By Amitabh Pal on August 18, 2014

By Amitabh Pal

The Gaza conflict may be over, but the repercussions for Israel linger on, not least whether Israel can be held accountable for violating international law.

More than 400 children in Gaza were among the almost 2,000 Palestinians killed in the assault, according to the United Nations.

Several human rights organizations have called out Israel for its actions.

"Israeli forces in the southern Gaza town of Khuza'a fired on and killed civilians in apparent violation of the laws of war in several incidents between July 23 and 25, 2014," Human Rights Watch reports. "Deliberate attacks on civilians who are not participating in the fighting are war crimes."

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem also questions Israel's rationale.

"Israel states that all the attacks on Gaza were only aimed at military targets -- yet it defines 'military target' so broadly that the term loses all meaning," the group says. "Israel states that all its strikes in Gaza were proportionate, and that the fact that civilians were killed does not in itself contradict that. Yet after dozens of strikes, each killing many uninvolved civilians, while Israel did not prove or even claim military gains significant enough to render such damage proportionate, this argument is no longer tenable."

Francis Boyle, a law professor at the University of Illinois, and author of Palestine, Palestinians, and International Law, says the Palestinians leadership should begin legal proceedings against Israel before the International Court of Justice in The Hague on the basis of the 1948 Genocide Convention. He has given up hope on the International Criminal Court, saying it is biased toward the United States and Israel.

Human Rights Watch and others take a different view.

Legal proceedings at the International Criminal Court "could ensure access to international justice for victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed on Palestinian territories, and would send an important message that such crimes cannot be committed with impunity," Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and several other human rights groups state in an open letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"People who want to end the lack of accountability in Palestine and deter future abuse should urge President Abbas to seek access to the ICC," Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director of the organization, states in a press release.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has already established a commission to investigate any violations during the Gaza war. While John Quigley, professor emeritus of international law at Ohio State University, is supportive of the move, he also points out its limitations.

"It is appropriate for the U.N. Human Rights Council to set up an inquiry," he says. "Such an inquiry, though, will not result in any finding that would have binding effect. What should be happening is that the Security Council should deal with war crimes in Gaza with a view to imposing sanctions on Israel. But with a U.S. veto in the Security Council this is not likely to happen. So an inquiry by the Human Rights Council is the next best option."

The commission is expected to issue its report sometime next year.

Section: 

Comments

Israel has a long history of violating international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. Because it is backed to the hilt by the US, there have been no trials or enforcement other than UN resolutions of condemnation.
I hate feeing compelled to write a reader comment to any article, but this is such an inflammatory, one-sided piece that every Progressive reader ought to respond to it -- and to any such pieces like it in the future. It seems that among all sovereign nations on earth, it is only Israel that is forbidden to defend its peoples, and that Hamas' ploy to embed their terrorist campaign smack in the midst of its concentrated residential areas and under cover of even UN-operated schools is legitimate. Or that it's OK for international organizations, like the UN and ICC, to be used to promote Palestinian/Muslim goals to wipe Israel and all Jews from the face of the globe. Shame on you, Progressive editors, for succumbing to such unjust, partisan garbage that's devoid of any sense of honest reporting balance. Mr. Pal's opinions are anathema to those of us progressives who seek to find peaceful solutions to the Mideast situation and offer nothing to readers except his thinly veiled hatred of Israel. Instead of addressing possible solutions, such as demilitarizing Gaza and taking other positive steps to ensure that its residents can enjoy fruitful and secure lives but are also held to the same standards of responsible, peaceful behavior that citizens of any other civil society are held to, he promotes using supposedly "neutral" international organizations to help spread the Intifada poison worldwide.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

Wisconsin election officials and advocates are being forced to make an "extraordinary effort" to adjust to voter ID...

Occupy changed how we felt. We were the motor of history, not just its victims. The mic check gave us a...

The Center for Media and Democracy/Progressive Inc. (CMD) has joined more than 50 watchdog, advocacy, and labor...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter

Get Breaking News and Alerts!