Palestinian Recourse to the International Criminal Court: The Time has Come

21 Jul

[Prefatory Note: “Palestine’s Dilemma: To Go or Not to Go to the International Criminal Court” was published on July 13, 2014 on the website of Middle East Eye, a site I strong recommend to all those with an interest in Middle East issues; this post represents a somewhat revised text, but within the framework of the original; the political plausibility of invoking the Inteernational Criminal Court to investigate allegations of criminality directed at Israel increases with each passing day.)

 

 

 

Ever since this latest Israeli major military operation against Gaza started on July 8, there have been frequent suggestions that Israel is guilty of war crimes, and that Palestine should do its best to activate the International Criminal Court (ICC) on its behalf. The evidence overwhelmingly supports basic Palestinian allegations—Israel is guilty either of aggression in violation of the UN Charter or is in flagrant violation of its obligations as the Occupying Power under the Geneva Convention to protect the civilian population of an Occupied People; Israel seems guilty of using excessive and disproportionate force against a defenseless society in the Gaza Strip; and Israel, among an array of other offenses, seems guilty of committing Crimes Against Humanity in the form of imposing an apartheid regime in the West Bank and through the transfer of population to an occupied territory as it has proceeded with its massive settlement project.

 

Considering this background of apparent Israeli criminality it would seem a no brainer for the Palestinian Authority to seek the help of the ICC in waging its struggle to win over world public opinion to their side. After all, the Palestinians are without military or diplomatic capabilities to oppose Israel, and it is on law, global solidarity, and their own creative and brave resistance that the Palestinian people must rest their hopes for eventually realizing their rights, particularly the right of self-determination and the right of return. Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank are demanding that their leaders in the Palestinian Authority adhere to the Rome Statute, and become members of the ICC without further delay. It has become part of the message of Palestinian street politics that the Palestinians are being criminally victimized, and that the Palestinian Authority if it wants to retain the slightest shred of respect as representatives of the Palestinian people must join in this understanding of the Palestinian plight and stop ‘playing nice’ with Israeli authorities.

 

Such reasoning from a Palestinian perspective is reinforced by the May 8th letter sent by 17 respected human rights NGOs to President Mahmoud Abbas urging Palestine to become a member of the ICC, and act to end Israel’s impunity. This was not a grandstanding gesture dreamed up on the irresponsible political margins of liberal Western society. Among the signatories were such human rights stalwarts as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Al Haq, and the International Commission of Jurists, entities known for their temporizing prudence in relation to the powers that be.

 

Adding further credence to the idea that the ICC option should be explored was the intense opposition by Israel and United States, ominously threatening the PA with dire consequences if it tried to join the ICC, much less to seek justice through its activating its investigative procedures. The American ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, herself long ago prominent as a human rights advocate, revealed Washington’s nervous hand when she confessed that the ICC “is something that really poses a profound threat to Israel.” I am not sure that Power would like to live with the idea that because Israel is so vulnerable to mounting a legal challenge that its impunity must be upheld whatever the embarrassment to Washington of doing so. France and Germany have been more circumspect, saying absurdly that recourse to the ICC by Palestine should be avoided because it would disrupt ‘the final status negotiations,’ as if this pseudo-diplomacy was ever of any of value, a chimera if there ever was one, in the elusive quest for a just peace.

 

In a better world, the PA would not hesitate to invoke the authority of the ICC, but in the world as it is, the decision is not so simple. To begin with, is the question of access, which is limited to states. Back in 2009, the PA tried to adhere to the Rome Statute, which is the treaty governing the ICC, and was rebuffed by the prosecutor who turned the issue over to the Security Council, claiming a lack of authority to determine whether the PA represented a ‘state.’ Subsequently, on November 29, 2012 the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly recognized Palestine as ‘a nonmember observer state.’ Luis Moreno–Ocampo who had acted in 2009 for the ICC, and now speaking as the former prosecutor, asserted that in his opinion Palestine would now in view of the General Assembly action qualify as a state enjoying the option of becoming an ICC member. Normally, ICC jurisdiction is limited to crimes committed after the state becomes a member, but there is a provision that enables a declaration to be made accepting jurisdiction for crimes committed at any date in its territory so long as it is after the ICC itself was established in 2002.

 

Is this enough? Israel has never become a party to the Rome Statute setting up the ICC, and would certainly refuse to cooperate with a prosecutor who sought to investigate war crimes charges with the possible intention of prosecution. In this regard, recourse to ICC might appear to be futile as even if arrest warrants were to be issued by the court, as was done in relation to Qaddafi and his son in 2011, there would be no prospect that the accused Israeli political and military figures would be handed over, and without the presence of such defendants in the court at The Hague, a criminal trial cannot go forward. This illustrates a basic problem with the enforcement of international criminal law. It has been effective only against the losers in wars fought against the interests of the West and, to some extent, against those whose crimes are in countries located in sub-Saharan Africa. This biased form of international criminal law implementation has been the pattern since the first major effort was made after World War II at Nuremberg and Tokyo. Surviving German and Japanese leaders were prosecuted for their crimes while exempting the winners, despite Allied responsibility for the systematic bombing of civilian populations by way of strategic bombing and the American responsibility for dropping atomic bombs on the heavily populated cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 

Unfortunately, up to this time the ICC has not been able to get rid of this legacy of ‘victors’ justice,’ which has harmed its credibility and reputation. All ICC cases so far have involved accused from sub-Saharan African countries. The refusal of the ICC to investigate allegations of war crimes of the aggressors in relation the Iraq War of 2003 is a dramatic confirmation that leading states, especially the United States, possess a geopolitical veto over what the ICC can do. The ICC failure to investigate the crimes of Bush and Blair, as well as their entourage of complicit top officials, vividly shows the operations of double standards. Perhaps, the climate of opinion has evolved to the point where there would be an impulse to investigate the charges against Israel even if procedural obstacles preventing the case from being carried to completion. Any serious attempt to investigate the criminal accountability of Israeli political and military leaders would add legitimacy to the Palestinian struggle, and might have a positive spillover effect on the global solidarity movement and the intensifying BDS campaign.

