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Friday, March 27, 2009

Crime and Punishment

Wed, 25 Mar 2009 23:42:54 GMT | PressTV | By Kian Mokhtari
The UN special rapporteur on human rights, Richard Falk.

Thanks to new, alternative and unbiased satellite news channels, the plight of Gaza's Palestinian population under the recent Israeli military attack was for once brought to the attention of the world at large. The appalling brutality and savagery of the Israeli military high command's onslaught against Palestinian civilians brought tears to countless eyes around the world and instilled in the international community a new sense of purpose to punish war criminals and thus finally introduce a new chapter worthy of 21st century humanity into the world justice system.

And as if to bring the point home with absolute clarity, the torch bearer in the struggle to bring Israeli war criminals to book is none other than a person of the same faith. The UN special rapporteur on human rights, Richard Falk, has declared that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza and called for an independent inquiry into the matter. Falk has also reiterated that Israeli conduct in the Gaza Strip necessitates the world to introduce a new law.

He has elaborated that Tel Aviv enforced a crippling siege on Gaza while attempting to devastate the territory in its 22-day war against the tiny strip. Falk has argued that this action prevented civilians from fleeing "from the orbit of harm". He is insisting that such conduct constitutes a new form of crime against humanity.

According to figures presented by the UN investigator, Israeli army killed 1,434 Palestinians including 960 civilians in its three-week carnage against the Gazan population. Thousands of others have been maimed for life and will need long-term special treatment and attention to remedy the multitude of injuries they sustained via Israel's use of unconventional weapons.

Falk describes the operations against Gaza as a "military assault with modern weaponry against an essentially defenseless society".

For all of Mr. Falk's efforts however a minor snag might in the end serve to allow Israeli war criminals to go free and remain untouched by the will of the international community to bring them to justice.

Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute. In fact both Israel and the United States unsigned the Rome Statute in 2002. This complicates matters for the International Criminal Court (ICC) because it can only bring criminals from signatory countries to stand trial.

The alternative route is for the UN Security Council to order the war criminals from none signatory countries brought to justice. But with the current run of things at the UNSC the chance of Britain and the US not using their right of veto to protect Israel is pretty nonexistent.

This maybe why the lunatic extremist fringe in Israel has been emboldened to even throw the two-state solution into the face of the world's most powerful man, the President of the United States. The Unity Coalition for Israel (UCI) has sent emails to President Obama questioning "the wisdom" of the US administration.

An announcement by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, during her visit to the region set the establishment of "a Palestinian state" as a priority for the Obama administration; and that seems to have set the cat among the pigeons. UCI's Knesset member Aryeh Eldad told Clinton that "most Israeli citizens" do not want the establishment of a Palestinian state and accused Washington of "planning to appease the Iranians, Syrians and Palestinians by paying with 'Israeli currency'."

Though it would be cruel to dash UCI's day dreams, the international community has come to realize that the Israeli-Palestinian issue must be resolved via a two-state solution. So the prevailing political winds do not give a "shekel" for Aryeh Eldad and his loony gang's protestations.

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