By Kevin Stoda, whose homeland spends billions every year on Israel
Let it be known--
The state of Israel has various obligations in response too the Holocaust. . . .
The state of Israel has various obligations under the Geneva Convention. . . .
The state of Israel has various obligations in recognition of international human rights. . . .
The state of Israel has various obligations under International human rights. . . .
The state of Israel has various obligations under U.S. law. . . .
My country of the United States, which sends 3 billion in military aid every year to Israel, fails to use any leverage to get the state o Israel to move away from Gestapo-like tactics since in the recent murder of many in and out of Gaza over the past month, including the siblings of Amar Sharrub, whose story is outlined as follows:
Two weeks ago Friday, Amar Sharrub’s “dad and two brothers were fleeing their village when their vehicle came under Israeli fire. His brother, twenty-eight-year-old Kassab, died in a hail of bullets trying to flee the vehicle. His other brother, eighteen years old, Ibrahim, survived the initial attack, but Israeli troops refused to allow an ambulance to reach him and his father until twenty hours later. By then, it was too late. Ibrahim had bled to death in front of his father.”
The entire detailed story can be heard on last Thursday’s DEMOCRACY NOW. As the father was contacted by Al-Jazeera by cell-phone just moments before the second son died, much of the Arab world has the story.
So, far no Israeli officer has been arrested although the events are nearly ten days old and despite both Palestinian and Israeli witnesses were on site.
Amar Sharrub, who is a member of Seeds for Peace http://www.seedsofpeace.org/ , reported that he talked on the cellphone many times over the two days his second brother was allowed to die because the Israeli officer denied Israeli medics repeated please to go help the wounded as per international law and protocol mandates. (The officer also refused permission for an ambulance to enter the area.)
Here is exactly what Sharrub a recent U.S. college graduate from Vermont shared on DN: “They [Israeli troops across from his family’s farm] were shooting from a house that was about thirty or forty yards away from the car. He doesn’t know any one of them in person. But the soldiers took a group of the residents and other citizens. They took them as hostages or human shields in that house. And some of these hostages actually understood Hebrew. They spoke and understood Hebrew, and they overheard the conversation between the soldiers. The [Israeli] soldiers told the officer, when they saw the car, that this car, they [Israeli soldiers] know the car, and they know that the passengers are civilians, but the officer ordered them to shoot and shoot to kill. Later on, as part of this unit, there were two army medics, two army doctors, who asked the officer for permission to go help the victims, to go help the injured, but the officer refused, because he knew they were civilians, and he didn’t want to get exposed. He didn’t want the story to get out, because he thought he might get in trouble for that.”
ISRAELI STATE AS CLEARLY AMERICAN LAWBREAKER
On DN, Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies http://www.ips-dc.org/ , commented on the numerous international violations and crimes against humanity involved in the death of Sharrub’s brothers—and sufferings of Amer Sharrub’s father, who died with his son in his arms.
Bennis noted that “according to US law, the Arms Export Control Act, it is prohibited for Israel or for any country receiving US military equipment—but in this case Israel—it is prohibited to use that equipment, that military equipment, that ammunition, those weapons, outside of very narrow constraints. All of this violates those narrow constraints.”
Moreover, Bennis remarked: “The Israelis have a very particular obligation in Gaza and the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem as the occupying power. Under the Geneva Conventions, as the occupying power, Israel has the obligation to protect the civilian population. And that has a whole range of specific obligations, starting with no collective punishment, no use of prohibited weapons. The whole range of attacks that we have seen during this period of the three-week war in Gaza constituted a whole host of violations of different articles of the Geneva Conventions, starting with Article 33, that prohibits as an absolute any collective punishment, meaning that the siege of Gaza, which was creating a humanitarian disaster in Gaza even before the military assault began, was itself a violation of the prohibition that says Israel cannot punish anyone in Gaza, let alone the entire population of a million-and-a-half people, half of whom are children under seventeen, cannot punish them for any act they were not personally responsible for.”
In the case of the Sharrub family members who were shot and died on the eve of Israel’s supposed unilateral cease-fire, Bennis summarizes the key points as follows: “So the notion that they could fire on a civilian car, in this case with a father and his two sons, knowing they were civilians who were guilty of nothing, who were accused of nothing, that they could fire on that car, because they felt threatened or for any other reason, is absolutely a violation. Then there’s another violation inherent in the refusal of allowing medical care, refusing to protect the wounded. So the fact that there were medics on the scene who asked, maybe begged, the Israeli commander to treat the wounded, as they are obligated to do under international law, those medics were trying to do what international law says they must do, and they were prevented from doing so by their commander. That makes their commander guilty of another separate war crime, a crime of the violation of international humanitarian law, that requires them to provide aid and medical help to the wounded. So there’s a host of violations here.”