 

Yet there are other roadblocks. First of all, the PA would definitely have to be prepared to deal with the wrath of Israel, undoubtedly supported by the United States and more blandly by several European countries. The push back could go in either of two directions: Israel formally annexing most or all of the West Bank, which it seems determined to do in any event, or more likely in the short run, withholding the transfer of funds needed by the PA to support its governmental operations. The U.S. Congress would be certain to follow the lead of Tel Aviv even if the Obama presidency might be more inclined to limit its opposition to a diplomatic slap on the PA wrist as it did recently in reacting to the June formation of the interim unity government, an important step toward reconciling Fatah and Hamas, and overcoming the fragmentation that has hampered Palestinian representation in international venues in recent years.

 

A second potential obstacle concerns the jurisdictional authority of the ICC, which extends to all war crimes committed on the territory of a treaty member, which means that leaders of Hamas would also likely be investigated and indicted for their reliance on indiscriminate rockets aimed in the direction of Israeli civilian targets.There is even speculation that given the politics of the ICC such that crimes alleged against Hamas might be exclusively pursued.

 

If we assume that these obstacles have been considered, and Palestine still wants to go ahead with efforts to activate the investigation of war crimes in Gaza, but also in the rest of occupied Palestine, what then? And assume further, that the ICC reacts responsibly, and gives the bulk of its attention to the allegations directed against Israel, the political actor that controls most aspects of the relationship. There are several major crimes against humanity enumerated in Articles 5-9 of the Rome Statute for which there exists abundant evidence as to make indictment and conviction of Israeli leaders all but inevitable if Palestine uses its privilege to activate an investigation and somehow is able to produce the defendants to face trial: reliance on excessive force, imposing an apartheid regime, collective punishment, population transfers in relations to settlements, maintenance of the separation wall in Palestine.

 

The underlying criminality of the recent aggression associated with Protective Edge (Israel’s name for its 2014 attack on Gaza) cannot be investigated at this point by the ICC, and this seriously limits its authority. It was only in 2010 that an amendment was adopted by the required 2/3 majority of the 122 treaty members on an agreed definition of aggression, but it will not become operative until 2017. In this respect, there is a big hole in the coverage of war crimes currently under the authority of the ICC.

 

Despite all these problems, recourse to the ICC remains a valuable trump card in the thin PA deck, and playing it might begin to change the balance of forces bearing on the conflict that has for decades now denied the Palestinian people their basic rights under international law. If this should happen, it would also be a great challenge to and opportunity for the ICC finally to override the geopolitical veto that has so far kept criminal accountability within the tight circle of ‘victors’ justice’ and hence only accorded the peoples of the world a very power-laden and biased experience of justice.

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53 Responses to “Palestinian Recourse to the International Criminal Court: The Time has Come”

  1. Gene Schulman July 21, 2014 at 12:55 am #

    Everything you say in this essay is right, Richard. But the powers-that-be will oppose any such justice for the Palestinians. Those powers have the upper hand and will use it to keep the Palestinians, along with any others that try to oppose their hegemonic incursions, slapped down. Only an international awakening that recognizes the unfairness and is willing to take steps to rectify the injustices in our contemporary world might change things. That awakening is yet to happen. The “exceptionalism” of America and Israel is still too embedded in our culture. The only hope I can see is an eventual collapse of the “Empire” in the face of growing opposition from the emerging countries of the South and East. That could be even worse for all.

    • Gene Schulman July 21, 2014 at 1:16 am #

      Forgot to register for follow-up comments.

  2. wingsprd July 21, 2014 at 1:00 am #

    Thank you Richard for outlining the difficulties of the Palestinians having recourse to the ICC. I have wondered for a long time why their case could not be pursued. Of course I realized that US veto was a block. I wonder about the definition of a state when that applied, Palestine was a state until the encroachment of Israel. The history of my own family attests to this. Palestine was very useful to the allies, especially Australian soldiers in WWI. and since.
    There are monuments in Palestine to the Australian soldiers. Such unbearable tragedy now.

  3. Fred Skolnik July 21, 2014 at 1:49 am #

    The reason the Palestinians will have great difficulty getting satisfaction at The Hague is because Israel has not committed war crimes during the current fighting in Gaza while the Palestinians have. This is precisely what a Palestinian spokesman said about a week ago.

    To label as a war crime what you call “imposing an apartheid regime” in the West Bank is ludicrous. An occupation by definition entails separation between the occupier and the occupied and two different legal systems – one military for occupied nationals, one civil for occupying nationals. Calling the existence of the settlements a war crime is I think meaningless rhetoric, irrespective of whether they are legal or not.

    Your unbalanced characterization of the manner in which Israel defends itself against terrorist attacks and your soft-pedaling of Hamas’s war crimes will not find much support among fair-mined and rational people. Instead of concentrating all of your efforts on the vilification of Israel, you might consider offering the Palestinians some sound advice, beginning with the dismantling of Hamas, because the only way they are going to get a state is by disavowing terrorism and learning to live with a sovereign Jewish state.

    • Richard Falk July 21, 2014 at 4:01 am #

      If you would heed the words of your own leaders, you would at least acknowledge that Israel is opposed to the creation of a Palestinian
      state even if Hamas disappeared overnight. The whole language of Judea & Samaria has long conveyed the idea that the West Bank is part
      of the Zionist project to establish a Jewish homeland, and the election by the Knesset of Reuven as Israel’s next president is further
      confirmation of Israel’s one-state ‘solution,’ with Palestinians consigned to a permanent status of being a subordinated minority in their
      own country. I doubt that many ‘fair-minded and rational people’ would call that jursice!

