel’s great peace partner.

Significantly, Maliki has never called for war crimes trials Arab states and organizations that have abused (and continue to abuse) Palestinians around the Middle East. Since 1948, two generations of Palestinians have been born and raised in Lebanon and Syria, with severely limited employment and residence rights and without citizenship.

Later, in 1991, the government of Kuwait summarily expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, many of whom had lived in that country for decades, when PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat threw his support behind then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who had recently invaded the tiny Gulf state.

Even in Gaza, Maliki and Abu Mazen tacitly accepted Hamas’ violent takeover of Gaza in 2006. Then, PLO offices were ransacked and looted, Fatah members were tortured, summarily executed and thrown off the tops of buildings in Gaza City, but the PLO never suggested charging the Islamist group – and Fatah’s arch rival with war crimes.

The Guardian reported that Maliki’s letter asked the countries to identify their bi-national citizens who serve in the IDF, to investigate and possibly prosecute them.

Israeli troops have “committed war crimes during the repeated assaults on Gaza in the present, as in the past,” Maliki said. “They have engaged in indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. Such actions have caused death and injury to thousands of Palestinian civilians, including children, and massive destruction to civilian properties, in grave breach of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

Abbas to Ask UN to Set Date for Israel Withdrawal to 1949 Armistice Line

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

PLO chairman, Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority unity government head, Mahmoud Abbas is hoping to persuade the United Nations Security Council to ‘forget’ the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords and simply force Israel back to the 1949 Armistice Line.

Abbas reportedly is set to ask the Council to set a date by which Israel will be required to withdraw from Judea, Samaria and nearly half of its capital city, Jerusalem, all of which Israel captured from Jordanian control.

This would include withdrawal from the Old City, handing over the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, all of Judaism’s holiest sites and in short, the territory where a total of more than half a million Jews now reside, and is the cradle of Jewish civilization.

According to Fatah officials who spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday night, Abbas plans to ask the United Nations Security Council to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from all of the territory it acquired during the 1967 Six Day War from Jordan. It’s not clear whether he also intends to include the Golan Heights in his request, since that is not directly relevant to the PA.
Jordan has since relinquished any claims it had on the territories.

If the UN Security Council does not agree to do as Abbas demands, the PA unity government head will ‘take his business elsewhere’ and turn to the International Criminal Court at The Hague,” the source said.

Abbas will attempt to charge Israel with war crimes in the international court — but it’s unlikely that he will succeed. Perhaps the primary reason is the fact that Israel is not a member of the ICC; therefore the court has no jurisdiction over the Jewish State, aside from the fact that Israel is simply not guilty, and has made very sure to document every move it makes in order to defend itself in any court of law.

Moreover, there is ample photographic evidence proving the countless violations of international humanitarian law committed by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and yes, by Fatah-linked terrorists as well — all of whom are members of Abu Mazen’s Palestinian Authority and under his government.

It’s the last act of a desperate man, one who has tried everything else and knows there is nothing left to do. No matter which way he turns, he’s a dead man in Ramallah, and he does not want to live in Israel. A man in this position has nothing left to lose.

Anti-Israel UN Investigator Prof. William Schabas ‘Can’t Say’ If Hamas is Terrorist Entity

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

The man chosen to head the United Nations Human Rights Council’s latest probe into the war in Gaza won’t state clearly whether Hamas is a terror group. Moreoever, he says “some believe Israel ‘gets off easy’ at the UN Security Council.”

International Law Professor William Schabas, appointed to head the UNHRC probe into Operation Protective Edge, also claimed in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 television news anchor Danny Kushmaro Tuesday that past comments he has made on the record, accusing Israel’s government leaders of war crimes were “exaggerated.”

Schabas was questioned about his alleged bias against Israel, which has led the foreign ministry to advise the prime minister not to cooperate with the investigation.

The man selected to investigate Israel’s counter terror operation against Hamas and allied terrorists in Gaza, Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem this summer said a year ago that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would be his choice of a leader to send to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.

