An excellent article by Gideon Levy, condemning the complicity of Israeli lawyers in the war crimes of their own government. Most lawyers, Levy argues, are complicit simply through their silence, as “there is only one group now preoccupied with the war: the members of the Israel Defense Forces international law division, who continue to serve their bosses with piercing obedience, legitimizing every criminal act.” There are some who are even rewarded for their noble efforts, like Col. Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, who has been offered to “to join the staff of lecturers at Tel Aviv University’s law faculty, where she will present her doctrine of ‘devious jurisprudence that permits mass killing,’ in the words of the jurist Professor Haim Ganz.”
Incidentally, these lawyers were joined in their efforts to legitimize war crimes by the Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinoswho vowed to“amend legislation that granted a Spanish judge the authority to launch a much-publicized war crimes investigation against senior Israeli officials” after pressure from Israeli leaders [preliminary court investigations were launched by a judge at the national court in Madrid on Thursday, 30 January 2009].
One silence, of all the shameful silences, has thus far roared especially loud – the silence of the jurists. The 41,000 attorneys in the State of Israel are entrusted with protecting its image as a lawful state, and this large and grand army has once again strayed from its function. There is a deep suspicion throughout the world that Israel carried out a series of war crimes, and the jurists of our country are holding their peace.
Hamas isn’t Hizbullah, and Gaza isn’t Lebanon. The resistance in Gaza – which includes leftist and nationalist as well as Islamist forces – doesn’t have mountains to fight in. It has no strategic depth. It doesn’t have Syria behind it to keep supply lines open; instead it has Mubarak’s goons and Israel’s wall. Lebanese civilians can flee north and east; the repeat-refugees of Gaza have no escape. The Lebanese have their farms, and supplies from outside; Gaza has been under total siege for years. What else? Hizbullah has remarkable discipline. It is surely the best-trained, best-organised army in the region, perhaps in the world (I’m not talking of weapons, but of men and women). Hamas, on the other hand, though it has made great strides, is still undisciplined. Crucially, Hizbullah has air-tight intelligence control in Lebanon, while Gaza contains collaborators like maggots in a corpse.
Belgium’s government has agreed to ban the export to Israel of weapons that “strengthen it militarily,” a Belgian minister said on Thursday. A Brussels-based research group accused Israel of enlisting child soldiers.
“Officials warn of ‘destruction of all means of life’ after the three-week conflict leaves agriculture in the region in ruins”, reports Peter Beaumont in The Observer. Lest we forget, the BBC shares the blame for any suffering that might occur as a result of this shortage.
Gaza‘s 1.5 million people are facing a food crisis as a result of the destruction of great areas of farmland during the Israeli invasion.
According to the World Food Programme, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and Palestinian officials, between 35% and 60% of the agriculture industry has been wrecked by the three-week Israeli attack, which followed two years of economic siege.
Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, the World Food Programme’s country director, said: “We are hearing that 60% of the land in the north – where the farming was most intensive – may not be exploitable again. It looks to me like a disaster. It is not just farmland, but poultry as well.