Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bellum quod bellum ventus

"All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations." --UN Charter, Article 2(4)

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations..." --UN Charter, Article 51

So, yeah, the Gaza Strip. It seems like one wants to talk about it. Since reporters aren't allowed in by Israeli forces, the media accepts whatever news briefs IDF (Israeli Defense Force) hand them, and offer little in the way of analysis. It's almost like everyone is afraid of criticizing Israel because they are afraid of being labeled and anti-Semite.

Which is, of course, absurd. Not that it is absurd that someone would toss the anti-Semite label around towards critics, but absurd that that would be enough to cow someone into keeping their mouth shut.
It is not anti-Semitic to say that the actions of Israel against the inhabitants of Gaza are completely socially and morally reprehensible.
The Palestinians are facing one of the worst humanitarian crises to have occurred since apartheid. Some would argue this trumps apartheid and it hasn't been this bad since the Holocaust.

It is a grim situation. After Israel pulled all its settlers out of Gaza in 2005, all land, air, and sea access to Gaza has been strictly regulated by Israeli military. Humanitarian aid and supplies have been allowed into the country in reduced amounts, until now Israeli sea patrols are ramming aside boats bringing humanitarian aid into Gaza by sea. The Palestinians are an oppressed people, herded like sheep into ghettos, starved, jobless, and relying very nearly solely on what other sympathetic countries can manage to get to them in the way of aid.

That a few home-made missiles have been fired into Israel as protest shouldn't really surprise anyone. A violent response to oppression and occupation was exactly how America won its freedom. And like America then, Palestine has exhausted all diplomatic channels.
Does that make firing their missiles into civilian areas right? Of course not. But these missiles are an act of desperation, from a people, some would argue, being forced into genocide--like the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943.
And dare you say Israel's treatment of Gazans isn't anything like genocide, I would refer you to provisions of the Genocide Convention of 1948, reiterated in the Rome Charter of the International Criminal Court (2002): "(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part."

These actions cannot be ignored, nor can they continue to be unremarked upon.
The bombing of two UN schools by IDF on January 6th was explained by IDF spokesman Benjamin Rutland as a legitmate response to Hamas militants using civilians as cover to fire rockets at Israeli forces. They even offered military footage as proof. Except that it was phony.
Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, expressed his outrage, explaining how IDF's "demonstrative evidence" was actually "from a 2007 video and bears no connection to Tuesday's military strike on the school."

Regardless of the actions of the few militants in Gaza, they do not represent the views of the whole of the Gazan population, and airstrikes which target areas indiscriminately concerning civilians in the most densely populated area of the region is inexcusable. In fact, punishing the entire 1.5 million people of Gaza for the actions of a few militants is a direct violation of Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions.

Of course, the Geneva Conventions are taking a back seat in foreign military action with Israel and its major ally, The United States. And with the chickenhawks in Washington chomping at the bit for an excuse for military action against Iran, what do you think will happen if Iran follows up on its promise to break Israel's blockade by force if Israel won't lower it voluntarily?

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