‘They’re Not Simply War Criminals; They’re Fools’
UK MP SIR GERALD KAUFMAN, SON OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS:
“ISRAEL ACTING LIKE NAZIS IN GAZA” [cf our post "Only Thus"]
Gwynne Dyer in The Salt Lake Tribune…
War a bigger disaster for Israel than for Palestinians
…the clincher is that the Israeli election is on Feb. 10. The war is being fought now largely to shift the opinion polls in favor of the ruling parties before the election. However, it must be over, and somehow look like a success, before Israelis actually vote. Good luck.
The war against Hamas in Gaza looks more and more like the three-week Israeli war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, which could hardly be called a success. It will last about as long. It will kill about as many Arabs, probably a thousand or so. And it will end with Hamas, like Hezbollah, still able to fire rockets at Israel.
And in Salon, Glenn Greenwald brings you Tom Friedman…
Tom Friedman offers a perfect definition of “terrorism”
Tom Friedman, one of the nation’s leading propagandists for the Iraq War and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel’s wars, has a column today in The New York Times explaining and praising the Israeli attack on Gaza … Friedman acknowledges that the deaths of innocent Lebanese civilians was not an unfortunate and undesirable by-product of that war, but rather, was a vital aspect of the Israeli strategy — the centerpiece, actually, of teaching Lebanese civilians a lesson they would not soon forget.
[ ... ]
“In Gaza, I still canâ€™t tell if Israel is trying to eradicate Hamas or trying to â€œeducateâ€ Hamas, by inflicting a heavy death toll on Hamas militants and heavy pain on the Gaza population.”
The war strategy [in Gaza] which Friedman is heralding — what he explicitly describes with euphemism-free candor as “exacting enough pain on civilians” in order to teach them a lesson — is about as definitive of a war crime as it gets. It also happens to be the classic, textbook definition of “terrorism.”
With friends like Israelis…
Just days ago, Israel’s Foreign Minister and former Mossad agent Tzipi Livni assured the world, “There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” And today Prime Minister Olmert’s Liar in Chief, Aussie Mark Regev, assured the world, “We will continue to make sure the people of Gaza receive the humanitarian support they so badly need.”
What is it? Humanitarian crisis or no humanitarian crisis? Apparently it’s whatever suits the liars.
So after the Gaza massacre, the shelling of UN safe compounds, the more or less intentional killing of innocent people, Ehud Olmert went on television. Forgive the bucket but we needed it.
The conditions have been created that our aims, as declared, were attained fully, and beyond. The campaign has proven Israel’s power and strengthened its deterrence.
[ ... ]
“I want to make a special appeal to the people of Gaza. Time and again I talk to you and I appeal to you and I try to explain to you that Israel is not your enemy. Hamas is your real enemy. Hamas is our enemy. Hamas is your enemy and so are the other terrorist organisations.
“We genuinely never wanted to cause any discomfort, to attack any uninvolved civilian in Gaza. We regret very much the fact that there were so many who, in spite of the genuine efforts made by the Israeli Army, suffered from this confrontation. And I want to apologise on behalf of the government of Israel for everyone who was unjustly affected in Gaza, by this operation.”
[ ... ]
“We feel the pain of every Palestinian child,” he said. “Any shout of pain.”
1. The admission that the aim was deterrence demonstrates that Friedman’s suspicions were right. Israel was using the Palestinian civilians to teach Hamas a lesson.
2. With friends like Israel, who needs enemies.
3. The idea that Israel did not want to “cause any discomfort” to civilians or that they tried to avoid it is a straight out lie. The falsely sincere language and empty assurances will be sickeningly familiar to anyone who has dealt with alcoholics, junkies and pathological liars.
4. The apology is an admission on behalf of the Israeli government that it caused injustice to numerous people. There is therefore at the very least a case for compensation. At the very most it could be taken as an admission of war crimes.
There’s more than this. What Israel did in Gaza is terrorism. But there’s also a twist.
In 2007 the Australian Federal Police charged Mohamed Haneef with a terrorist offence. Haneef was not an Australian citizen and the offence with which he was charged was not committed in Australia. We need to be clear about this. He was not charged for any activity at all which took place in Australia. Clearly, at the very highest levels of the Australian government and bureaucracy the opinion was formed that the extraterritorial powers of the Crimes Act give Australia worldwide legal jurisdiction when it comes to terrorism. As a bush lawyer says, “By charging Haneef, Australia is now asserting the power to make laws binding on non-Australians outside Australia.”
So, does Australia’s terrorist legislation cover the Israeli incursion into Gaza and killing, maiming and terrifying innocent civilians?
Is the Israeli government a terrorist organisation and is what it did a terrorist act? According to the Act:
“organisation” means a body corporate or an unincorporated body, whether or not the body:
(a) is based outside Australia; or
(b) consists of persons who are not Australian citizens; or
(c) is part of a larger organisation.
terrorist act means an action or threat of action where:
(a) the action falls within subsection (2) and does not fall within subsection (3); and
(b) the action is done or the threat is made with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause; and
(c) the action is done or the threat is made with the intention of:
(i) coercing, or influencing by intimidation, the government of the Commonwealth or a State, Territory or foreign country, or of part of a State, Territory or foreign country; or
(ii) intimidating the public or a section of the public.
(4) In this Division:
(a) a reference to any person or property is a reference to any person or property wherever situated, within or outside Australia; and
(b) a reference to the public includes a reference to the public of a country other than Australia.
So, yes, the conditions are fulfilled. The extraterritorial jurisdiction is clearly spelled out. The Israeli government is definitely a terrorist organisation in the meaning of the Australian Act and Australia is duty bound – in fact bound by law – to prosecute the Israeli government.
The next step is for the AFP to travel to Israel and arrest Olmert, Livni and Barak, amongst others including anyone who followed their orders.
Your serve, Mr Keelty (best not to be inconsistent in these matters, eh, Mick?).
[tags]Israel, Gaza, war crimes, terrorism, Livni, Regev, Olmert, Barak, Salon, Greenwald, Friedman, Dyer, Haneef, crimes act, Keelty, AFP, values, political values, holocaust[/tags]