    • Fred Skolnik July 21, 2014 at 4:58 am #

      That is an entirely false representation of government policy. It represents the extreme view in the Likkud and the Coalition. It does not represent Netanyahu’s view, the view of a large majority of Knesset members and the view of the large majority of Israelis. (Rivlin’s election as president is totally irrelevant to the peace process. You are misreading its significance for reasons that are not clear to me.)

      The contours of the two-state solution that Israel is prepared to negotiate are known to everyone. There is nothing unreasonable in Israel’s basic position: land for land, symbolic return of refugees (30-40,000, I would say, coincidentally or not representing the number of living original refugees), some imaginative solution for Jerusalem (or a delay in implementing a solution), and suitable security arrangements that will forestall attacks on Israel. If you seriously believe that a peace agreement is going to involve flooding Israel with millions of Palestinians you are simpky detached from reality.

      No one is pretending that it will be simple for Israel to dismantle settlements. The issue will not be your misconceived understanding of the “Zionist project,” as not a great many Israelis are interested in annexing the West Bank. It will also not be any resistance that might be offerred by the settlers. Most will leave peacefully if genuine peace is attained. The difficulty will lie in the trauma, for the country as a whole, of uprooting the settlers from their homes. I don’t expect you to be sympathetic to this difficulty, but you should at least understand that the country will not be prepared to endure such a trauma unless it believes that real peace is being obtained. It will also not be prepared to run the risk of waking up in the morning with Hamas rocket launchers 15 miles from Tel Aviv and 15 yards from Jewish Jerusalem. It will not be prepared to undergo the Gush Katif experience a second time. When a negotiated settlement is put to the vote in a national referandum it will pass by a large majority if it means genuine peace and genuine peace means mutual recognition as national states and the relinquishing of all future claims by both sides.

      I think it is correct to say that Abu Mazen cannot deliver such a peace, and Hamas certainly doesn’t wish to. That is the dilemma, and that is the reason that Netanyahu is so reluctant to move forward. From Israel’s point of view, the Palestinians will have to prove that they are prepared to live in peace with a s sovereign Jewish state. Once they do, they will have a state of their own.

    • summitflyer July 21, 2014 at 6:42 am #

      A terrorist for some is another’s freedom fighter.I do wish that the fighting would stop,but it will not stop until Israel confiscates all the land that used to belong to Palestine.

    • ray032 July 21, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

      Actually Fred, after this current murderous bombardment of the civilians in the Israeli controlled Gaza ghetto-prison with Jet fighters, heavy artillery, tanks & helicopters, you will see the opposite to this happening, “Your unbalanced characterization of the manner in which Israel defends itself against terrorist attacks and your soft-pedaling of Hamas’s war crimes will not find much support among fair-mined and rational people

      • Fred Skolnik July 22, 2014 at 1:35 am #

        “Actually,” Ray, leaving your smugness aside, and as I’ve said before: Unless you made yourself heard and used the same adjectives when Israeli women and children were blown to pieces in buses and restaurants and murdered in there homes by Arab terrorists, you are a hypocrite.

      • Richard Falk July 22, 2014 at 2:07 am #

        The violence of resistance, although tragic for its victims, cannot be equated with the violence of the oppressors or occupiers.
        I have not seen any indication of your concern for Palestinian victimization, which is far more extreme than anything Israelis can
        reasonably claim. And so when asking who is the hypocrite I would not advise you to throw the first stone.
        Recall that the violence of French resistance to the Nazi occupation was widely applauded and validated even when it caused death
        to innocent French civilians.

      • Fred Skolnik July 22, 2014 at 2:32 am #

        You are not being serious by daring to compare a murderous terrorist organization with the French Resistance. The French Resistance was not devoted to murdering innocent civilians. The difference between Hamas and Israel is that Hamas intentionally looks to murder civilians while Israel makes every effort to avoid killing civilians. The simple fact that Israel is at war with a terrorist army that is fighting out of a built-up area with the express purpose of using civilians as human shields makes no impression on you and you continue to falsely represent Israel’s war against Hamas as a war against the Palestinian people.

      • Gene Schulman July 22, 2014 at 4:22 am #

        “……..while Israel makes every effort to avoid killing civilians.”

        Fred, do you not have eyes to see? Do you not have ears to listen?

      • Fred Skolnik July 22, 2014 at 4:27 am #

        That is a fact, whether you like it or not. If it wasn’t there would be tens of thousands dead by now. The terrorists are using children as shields and preventing civilians from leaving combat areas, You are so good at referencing, why don’t you reference that?

      • Richard Falk July 22, 2014 at 4:52 am #

        Both realities are true: Israel could kill many more if that was its objective and Israel conducts
        its military operation with a reckless, and sometimes willful, disregard for the lives of Palestinians.
        It makes no provision to allow entrapped civilians to leave Gaza, and internal displacement is itself
        a nightmare in such a small and crowded space. Having been to Gaza on several occasions I know there
        is no escaping the combat zone in the course of such a massive military operation.

      • Fred Skolnik July 22, 2014 at 5:10 am #

        That is also not true. The Gaza Strip is big place (140 square miles) and Israel’s attacks take place against specific targets in specific areas and the residents are warned in advance by every possible means” leaflets, phone calls, emails even. Hamas is not allowing them to leave. Israeli pilots are even aborting missions when they see civilians in the vicinity of a target. You are misrepresenting the way Israel conducts war. What I will say is that it cannot allow its civilian population to be indiscriminately bombarded and will continue to attack military installations, including the tunnels whose entrances are actually dug in the basements of residential buildings, and consequently civilians will unavoidably be killed until Hamas stops shooting.

      • Fred Skolnik July 22, 2014 at 6:09 am #

        Is that what you’re doing with your time, Gene? Feverishly combing the internet for “evidence.” Categorical statements from a Shamus Cooke sitting in front of his computer or television set 6,000 miles from the Middle East have as much value as your own categorical statements.

