Stephen Lendman | 03.15.2012
by Stephen Lendman
International laws are clear and unequivocal. Fourth Geneva's Article 146 requires "the High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances."
They're required to prosecute offenders committing grave breaches, including crimes of war and against humanity. Israel and America get off scot-free. Their lawlessness continues unabated and unpunished.
Both countries spurn international laws, norms and obligations with impunity. Ceasefires also aren't observed.
Four days of Israeli terror bombing left at least 25 Palestinian dead and dozens injured, some seriously. Civilian men, women and children were affected.
After an Egyptian brokered truce all Gazan sides accepted, Israel preemptively attacked a funeral procession east of Gaza City. Three Palestinians were injured. On March 14, Israeli warplanes bombed northern Gaza. Damage but no injuries were reported.
In response, Islamic Jihad held a Monday press conference, saying:
"We will not agree on a (one-sided) ceasefire stipulated by Israel. Neither do we accept (one) while the lives of our people are taken without restraint."
"Those who have hardly had time to breathe while they seek a ceasefire deal should send their message to the enemy, rather than to the resistance."
Both sides are obligated to observe agreed on ceasefires. Unilateral acceptance doesn't work. Palestinians tried numerous times futilely. Israeli killing continues unabated. It still does plus ongoing crimes against humanity throughout the Territories.
Once again, Israeli authorities proved their mettle. They say one thing and do another. Decades of occupation showed negotiating with vipers don't work. In Occupied Palestine, they're lawless, racist, vicious, and ruthless.
Hamas spokesman Abu Ahmad responded to Israel's latest breach, saying:
"There cannot be a unilateral ceasefire while our people’s blood is being shed. It is natural that resistance factions respond to the Israeli aggression, and factions completely coordinate their action and through this coordination they can decide whether to agree on ceasefire or not."
Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) expressed similar sentiments. PRC spokesman Abu Mujahid urged all Palestinian factions to confront Israel's aggression. It's their right and obligation under international law.
Despite accepting ceasefire terms, Haaretz headlined "Top official: Israel gave no guarantees in exchange for Gaza truce," saying:
General Amos Gilad "said the understandings were not spelled out in a signed document, and the only Israeli commitment was that if the Palestinian organizations refrained from launching attacks on Israel, the IDF would also hold its fire."
He also said "(t)here were no guarantees and no other promises." In other words, Israel reserves the right to say one thing and do another. Spurious justifications are given. Major media scoundrels regurgitate them, even Haaretz at times shamefully.
Palestinians don't attack preemptively. They respond defensively to Israeli aggression. It's their right under international law.
In contrast, Israel needs confrontation to maintain siege, claim national security risks, heighten fear, and label Palestinian resisters terrorists. Netanyahu's latest outburst shows Palestinians what they face. Addressing Likud party faithful, he said:
Israel "is directing strong blows against" terrorists "in Gaza. Whatever affects our citizens, we will" confront aggressively. "In addition to strength and immunity of citizens in the southern region," we'll strike "terrorism in an accurate and painful way. The military also is fully prepared to expand its operations in time of need."
In other words, Israeli forces will continue attacking Palestinians regardless of so-called agreements.
Al Haq on Israel's Latest Ritual Slaughter
Since 1979, Al Haq defended human rights in Palestine. On March 13, it responded to Israel's latest aggression headlining, "Civilians continue to pay the price in the Gaza Strip," saying:
Israeli military operations always disproportionately affect civilians. Residential neighborhoods are attacked. Innocent men, women and children die. Many others suffer grievous injuries, some life-threatening, others disabling.
"While a truce has allegedly been reached (this time), it should be borne in mind that, given the impunity enjoyed by Israel in the face of violations committed against civilians, there is no deterrent and as such no guarantee that any such truce will be honoured."
"The lack of implementation of the recommendations of the UN Fact-Finding Mission Report on the Gaza Conflict has resulted in the de facto sanctioning of Israel’s (continued) disproportionate use of force in (Gaza) by the international community."
"Palestinian victims of ‘Operation Cast Lead’, who have yet to receive redress, fear that there is nothing to prevent the crimes of ‘Cast Lead’ from being committed again."
Whether large or smaller scale, Israeli aggression constitutes crimes of war and against humanity. They continue unabated. Since 1967, thousands of Palestinians died, countless others injured. Children lose parents. Wives lose husbands, husbands their spouses. Friends and family members die. Children are traumatized. Many are permanently scared.
Obligations Under International Law
"High Contracting Parties" legitimate slaughter by not acting resolutely against it. Fourth Geneva obligates them. Failure to act makes them culpable. Common Article 1 to the four Geneva Conventions states:
"The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances."
Under Article 1(4) of the Additional Protocol I, protection must be guaranteed for peoples "fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations."
International law requires respect and ensuring respect for humanitarian principles. As such, it constitutes a universal obligation for all High Contracting Parties, free from political considerations.
Victims must be protected, aggressors punished. Palestinians have waited 64 years for justice, 45 under occupation. Their liberating struggle continues.
They won't ever accept less, nor should they. It's their fundamental right no rogue state can deny them forever, and won't!
A Final Comment
On March 13, a joint Addameer/Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) statement addressed Hana Shalabi's deteriorating health. On March 14, hunger strike day 28 began. She's ingested nothing but water, now with some salt.
In addition, she refuses Israeli Prison Service (IPS) medical exams for good reason. It's worthless and potentially harmful. She'll accept it only from independent PHR-I physicians.
IPS at first refused. On March 7, a District Court ruling for PHR-I overruled prison authorities. On March 8, one of its doctors visited Shalabi. On March 12, a follow-up examination was held.
On March 8, she showed noticeable "muscle atrophy and wasting." It occurs when fat reserves are exhausted. Usually, the heart muscle's affected, other organs as well.
Shalabi exhibits weakness, dizziness, and periodic loss of consciousness. PHR-I's doctor expressed concern for physical damage already caused. On March 12, additional deterioration was observed.
It's "mainly in advanced muscle atrophy and wasting, additional weight loss, a significant reduction in blood sugar, severe dizziness and severe muscle pain, especially in her chest and back."
The doctor added:
"One cannot predict the body's response to long-term fasting. Many scenarios are possible. Among the dangers are acute heart failure, liver failure, muscle breakdown accompanied by multisystem failure, and acute life-endangering infection due to a weakened immune system.”
Nonetheless, Shalabi remains resolute. She's protesting against wrongful arrest, brutal treatment, and violation of her fundamental rights. She won't stop until freed.
Khader Adnan stood firm the same way. He hunger struck 66 day before prison authorities agreed to release him on April 17. Again ingesting food, he's struggling to recover, underwent emergency surgery, and remains affected by his long ordeal.
Note: The IPS Ethics Committee is considering whether to force-feed Shalabi. PHR-I, Addameer, and the World Medical Association call it cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under provisions of the UN Torture Convention.
PHR-I, Addameer, and other human rights groups called on international community leaders to intervene on her behalf. Uncharged, she's lawlessly detained indefinitely. Her health's deteriorating. She's determined to live free or die.
"High Contracting Parties" are obligated to help her. It's long past time they supported right over wrong. Palestinians have waited decades for justice. It's high time they got it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.