Posts Tagged ‘United States and Israel’

Why Israel Chooses Violence

June 6, 2010

Israel’s leaders, both civilian and military, are not fumbling, hysterical novices. Their actions are deliberate and carefully weighed. To realise its expansionist ambitions, Israel has always sought to avoid serious negotiations with the Palestinians because, if negotiations were to succeed, they would inevitably mean ceding territory, notes Patrick Seale.

Middle East Online,  June 4, 2010

Israel’s deadly commando assault last Monday on the Free Gaza flotilla has been variously denounced around the world as state terrorism, piracy, a war crime, and as the latest example of Israel’s arrogant contempt for international law and its criminal indifference for (non-Jewish) human life.

In view of the enormity of the act — and the toll of dead and wounded among unarmed activists seeking to break the three-year Gaza siege — these charges appear justified. But they do not explain why Israel chooses to behave as it does. Its leaders, both civilian and military, are not fumbling, hysterical novices. Their actions are deliberate and carefully weighed. So what is the cold-eyed strategy behind them?

Continues >>

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Rachel Corrie Continues Towards Gaza: Will Obama Let Israel Attack?

June 3, 2010

By Robert Naiman, Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy

The Hufington Post, June 1, 2010

How do you know when someone is serious about pursuing a strategy of nonviolent resistance until victory for justice is achieved?

When they refuse to turn back in the face of state violence. Damn the commandos. Full speed ahead.

The Irish Times reports:

The MV Rachel Corrie is ploughing ahead with its attempt to deliver aid to Gaza despite yesterday’s attack by the Israeli navy on Gaza-bound ship the Mavi Marmara.

The cargo ship, which has four Irish nationals and five Malaysians aboard, is due to arrive in Gazan waters tomorrow, a spokeswoman for the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign said.

The vessel became separated from the main aid flotilla after being delayed for 48 hours in Cyprus due to logistical reasons.

Nobel laureate Maireád Corrigan-Maguire, former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, and husband and wife Derek and Jenny Graham are the Irish nationals on board.

Speaking from the ship today, Mr Graham said the vessel was carrying educational materials, construction materials and some toys. “Everything aboard has been inspected in Ireland,” he said. “We would hope to have safe passage through.”

Might the Israeli military attack the Rachel Corrie, as the Israeli military attacked the Mavi Marmara? Would the Obama Administration permit such an Israeli attack on the Rachel Corrie, as the Obama Administration permitted the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara?

Note that in particular, under international law, an Israeli military attack on the Rachel Corrie in international waters would be an attack on the government and people of Ireland, because the Rachel Corrie is an Irish-flagged vessel. As former British Ambassador Craig Murray recently wrote:

To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare.

Because the incident took place on the high seas does not mean however that international law is the only applicable law. The Law of the Sea is quite plain that, when an incident takes place on a ship on the high seas (outside anybody’s territorial waters) the applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred. In legal terms, the Turkish ship was Turkish territory.

There are therefore two clear legal possibilities.

Possibility one is that the Israeli commandos were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists on the ships. In that case Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the act falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime.

Possibility two is that, if the killings were not authorised Israeli military action, they were acts of murder under Turkish jurisdiction. If Israel does not consider itself in a position of war with Turkey, then it must hand over the commandos involved for trial in Turkey under Turkish law.

One presumes that Michael Higgins, the foreign affairs spokesman of the Irish Labour Party, is well aware of these considerations, and that his statement about Irish government policy noted in the Irish Times article should be read in this light:

Labour foreign affairs spokesman Michael D Higgins today called on the Government to demand safe passage for the MV Rachel Corrie.

In a statement, he said some of those on the vessel had contacted him earlier today and had stressed they wanted to avoid conflict and to be allowed unload their cargo to help the residents of the Gaza Strip.

“The Minister for Foreign Affairs . . . must make it clear that any assault on the Rachel Corrie would be regarded as a hostile act against Ireland and a clear breach of international law that could not be ignored by this country,” Mr Higgins said.

In cities around the United States today, Americans will be protesting against the Israeli government attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. While protesting the attack on the Mavi Marmara, Americans should demand that the Obama Administration act to guarantee safe passage for the Rachel Corrie to reach Gaza.

