It is with disgust that I read yet again another disturbing article emanating out of the corridors of the United Nations. Ban Ki-moon passed comment on the responses from Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the behavior of Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants. The two reports received by the UN were as a direct result of the demands set down in resolution 192-nation assembly which was approved in November 2009.
I note with interest the emphasis on Israeli soldiers behavior during the conflict which would indicate that a couple of insignificant soldiers are likely to be punished for their part in the conflict (lambs to the slaughter) but no mention of the Israeli Government, Minister of Defence, Chiefs of Staff or Senior Unit Commanders.
I also found it alarming that once again reference was made of the Goldstone Report which highlighted that the Israeli army and Palestinian militants committed war crimes during the conflict from late December 2008 to mid-January 2009 but was this statement correct and what right did the Secretary General have to voice his own opinion. Naturally in conflict individuals do carry out violations of the Geneva Convention but one cannot bypass the fact that all of those listed in the above paragraph are themselves implicated in all the violations that were listed in the Goldstone Report but they never get a mention. I again ask the question why are senior figures such as Bush, Blair, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Reid, Hoon and many others exempt from trial?
The report fell short of the more serious crime, that of genocide, and did not pursue the many other violations that were not covered. White Phosphorus (WP), as and example, was more of a slap on the back of the hand, Flachette and DIME weapons were totally forgotten and the question of weapons containing uranium components was totally swept under the carpet.
How can the Secretary General be critical of Israel and Palestine when his own inquiry was a total cover up? I would also ask how anyone can pursue their own internal inquiry when they intentionally target a couple of insignificant individuals who were probable only acting on the orders of higher authority.
Again we saw Ban Ki-moon initially condemn the shelling of the UN compound but said nothing about the remainder of Gaza, we saw him pursue compensation from the Israeli Government but nothing for the people of Gaza. Only this week we saw him draw reference to the firing of WP on the compound but said nothing about the rest of Gaza or the other terrible weapons used.
We have seen one inquiry after another but nothing comes out of these hearings. We continuously see those giving evidence flaunting their arrogance and repeating the same cliché that given the information available at the time they would still arrive at the same decision.
I noticed with some amazement as to how Ann Clwyd so tactically manipulated the inquiry. Again we saw such wonderful accounts of her visit to Iran and how they provided her with a helicopter to fly over a long line of Kurdish refugees who put their fingers to their mouths to show they wanted food. It’s incredible how much detail she saw from altitude and how she changed this inquiry into a sort of compassionate story. Reference was also given to the fact that soil samples revealed the use of chemicals. Again no reference to the US and UK use of WMD’s (weapons containing uranium) or the fact that soil samples have also been recovered revealing traces of both DU/EU. Then we had Reid talking about the fact that whilst he was Minister of Defence the armed forces had everything they needed in defiance of all those who said that we did not. Numerous references have been made by those giving evidence at the existence of chemicals held by Saddam and their usage on the Kurds in Halajaba. Again we missed out on an opportunity to explain that the Chemicals and training know how was provided by the west. They were first intended and used by Iraq against Iran during the 1980-1988 with the full support of the US and UK Governments and many other countries were also implicated.
What is totally unacceptable was the fact that the war in Iraq was planned months ahead of 9/11 and they just needed an excuse to justify it. The same with Afghanistan which was planned months before 9/11. Now we have the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan with far greater usage of WMD’s than Iraq. It is easy to see that really the “Axis of Evil” lies within the governments of those involved.
This week saw another classic comment from the US Government who suggested that Israel should ease the blockade of Gaza to help counter the fallout from the Goldstone report on alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead a year ago.
First of all I would like to change the word alledged into committed and what exactly was this comment implying? Does the US think that relieving some aspects of the blockade will help the people of Gaza forget the genocidal attack? It would have been more appropriate for the US and other governments to put forward a proposal to put UN Peacekeepers (Blue Helmets no Combat Troops) into Gaza and West Bank on all side of the border and lift the blockade permanently.
There appears to be a growing movement to form tribunals such as the one in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal) and now another one in London (Russell Tribunal on Palestine). I am sure that people who make such an effort have good intentions but from my perspective all past and current inquiries and tribunals fizzle out without a constructive verdict or decisive recommendations being made. If those that lied or those that committed horrendous crimes are not cross examined by a panel that know and fully understand what actually happened in Iraq, Afghanistan or Gaza then how can they qualify to ask the correct questions.
It makes me feel sick inside to listen to these hearings and tribunals talk about such thinks as Cluster Bombs or White Phosphorus as being the only issue when in actual fact this to all intents and purposes was the lesser of the many other crimes committed. It always appears to be a slap on the hand for those committing the crimes along with such regrettable comments that hopefully we will learn from the mistakes made.
