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The war crimes in Gaza

By: Brolloks En Bittergal 2014-07-30 17:00

My view is that the current Israeli regime may be committing war crimes, or better put, Crimes against Humanity in Gaza in the way that they are currently bombing Gaza. (I shall henceforth refer to it as War Crimes.)

I shall, in what follows, endeavour to point out why I believe that they could be successfully prosecuted for War Crimes.

Before I proceed, I think it is necessary to place my views regarding morality, religion and race on record because for some people the Gaza conflict is a war about religion and race and there are some fanatics out there.

This article is not about who has a right to which portion of land, as I want to deal with War Crimes.

Religious arguments by any party as justification for the Israeli bombings are stupid:

I view myself as a reasonable, moderate, middle class and middle aged man with a passion for righteousness and who hates bullies.

Although I am firmly of the view that Israel are committing war crimes, Muslims should not think I am taking their side nor am I defending Hamas. Sorry good people, I think your human rights record stinks.

I am a Christian but I view myself as a moderate Christian and I find it stupid beyond belief that some Christians can blindly say the Israelis are “Gods People” and thus have a right to conduct themselves as they are doing in Gaza. Bollocks. I cannot stand religious and naïve fanatics, sorry for you too my Christian brethren.

I am also not anti-semetic, on the contrary, I  admire the business skills of Jewish people in general. I am mad About Jonathan Shapiro [Zapiro] although I know that he does not have a particular affinity for Afrikaners. (I am proud to call myself an Afrikaner.)

Strange as it may sound, my political views were largely influenced by two atheists – not because of their atheist’s beliefs as I disagree with them -  but because of the way that they think and evaluate politics. The fact that they are atheists may be totally coincidental but I have to acknowledge that these gentlemen were always brutally honest and emotionally detached when evaluating politics and similar scenarios. They do not as a rule  have any holy cows – a very important quality if you want to evaluate politics and morality objectively.

I do not believe in holy cows, they are not sacred to me. Facts are facts and the truth is the truth even though it may hurt.

Reasonable people should be against the bombing of innocent people by the Israelis in Gaza

Let me make it clear: There is no question that Hamas and others committed war crimes both in firing on Israeli civilian population, and in firing from within civilian population. However, according to International Humanitarian Law, the fact that one side to the conflict carries out violations does not legitimise violations by the other side.

So, what then is my gripe with the Israelis specifically?

I believe that they are waging a war on the basis of The Dahiya doctrine which is a military strategy put forth by the Israeli general Eizenkot that pertains to asymmetric warfare in an urban setting, in which the army deliberately targets civilian infrastructure, as a means of inducing suffering for the civilian population, thereby establishing deterrence. Even if I am wrong in the latter assessment, then their de facto actions are still unlawful.

That, to me, is unacceptable and barbaric.

Morally, and speaking for myself, I believe the right to self-defence is a God given right. I will defend myself and my family against any attack but I will not kill and shoot an attacker after the attack through his child or 60 year old mother if he uses them as a shield.

Also, I would not kill his neighbour, his innocent baby and destroy his house if he hides in their home.

But, that's me. I respect the sanctity of life. I think of myself as a reasonable and kind man. Not a murderer.

What follows are principles of International Law and the views of reasonable thinking Jews and their views on the Gaza wars (past) and is in effect similar of even worse than the atrocities that the Israeli government is committing currently. One organization is The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and it is based in Israel.

I align myself with the views of these brave JEWS of PCATI.

The  Principles of International Humanitarian Law (“IHL”)

The current Israeli regime argues that it is forced into acting against targets in very densely populated areas, including rocket launchers in the streets and weapons caches in civilian buildings. They have invented the phrase “human shields”. However, the fact that Hamas committed violations and acted from within residential areas does not provide justification for unlimited military actions. Israel must act in accordance with IHL. If a shoplifter breaks the law, I cannot break the law by killing him.

 Since the beginning of human history the stronger side has used the amount of force it deems necessary against its enemy. Since the middle of the 20th century, in reaction to the horrors of World War II, there has been an attempt to moderate the nature of military actions in general and specifically those which affect civilians. Various treaties were drawn up in an effort to regulate the conduct of war, so as to provide protection for civilians.

Two important principles were established regarding civilians, especially in civilian centres:

1. The principle of distinction, which distinguishes between combatants and civilians and strictly prohibits targeting the latter.

2. The principle of proportionality, which requires that all possible effort must be taken to prevent harm to civilians or civilian objects when attacking a legitimate military target and that the incidental damage caused to uninvolved civilians must not be greater to the concrete and direct military advantage achieved.

 In my opinion, in bombing indiscriminately the current Israeli government is contravening International Humanitarian Law as set out above.

That is international law, but what is the Israeli domestic law in this regard?

The law is very interesting and may shock many militant Jews.

Israeli Law:

Believe it or not, the domestic Israeli law is the same as international law and furthermore supports my  view that the Israeli Government is guilty of War Crimes.

It pleases me to see that there are reasonable Jews because the Israeli Court High Court of Justice provided a good example of what is allowed and prohibited when it addressed a similar issue of indiscriminate bombings in 2006. The court said:

"Take the usual case of a combatant, or of a terrorist sniper shooting at soldiers or civilians from his porch. Shooting at him is proportional even if as a result, an innocent civilian neighbour or passer-by is harmed. That is not the case if the building is bombed from the air and scores of its residents and passersby are harmed."[ My emphasis]

[See Israeli Supreme Court, HCJ 769/02, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel v. The Government of Israel, December 2006, art. 46:

http://elyon1.court.gov.il/files_eng/02/690/007/A34/02007690.a34.pdf ]

 Jews in South Africa:

Other right minded Jews like Zapiro and others (SA Jews against Israeli Attacks) drafted a petition to our Government stating:

We, as South Africans of Jewish descent, strongly condemn the Israeli bombing of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Israeli attacks, with the stated objective of halting Palestinian rocket fire and destroying the military infrastructure of Hamas, have included heavy aerial, navy and tank bombardment of Gaza.

This aggression is in the context of a seven-year Israeli blockade of Gaza which has severely damaged health and sanitary infrastructure, destroyed employment opportunities and led to a severe shortage of basic necessities.

Israel justifies the operations using the deaths of three young Israelis in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank, whose brutal murders we deplore, but which cannot be a justification for state-sanctioned civilian punishment.

We deplore the continuing rocket fire aimed at Israel.

However, there is virtual unanimity that the scale of the Israeli assault is completely disproportionate.

The impunity with which Israel behaves cannot be tolerated any longer. We believe the time has come for the South African government to sever all links with Israel.”

For the reasons stated above I conclude that Israel’s conduct is morally and lawfully indefensible. I especially believe that this current Israeli regime is a law onto itself - a runaway train. They should be hauled before a war crimes tribunal.

The current regime does not comply with principles of International law and its OWN laws.

It is a disgrace that some Jewish people are trying to justify this action here on NEWS24, forgetting their own laws, but one should never forget that a runaway government makes uses of agents provocateur in its propaganda wars.

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