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Ear to the Ground

U.N. Human Rights Investigator Accuses Israel of War Crimes

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Posted on Mar 19, 2009
Flickr / Amir Farshad Ebrahimi

Richard Falk, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, writes in his annual report that Israeli actions during the recent offensive in Gaza constitute war crimes. Falk, who was denied entry to the region by Israel, says Hamas’ human rights record should also be investigated.

Our own Chris Hedges spoke to Falk shortly after his expulsion from Israel. Before the offensive, the rapporteur called Israel’s blockade of Gaza a “crime against humanity.” Read the column here.

Reuters:

Richard Falk, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the Geneva Conventions required warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians.

“If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law,” Falk said.

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By Folktruther, March 20, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

But the Israeli targeting of Muslim populations can be a basis for isolating Israel from the rest of the world.  Since its policy is based on murder and atrocities and war, this can help unite the world popualtion against them.

Which Zionists will attibute to anti-Semitism. Which become increasingly hollow of time, as it is now.

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By mud, March 20, 2009 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

Investigate, prognosticate, stagnate, reiterate, procrastinate, disintegrate, obliterate.

Do not hold your breath waiting for America’s independent and brave elected officials to point even a mildly questioning finger toward Israel or toward anything Israel feels like doing.

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By cyrena, March 19, 2009 at 11:03 pm Link to this comment

By Ed Harges, March 19 at 6:19 pm #
From the article:

[Falk] said the Geneva Conventions required warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians.

“If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful…” [he said]
Yes, but we also have no reason to believe it was hard to distinguish, or that Israel even tried. We know that Israel’s claim that it was too difficult to distinguish is very likely phony to begin with.
~~**~~
Ed,
You got that right. (all of it). Prof. Falk knows it too, and the Israeli terrorists KNOW that he knows. Which is exactly why they did what they did to him when he was there on official UN business in December, as the UN (Human Rights Commission) appointed Special Rapporteur for the Conflict. Detained him, interrogated him, and finally expelled him. Now THAT’S a HUGE violation right there.  Harass the UN Human Rights guy, and refuse to allow him to do what he’s there to do; which in this case involved the dire crisis created by Israel’s blockade of all supplies required for human existence. That’s why Prof. Falk was there at the time; to try to negotiate or work something that would get supplies in for the people.  (That was before the latest siege).

So…that’s just another obvious inference of the intentional killing of large numbers of civilians anytime or anywhere the IDF happens to be. In this case, the starvation blockade does the same thing, and has for 2 years now. Just another tactic in the on-going ethnic cleansing, slightly updated from when the invaders used it on the Indigenous Americans. Back then, the invaders just killed off all of their buffalo, and that basically wiped out a huge number of them, since most of those Indians used the buffalo for EVERYTHING in terms of basic existence. Now, they just do blockades that prevent food, water, medicine, supplies of any kind…the stuff that the rest of the world takes for granted. Obviously, people die, and it is equally obvious that’s the point…for large numbers of them to die. That’s been the Zionist plan for well over a Century, and they proved they were serious in 1948, with the slaughter or expulsion of over a million Arab Palestinians.

And here we are over 60 years later, and they’re still doing it.

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By Fadel Abdallah, March 19, 2009 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

Good points, Ed Harges! However, let me add a couple of points:

1. Fatah, Hamas and Hezbollah, as legitimate liberation movements, did not exist since time immemorial; they were founded as a necessary and natural reaction to Israeli occupation, arrogance and continued terrorist operations against their lands and their populations. Fatah was the oldest of these, formed after Israel’s war of 1967 against its neighbors and further occupation of more territories, and both Hamas and Hezbollah were founded in the late 1980’s after continued Israeli wars of aggression and continued brutal occupation.

2. Israel’s claim that those organizations fighters are a “bunch of cowards attacking from behind civilians” is a mute and irrelevant issue. It’s, in fact, the other way around, as the Israelis were always the cowards hiding behind their superior weapons of mass destruction and using disproportionate force against few thousand guerrilla fighter with light weapons. The military wings of these organizations don’t have and should not have permanent military bases outside towns and cities, where they could be as sitting docks to be hunted in mass by a much far superior regular army. Theirs are urban guerrilla operations against a terrorist invading army and there is no other way to do the resisting fighting but from inside their homes, streets and cities. Any person who expects this unequal fighting to be done differently is only one devoid of logic and understanding of the meaning of urban guerrilla warfare!

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, March 19, 2009 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

From the article:

[Falk] said the Geneva Conventions required warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians.

“If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful…” [he said]

Yes, but we also have no reason to believe it was hard to distinguish, or that Israel even tried. We know that Israel’s claim that it was too difficult to distinguish is very likely phony to begin with.

Why?

Past experience. Israel’s favorite lie is that whoever (Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah) they’re fighting at the moment is a bunch of cowards attacking from behind civilians (who are always women and children - Israel and its obedient American journalists always assume that any arab male over 6 years old is a ‘militant’ who deserves to die).

Well, you know, after the vicious 2006 Israeli assault on Lebanon, Human Rights Watch did a study, and they found that there was very little if any truth to Israeli claims that Hezbollah was attacking from hospitals or other places which might cause civilians to become targets of Israel bombs or gunfire.

The inference obvious.  There is one very simple reason that in Lebanon 2006, as in Gaza 2009, Israel happened to kill such a very high number of civilians - both in absolute numbers and as a proportion of total victims - as compared to the number of Israeli civilians killed by the enemy: Israel intentionally kills large numbers of civilians in its military operations.

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