Tuesday, December 30, 2008 3:23 PM
An Israeli War Crimes Tribunal May be the Only Deterrent to a Global War
By Francis A. Boyle
The United Nations General Assembly must immediately establish an
International Criminal Tribunal for
under U.N. Charter Article 22. The ICTI would be organized along the lines
of the International Criminal Tribunal for
established by the Security Council.
The purpose of the ICTI would be to investigate and prosecute Israeli war
crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Peoples of
The establishment of ICTI would provide some small degree of justice to the
victims of Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against
the Peoples of
Balkans. Furthermore, the establishment of ICTI by the U.N. General Assembly
would serve as a deterrent effect upon Israeli leaders such as Prime
Minister Olmert, Foreign Minister Livni, Defense Minister Barak , Chief of Staff Ashkenazi and Israel's
other top generals that they will be prosecuted for their further infliction
of international crimes upon the Lebanese and the Palestinians.
Without such a deterrent,
the full support of the Likhudnik Bush Jr. Neoconservatives, who have always
joint aggression. If
And of course
For the U.N. General Assembly to establish ICTI could stop the further
development of this momentum towards a regional if not global catastrophe.
Francis A. Boyle
(personal comments only)
Published on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 by The Guardian/UK
From The Ashes of
In the face of
's latest onslaught, the only option for Palestinian nationalism is to embrace a one-state solution Israel
The assault on Gaza , planned over six months  and executed with perfect timing, was designed largely, as Neve Gordon has rightly observed , to help the incumbent parties triumph in the forthcoming Israeli elections. The dead Palestinians are little more than election fodder in a cynical contest between the right and the far right in
Washington, as is its wont, blames the pro-Hamas Palestinians, with Obama and Bush singing from the same AIPAC hymn sheet. The EU politicians, having observed the build-up, the siege, the collective punishment inflicted on Gaza, the targeting of civilians etc (for all the gory detail, see Harvard scholar Sara Roy's chilling essay in the London Review of Books ) were convinced that it was the rocket attacks that had "provoked" Israel but called on both sides to end the violence, with nil effect. The moth-eaten Mubarak dictatorship in
As result of official apathy, one outcome of this latest attack will be to inflame Muslim communities throughout the world and swell the ranks of those very organisations that the west claims it is combating in the "war against terror".
The bloodshed in
Western enthusiasm for democracy stops when those opposed to its policies are elected to office. The west and Israel tried everything to secure a Fatah victory: Palestinian voters rebuffed the concerted threats and bribes of the "international community" in a campaign that saw Hamas members and other oppositionists routinely detained or assaulted by the IDF, their posters confiscated or destroyed, US and EU funds channelled into the Fatah campaign, and US congressmen announcing that Hamas should not be allowed to run.
Even the timing of the election was set by the determination to rig the outcome. Scheduled for the summer of 2005, it was delayed till January 2006 to give Abbas time to distribute assets in
Popular desire for a clean broom after ten years of corruption, bullying and bluster under Fatah proved stronger than all of this. Hamas's electoral triumph was treated as an ominous sign of rising fundamentalism, and a fearsome blow to the prospects of peace with Israel, by rulers and journalists across the Atlantic world. Immediate financial and diplomatic pressures were applied to force Hamas to adopt the same policies as those of the party it had defeated at the polls. Uncompromised by the Palestinian Authority's combination of greed and dependency, the self-enrichment of its servile spokesmen and policemen, and their acquiescence in a "peace process" that has brought only further expropriation and misery to the population under them, Hamas offered the alternative of a simple example. Without any of the resources of its rival, it set up clinics, schools, hospitals, vocational training and welfare programmes for the poor. Its leaders and cadres lived frugally, within reach of ordinary people.
It is this response to everyday needs that has won Hamas the broad base of its support, not daily recitation of verses from the Koran. How far its conduct in the second Intifada has given it an additional degree of credibility is less clear. Its armed attacks on
On August 19 2003, a self-proclaimed "Hamas" cell from Hebron, disowned and denounced by the official leadership, blew up a bus  in west Jerusalem, upon which Israel promptly assassinated  the Hamas ceasefire's negotiator, Ismail Abu Shanab. Hamas, in turn, responded. In return, the Palestinian Authority and Arab states cut funding to its charities and, in September 2003, the EU declared the whole Hamas movement to be a terrorist organization - a longstanding demand of Tel Aviv.
What has actually distinguished Hamas in a hopelessly unequal combat is not dispatch of suicide bombers, to which a range of competing groups resorted, but its superior discipline - demonstrated by its ability to enforce a self-declared ceasefire against Israel over the past year. All civilian deaths are to be condemned, but since
"Nobody can reject or condemn the revolt of a people that has been suffering under military occupation for 45 years against occupation force," said General Shlomo Gazit , former chief of Israeli military intelligence, in 1993. The real grievance of the EU and US against Hamas is that it refused to accept the capitulation of the
No serious efforts were made to negotiate with the elected Palestinian leadership. I doubt if Hamas could have been rapidly suborned to western and Israeli interests, but it would not have been unprecedented. Hamas' programmatic heritage remains mortgaged to the most fatal weakness of Palestinian nationalism: the belief that the political choices before it are either rejection of the existence of
The test for Hamas is not whether it can be house-trained to the satisfaction of western opinion, but whether it can break with this crippling tradition. Soon after the Hamas election victory in
And Israeli citizens might ponder the following words from Shakespeare (in The Merchant of
"I am a Palestinian. Hath not a Palestinian eyes? Hath not a Palestinian hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Jew is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that ... the villainy you teach me, I will execute; and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction."
© 2008 Guardian News and Media Limited
Tariq Ali has been a leading figure of the international left since the 60s. He has been writing for the Guardian since the 70s. He is a long-standing editor of the New Left Review and a political commentator published on every continent.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs