Thursday, November 20, 2008

A plea for the people of Palestine
A Palestinian smuggler climbs a tunnel in Rafah in the Gaza Strip, near the border with Egypt. Hoses that run through the tunnel are used to transport fuel from Egypt into Gaza. Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have been engaged in fighting for the last two weeks, and Israel has closed the territory's border crossings, halting shipments of food, fuel and other basic supplies.
(Khalil Hamra)


I am working on it and it's almost complete. It is a plea for the people of Palestine to the powers that be. My intention is to collect as many comments as I can and add them to the letter.

The First Draft Of My Letter.

It will not necessarily be finalized in this order and format. All constructive criticism and suggestions are welcome. I intend to include the full list of Resolution violations with the letter.



I am writing with regard to the situation in Gaza and the West Bank which I have been closely observing over the past 4 years and have seen quickly deteriorating, especially over the last several months. Though I am baffled as to the reasons the state of Israel has been allowed to maintain and enforce policies that go against all international laws and treaties, including the Geneva Convention, which, as of 8-12-1949, it is a signatory, engaging in behavior that is rightly described as terrorism when carried out by any other nation, I’ve considered the possibility that you are ill informed and so take this opportunity to enlighten you.

Thereare currently 1.5 million people imprisoned in the concentration camp name the Gaza Strip, and concentration camp is an accurate depiction since, unlike an actual prison, where inmates are given food, water, shelter and medical care, the inhabitants of Gaza oftentimes are forced to do without these basic necessities. There are roughly 2,407,681 residents in the West Bank, not including the 187,000 Israeli settlers. All of these people (Israeli settlers excluded) are subjected to the Apartheid polices of Israel.

Israel seems to believe it is not subject to the 4th Geneva Convention, specifically Article 49, though within the international community the overwhelming view is that Article 49 is applicable to the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Using this argument, “the international conventions relating to occupied land do not apply to the Palestinian territories because they were not under the legitimate sovereignty of any state in the first place.” With this sort of reasoning it is easy to understand why they get away with violating every UN Resolution passed against them.

Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, also ignored by Israel, includes willful killings, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. All States have criminal jurisdiction to try those accused of grave breaches, whatever their nationality, or wherever the crimes were committed, by virtue of the principle of universal jurisdiction. I suppose none of these descriptions apply when it is Israel that is guilty of the crimes. In that case, it is “self defense.”

Notwithstanding the fact that UN Resolutions, the Geneva Conventions and the articles that emerge as a result are expected to be taken seriously or deadly consequences are likely to follow, I ask, why is the State of Israel not held to the same standards as the rest of the world? Why are they privy to such an obvious double standard? Why are they allowed to ignore roughly 70 UN Resolutions (listed at the end of this letter) directed at them, without fear of reprisal? And not just ignoring the UN but actively thwarting humanitarian efforts organized by the UN aimed at bringing relief to hundreds of thousands of helpless civilians whose only crime was to be the inhabitants of a land coveted by militant Zionists.

Israel has effectively placed a blockade against the UN. This is such an overt
crime against all civil norms and world policies that it begs the question, “what is Israel holding over the heads of even the UN itself?”

We can see the results of UN defiance in Iraq, but that somehow does not apply to Israel, whose war crimes and crimes against humanity far surpass anything Saddam ever did in Iraq. Israel routinely engages in collective punishment, in defiance of Article 33 of the Geneva Convention which states that:

‘No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited. Pillage is prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.’

Yet again Israel is permitted to violate this basic law on a daily basis. Follo
wing are statements pertaining to collective punishment in International Law:

Because collective punishment was a common and horrifying feature of armed conflict in earlier times, involving reprisal killings and property destruction against noncombatant civilians, it became one of the fundamental prohibitions enshrined in the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, protecting civilians in time of armed conflict and military occupation. The United Nations Security Council has reaffirmed on dozens of occasions that this Convention applies to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem.

The authoritative ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) commentary on this article explains that:

This paragraph then lays a prohibition on collective penalties…penalties of any kind inflicted on persons or entire groups of persons, in defiance of the most elementary principles of humanity, for acts that these persons have not committed.

The Handbook of Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflict states that collective punishments:

may take different forms, such as a curfew preventing the inhabitants from fulfilling their daily duties, punishment or detention of several members of a group or family for an alleged offense by one member, or the destruction of the house belonging to the family of an alleged offender. Such acts are prohibited, without exception, by Article 33.

Amnesty International views the prohibition on collective punishment as “a cardinal rule of human rights law” and affirms that under the Fourth Geneva Convention, the vast majority of house demolitions by Israeli occupation forces, including the punitive demolitions, are illegal.

Yet for 6 decades Israel has been allowed to not only defy this internationally recognized and enforced law, they have been receiving funding from the United States to continue this illegal and inhuman practice. This is inexcusable.

