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There is an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this morning saying that Israel is committing war crimes.  

It is powerful, and I recommend reading the whole piece.  

But here is my review and some clips.

It starts by saying that Israel cannot justify this assault on Gaza by claiming self-defense.  It goes on to say that Israeli political and military leaders may be liable for war crimes, and while Hamas has also violated the laws of warfare, that fact does not justify Israel’s acts.  

The writer of this op-ed, Mr. Bisharat, explains that the UN charter allows the right of a state to self-defense, but Hamas attacks do not rise to the level of an "armed attack" that threatens Israel, and therefore launching a war of aggression is not allowable.

He says that neither side kept the six month truce perfectly, but it was Israel who broke the truce in a major way.

Israel then broke the truce on Nov. 4, raiding the Gaza Strip and killing a Palestinian. Hamas retaliated with rocket fire; Israel then killed five more Palestinians. In the following days, Hamas continued rocket fire -- yet still no Israelis died. Israel cannot claim self-defense against this escalation, because it was provoked by Israel's own violation.

And this is an important part of his argument:

An armed attack that is not justified by self-defense is a war of aggression.

Now, at this point, I have to point out that there was no attack whatsoever from Iraq on the USA, so the US war and occupation of Iraq was also a war of aggression.  I am wondering when the Wall Street Journal will have an op-ed about THAT??

But, regardless, this op-ed does a fine job of detailing other aspects of Israel’s recent behavior:

Israel has also failed to adequately discriminate between military and nonmilitary targets. Israel's American-made F-16s and Apache helicopters have destroyed mosques, the education and justice ministries, a university, prisons, courts and police stations. These institutions were part of Gaza's civilian infrastructure. And when nonmilitary institutions are targeted, civilians die. Many killed in the last week were young police recruits with no military roles. Civilian employees in the Hamas-led government deserve the protections of international law like all others. Hamas's ideology -- which employees may or may not share -- is abhorrent, but civilized nations do not kill people merely for what they think.

The author then describes a bit of history about Palestinians and the abuse of human rights that they have been forced to live under, including the latest one – an 18 month siege.

It ends with this:

Israel should be held accountable for its crimes, and the U.S. should stop abetting it with unconditional military and diplomatic support.

Israel loses.

US Congress critters lose too.

Now, if only we could get an op ed in the WSJ that points out the war crimes committed by the USA in the last few years.

UPDATED:  First time on the "Rec" list – and for a diary I threw together at 1:30 AM! Strange world.  I updated the title for those who cannot be bothered to read even the first line.  

Some very interesting comments below about archeology and borders and the root causes of this conflict.  And thanks to TNTThorpe for his/her link to Bill Moyers Journal last night.  I am not going to link to them because they are having server problems, but here is a quote of the piece:

But brute force can turn self-defense into state terrorism. It's what the U.S. did in Vietnam, with B-52s and napalm, and again in Iraq, with shock and awe. By killing indiscriminately - the elderly, kids, entire families by destroying schools and hospitals — Israel did exactly what terrorists do and exactly what Hamas wanted. It spilled the blood that turns the wheel of retribution.

And what is surprising about this piece is not who wrote it or even what it said – the surprising part is where it was published – in the WSJ.  

The author of the piece is Palestinian-American, born in Kansas. You can read about him and his views on issues at this Wikipedia link.

I liked James Kroeger’s suggestions on ‘extreme generosity’.  Maybe we could do a trial run of that idea on Cuba and see what happens.  I think it could be an outstanding success.  

And someone commented that Jews will leave the ‘left’ because of our lack of unconditional support for whatever Israel does.  I actually think that some Jews will leave, and some Jews will step up as leaders in the fight for justice for Palestine.  I certainly cannot go to a rally for ending the occupation of Palestine without running into a lot of Jews.  A Israeli-American friend of mine is moving to Israel (when he retires) to work with the peace movement there.  He’s been involved in human rights work for over 45 years.

And that’s because good people come from every race, religion, sect, nation, and both genders.

And, sadly, this diary has devolved into an I/P pie fight while innocents are suffering and dying.  As Terra Mystica said "they’re stuck in a binary world, and the O key is broken".  We should keep our focus on the human rights abuses going on – and trying to stop them and help the victims.  

I would like to suggest that instead of responding to the people who start these fights (and thereby wasting your energy) that you do one or more of the following:

*contact your elected officials – calls, emails, letters, postcards.  I like postcards with pictures.  I make the postcards out of card stock paper, and cover the pictures and what I wrote with clear wide tape.  Postage is 27 cents.  The pictures are horrible – and that’s the point.

*hang a sign on your car expressing your opinion.  Mine says "Let Gaza Live".

*find an organization that represents what you believe and donate or work for them (one example might be collecting signatures on a petition).   I like End the Occupation.

*Donate to help people affected by violence.  I like Doctors without Borders, International Red Cross, and American Friends Service Committee.

The above suggestions will work for any position on any issue.  Be sure to listen to the "Song for Gaza".  It is beautiful.  

Originally posted to dancewater on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 11:01 PM PST.

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