      • imleif July 23, 2014 at 10:07 am #

        This article moves me. Children are not a number, families devastated.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/10984259/Revealed-the-Palestinian-children-killed-by-Israeli-forces.html

      • ray032 July 23, 2014 at 11:02 am #

        Fred, if you have any influence with the war mongers in Israel, let them know with every image of dead children and the massive destruction of civilian homes with no exit, Israel’s war crimes will not find much support among fair-mined and rational people

      • Fred Skolnik July 23, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

        Unless you made yourself heard and used the same language when Israeli women and children were blown to pieces in buses and restaurants and murdered in there homes by Arab terrorists, you are a hypocrite. Unless you made yourself heard and used the same language when Hamas began bombarding Israel’s civilian population, you’re a hypocrite.

  4. truthaholics July 21, 2014 at 5:43 am #

    Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    No more shielding, no more impunity.
    It’s time for rule of law, time for Justice – high time.

  5. truthaholics July 21, 2014 at 5:47 am #

    Reblogged this on | War Crimes International and commented:
    No more shielding, no more impunity.
    It’s time for rule of law, time for Justice – high time.

  6. imleif July 21, 2014 at 8:08 am #

    Mr Falk, thanks for the analysis.

    Vital is that both sides are held accountable, not only Hamas. Currently Hamas is on the terror list in EU and USA, which is a terrible asymmetry contributing greatly to Israel’s impunity, and which is bullying people in the West away from supporting the Palestinian side.

    Such an objective justice could hopefully bring down the violence levels drastically, and force the focus to be put on negotiations and solutions instead.

  7. Israel has no right to exist - Kick Israel out of UN July 21, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Currently Hamas is on the terror list in EU and USA, which is a terrible asymmetry contributing greatly to…}

    It is greatly shows that how gullible and brainshed are population of the West due to complicity of the “intellectuals” in the criminal governments of the WEST.

    • Kata Fisher July 21, 2014 at 9:41 am #

      Hamas has done things that they should not have had done.

      They have abused sacred text by misinterpretation and misapplication and with that have taken the Scripture of Holy Quran outside its appointed area.

      That alone has destroyed their credibility and has interfered with their right to self-defense in Holy Land. they have to repent and only do valid things for themselves.

      Western justice is twisted, as well – they are heretics themselves and resemble jihadist-Islam as are self-hating Christians.

      “the criminal governments of the WEST” can be sanctioned-out by the criminal governments of the EAST…

      • Stop being gullible July 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

        All the criminal governments of the EAST are ruled and controlled by your criminal governments especially the axis of evil, US-Israel-Britain. The majority of Arab puppet states, Turkey, and western weaker states are ruled by the criminals in Washington where gullible people of these countries support because they benefit. Your economy is based on expansion of prison, wars and WMD along with brothel houses. On the other hand, the population of the East hates the status quo, thus react against it, Bahrain, but they are gunned down by WMD sold by USG to their puppets funded by oil to keep the population down to have their markets under control of the empire. You support the crimes of your government by being silent on massacre of “others”.
        The Zionists and imperialist savages staged 9/11 to frame Muslims to invade, kill, rape, and rob the population of the EAST, to destabilize and partition the regional states to benefit ‘greater Israel’ to have the region under full control.
        Only a United Front of population of the East and the informed population of the West can destroy these criminal Zionist states to let us all free. It is your duty to stand against your criminal states. The embedded phony intellectuals of the West have a unique responsibility in keeping population gullible while spreading the propaganda against e ‘imagined enemy’ to justify the killing and genocide in other countries keeping the “war on Terror”, a HOAX, alive to finish their job.
        Try not to be brain washed, like the way you are, by lies spread by the embedded ‘intellectuals’ in support of the criminal states of the West, and stop being complicit in their crimes. You should inform your ignorant fellow citizen to stop USG false Flag Operation to frame Muslims to implement its “grand strategy’, for world hegemony. This is not a religious war petty. This is a well designed plan to take over the world by killing, raping, robbing using propaganda spread by phony ‘journalists’ embedded in USG and intelligence services of the West.

  8. Kata Fisher July 21, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    I have a reflection:

    What are some of these old man saying – what do these things mean? Are these old man prophets who should be heeded? Is this possible what they are saying and / or valid?

    http://www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com/2014/07/arabs-start-to-tell-truth.html

  9. Oldguyincolorado July 21, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Istanbul as a world city? You propose this when riots against Jews are taking place there? Perhaps peace between Israel and the Palestinians will take place when you, as a Jew, can safely walk the streets of the most conservative Muslim part of that city (in which you now live and have visited for over 20 years) while carrying a sign proclaiming that you are a Jew.

    Once you realize that the problems in the ME are not political, but religious, will you begin to understand what is, and has been going on since even before the Balfour Declaration. And this conflict is religious and not political because the Arab says it is.

    You expect reason when religion is involved? I again ask you, “have you ever read the Quo’ran?” Do you see what ISIS is doing to the Christians in Syria? How about that human rights violation?

    Ultimately and unfortunately the only “real” solution might be what India and Pakestan when through, and not even a Ghandi was able to prevent that. There is no Ghandi for the ME. With religion involved, the only “law” is that of the jungle and international law can be applied only after all of the killing is over. For international law to apply one really needs rational minds on both sides of the question. The Arab has made this religious. So much for reason.

    • Stop being gullible July 21, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

      This comment shows how gullible population of the West are.
      {The Arab has made this religious. So much for reason}

      Shame on USG embedded ‘intellecuals’ who is producing nothing but gullible where USG needed for his crimes against humanity.

      • Kata Fisher July 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

        Stop being gullible:

        Start your own “gourmets” and overthrow criminal one! Do that exactly what they have done? – They have put poisons vipers on everyone’s tables, and since you are not gullible what would you like on your table? We can cook what ever you want?

