UN Gaza War Inquiry: Hold the Cheers

Stephen Lendman
RINF Alternative News

On October 21, Reuters headlined “UN chief says moving ahead with Gaza war inquiry.”

“UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday he was setting up an investigation into attacks on United Nations facilities during Israel’s recent war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip and the use of UN sites to store weapons.”

Ban is a notorious imperial stooge. His credibility is sorely lacking. He supports powerful interests. He spurns Palestinian rights. More on his alleged intentions below.

Israel is a rogue terror state. It’s guilty of high crimes against peace. Longstanding militarized occupation is a crime against humanity.

So are Gaza’s blockade, collective punishment, and deliberately targeting civilians. Doing so is official Israeli policy.

Noncombatants are considered legitimate targets. Inviolable international law doesn’t matter.

A previous article discussed UN Human Rights Council President Baudelaire Ndong Ella. In August, he announced the formation of an “independent, international commission of inquiry” into war crimes committed during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.

International human rights law expert Professor William Schabas was appointed to chair a three-person panel. His special focus is genocide. It remains to be seen which side he’s on.

Israeli investigations whitewash high crimes too egregious to ignore. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights:

“Rather than uphold the rule of law, the Israeli investigative and judicial system is artfully manipulated to provide an illusion of investigative and judicial rigour, while systematically perpetuating pervasive impunity.”

Will Schabas downplay irrefutable evidence? Will he dismiss it entirely? Will he violate HRC’s decision “to establish the commission of inquiry…to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, whether before, during or after, to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated and to identify those responsible, to make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, all with a view to avoiding and ending impunity and ensuring that those responsible are held accountable, and on ways and means to protect civilians against any further assaults.”

Schabas is a well-known Israeli critic. It remains to be seen if he lives up to his billing. Richard Goldstone fell from grace.

He found evidence of earlier Israeli Operation Cast Lead war crimes. He later softened his condemnation.

He ignored 1907 Hague Regulations, Fourth Geneva, Geneva’s Common Article III, and other international laws. They affirm civilians as protected persons.

Attacking them is prohibited. War crimes are clearly defined. The principles of distinction and proportionality apply.

Distinguishing between combatants and military targets v. civilians and non-military ones. Attacking latter ones are strictly prohibited. They’re war crimes except when civilians take direct part in hostilities.

Proportionality prohibits disproportionate, indiscriminate force. The kind likely to cause damage to or loss of lives and objects.

Precautions must be taken to avoid incidental loss of civilian lives, injuries, and damage to non-military sites.

Fourth Geneva mandates providing “effective advance warning” and “neutralized zones.” Places off-limits to combat. Safe havens.

Where noncombatants are guaranteed safety. Free from collective punishment.

Israel trashes international humanitarian and human rights laws. Willfully. Repeatedly. Maliciously. Unaccountably. Justice remains denied.

Ban’s word isn’t his bond. He says one thing. He does another.

“I look forward to a thorough investigation by the Israeli Defense Forces of this and other incidents in which UN facilities sustained hits and many innocent people were killed,” he said.

“I am planning to move forward with an independent board of inquiry to look into the most serious of those cases, as well as instances in which weaponry was found on UN premises,” he added.

His spokesman Stephane Dujarric said he’ll move quickly. “A board of inquiry is sort of normal procedure when there is damage to UN property or UN premises,” he said.

He provided no details of what’s planned. Specifics will come later, he said. One Israeli attack on UN facility attack killed over a dozen civilians.

Scores were injured. Other attacks killed and injured many more. Mustafa Barghouti is a distinguished Palestinian physician, political activist, and human rights champion.

He enjoys worldwide respect. He denounced Israeli high crimes. He separated myths from reality.

War didn’t start in Gaza, he said. It began in the West Bank. It had nothing to do with Hamas rockets.

Israel bears full responsibility. It does so for state-sponsored terrorism.

The dominant narrative called it self-defense. Justifiable Palestinian resistance is called terrorism.

Israel destroyed entire neighborhoods, said Barghouti. “(E)liminated within 24 hours.”

Eight hospitals were attacked. So were clinics, ambulances and healthcare workers. Palestinian journalists were murdered in cold blood.

Obama and other world leaders ignored Israeli aggression. They defended its right to mass murder and destroy.

“(N)ot a single word” supported Palestinians’ right of self-defense, said Barghouti.

“The Palestinians are the ones whose land has been occupied for 47 years, who have been forced into displacement and refugee status since 1948, (and who suffer) from a system of apartheid, discrimination and segregation created by the Israeli occupation.”

Yet nothing is said in their behalf. Reality is turned on its head.

Israeli suffering is considered unique. Extreme Palestinian misery is ignored.

They’re dehumanized. Their lives and well-being aren’t important. They faced the world’s fourth most powerful army.

They did so with light arms and ineffective rockets. Israel launched OPE. It did so lawlessly.

Palestinians were victimized. It wasn’t the first time. It won’t be the last.

Instigators are called victims. Real ones are called terrorists.
Civilians suffer most in all wars. Palestinians endure the longest occupation in modern memory.

Palestine’s longstanding struggle affects Israel, said Barghouti. “Israelis will never be free as long as we are not free,” he stresses.

What’s been ongoing for decades must stop, he says. “(I)mpunity and reality must be exposed.”

He challenges the official Israeli narrative. He exposes its Big Lies. Truths must replace fiction. Peace, equity, and justice can’t wait.

“Please see the reality,” he says. “Look at the facts.” What happened in Gaza is “beyond description.”

“Even describing it as an act of disproportionality is an insult to humanity.”

“After slaughtering thousands of people and destroying thousands of homes and to speak about reconstruction and to immediately allow Israeli companies to make a profit from this is also an insult to humanity.”

“What happened in Gaza, as has happened before in the West Bank is nothing but war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

“What happened was nothing but massacres against the civilian population and Israel couldn’t have done that without a feeling of impunity and without having impunity from international law, and this couldn’t have happened if so many Western world leaders hadn’t been complicit in what happened.”

They support Israeli genocidal high crimes against peace. They ignore Palestinian suffering.

They do nothing to relieve it. Business as usual continues. Status quo remains. Expect nothing constructive from Ban’s inquiry. Or whitewashed Israeli ones.

In September, Israel opened five Operation Protective Edge inquiries. Including numerous instances of disproportionate force on civilians.

Murdering four Palestinian children on a beach. Dozens of Gazans slaughtered at UN schools. Supposed safe havens.

Other war crimes Israel intends suppressing. It’s longstanding official policy.

Abbas is a longstanding Israeli collaborator. He knew about Operation Cast Lead in advance.

He supported it. He asked Israel to crush Hamas. What did he know and when about Operation Protective Edge?

He tried blocking an international investigation into Gaza war crimes. He refuses to hold Israeli officials accountable in the International Criminal Court.

His actions are inexcusable. Collaborating with the enemy is treason. Abbas is guilty multiple times over.

He’s Israel’s enforcer. He facilitates occupation harshness. He’s done nothing to hold Israel accountable.

He works against the interests of his own people. He’s complicit with Israeli high crimes against peace.

He helps Israel get away with genocidal mass murder and destruction. Why Palestinians tolerate him they’ll have to explain.

They deserve responsible leadership. Their interests represented.

Israel held accountable for crimes too horrendous to ignore. Long denied justice. Expect none any time soon.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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