Thursday, 7 May 2009

Guilty with impunity


The United Nations has found that Israel took “inadequate precautions” to protect civilians and UN staff in six of nine incidents during its brutal offensive on Gaza earlier this year.

The UN investigated nine incidents in which UN facilities were attacked, including one in Jabaliya, where Israeli missiles struck outside a UN school killing 40.

Israel has rejected the UN accusations and without apparent irony, Israel’s defence minister, Ehud Barak, claims Israel’s is the most moral army in the world.

That claim would be laughable if the situation were not so tragic. Over 1,400 people died in Israel’s outrageous, disproportionate and illegal attack on a territory still under its occupation. More than two-thirds of those who died were civilians.

Gaza Strip still suffers the consequences of that monthlong assault, and also of Israel’s illegal and immoral blockade on the impoverished strip, which has seen much-needed infrastructure and rebuilding work impossible to perform.

The dire economic situation in Gaza, a direct result of Israel’s inhuman policy on the strip, has caused poverty and unemployment to soar and Gazans continue to suffer conditions that wouldn’t be found in a prison camp.

In other words, Israel’s protestations of ethical purity are a joke and an affront.

Israel has snubbed international law for over 60 years. It is a state born through the forced ethnic cleansing of some 800,000 Palestinians. It wants to be recognised as an ethno-religiously pure state in a clear marker of the kind of racist and outdated notion of a nation state that it holds for itself.

It is a state that continues to be the major source of instability and anger in the region and across the Muslim world. It is a state that should be treated the way it treats everyone else: as a security threat to the region and the world.

The UN report does not go far enough and, unfortunately, the UN has declined to investigate broader claims of war crimes in Gaza. Of these there were many, and the more Israel gets away with the more it will continue its crimes against humanity in Gaza and the West Bank.


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