        I do not know about you – but I do not like funky stuff.

        Why don’t you just curse the wicked in God’s name and take their power away?

        When prophets of God curse them in the Name of God – they wicked will perish along with their minds, all together! However, you cannot curse in the name of God outside the power of God.

        If you want Justice of God then you may want to see governing of the prophets: Jews-Charismatic, Muslims-Charismatic, and Church -Charismatic take power away from the wicked. Otherwise, you may like to watch on justice of Satan’s go on.

        Well, you have justice in human limitation in this point in time.

        being gullible? No, I am not.

        Everyone is in his/her human limitations – what do you expect: power of God? Sure but where to find it? I am not sure of anything except Shekinah Glory!

        Sure we can all complain what’s wrong, and not right – sure go about it in your will-power? – and not the power of God?

        The Kings are brought to nothing because they do things in their will-power! Are you crazy?

        Fr. Carlo Maria Vigano is only a phone call away – if you want to tell me what to do: “Stop being gullible”?

        Do not tell me what to do — I do things that I am moved by Spirit.

        Otherwise, you go and complain to the representative of the Pope under whose oversight I am.

    • Gene Schulman July 21, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      @Old Guy

      Don’t blame religion, blame British politics. If you remember your history, the Brits partitioned India at about the same time they partitioned Palestine. It was the breakup of the British Empire that created the mess in both places: India/Pakistan and Israel/Palestine. Except that Palestine never became a state. And it never will if it is up to the ZIonists.

      • Oldguyincolorado July 21, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

        Hi Gene,

        Of course I remember my history. If you remember yours, Ghandi tried to prevent this mess. He wanted a peaceful split if that could happen. His conflicts with Nehru and the insistance of separation clearly demonstrate that. Remember the Hindu who came to him and confessed his crime against a Muslim during that partition and Ghandi told that Hindu to go and find a young Muslim who was orphaned by that split and raise him to be a good Muslim? I spent a good bit of time studying the subject back in ’54.

        Actually the Brits started the problem in around 1915 by promising it all to the Arab (to get their help against the Turk) and then the next year promising it to the Jew (to get Weizmann to come up with a formula for explosives because they were running out of, I believe it was nitrates (?) and to follow through with their political belief (starting @ 1870) that the Arab could not protect Palestine and only the Jew could develop the land and protect the British route to India (the Suez Canal)). Of course the Brit had/has the religious belief that the 2nd Coming can’t take place without the Jew in Palestine. Then in 1920, in order to balance power between two competing Arab factions (after appointing one faction to be a political big wig) they appointed Amin al Husenni (sp) to become Grand Mufti. Lord Samuel (a Jew) did that. Talk about a world class mistake!

        In all of this convoluted mess, folks seem to forget that all this land was owned by the Turks, not the Arab, from the 16th century until 1918, so the Brits were promising something not yet even administered by them. The Mandate came later. Then came the Saudi’s who threw out the Hashimites, thus forcing the Brits to set up 3 new kingdoms for Hashimites (Syria, Iraq and Trans Jordan) -with Jordan saying ” no Jew can live East of the Jordan”. Combine that with the Grand Mufti saying that it was the Religious Duty of all Muslims, world wide, to kill all Jews world wide and the Arab start of pograms in 1920 thru the mid to late ’30’s. Of course Hamas’s Charter says to kill all Zionists (really meaning all Jews) and clearly telling everyone that the issues are Not political, they are Religious, Abbas saying that no Jew can become a citizen of a Palestinian State , along with the commentaries in the Quo’ran which say that if a Jew transgresses, to hunt down and kill them and even the rocks will help the Muslim find the Jew, should a Jew seek to hide behind one by saying to the Muslim hunter that there is a Jew behind it, ect. Ad naseum. I suggest that you read the Dar es Salam translation for a good translation with commentaries (commissioned by King Faud of Saudi Arabia ( as I recall). And now see what ISIS is doing to the Christians, the religious war in Indonesia, the Buddahist vs Muslim war in Burma, the issues China
        has with its Muslim population, the Russians with theirs, etc. ad
        nauseum .

        I believe the Muslim. To them it is religious. Why should I not believe them? Why don’t you? Their religion says that everyone must be Muslim (except for subdued and submissive Christians and Jews who are second class Citizens and nonetheless will burn in hell forever).

        How many times have the Zionists said: let’s make a deal? What on earth was Camp David all about? That was such a good deal that even Saudi Prince Bandar pleaded with Arafat to take it!

        Respectfully, Gene you need to read more and stop being myopic. Look at the whole spectrum. There are other world players here. Ever ask yourself why it is that while a Palestinian might live in another Muslim land, the chances of his becoming a citizen there are about “nil”. Now what is that all about?

        I am now fairly certain that neither you nor Prof. Falk has ever read, much less studied the Quo’ran. For the average Muslim in a non-western country, it really is the law. It is religious. You are wrong.

      • ray032 July 21, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

        Oldguyincolorado, you are leaving out the other side of the coin. Israel for the most part, is a secular State, They do believe the God they don’t believe in, gave all the land to the Jewish ancestors exclusively some 4000 years ago. Though Israel disappeared from among the kingdoms of this world for some 3000 years until it was recreated from the Bible in 1948. In that religious ideology, it doesn’t matter other people lived on the land the European Jews had no connection with since the Roman expulsion 2000 years ago.

        It’s all religious for both Jew and Arab.

        Jews, Christians and Muslims fall short in the practice of the highest ideals of the Book, and are selective in what they choose to believe from it.

        [2.62] Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

    • Kata Fisher July 21, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

      You state this:

      “You expect reason when religion is involved? I again ask you, “ ‘have you ever read the Quo’ran?” Do you see what ISIS is doing to the Christians in Syria? How about that human rights violation? ‘ ”

      What ISIS is doing now depended on that what US and else who did in the past: shaking a legitimate government — but why?

