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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

U.S. Guilty Of War Crimes In Palestine

U.S. Guilty Of War Crimes In Palestine

The U.S. is not a neutral mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict; it is an active participant and is guilty of the crimes
being committed by Israel against Palestinians, most recently,
the mass killings and destruction Israel wrought on the Gaza
Strip during the summer.

By Sam Bahour
Press T.V.
September 30, 2014

The reality that the US is an active supporter of unimaginable
suffering may very well be the motivating force behind the
US’s adamant attempts to block the Palestinians from using any
of the internationally recognized tools of accountability to hold
Israel responsible, such as the International Court of Justice and
the International Criminal Court.

When an indigenous, stateless population is blocked access to
opportunities for justice by superpowers like the US, something
is wrong—deadly wrong.

While Israeli bombs were hammering Gaza, Alice Lynd with the
assistance of Staughton Lynd, drafted a 32-page pamphlet which
was published by the Palestine-Israel Working Group of Historians
Against the War (HAW) titled, Violations by Israel and the Problem
of Enforcement (August 2014).

The policy paper places the US in front of its own mirror and
meticulously documents how one hand of the US government
systematically documents Israeli violations of US law and
international law, while the other hand unconditionally dishes
out financial, military, and diplomatic support to Israel.

The study notes that “United States law states that no military
assistance will be provided to a government that engages in a
consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized
human rights.

Yet the United States gives more military assistance to Israel
than to any other country, currently in excess of $3.1 billion
per year.

The US participates in joint military exercises, military research,
and weapons development.”

This contradiction of its own policy would seem incriminating
enough, but if all the other means of US support to Israel are
added, especially the US’s unwavering role in the UN Security
Council as a proxy for Israel’s interests by vetoing and thereby
blocking international steps for justice the evidence that the
U.S. is an active player in Israel’s onslaught and continued
military occupation becomes overwhelming.

It stands to reason that the US very rightly fears that any step
to hold Israel accountable for crimes against humanity would
ultimately incriminate the U.S. as Israel’s funder, diplomatic
cover, political handler, and arms supplier for decades.

While this new document was being researched, the Historians
Against the War circulated a letter to President Obama and
members of Congress that begins:

“We deplore the ongoing attacks against civilians in Gaza and
in Israel. We also recognize the disproportionate harm that the
Israeli military, which the United States has armed and supported
for decades, is inflicting on the population of Gaza.” (July 31,
2014).

The pamphlet’s contents strike this point home with
incriminating details.

The pamphlet quotes historian Robin D. G. Kelley who recently
said about the ongoing conflict, “Determining next steps requires
that we go back many steps—before the siege, before the election
of Hamas, before the withdrawal of Jewish settlements in Gaza,
before the Oslo Accords, even before the strip came under Israeli
occupation in 1967.” (“When the smoke clears in Gaza,” Aug. 8,
2014, Black Educator).

I had the honor of working with both authors of this pamphlet
following the First (Persian) Gulf War (1990-1991) when they
suggested we co-edit an oral history of Palestine as a tool to
understand the centrality of Palestine to the entire destabilization
of the Middle East, a reality that is even more true today.

Following several field visits to the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel,
and the Golan Heights, that effort resulted in the publishing of
Homeland: Oral History of Palestine and Palestinians (1993).

Their new effort revisits many familiar topics that we addressed in
our book, with chapter headings such as International Agreements
and US Law, International Agreements on Human Rights, US Law on
Foreign Assistance, Violations of Internationally Recognized Human
Rights, Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment
or Punishment, Arbitrary Arrest, or Detention, Collective
Punishment, among many more.

Perhaps the most important chapter in this brief pamphlet is,
“The Problem of Enforcement.”

One need not be a historian or political scientist to understand
that as long as global enforcement mechanisms of accountability
are denied to Palestinians due to the political whims of a
superpower, Israel has the green light to attack Gaza and the
West Bank at any time with impunity.

Israel’s senseless military attack this summer (deceptively coined
“Operation Protective Edge” in English, and more accurately
“Solid Cliff” in Hebrew) left 2,168 Palestinians dead, more than
500 of them children.

The Institute for Middle East Understanding compared the
proportionate impact of these deaths to the population in
the US Gaza’s devastating human loss would be equivalent
to 376,680 Americans killed in 51 days if such events were
undertaken in the U.S.

To put this in perspective, this number is slightly fewer
than the 407,000 US soldiers killed in World War II.

It is not hyperbole to say that everyone in Gaza knows at least
one person who died or was injured in this atrocity, with each
person left wondering if he or she would be next.

If humanity is to be served, citizens who believe in equal
access to international tools of justice must speak up and
denounce the continued US hegemony over Palestine.

If you support nonviolent means for addressing crimes against
humanity, especially if you are American, act now by contacting
your elected representative to demand a change in policy so
that marginalized populations are not shut out of systems of
justice when they are the victims of crimes against humanity.

Holding individuals responsible for their crimes is a core
American value; it’s a value we should not compromise for
any country, especially our own.



Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant
in Ramallah and serves as a policy adviser to Al-Shabaka,
the Palestinian Policy Network. He was born and raised in
Youngstown, Ohio and blogs at ePalestine.com.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/09/20/379413/us-guilty-of-
war-crimes-in-palestine

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