How Many US Progressives Please the Right-Wing Israel Lobby

May 17, 2010
Professor Ira Chernus, CommonDreams.org, May 17, 2010

I was rather baffled by many of the comments to a column I posted last week. I offered what I thought was a modest and quite harmless suggestion: You should urge your representative in Congress to sign the Kind-Delahunt letter, which calls on the president to make strong efforts to move Israelis and Palestinians toward a two-state solution.

Oh no, no, said most of the commenters. Don’t bother. Each had their own reason and their own particular way of phrasing their common conclusion, which I think I paraphrase accurately here: Any effort to pressure the U.S. government is wasted, because the U.S. will always support the policies of Israel, no matter how unjust. (Oh, and the author is a fool — or worse — some added.)

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A Middle East Peace That Could Happen (But Won’t)

April 29, 2010

In Washington-Speak, “Palestinian State” Means “Fried Chicken”

By Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch.com, April 27, 2010

The fact that the Israel-Palestine conflict grinds on without resolution might appear to be rather strange.  For many of the world’s conflicts, it is difficult even to conjure up a feasible settlement.  In this case, it is not only possible, but there is near universal agreement on its basic contours: a two-state settlement along the internationally recognized (pre-June 1967) borders — with “minor and mutual modifications,” to adopt official U.S. terminology before Washington departed from the international community in the mid-1970s.

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Roger Cohen: Hard Mideast Truths

February 16, 2010
By ROGER COHEN, New York Times, February 16, 2010

NEW YORK — For over a century now, Zionism and Arab nationalism have failed to find an accommodation in the Holy Land. Both movements attempted to fill the space left by collapsed empire, and it has been left to the quasi-empire, the United States, to try to coax them to peaceful coexistence. The attempt has failed.

Earl Wilson/The New York Times

Roger Cohen

President Barack Obama came to office more than a year ago promising new thinking, outreach to the Muslim world, and relentless focus on Israel-Palestine. But nice speeches have given way to sullen stalemate. I am told Obama and the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, have a zero-chemistry relationship.

Domestic U.S. politics constrain innovative thought — even open debate — on the process without end that is the peace search. As Aaron David Miller, who long labored in the trenches of that process, once observed, the United States ends up as “Israel’s lawyer” rather than an honest broker. The upside for an American congressman in speaking out for Palestine is nonexistent.

I don’t see these constraints shifting much, but the need for Obama to honor his election promise grows. The conflict gnaws at U.S. security, eats away at whatever remote possibility of a two-state solution is left, clouds Israel’s future, scatters Palestinians and devours every attempt to bridge the West and Islam.

Here’s what I believe. Centuries of persecution culminating in the Holocaust created a moral imperative for a Jewish homeland, Israel, and demand of America that it safeguard that nation in the breach.

But past persecution of the Jews cannot be a license to subjugate another people, the Palestinians. Nor can the solemn U.S. promise to stand by Israel be a blank check to the Jewish state when its policies undermine stated American aims.

One such Israeli policy is the relentless settlement of the West Bank. Two decades ago, James Baker, then secretary of state, declared, “Forswear annexation; stop settlement activity.” Fast-forward 20 years to Barack Obama in Cairo: “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” In the interim the number of settlers almost quadrupled from about 78,000 in 1990 to around 300,000 last year.

Since Obama spoke, Netanyahu, while promising an almost-freeze, has been planting saplings in settlements and declaring them part of Israel for “eternity.” In a normal relationship between allies — of the kind I think America and Israel should have — there would be consequences for such defiance. In the special relationship between the United States and Israel there are none.

The U.S. objective is a two-state peace. But day by day, square meter by square meter, the physical space for the second state, Palestine, is disappearing. Can the Gaza sardine can and fractured labyrinth of the West Bank now be seen as anything but a grotesque caricature of a putative state? America has allowed this self-defeating process to advance to near irreversibility.

In fact, it has helped fund it. The settlements are expensive, as is the security fence (hated “separation wall” to the Palestinians) that is itself an annexation mechanism. According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, U.S. aid to Israel totaled $28.9 billion over the past decade, a sum that dwarfs aid to any other nation and amounts to four times the total gross domestic product of Haiti.

It makes sense for America to assure Israel’s security. It does not make sense for America to bankroll Israeli policies that undermine U.S. strategic objectives.

This, too, I believe: Through violence, anti-Semitic incitation, and annihilationist threats, Palestinian factions have contributed mightily to the absence of peace and made it harder for America to adopt the balance required. But the impressive recent work of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the West Bank shows that Palestinian responsibility is no oxymoron and demands of Israel a response less abject than creeping annexation.