      What is done in Iraq to the Christians right now, too?

      Was not 2000-year-old Church practically gutted out, according to what John Allen has said? — but by whom was it gutted out?

      The Bush administration and their war-crime hub, and now false Muslims / jihadist are there just to finish up what Bush Administration and their war-crime hub has already started — tell me that it is not? Are they not accursed by their swinery, juts as their ancestors were? Are they not spiritualy excomunicated and cut off?

      It is easy to say what is written down in Quran and place the blame on that — you are in US — you can practice ‘false fredom of religion/s. Why don’t you place the blame on Satanic and false Christianity and their heresies of US and else where? But why would you do that?

      You know what: Do not mess with the Scriptures and do not even referee to any of the Scripture by unrighteous contempt. I just feel like that.

      • Oldguyincolorado July 21, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

        I agree that Bush and his crowd are idiots. We got into a war that should not have happened. I knew that when I watched Colin Powell make his arguments at the UN. I knew that even he did not believe what he was saying. He should have resigned.

        Kata, read the Quo’ran. It says, among other things , that Christ was not crucified and the Torah and Christian Bible are misstatements of what G-D said (that they are incomplete) and rabbis and priests are basically bad folks. So much for your Scriptures in the eyes of a Muslim. They are an incomplete telling of what happened.

        Don’t rely on what I say on the subject, read it for yourself. A good Muslim believes the Quo’ran at least as much as you believe your Bible.

        I am not blaming Christianity nor Judaic writings. The Torah and your Bible never mention Islam but you need to see what Islam says about everyone else.

      • ray032 July 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

        Oldguy, I believe the Bible is incomplete as well, but my Faith in God grows Day by Day by living the Faith, that is believing God exists. For a long time I didn’t believe that and some might consider me to be an old guy at 70.

        The last word in the Gospel of John; [25] And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

        John goes further in Revelation 10: And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
        And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
        And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
        And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, >I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.<

        There's more than what is written in the Book so that believers are justified by Faith. You can know the Book by heart and not know the heart of God.

      • Oldguyincolorado July 22, 2014 at 8:21 am #

        Ray, I believe you. There is more than what is written – most of that is lost in time . That is why we love to find things like the Dead Sea Scrolls . The fault I find with most folks is that they have never read that which has been written and available for centuries and forms the basis of what they actually believe, or worse what they think others actually believe, they just pontificate.

        I merely point out to Kata and others that they really need to read that which exists before they take a position and should not rely on what someone else says something else says it says. At least not with a subject such as the word as spoken in the Quo’ran.

        Keep the Faith, no matter what, but have a reason for it. Study is good. Try doing something few in the west do: read the Quo’ran – several translations of it.

        Kata should read at least the Shuria entitled Women. Now there is something currently being practiced in much of the Muslim world. Have her explain to us the meaning of that “Scripture” -up to this date at least 700 girls in just Pakistan alone, thins year are dead because of an honor killing – averages over 1000 per year.

      • Kata Fisher July 22, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

        Dear Oldguyincolorado,

        You write this:

        “Kata, read the Quo’ran. It says, among other things , that Christ was not crucified and the Torah and Christian Bible are misstatements of what G-D said (that they are incomplete) and rabbis and priests are basically bad folks. So much for your Scriptures in the eyes of a Muslim. They are an incomplete telling of what happened.”

        What you wrote down is not authentic interpretation of what is writen down in Quran, and this is why:

        That is your interpretation of Holy Quran, and most likely it is exactly same interpretation that the laypeople will come up with.

        In addition to that – what you say it is not what Prophet Muhammad had said and what it is written down.

        When Prophet Muhammad has said did he understand what he was giving reference to? He was giving reference to the Gospel, and with the Gospel we are looking to see what prophet Muhammad was talking about. (If that, in fact, is what Prophet Muhammad has said and it was written down – because he did not write things down himself).

        It is not valid /legitimate for lay-people to challenge any part of the Scripture.

        When Paul writes to Timothy, he indicates this:

        http://biblehub.com/text/2_timothy/3-16.htm

        In addition to that, I note this:

        I take all writings of Paul Apostle with duty of the Church to preserve authentic apostolic instructions. Dismissing anything what Paul writes down is direct cursing the way of the Church and apostolic traditions as well as instructions. It is that serious. It is so central to our interpretations that we are just bound to it with our life in the Church and in Baptism of Jesus Christ — that which is central to the authentic Church.

        Writings of Paul Apostle is central to understanding Holy Quran, in its essence.

        The nature of Holy Quran according to the writing of Paul would be a prophesy that has to be discerned. This, however, it is not is spiritual appointing and spiritual authority of lay people. Lay-people have no spiritual authority to go about discerning validity of any part of the Scriptures.

        This is what is appropriate for lay people to do about Holy Quran: say this, “Holy Quran is God Berated Scripture, and you can go about teaching, reproofs, and corrections by it in order to achieve training in righteousness.”

        How do we interpret the prophesy that was given in Church age?

        You really can’t apply enough Grace to go about it because it is not in your willpower.

        Let’s look at the context in which the prophesy was written down. One would say “I do not understand it and what do you mean when you say ‘the context in which the prophesy was written down’?” …in the Church age?

        Then, one would say “let’s apply all of the Scripture for our interpretation! I mean, for Sure & Yes — But which one?”

        Look: It is a dead-end cycle! You just will not get it right.

        You have to interpret it in the exactly same way that was received: in prophetic anointing.

        If I were to tell you that interpretation of Holy Quran about crucifixion of Jesus Christ is, in fact, pinpointed in the Gospel that were written down by first Generation of Christianity – you would be bewildered.

        You would not believe me. Holy Quran confirms that which is written down in the Gospel.

        However, why is that? How is that possible and what exactly am I talking about?

        In fact, there is no need to jump out of our chairs when we read something and think that there is inconsistency in the Scriptures – or some errors! It is only that – that which we think and not Scriptural reality that is applied to our interpretation and / or discerning.

