- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 6, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As if the occupation were not enough — the brutal ongoing repression of the Palestinian population, the construction of settlements and the siege of Gaza — now comes the bombardment of the civilian population: men, women, old folks, and children.

Hundreds dead, hundreds injured, hospitals overwhelmed and the central medicine depot of Gaza bombed. The ship Dignity, of the Free Gaza movement, which brought emergency medical supplies and a number of physicians, also was attacked. Israel has returned to openly committing war crimes, worse than what we have seen in a long time.

Israeli media do not expose their viewers to the horrors and the voices of severe criticism of these crimes. The story told is uniform. Israeli dissidents are denounced as traitors. Public opinion, including that of the Zionist left, supports the Israeli policy uncritically and without reservation.

Israel’s destructive, criminal policy will not cease without a massive intervention by the international community. However, except for some rather weak official condemnation, the international community is reluctant to intervene.

The United States openly supports the Israeli violence. Europe, although voicing some condemnation, is unwilling to seriously consider withdrawing the “gift” it handed Israel by upgrading its relations with the European Union.

In the past, the world knew how to fight criminal policies. The boycott of South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves: Its trade relations are flourishing. Academic and cultural cooperation continues and intensifies with diplomatic support.

This international backing must stop. That is the only way to stop the insatiable Israeli violence.

We are calling on the world to stop Israeli violence and not allow the continuation of the brutal occupation. We call on the world to condemn and not become an accomplice in Israel’s crimes.

In light of the above, we call on the world to implement the call by Palestinian human rights organizations, which urge:

— The U.N. Security Council to call an emergency session and adopt concrete measures, including the imposition of sanctions, in order to ensure Israel’s fulfillment of its obligations under international humanitarian law.

— The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligation under Common Article 1 to ensure respect for the provisions of the conventions, taking appropriate measures to compel Israel to abide by its obligations under international law, in particular placing importance on the respect and protection of civilians from the effects of the hostilities.

— The High Contracting Parties to fulfill their legal obligation under Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to prosecute those responsible for grave breaches of the convention.

— EU institutions and member states to make effective use of the European Union guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (2005/C 327/04) to ensure Israel complies with international humanitarian law under paragraph 16 (b), (c) and (d) of these guidelines, including the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions, as well as cessation of all upgraded dialogue with Israel.

BOB KIRKCONNELL

Academics for Justice,

Veterans for Peace

Crestine, Calif.

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