And this: the “existential threat” to Israel is overplayed. It is no feeble David facing an Arab (or Arab-Persian) Goliath. Armed with a formidable nuclear deterrent, Israel is by far the strongest state in the region. Room exists for America to step back and apply pressure without compromising Israeli security.

And this: Obama needs to work harder on overcoming Palestinian division, a prerequisite for peace, rather than playing the no-credible-interlocutor Israeli game. The Hamas charter is vile. But the breakthrough Oslo accords were negotiated in 1993, three years before the Palestine Liberation Organization revoked the annihilationist clauses in its charter. When Arafat and Rabin shook hands on the White House lawn, that destroy-Israel charter was intact. Things change through negotiation, not otherwise. If there are Taliban elements worth engaging, are there really no such elements in the broad movements that are Hamas and Hezbollah?

If there are not two states there will be one state between the river and the sea and very soon there will be more Palestinian Arabs in it than Jews. What then will become of the Zionist dream?

It’s time for Obama to ask such tough questions in public and demand of Israel that it work in practice to share the land rather than divide and rule it.

Gaza Besieged, Gaza Mauled

January 16, 2009

By Jules Rabin | Counterpunch, January 15, 2009

First, a story—a true one. On February 28, 1994, in a funeral eulogy for an American-born Israeli who had been beaten to death by a Palestinian mob a few days before, a certain Rabbi Perin declared, “A million Arabs are not worth one Jewish fingernail.” The world was shocked by the statement when it was reported in the New York Times, and the Israeli prime minister himself denounced it. The murdered Israeli was Baruch Goldstein, who, on February 25, 1994, had stepped into a mosque carrying an assault rifle and killed 29 Palestinian men and boys bowed in prayer before his gun jammed. He was then killed with iron bars by surviving worshipers.

Now in Gaza, a more modest version of the stunning ratio suggested by Rabbi Perin, the worth of the million and the worth of the one, is being enacted. The tally to this date in the mutual killing taking place in Gaza and the adjoining Israeli territory since the end of December is 979 Palestinian dead and 13 Israeli dead, a proportion of 75 to 1. Of the Palestinian dead, 292 were children and approximately 75 were women. In one Palestinian family, five sisters, ages 4 to 17, were killed; in another, two sisters, ages 5 and 12 were killed. A 2,000 pound bomb dropped on the home of a Hamas leader killed not only him but his four wives and 13 of his 17 children.

Of the total of 13 Israeli dead in the current phase of the decades-long conflict, three were civilians, killed by rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli territory beginning December 19, when a six-month cease-fire agreed to by Israel and the Hamas government of Gaza expired. To “teach Israel a lesson,” Hamas had summoned up the heaviest weaponry in its arsenal: an assortment of crude rockets with notoriously wild aim. To “teach Hamas a lesson” in turn, Israel launched day and night bombing attacks on all of Gaza, of less than pinpoint accuracy, starting two weeks ago, on December 27. In the first four days of the new lesson, those aerial attacks killed more than 400 Palestinians, of all sizes and all places in Gaza society, and made rubble a familiar sight throughout the city. Those 400 and more Palestinian deaths stood as first payment for the three Israelis who had been killed by Palestinian rockets.

Gaza, be it noted, with three times the population of Vermont and 1.5 percent of Vermont’s land area, is one of the most densely populated regions of the world. The people of Gaza are most of them refugees of the 1967 war, and their descendants. They don’t merely live and survive as best they can in Gaza. As life-long refuges, they are locked in place by the Israeli military, who since decades past have exercised total control over what persons and what goods will enter and leave the territory.

Especially since the imposition of the stricter blockade of the last 18 months, Gaza has come to resemble an open-air prison where a million-and-a-half virtual inmates, cut off from the rest of the world, struggle to piece together an existence.

The effect of the blockade on the health of the population of Gaza has been severe in the extreme. In the period before the new outbreak of violence a couple of weeks ago, investigators found that 75 percent of Gazans were undernourished. The children of Gaza, who number 58 percent of the population and whose bodies persist in wanting to grow, have been the greatest sufferers: 46 percent suffer from acute anemia, 45 percent have an iron deficiency, and 18 percent have been stunted in their growth. Because of lack of fuel, provision of electricity and water has been sketchy and scarce. And now, since the assault by Israel, beginning on December 27, the condition of Gaza has gone from calamitous to catastrophic: a humanitarian disaster, in the view of both the International Red Cross and the United Nations Relief Agency, who have a certain expertise in these matters.