Israel’s Channel 2 television news anchor Danny Kushmaro began the interview with a polite, if not cordial tone.

“Good evening Professor Schabas. Shall we say congratulations?”

“Uh… perhaps,” Schabas answered carefully.

Kushmaro then went right for the jugular, asking the UN investigator about his suggestion that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would be his “favorite” world leader to be brought before the International Criminal Court at The Hague to face war crimes charges.

“Not President Assad of Syria, Not Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal – you said, ‘Netanyahu.’ Can you explain why?’ the interviewer asked pointedly.

Schabas looked uncomfortable.

“We were having a discussion about the International Criminal Court,” he said, “and the fact that the International Criminal Court had focused all of its attention on African countries. I had referred to a statement by Archbishop Tutu, where he had said, ‘Tony Blair should be brought before the International Criminal Court to show that it can deal with Western countries as well as with countries from the south, and particularly from Africa.

“And so I said, well, uh, my favorite would be Netanyahu. I was, of course, echoing what was in the Goldstone Report, which is that the International Criminal Court should deal with the conclusions of the Goldstone Report, concluding the possibility that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed during Operation Cast Lead.

“But as you know the International Criminal Court never did address those matters. So that was the context of my comment.”

Finance Minister Yair Lapid quickly pointed out in subsequent comments that the Goldstone Report was compiled during the administration of then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, not Netanyahu.

Schabas has also said he believes that former President Shimon Peres should stand trial before the Court as well.

The interviewer asked him whether he, as a professor of international law, would advise his own client to cooperate with “such an investigation” given what he had just heard.

“I think this is a great exaggeration of some of the statements. I expressed opinions about political leaders in the past. Is there a human being in Israel who’s never expressed political opinions about leaders in Israel? Once someone who sits in a commission or as a judge has to do is to put these things behind them, and start fresh, and this is of course what I intend to do.”

Kushmaro: Do you plan to investigate Hamas crimes as well? Are you really able to investigate a terror organization who threatens its own people?

Schabas: “I cannot tell you what the commission is going to do in terms of interpreting its mandate because I’m only one member and I haven’t had a meeting with the other commissioners. We will have to agree on the interpretation…

George Clooney’s Fiancee Backs Out of UN Kangaroo Commission

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

British-Lebanese human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, aka George Clooney’s fiancee, has turned down the offer to serve on the UN Gaza inquiry kangaroo commission.

Alamuddin claims it is because she is too busy.

In her statement, released by Clooney’s agent, Alamuddin wrote, “I am horrified by the situation in the occupied Gaza Strip, particularly the civilian casualties that have been caused, and strongly believe that there should be an independent investigation and accountability for crimes that have been committed.”

Alamuddin clearly stated, even before any investigation has begun, that she has prejudged the situation and believes that crimes have been committed by Israel.

She also believes that Gaza is occupied, despite the fact Israel uprooted every single Israeli from the Gaza Strip, including the dead from their graves, in 2005.

Not to worry, we’re sure the UN will find someone else to replace her, who also believes that Israel is guilty before examining any evidence.

‘Peace Talks’ in the Works on Anniversary of Gush Katif Expulsion

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Egypt and western leaders are preparing the groundwork for peace talks as Israel reportedly agreed to extend the 72-hour truce with Hamas on Wednesday, the ninth anniversary of the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif in Gaza.

The current ceasefire is supposed to end 8 a.m. Friday.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad have rejected extending the halt in attacks on Israel and showed its muscle, at least in its tongue, but it warned it will renew missile attacks.

The war against Hamas was a follow-up to the so-called Disengagement plan executed today, on the Hebrew calendar, with the ballyhooed promises that removing Jews and the IDF from Gaza would make Hamas safe for Israel.

Nine years and 15,000 rocket and mortar shell attacks later, Israel lost 67 soldiers and civilians and again was cast as the villain for “disproportionate” retaliation against Hamas.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told foreign journalists Wednesday that Israel is maintaining the ceasefire and will not sit idly if it is violated, but the advantage is now in the hands of Hamas, unless it really is so stupid to go back to war on Friday.