        Holy Quran, in fact, confirms that what we do not know? — that there was a confirmation of the dual nature of Jesus Christ to His disciples by the transfiguration of Jesus Christ (Matthew ch. 7 v.1-11) before he was crucified.

        He was crucified after his human and divine nature was confirmed.

        However, this is a mystery! Also, what do I mean—and what Holy Quran’s writing has to do with it?

        What are inconsistencies and errors, seriously?

        Do we need to horde on different interpretations that we just do not need?

        What we need is this: teaching, reproofs, and corrections by it in order to achieve training in righteousness.

        We do not need to go about interpretation of the Scripture — if and when you need an interpretation, then God Himself is in power to give you one. Meaning this: I can tell you the interpretation that I have by presence of God, but it will not become valid for you, unless, God Himself validates it for you.

        Seriously, what is the truth that is objective?

        There is nothing wrong with the Scriptures; it is all about wrong interpretation and discerning of the Scriptures. Yes, any of the Scripture — from the beginning to the end it is so.

  10. Eric Olof Sundin July 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

    Greetings,

    Your were an expert witness at one of my Trident trials in Kitsap County in the early 80s. While I no longer am involved with civil disobedience I have been reading many of your articles since then. Most recently your Truthout interview by C.J. Polychroniou. Thank you for your distinguished and courageous involvement.

    Of course for all its horror what the Israelites inflict on hapless Gaza is numerically but a fraction of the mayhem ‘the finest fighting force the world has ever seen’ has inflicted on Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya et al. while our fellow Americans too a large extent are oblivious of Empire.

    “Valiant armchair warriors’ voices shrill
    the treasury depleting by trillions
    Hapless soldiers made to maim and kill
    civilians by the millions

    While the underwear bomb blew no hole
    the ’security’ industry’s profits rocks
    A dud as well that bomb in sole
    still us sheep line up in socks

    Here’s the ridiculous rub
    No greater risk to fly
    than drown in your tub
    What indeed went awry?

    Foreign countries laid in ruinous state
    as DHS agents pat down our ample waist”

    regards,
    Eric Olof Sundin
    Seattle

    • Richard Falk July 22, 2014 at 2:01 am #

      I am glad you reminded me of our shared past! It was for me a strong experience.

      Thanks for your comment & poem.

      Greetings, Richard

  11. Mohamed Murad (@mozimurad) July 22, 2014 at 1:37 am #

    change.org/petitions/call-to-the-icc-to-investigate-israeli-war-crimes-in-gaza

  12. Israel has no right to exist - Kick Israel out of UN July 22, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    Shocking, Disgusting, Stupid,

    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed condolences to the Israeli regime for its losses.
    {The UN chief made the shocking remarks at joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upon his arrival in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

    “I extend my deep condolences to the prime minister and to the people of Israel on the fatalities from the recent escalation,” Ban said.}

    Ban Ki Moon is a servant of USG. He is biased to keep his petty job. He has been selected to serve the criminals’ agenda. He does it very well. He reads only from a script. No one has any respect for a petty man. He has no word against genocide in Gaza by the Israelis, like his boss, Obama/Kerry. He has been silent against Netanyahu bombing Schools, houses, hospitals, Mosques, killing close to 700 Gazans , majority of them civilians, many children but sends his condolences to a mass murderer who has invaded Gaza, thus, violated all the international law on the book killing both children and their mothers.

    • Kata Fisher July 22, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

      Why are you saying this: “Shocking, Disgusting, Stupid,” — you sound like Hillel Neuer when you say such things.

      What are responsibilities of the United Nations Secretary-General? He does not have to be ethical –or does he have to be?

      Perhaps, his interpretation of situations is not quite right –since @ UN they cannot even agree / understand on how to interpret UN Charter/s –why would you be surprised that he is just unethical?

      Or maybe they just do not know what is ethical and what is unethical, and how it comes about that is so?

      Or really, he just can’t discern right from wrong and is not qualified for that job.

  13. rehmat1 July 23, 2014 at 3:26 am #

    Pity. According to Israeli military propaganda site, DEBKA File, Israeli army has failed to achieve a single victory against Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

    “The battle for Shejaiya, Hamas stronghold on Gaza City’s outskirts, was still unresolved on Tuesday, July 22, indicating that the Islamists were not giving up,” admitted DEBKA File.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/07/23/jewish-army-defeated-by-gaza-resitance/

  14. Genocide in Gaza July 23, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    The open-ended wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa, by the West, using False Flag Operation, terror and genocide, are not happening in isolation. They are part of an old plan for world hegemony. They needed to insert a foreign entity – Israel- to create un-ended chaos and destabilization in the region using ‘divide and rule’. Their “Islamic” trained terrorists by Mossad/CIA/MIA are proxies, to erect“greater Israel” in the region according to Oded Yinon protocol where the final desniation is “world government” an Iron Cage.

    Tariq Ali writes:

    {The Alternate Information Center in Beit Sahour, a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization promoting justice, equality and peace for Palestinians and Israelis recently put up a post. It was a quote from The Bannerman Report written in 1907 by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, and, as it was strategically important it was suppressed and was never released to the public until many years later:
    “There are people (the Arabs, Editor’s Note) who control spacious territories teeming with manifest and hidden resources. They dominate the intersections of world routes. Their lands were the cradles of human civilizations and religions. These people have one faith, one language, one history and the same aspirations. No natural barriers can isolate these people from one another … if, per chance, this nation were to be unified into one state, it would then take the fate of the world into its hands and would separate Europe from the rest of the world. Taking these considerations seriously, a foreign body should be planted in the heart of this nation to prevent the convergence of its wings in such a way that it could exhaust its powers in never-ending wars. It could also serve as a springboard for the West to gain its coveted objects.”}

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/07/22/blinded-by-israel-visionless-in-gaza/