With such punishing effects on the civilian population, the continuing Israeli blockade of Gaza, now of 18 months duration, constitutes “collective punishment,” a belligerent action that besides being abhorrent to most people is expressly forbidden under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the controlling international law on the conduct of war.

So who started it? Who first violated the six-month cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas government of Gaza, that began on June 19, 2008?

Was it Gaza and Hamas? During the period of the cease-fire, from June 19 to December 19, 2008, rockets continued to be fired from Gaza into neighboring Israeli communities, with their usual vague aim and murderous intent. But their numbers had dropped dramatically, even according to the Israeli military. Hamas claims that those rockets were fired by rogue parties over whom it had no control.

Whoever fired them, there were no deaths resulting from them in the period of the cease-fire. But whether deaths resulted or not, all Israelis within range of Gaza’s rockets have lived for months in states of daily anxiety.

Hamas, for its part, accuses Israel of violating the cease-fire in two different ways. It claims that the tight blockade of Gaza maintained by Israel for the past year and a half, and including the period of the cease-fire, had become unendurable. It has claimed that the protracted blockade, with its punishing effects on the health of the population at-large, was in itself an illegal action both under the rules of the Fourth Geneva Convention and under the terms of the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire of June 2008, and that of itself it constituted a casus belli that gave Hamas the right to pick up arms in its own defense.
Hamas makes also the more punctuated claim that Israel had openly violated the mutual cease-fire on November 4, 2008, 50 days before Hamas formally declared an end to its own observance of it, when Israeli troops broke into Gaza, killing six Palestinians and carting off six others.

With its back to the wall because of the blockade, and lacking planes, helicopters, and tanks of its own, Hamas resumed the only form of warfare it was capable of, the frank terror of rockets aimed in the direction of nearby Israeli communities.

It is these current rocket attacks from Gaza which, taken together with similar attacks carried out over the last eight years have inflicted a total of 28 Israeli civilian deaths, that Israel has cited as grounds for attacking Gaza now, from the air and sea and ultimately by land, with overwhelming force. The death counts are eloquent of a great moral equation that I leave it to the reader to judge: those 28 Israeli deaths in eight years of on-and-off Palestinian rocket attack on the one hand; and 979 Palestinian deaths, suddenly, in the little more than two weeks of the blitzkrieg that Israel is currently waging on Gaza.

Enter also into the moral equation also the enormous damage done to the housing and civic structures of Gaza—schools, hospitals, university buildings—and the psychological effects on the children of Gaza who, while enduring cold and hunger, have been witnessing death all around them, and are emotionally petrified by the mayhem raining down on them, from which there is no escape within the confines of crammed, crowded, and locked down Gaza.

Will the people of Gaza and the Hamas government they saw fit to elect two years ago, now under day and night attack of breathtaking severity, “learn the lesson” that Israel seeks to teach them? While at the same time and in the same spirit of rough pedagogy, Hamas tries to teach Israel a parallel lesson with its scatter-shot of rockets.? So far, not. Neither side, in its outrage, chooses to understand the rough “lesson” the other side is teaching. It is as though the human brute had lost its tongue and its power of reason.

Gaza under punishment, I submit, locked down, sealed in, half starved, terrified, and overpowered as it is now, with elements still resisting, is acquiring an eerie resemblance to the Warsaw ghetto of the 1940s: a resemblance still small, but increasing.

In a comment on the current bombing of Gaza, Titus North, an American professor of political science, called attention to the anomaly of Israel. “A state founded by Holocaust survivors,” he wrote, “should be a beacon of morality, not a black hole for it.”

That terrible loop the course of history has taken, with descendants of the historic victims of the Holocaust now wearing the jackboots of the dominant warrior, is a bitter thing for a Jew like myself to contemplate.

Postscript: A few days ago, Congress  pledged its “unwavering support for Israel” in this hottest of little wars. While at the same time, in capital cities throughout the world, people have been demonstrating in the tens and hundreds of thousands, to express their outrage at the violent disproportion of Israel’s response to the provocation of the rocket attacks that keep coming from Gaza.