Hamas has held the truce and continues to do so, knowing full well that it now has everything to gain as international leaders converge in Egypt, calculate the damage in Gaza, place the blame on Israel for defending itself “disproportionately” and turning Hamas into a legitimate entity that will be peace-loving if only Israel would allow Gaza to open an airport under the supposed supervision of the United Nations and if Israel simply would release more terrorists from jail.

That is a sensible demand by Hamas since once the terrorist organization used United Nations’ UNRWA organization, which has institutionalized desire for millions of Arabs through its “refugee camps” to store rockets. It also has been filmed using U.N. ambulances to transport its fighters, complete with machine guns. The IDF has provided aerial photography of Hamas firing rockets next to UNRWA facilities, including schools.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has stated that “peace talks” should be a direct continuation or the truce.

“Israel has expressed its readiness to extend the truce under its current terms,” and anonymous Israeli official was quoted as saying by the London Independent. Egyptian media also reported the extension.

The ceasefire gives international leaders room in the media to make their pitch for imposing a Western-style peace on Hamas, which does not recognize any existing agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and which categorically calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.

But that is just idle talk, as far as peacemakers are concerned,

“We must spare no effort to turn the current calm into a durable ceasefire that addresses the underlying issues of the conflict,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Ban the General Assembly.

His Middle East peace envoy Robert Serry, a long-time supporter of Hamas told the meeting of the General Assembly from Cairo “It would be cynical and irresponsible if, yet again, the outcome of the talks would lead us to the previous status quo.”

Ban brought out the heartstrings, and said, “The massive death and destruction in Gaza have shocked and shamed the world. The senseless cycle of suffering in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as in Israel, must end.”

UNRWA chipped in by flying U.N. flags at half-mast across the Palestinian Authority in memory of 11 United Nations staffers killed in the war.

Lost in the verbal volume was the recollection that Gaza once upon a time enjoyed a flourishing economy under the “occupation” until Yasser Arafat’s terrorists, murdering Jews under the euphemism of the Palestine Liberation Organization, helped lead the intifada that began in Gaza.

Foreign Journalists Testify to Hamas’ Threats for Honest War Coverage

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Journalists from across the globe who flooded Israel and Gaza to cover the war have testified to the Israeli government that they often suffered violence and that their equipment was damaged by Hamas because they had documented criminal activity by Hamas, such as the launching of rockets from the heart of civilian areas.

The Government Press Office (GPO) has dealt with 705 foreign journalists from over 42 countries who came to cover the war, dubbed by The Jewish Press as the IDF’s Protective Edge campaign against Hamas’ Operation Death Wish.

The number of foreign journalists reporting on the war was more than double the 303 reporters who came to Israel in November 2012 to cover Operation Pillar of Defense.

The GPO said Wednesday it has accumulated testimony by foreign journalists regarding harassment by Hamas activists regarding the carrying out of their assignments. Journalists said that during their coverage of the fighting they received threats and, in several cases, were the victims of violence that included destruction of their equipment

At the onset of the operation, the GPO opened a media and information center in Ashkelon and held weekly tours, briefings and press conferences with Cabinet ministers and government and military officials. Journalists noted that their meeting with Col. (ret.) Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, who briefed them on the challenges of urban and guerrilla warfare, assisted them in understanding the complexity of the current violence.

Reporters also visited and spoke with wounded IDF soldiers at Sheba Medical center at Tel HaShomer as well as with Gaza Arabs who were being treated in Israel.

They toured the IDF field hospital at Erez Crossing, which received and treated approximately 50 wounded Arabs. The number would have been much higher, but Hamas prevented hundreds from arriving and being helped by Jews.

