Posts Tagged ‘reports by HR organisations’

The west widens the Fatah-Hamas split

July 28, 2009

Palestinian unity is essential for any peace deal – but the US, Britain and the EU are playing a central role in preventing it

It should be obvious that no settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict is going to stick unless it commands broad support or acceptance on both sides. That is especially true of the Palestinians, who have shown time and again that they will never accept the denial of their national and human rights. The necessity of dealing with all representative Palestinian leaders was recognised by Britain’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee yesterday, which called on the government to end its ban on contacts with Hamas.

But despite the parade of top American officials visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories this week to drum up business for a new peace conference, the US, Britain and European Union continue to play a central role in preventing the Palestinian national unity that is essential if any deal is going to have a chance of succeeding. Far from helping to overcome the split between Fatah and Hamas, the US, Israel and their allies in practice do everything they can to promote and widen it.

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Defending Israeli War Crimes

May 30, 2009
by Stephen Zunes | Foreign Policy In Focus, May 30, 2009

In response to a series of reports by human rights organizations and international legal scholars documenting serious large-scale violations of international humanitarian law by Israeli armed forces in its recent war on the Gaza Strip, 10 U.S. state attorneys general sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defending the Israeli action. It is virtually unprecedented for state attorneys general – whose mandates focus on enforcement of state law – to weigh in on questions regarding the laws of war, particularly in a conflict on the far side of the world. More significantly, their statement runs directly counter to a broad consensus of international legal opinion that recognizes that Israel, as well as Hamas, engaged in war crimes.

The wording of the letter closely parallels arguments by Bush administration officials in support for Israel’s devastating offensive during their final days in office. Having been signed nearly 11 weeks after the end of the fighting and made public only late last month, it may have been part of an effort to undermine tentative efforts by the Obama administration to take a more balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A statement by state attorneys general putting forth a legal rationale for the large-scale killings of civilians is particularly distressing as concerns about civilian casualties from U.S. air and missile strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan has grown.

The attorneys general signing on to the letter included Republicans Rob McKenna of Washington, Mike Cox of Michigan, John Suthers of Colorado, Bill McCollum of Florida, Jon Bruning of Nebraska, and Mark Shurtleff of Utah. Signatories also included such prominent Democrats as Richard Cordray of Ohio, Patrick Lynch of Rhode Island, Jack Conway of Kentucky, and Buddy Caldwell of Louisiana.

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