My word to our representatives in Washington: By making the United States Israel’s Siamese twin in this affair, joined to it at hip, and ankle, you not only fail to reflect the views of a great part of your constituency, but also expose us to the kinds of international anger and hatred that Israel is incurring throughout the world, with the lord knows what consequences for our own safety and standing in the world.

Jules Rabin is a writer, political critic, and longtime resident of Marshfield, Vermont.

The Facts About Hamas and the War on Gaza

January 14, 2009

By NORMAN FINKELSTEIN | Counterpunch, January 13, 2009

The record is fairly clear. You can find it on the Israeli website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Israel broke the ceasefire by going into the Gaza and killing six or seven Palestinian militants. At that point—and now I’m quoting the official Israeli website—Hamas retaliated or, in retaliation for the Israeli attack, then launched the missiles.

Now, as to the reason why, the record is fairly clear as well. According to Ha’aretz, Defense Minister Barak began plans for this invasion before the ceasefire even began. In fact, according to yesterday’s Ha’aretz, the plans for the invasion began in March. And the main reasons for the invasion, I think, are twofold. Number one; to enhance what Israel calls its deterrence capacity, which in layman’s language basically means Israel’s capacity to terrorize the region into submission. After their defeat in July 2006 in Lebanon, they felt it important to transmit the message that Israel is still a fighting force, still capable of terrorizing those who dare defy its word.

And the second main reason for the attack is because Hamas was signaling that it wanted a diplomatic settlement of the conflict along the June 1967 border. That is to say, Hamas was signaling they had joined the international consensus, they had joined most of the international community, overwhelmingly the international community, in seeking a diplomatic settlement. And at that point, Israel was faced with what Israelis call a Palestinian peace offensive. And in order to defeat the peace offensive, they sought to dismantle Hamas.

As was documented in the April 2008 issue of Vanity Fair by the writer David Rose, basing himself on internal US documents, it was the United States in cahoots with the Palestinian Authority and Israel which were attempting a putsch on Hamas, and Hamas preempted the putsch. That, too, is no longer debatable or no longer a controversial claim.

The issue is can it rule in Gaza if Israel maintains a blockade and prevents economic activity among the Palestinians. The blockade, incidentally, was implemented before Hamas came to power. The blockade doesn’t even have anything to do with Hamas. The blockade came to—there were Americans who were sent over, in particular James Wolfensohn, to try to break the blockade after Israel redeployed its troops in Gaza.

The problem all along has been that Israel doesn’t want Gaza to develop, and Israel doesn’t want to resolve diplomatically the conflict, both the leadership in Damascus and the leadership in the Gaza have repeatedly made statements they’re willing to settle the conflict in the June 1967 border. The record is fairly clear. In fact, it’s unambiguously clear.

Every year, the United Nations General Assembly votes on a resolution entitled “Peaceful Settlement of the Palestine Question.” And every year the vote is the same: it’s the whole world on one side; Israel, the United States and some South Sea atolls and Australia on the other side. The vote this past year was 164-to-7. Every year since 1989—in 1989, the vote was 151-to-3, the whole world on one side, the United States, Israel and the island state of Dominica on the other side.

We have the Arab League, all twenty-two members of the Arab League, favoring a two-state settlement on the June 1967 border. We have the Palestinian Authority favoring that two-state settlement on the June 1967 border. We now have Hamas favoring that two-state settlement on the June 1967 border. The one and only obstacle is Israel, backed by the United States. That’s the problem.

Well, the record shows that Hamas wanted to continue the ceasefire, but only on condition that Israel eases the blockade. Long before Hamas began the retaliatory rocket attacks on Israel, Palestinians were facing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza because of the blockade. The former High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, described what was going on in Gaza as a destruction of a civilization. This was during the ceasefire period.

What does the record show? The record shows for the past twenty or more years, the entire international community has sought to settle the conflict in the June 1967 border with a just resolution of the refugee question. Are all 164 nations of the United Nations the rejectionists? And are the only people in favor of peace the United States, Israel, Nauru, Palau, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Australia? Who are the rejectionists? Who’s opposing a peace?

The record shows that in every crucial issue raised at Camp David, then under the Clinton parameters, and then in Taba, at every single point, all the concessions came from the Palestinians. Israel didn’t make any concessions. Every concession came from the Palestinians. The Palestinians have repeatedly expressed a willingness to settle the conflict in accordance with international law.