As an occupying force Israel is responsible for the following:

International humanitarian law provides that once an occupying power has assumed
authority over a territory, it is obliged to restore and maintain, as far as possible, public order
and safety (Hague, art. 43). Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, the occupying power
must also respect the fundamental human rights of the territory’s inhabitants, including non-citizens (Geneva IV, arts. 29, 47).
Four basic principles of international law underlie an occupation:
1) The occupying power does not, through occupation, gain sovereignty over the
occupied territory.
2) Occupation is considered a transitory phase in which the rights of the population
must be respected by the occupying power until formal authority is restored.
3) When exercising authority, the occupying power must take into account the
interests of the inhabitants as well as military necessity.
4) The occupying power must not use its authority to exploit the population or
local resources for the benefit of its own population and territory.

An occupying power has a duty to restore and ensure public order and safety in the territory
under its authority. Under customary international law, this duty begins once a stable regime of occupation has been established. But under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the duty attaches as soon as the occupying force exercises control or authority over civilians of that territory, that is, at the soonest possible moment (a principle reflected
in U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10) (G IV, art. 6).
Military commanders on the spot must prevent and where necessary suppress serious
violations involving the local population under their control or subject to their authority.

The occupying force is responsible for protecting the population from violence by third
parties, such as newly formed armed groups or forces of the former regime (Hague, art.
47). Ensuring local security includes protecting persons, including minority groups and
former government officials, from reprisals and revenge attacks.
Occupying forces may have to be deployed to secure public order until the time local or
international police can be mobilized for such responsibilities. Unless such forces are facing
hostilities, the use of force is governed by international standards for law enforcement. That
is, only absolutely necessary force may be used and only to the required extent, in
accordance with the principle of proportionality.

An occupying power is responsible for respecting the fundamental human rights of the
population under its authority. All persons shall be treated humanely and without discrimination. This includes respecting family honor and rights, the lives of persons, and
private property, as well as religious and customary convictions and practice.
Women shall be especially protected against any attack, in particular against rape, enforced
prostitution, or any form of indecent assault. Every one shall be treated with the same consideration by the occupying power without any adverse distinction based, in particular, on race, religion or political opinion. Private property may not be confiscated. (Hague, art. 46, G IV, art. 27). However, an occupying power may take such measures of control and security as may be necessary as a result of the war (G IV, art. 27).

An occupying power is specifically prohibited from carrying out reprisals and collective
penalties against persons or their property (G IV, art. 33) and from taking hostages (G IV,
art. 34). In general, no one can be punished for acts for which he or she has not personally

All parties to a conflict are required to provide information on prisoners of war (G III, art.
122) and “protected persons” (civilian nationals) in their custody (G IV, art. 136). The
occupying power is prohibited from forcibly transferring protected persons outside of the
occupied territory for whatever reason (G IV, art. 49). Foreign nationals in the occupied territory are generally protected by IHL, especially when they do not come under the protection of their own diplomatic representatives.
The Fourth Geneva Convention permits the internment or assigned residence of protected
persons for “imperative reasons of security.” This must be carried out in accordance with a regular procedure permissible under IHL and allow for the right of appeal and for review by
a competent body at least every six months (G IV, art. 78). The Fourth Geneva
Convention provides detailed regulations for the humane treatment of internees.
Occupied Population’s Well-Being and Health

Generally, an occupying power is responsible for ensuring that food and medical care is
available to the population under its control, and to facilitate assistance by relief agencies.
An occupying force has a duty to ensure the food and medical supplies of the population, as
well as maintain hospitals and other medical services, “to the fullest extent of the means
available to it” (G IV, arts. 55, 56). This includes protecting civilian hospitals, medical personnel, and the wounded and sick. Medical personnel, including recognized Red Cross/Red Crescent societie s, shall be allowed to carry out their duties (G IV, arts. 56,
63). The occupying power shall make special efforts for children orphaned or separated from
their families (G IV, art. 24) and facilitate the exchange of family news
(G IV, arts. 25, 26).
If any part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the occupying
power shall facilitate relief by other states and impartial humanitarian agencies (G IV, art.

59). However, the provision of assistance by others does not relieve the occupying force of
its responsibilities to meet the needs of the population (G IV, art. 60).
The occupying power shall ensure that relief workers are respected and protected.

The destruction of private or public property is prohibited unless military
operations make it absolutely necessary (G IV, art 53). Cultural property is entitled to special
protection; the occupying power must take measures to preserve cultural property
(Cultural Property Convention, art.5).

As a rule, private property cannot be confiscated. Religious, charitable and educational
institutions are to be treated as private property. The occupying power may requisition food
and medical supplies for occupation forces and administrative personnel so long as the
needs of the civilian population have been taken into account and fair payment is made (G
IV, art. 55).