MY EXPERIENCE AS A LONG-TERM STUDENT OF HOLOCAUST
I have been studying Modern Western European history for nearly four full decades.
I am currently in Germany and am surrounded by books, such as Tadeusz Sobolewicz’s BUT I SURVIVED ,http://en.auschwitz.org.pl/m/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=3&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=31&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=36&vmcchk=1&Itemid=36
Angelika Ebbinghaus’ VICTIMS AND PERSECUTERS, http://bama.ua.edu/~emartin/publications/mdart.htm
Gudruen Schwarz, THE NATIONAL SOCIALIST CAMPS, http://www.swissbankclaims.com/PDFs_Eng/697499.pdf
and Peter Reichel’s POLITIK MIT DER ERINNERUNG http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article3121515.ece
These books deal with memories of the Holocaust, occupation, and national socialism. As I review what has occurred and reoccurred in the occupied areas of Palestine in recent weeks, I believe the shoes of certain NAZI occupying acts fits what we have been witnessing.
This does not mean Hamas leadership and certain Palestinians have done bad or horrible things in the past years, but it does mean that Israel as a state is not living up neither its forefathers’ historical promises to not see the past repeated nor is it living up to bilateral U.S. nor international laws to which it purports to be a democratic and God-fearing member.
For example, in the aforementioned interview on DN by Phyllis Bennes, one hears these appropriate claims: “The kind of weapons that we’re seeing being used, the use of white phosphorus, for instance, which was used not only in civilian areas, which is all of the Gaza Strip, is one giant civilian area. There is nowhere to hide. That’s been the conclusion of Amnesty International, that when Israeli notifications to people in Gaza said, ‘You should flee, because we are going to bomb your home, we are going to attack your neighborhood, there is a Hamas person who lives next door,’ there is nowhere in Gaza to flee in this most densely populated area.”
In short, what if we in 1943, as Americans, had personally witnessed Jews being told to flee a compound or be threatened with certain death—only to see them shot in the back while they were fleeing.
We Americans in 1943 would have stated, “We must do something! Or something must be done!”
Moreover, after the war, we would have sought to see that such acts never happen again under any regime.
Now, it is January 2009!
What the hell our we Americans going to put up with before we use suasion to get Israel, the state, and others in the Middle East to stop the damnable war crimes??????
. . . . and I don’t want blindly unfair and unjust state of Israel supports or worshippers falling back on those weak words, “Oh, they shot at us first!!”
According to Robert Pastor, who is a senior adviser to the Carter Center and a professor at American University who met with exiled Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal in Damascus on Dec. 14, along with former President Jimmy Carter: “[B]oth sides violated the key elements of the ceasefire. The rockets never absolutely completely stopped, even though they went from about 250 a month to fewer than three a month. From the standpoint of Israel, that may not have been good enough. On the other hand, from the principal concern of Hamas, which was to open the barriers, Israel really never tried very hard to open them. The numbers of trucks, on average, that went in increased from 100 to 200, but the amount that was supposed to go in was roughly 750 a day. Israel never came close to that. I think, as I said, to make the ceasefire work, both sides need to comply.”
Most importantly, thousands of experts in negotiations around the globe who have observed the Israel Palestinian conflict over these past months agree with Pastor, who reports, “I think, with regard to the question of whether Israel had an alternative than to invade in Gaza, I think the answer is obvious, that it did, that an effective ceasefire, full compliance with the agreement, would have stopped the rockets without the terrible loss of life that occurred.”
If you don’t believe that many experts concur that Israel’s latest war a losing choice was, check out some of these articles and discussions:
Naturally, Hamas is responsible to a point, but it is Israel who has out-killed Hamas and others for years—if not decade within the borders it controls (and in neighboring lands).
The bottom line for U.S. taxpayers needs to be: Who is the Israeli state copying? The United States? Or Nazi Germany?
If the shoot fits, …..?
Ebbinghaus, Angelika, OPFER UND TAETERINNEN, Germany: Fischer Verlag, 1987.
Reichel, Peter, POLITIK MIT DER ERINNERUNG, Munich-Vienna: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1995.
Schwarz, Gudruen, DIE NATIONALSOZIALISTISCHEN LAGER, Germany: Fischer Verlag, 1990.
Sobolewicz, Tadeusz, AUS DEM JENSEITS ZURUECK, Poland: Auschwitz Museum, 1993.