The law is very clear. July 2004, the highest judicial body in the world, the International Court of Justice, ruled Israel has no title to any of the West Bank and any of Gaza. They have no title to Jerusalem. Arab East Jerusalem, according to the highest judicial body in the world, is occupied Palestinian territory. The International Court of Justice ruled all the settlements, all the settlements in the West Bank, are illegal under international law.

Now, the important point is, on all those questions, the Palestinians were willing to make concessions. They made all the concessions. Israel didn’t make any concessions.

I think it’s fairly clear what needs to happen. Number one, the United States and Israel have to join the rest of the international community, have to abide by international law. I don’t think international law should be trivialized. I think it’s a serious issue. If Israel is in defiance of international law, it should be called into account, just like any other state in the world.

Mr. Obama has to level with the American people. He has to be honest about what is the main obstacle to resolving the conflict. It’s not Palestinian rejectionism. It’s the refusal of Israel, backed by the United States government, to abide by international law, to abide by the opinion of the international community.

And the main challenge for all of us as Americans is to see through the lies.

Norman Finkelstein is author of five books, including Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, Beyond Chutzpah and The Holocaust Industry, which have been translated into more than 40 foreign editions. He is the son of Holocaust survivors. This article is an edited extract of the views of Finkelstein given at DemocracyNow.org. His website is www.NormanFinkelstein.com

Torture As Official Israeli Policy

August 30, 2008

Stephen Lendman | ZNet, August 30, 2008

Stephen Lendman’s ZSpace Page

The UN Convention against Torture defines the practice as:

“any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain and suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity….”

The US and Israel are the only two modern states that legally sanction torture. An earlier article covered America. This one deals with the Jewish state, but let there be no doubt:

Although its language in part is vague, contradictory and protects abusive practices, Section 277 of Israel’s 1977 Penal Law prohibits torture by providing criminal sanctions against its use. It specifically states in language similar to the UN Convention against Torture:

“A public servant who does one of the following is liable to imprisonment for three years: (1) uses or directs the use of force or violence against a person for the purpose of extorting from him or from anyone in whom he is interested a confession of an offense or information relating to an offense; (2) threatens any person, or directs any person to be threatened, with injury to his person or property or to the person or property of anyone in whom he is interested for the purpose of extorting from him a confession of an offense or any information relating to an offense.” However, Israel clearly discriminates against Palestinians, (including Israeli Arab citizens), denies them rights afforded only to Jews, and gets legal cover for it by its courts. More on that below.

Nonetheless, the Jewish state is a signatory to the 1984 UN Convention against Torture and other international laws banning the practice. It’s thus accountable for any violations under them to all its citizens and persons it controls in the Occupied Territories.

US statutes leave no ambiguity on torture. Neither do international laws like The (1949) Third Geneva Convention’s Article 13 (on the Treatment of Prisoners of War). It states:

They “must at all times be humanely treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its custody is prohibited….(these persons) must at all times be protected, particularly against acts of violence or intimidation….”

Third Geneva’s Article 17 states:

“No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war” for any reasons whatsoever.

Third Geneva’s Article 87 states:

“Collective punishment for individual acts, corporal punishments, imprisonment in premises without daylight and, in general, any form of torture or cruelty, are forbidden.

The (1949) Fourth Geneva Convention’s Article 27 (on the treatment of Civilian Persons in Time of War) states:

Protected persons “shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof….”

Fourth Geneva’s Articles 31 and 32 state:

“No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons.”

“This prohibition applies to….torture (and) to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents.”

Fourth Geneva’s Article 147 calls “willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment….grave breaches” under the Convention and are considered “war crimes.”

All four Geneva Conventions have a Common Article Three requiring all non-combatants, including “members of armed forces who laid down their arms,” to be treated humanely at all times.

The (1966) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Article 7 states:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Its Article 10 states:

” All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity….”

The (1984) UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is explicit in all its provisions. It prohibits torture and degrading treatment of all kinds against anyone for any purpose without exception.

Various other international laws affirm the same thing, including the UN Charter with respect to human rights, 1945 Nuremberg Charter on crimes of war and against humanity, the (1948) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the (1988) UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any form of Detention or Imprisonment, the UN (1955) Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and (1990) UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. So does Article 5 of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Rome Statute with regard to crimes of war and against humanity. Torture is such a crime – the gravest of all after genocide.

Continued . . .


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