During the tour, the journalists witnessed the violation of the ceasefire by Hamas and heard t explosions in the area. They also observed the scope of the humanitarian assistance, which included medicine, medical equipment, food, clothing and fuel. In the past month, approximately 1,500 trucks with humanitarian aid entered Gaza, belying the libel that Gaza is under Israeli siege.

Despite the international condemnation from governments around the world, newspaper coverage was less anti-Israel than usual, with the obvious exception of The New York Times.

Another major factor in the change in coverage was the work by the staff of the office of the IDF Spokesman. The army learned its lessons from Operation Cast Lead and Pillar of Cloud and filmed dozens of Hamas war crimes violations and provided footage of the IDF warning civilians in Gaza to stay away from areas from which Hamas was shooting rockets and which were to be bombed.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett, both fluent English speakers and communicators in the media, flooded American television programs with precise answers on false allegations by Hamas and international leaders that tried to paint Israel as the villain for defending against rocket attacks and terrorists infiltrations.

The Empty Spaces in Gaza

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Re-posted with permission from The Gatestone Institute

How many times have you heard on television or read in the media that the Gaza Strip is “the most densely populated area in the world”? Repeating this statement, however, does not make it true. There are dense parts of Gaza, especially Gaza City, Beit Hanoun and Khan Younis, but there are far less dense areas in Gaza between these cities. Just look at Google Earth, or this population density map:
619

The fact that these sparsely populated areas exist in the Gaza Strip raise several important moral questions: First, why don’t the media show the relatively open areas of the Gaza Strip? Why do they only show the densely populated cities? There are several possible reasons. There is no fighting going on in the sparsely populated areas, so showing them would be boring. But that’s precisely the point—to show areas from which Hamas could be firing rockets and building tunnels but has chosen not to. Or perhaps the reason the media doesn’t show these areas is that Hamas won’t let them. That too would be a story worth reporting.

Second, why doesn’t Hamas use sparsely populated areas from which to launch its rockets and build its tunnels? Were it to do so, Palestinian civilian casualties would decrease dramatically, but the casualty rate among Hamas terrorists would increase dramatically.

That is precisely why Hamas selects the most densely populated areas from which to fire and dig. The difference between Israel and Hamas is that Israel uses its soldiers to protect its civilians, whereas Hamas uses its civilians to protect its terrorists. That is why most of Israeli casualties have been soldiers and most of Hamas’ casualties have been civilians. The other reason is that Israel builds shelters for its civilians, whereas Hamas builds shelters only for its terrorists, intending that most of the casualties be among its civilian shields.

The law is clear: using civilians as human shields—which the Hamas battle manual mandates—is an absolute war crime. There are no exceptions or matters of degree, especially when there are alternatives. On the other hand, shooting at legitimate military targets, such as rockets and terror tunnels is permitted, unless the number of anticipated civilian casualties is disproportionate to the military importance of the target. This is a matter of degree and judgment, often difficult to calculate in the fog of war. The law is also clear that when a criminal takes a hostage and uses that hostage as a shield from behind whom to fire at civilians or police, and if the police fire back and kill the hostage, it is the criminal and not the policeman who is guilty of murder. So too with Hamas: when it uses human shields and the Israeli military fires back and kills some of the shields, it is Hamas who is responsible for their deaths.

The third moral question is why does the United Nations try to shelter Palestinian civilians right in the middle of the areas from which Hamas is firing? Hamas has decided not to use the less densely populated areas for rocket firing and tunnel digging. For that reason, the United Nations should use these sparsely populated areas as places of refuge. Since the Gaza Strip is relatively small, it would not be difficult to move civilians to these safer areas. They should declare these areas battle free and build temporary shelters—tents if necessary—as places of asylum for the residents of the crowded cities. It should prevent any Hamas fighters, any rockets and any tunnel builders from entering into these sanctuaries. In that way, Hamas would be denied the use of human shields and Israel would have no reason to fire its weapons anywhere near these United Nations sanctuaries. The net result would be a considerable saving of lives.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-empty-spaces-in-gaza/2014/08/06/

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