My question to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine would be why are you not following the very principle that Bertram Russell instigated all those years ago in bringing to justice all those that have violated treaties or who have carried out war crimes. Bertram Russell’s justification was “If certain acts and violations of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them. We are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”
Not one inquiry or tribunal has pursued those responsible for using WMD’s in the Balkans, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Gaza and now Pakistan. Any country or leader who authorizes the use of weapons that contains uranium components is guilty of an extremely serious war crime. It is of concern that the following announcement was made by the Russell Tribunal on Palestine when they announced the following “Unlike the preceding Tribunals, the aim in this case is not to denounce a perpetrator of the violations, since that has already been done, for instance by the International Court of Justice in The Hague in its Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004, which is endowed with considerable legal force.”
Unfortunately this statement was not correct as to date the question of bringing to justice those responsible for using weapons containing uranium components (WMD’s) have never been under investigation or reached the level of a trial. In this context it is my own opinion that the globe trotting currently being carried out by the Tribunal to Brussels, Barcelona, Latin American is not only a waste of time and money it will not address the real issue, which is that of mass genocide, therefore this Tribunal falls well short of becoming effective.
It is now time for the Palestinians themselves to form their own Tribunal and address the more serious war crimes that up to this time have been swept under the carpet. The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal is as close as one can get in addressing the real issues but even this tribunal does not address the topic of WMD. When one adds to this the rape of the countries oil and gas resources by Israel, the decimation of the Gaza Fishing Industry and all the horrific illegal weapons used by Israel one can clearly see that no one is truly pursuing the crime of genocide or in pursuing any legal aspect regarding Israel’s daily harassment and humiliation of the people of Palestine
I have myself formulated how such a Palestinian Tribunal could be formed and what aspects should be address by way of an initial hearing followed by a full Tribunal by International Lawyers. One of the most critical issues here is who is brave enough to weather the storm that would erupt from such a vital tribunal? How many good quality international lawyers (including Islamic lawyers) would be prepared to come forward and sit on a tribunal panel? Who from the Islamic world or the international corporate sector would help fund such a bold venture? I myself could certainly put it all together and be happy to bring those to justice that have violated the Geneva Convention. We are talking here about multiple incidents of mass genocide. The best place to carry out such a hearing would be in London and I feel confident that I can bring in enough victims and witnesses to make the case almost 100% concrete.
The Tribunal would be formed to address all legal issues pertaining to Palestine and its people both within Palestine and Palestinians who are now living overseas as Asylum Seekers or Refuges….basically the entire Palestinian Diaspora. It purpose would be to strengthen the Palestinian Authority from the outside and to deal with all legal issues concerning War Crimes and Breaches of Human Rights on Palestinian within and outside of Palestine, International Border Disputes and Clarification, Natural Resources Identification and Ownership, The pursuit of Sovereignty by way of the United Nations without interference from Israel the US, UK and other Pro Israel Countries within the EU, Identification of weapons used during the conflict, and daily violations by Israel of the Geneva Convention.
It is time that we the citizens of the world implemented such an action as it is blatantly obvious that the UN. ICJ, ICC, ECHR and many other legal bodies do not wish to pursue the more serious crimes, challenge the Israeli authority both locally and internationally or take on countries that violate their own guidelines in relation to the export of arms to Israel. It should also be challenged via an international court as to why such countries as Israel are allowed to carry out development of WMD’s without any comment from the UN, US, UK, EU and other countries. This aspect alone makes the Non- Proliferation Treat a joke when they have in the past applied tremendous pressure on India, Pakistan, North Korea and Iran but say nothing about Israel or anyone else who continues to develop and use WMD’s.
So if there are any brave potential participants that would wish to formulate such a tribunal please contact the Palestine Telegraph and together we can for the first time in current history challenge the flawed and corrupt international legal system that exists to this day. This would directly challenge such authorities as the UNEP and WHO on their past and current methods of determining what constitutes a WMD and where they have been used and the dangers that up to the current time have been hidden from the world’s public. One example being the extensive past and current usage of weapons containing uranium components in the Balkans, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Gaza, Pakistan and now possible Somalia and Yemen.
I am sure you would all agree that this would be a wonderful opportunity to reclaim our dignity and pride in bringing true justice back into play and at the same time have the distinct possibility to prohibit any weapon from containing uranium components. There are millions of people around the world that have become victim to DU/EU weapons and we owe this to all of them
Are you an International Lawyer and willing to take part in such a venture or are you from the Corporate Sector and willing to financially support this meaningful act for humankind……….Go on I dare you!!!!
Peter Eyre – Middle East Consultant – 6/2/2010