Immovable government properties (public buildings, real estate) may not be appropriated;
however they can be used and administered by the occupying power so long as their assets
are maintained (Hague, art. 55). Any loss of value from their use must be compensated.

And yet all of theselaws are completely ignored by the Govt. of Israel. Again I ask, “why is this allowed to continue?” Perhaps Israel is not a resident of planet Earth? Or, not related to the human race? Their behavior would certainly indicate an inhuman lineage.

As pointed out by the good James G. Abourezk The question recurs. “Why are people who are defending their homeland with violence inevitably called "terrorists?" The rules of international law, including the UN Charter, permit nations and people to defend themselves. "Self Defense" is the term constantly used by Israel when it unleashes its wrath on Palestinians who are actually trying to defend themselves from the violent theft of their lands by the Zionists.” Self defense is a basic human right. But apparently Israel does not consider the Palestinians to be human.

The greatest irony may be found when looking back at the Nuremberg Charter of 1945, drafted by the United States Government, in which was created and inserted a new type of international crime specifically intended to deal with the Nazi persecution of the Jewish People, this being referred to as crime against humanity. This is where the concept of crime against humanity came from. And this is what the U.N. Human Rights Commission determined that Israel is currently doing to the Palestinian People: Crimes against humanity. Legally, just like what Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jews. Crimes against humanity could be said to be a direct precursor to genocide.

While Israel may not have reached genocidal numbers in their war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Palestinian People, it could very well degenerate into genocide.

Israel has made a mockery of international laws and humanitarian policies and has rendered the UN and a so-called universal jurisdiction completely irrelevant. They not only persist in this illegal and immoral behavior but they actually flaunt it. They stand in proud defiance of public outcries, they violate the basic principles of human decency on a daily basis, they engage in the most overt form of racism with the construction of their Apartheid separation wall, they subject the Palestinian people to crushing oppression and stark terrorism, utilizing such tactics as creating sonic booms in the middle of the night, razing orchards and ancient olive groves, holding helpless civilians hostage at multiple check points under insufferable conditions, subjecting them to cruel humiliations, arbitrarily withholding medical treatment from the ill and infirm, indiscriminate shelling of residential neighborhoods, random search and seizure operations which include orphanages, clinics and elementary schools, cutting off fuel supplies rendering power plants inoperable, targeting and murdering of children, (according to Amnesty International one Israeli sniper privately revealed that soldiers are permitted to shoot at Palestinians who pose a potential threat, as long as they appear to be over the age of 12. “Twelve and up is allowed,” he confessed.) firing on fisherman off the Gaza coast, allowing the expansion of illegal settler colonies on Palestinian territory, what’s left of it anyway, arbitrary arrest, detention and imprisonment, targeted assassinations carried out by Israel against Hamas leaders, dumping raw sewage into villages, and the list goes on and on.

Keeping in mind Israel is the target of at least 65 UN Resolutions and the Palestinians are the target of none, the Bush administration claimed as one excuse for the invasion and occupation of Iraq the violation of UN Resolutions by Saddam Hussein, listed on the Govt.’s own website, as follows:

http://www. whitehouse. gov/infocus/iraq/decade/sect2. html

Saddam Hussein's Defiance of United Nations Resolutions

Saddam Hussein has repeatedly violated sixteen United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) designed to ensure that Iraq does not pose a threat to international peace and security. In addition to these repeated violations, he has tried, over the past decade, to circumvent UN economic sanctions against Iraq, which are reflected in a number of other resolutions. As noted in the resolutions, Saddam Hussein was required to fulfill many obligations beyond the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Specifically, Saddam Hussein was required to, among other things: allow international weapons inspectors to oversee the destruction of his weapons of mass destruction; not develop new weapons of mass destruction; destroy all of his ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers; stop support for terrorism and prevent terrorist organizations from operating within Iraq; help account for missing Kuwaitis and other individuals; return stolen Kuwaiti property and bear financial liability for damage from the Gulf War; and he was required to end his repression of the Iraqi people. Saddam Hussein has repeatedly violated each of the following resolutions...

The resolutions and additional UN Security Council Statements can be found at the URL above.

Oh dear, 16 violations and we destroy an entire country and slaughter a million people. And yet Israel receives the worlds blessing, in the form of silence, as it annihilates an entire people in defiance of every resolution and war crime law ever written.

We, the citizens of Earth, see what is happening, and more are awakening every day. It is past time for Israel to join the international community, abide by the universal laws of decency, and live in peace with her neighbors. This can only be accomplished when they acknowledge the right of the indigenous people to live a life free of occupation, oppression and terror and cease and desist from this murderous campaign against the innocent and helpless people of Palestine.

If the people in power do nothing then they are the ones who will be held responsible for an ocean of blood spilled in the name of that perpetual victim state of Israel.


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