    To achieve their vicious goal, they have created numerous “international” organizations, as tools, including ICC, to carry out their PLOT against the population of the region.
    They used UN to construct FAKE “international community” and have selected a puppet as its head to implement their plan.
    Please read the speech of a COWARD in Israel while sitting next to a war criminal repeating Netanyahu’s lies to please his superiors:

    US Secretary General Ban:
    {Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. Shalom, ladies and gentlemen.
    Mr. Prime Minister, thank you again for your warm welcome. It’s always a pleasure to visit, for me, Israel. But this time I am standing with a very heavy, heavy heart. As we speak, rockets from Hamas and Islamic Jihad continue to be fired on Israel. I have just seen myself, with the Prime Minister, all kinds of rockets fired by Hamas onto the heads of these people and neighborhoods of where many people are living. This is quite shocking. And I have seen all these photos and videos and evidences myself. The United Nations’ position is clear: we condemn strongly the rocket attacks.}

    No words on weapon of Mass Destruction of the terrorist Zionists received from Washington and tested on Palestinian children. Shame on you coward.
    They have correctly addressed him as “US secretary” and NOT “UN secretary”.

    http://www.jwire.com.au/news/meeting-ban-ki-moon/44623

    • ray032 July 23, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

      When Jacob-Israel and the Patriarchs of the 12 Tribes of Israel saw the land for the 1st time, it was called Caanan. This is recorded in Genesis 34.

      And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.
      And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.
      And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.
      And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.

      I would imagine Shechem was in his late teens-early twenties, and the record is clear to me. This lad was madly in love with Jacob’s daughter. This is not the record of a rapist, but in the culture of those times, even if he sweet talked her into his bed, that was still a defilement.

      Jacob’s sons, the Patriarchs Simeon and Levi were livid their sister lost her virginity.

      The boy pleaded with his father to talk with Jacob-Israel to arrange a marriage union between the two families. He said he would pay whatever they demanded as a dowry.

      And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father DECEITFULLY, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:
      And they said to them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us:

      But in this will we consent unto you: If you will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised;
      Then will we give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.
      But if you will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.

      This was the false offer of Peace if the original inhabitants of the Holy Land would be circumcised. It was a ruse.

      The story continues;
      And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.
      And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out.
      The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister.
      They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field,
      And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.

      The 2nd time around, 400 years later, when the descendants came to the Promised Land again, they killed every man, woman and child in Caanan and renamed it Israel..

      Looking what the descendents of the Patriarchs are doing Today, it must be part of the genetic makeup of the Chosen People.

      • Fred Skolnik July 23, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

        Now tell us about the Greek massacre of the Trojans in the Iliad and how that is genetically connected to the Greek-Turkish conflict in Cyprus. Then quote the Koran (“And slay them wherever you find them …”) and tell us about Arab genetics. You are exposing yourself, ray, for what you really are.

  15. nickcayman July 24, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    Reblogged this on Nick Robson's Blog.

  16. Timothy August 1, 2014 at 8:40 am #

    Some modern day Hitlers at UC Berkley. I think you would be happy if Israel didn’t have the Iron Dome do defend themselves against the indiscriminate rockets from Gaza. What is even worse, it’s sounds as if you support Terrorism. Ignorance is bliss!

    Your anti Israel antics are and will be fruitless. But since you have nothin else better to do with your time, might as well waste it. What will look as Isreals defeat will be it’s victory in the End!

  17. jake hawkes August 25, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

    Fred Skolnik
    Your explanations of the Israeli “government policy”, the “two state solution that Israel is prepared to negotiate” and Israel’s “reasonable” basic position are so far removed from reality as to be laughable.
    The Israeli government policy has been to inflict a brutal occupation and siege on the people of Palestine since 1948. They have deliberately driven a wedge between Israel and Palestine to the point that most Israelis don’t even know any Palestinians. Miko Peled points out in his book The General’s Son that he was taught that the Palestinians were his enemies, and the first time that he had ever spoken to a Palestinian as an equal was when he moved to the United States.
    From a letter in Haaretz by Desmond Tutu: “Besides the recent devastation of Gaza, decent human beings everywhere – including many in Israel – are profoundly disturbed by the daily violations of human dignity and freedom of movement Palestinians are subjected to at checkpoints and roadblocks. And Israel’s policies of illegal occupation and the construction of buffer-zone settlements on occupied land compound the difficulty of achieving an agreement/settlement in the future that is acceptable for all.”
    How can you honestly say that the election of Rivlin as president has nothing to do with the peace process? He is a long time member of the radical right wing Likud party and an opponent of the two-state solution. He has always been a supporter of the illegal settlements. The Palestinians have said that they don’t see how a man like Rivlin can add anything to the peace process. Doesn’t the president appoint the prime minister?
    How does a “symbolic” return of 40,000 Palestinian refugees seem “reasonable”? There were over 700,000 that were displaced in 1948 and there are almost 5 million registered refugees now. Most of those refugees do not want to be returned to live in Israel but they deserve and would accept a financial settlement and a place to live in Palestine.
    The last thing the world needs is a “Jewish” country. This seems especially true when it seems altogether unclear what a “Jew” is these days. There is no general agreement on whether Jews are a race, a religion or an ethnicity. Even in Israel the definition is not yet settled as there are still court cases trying to sort it out. One thing is for sure as it has been proven by DNA analysis: almost none of the current residents of Israel are in any way related to the ancient Hebrews, which is the basis for the Law of Return. Interestingly enough, it is the Palestinians DNA that proves relationship to the ancient Hebrews….
    Israel is the illegitimate child of colonialism and racism. It was founded on a myth of a myth. The two state solution is also a myth as Israel has no intention of ever letting it come to pass. This is obvious to anyone who has seen a map of the West Bank that shows the settlements and the wall.
    Zionism must go. Palestine should be one country with equal rights for all.

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