Committing Genocide in Gaza


“What we’re seeing in Gaza now, is pretty much slow-motion genocide against the 1.5 million Palestinians who live in Gaza…. If you read the 1948 Genocide Convention, it clearly says that one instance of genocide is the deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of a people in whole or in part,” stated Francis A. Boyle, professor of International Law at the University of Illinois in Champaign. “And that’s exactly what has been done to Gaza, since the imposition of the blockade by Israel; then the massacre of 1,400 Palestinians, two-thirds of whom were civilians, in Operation Cast Lead. And that also raises the element in the Genocide Convention, of murder, torture, and things of that nature.”

 

Boyle spoke to {EIR} on Jan. 15, 2010, giving his assessment of Gaza, one year after the Israeli attacks. He stressed that he was speaking only for himself.

 

While the Israelis stopped the artillery bombardment and air strikes just before the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009, the deaths of Palestinians continue–from lack of medicines, infrastructure, clean water, and everything else that the world community–as shown in emergency aid to Haiti–{knows} is necessary to sustain human life.

 

But no international action has been taken to stop genocide in Gaza–despite the finding by the UN’s Goldstone Report that Israel committed war crimes in the wanton destruction of civilian infrastructure, and in the killing of civilians, and despite the Jan. 21, 2010 letter by more than 50 members of the U.S. Congress to President Obama that due to “the unabated suffering of Gazan civilians,” he must press to end the Israeli blockade.

 

Similarly, according to Turkish Prof. Bulent Aras, there is almost no hope for a peace agreement, or for ending the growing isolation of Israel from the international community, unless Gaza is opened and reconstruction begins. Aras was speaking on a Jan. 14 conference call, sponsored by the Turkish SETA and New America Foundations in Washington, D.C. He was addressing the recent tensions between Israel and Turkey after the Israeli Foreign Ministry insulted the Turkish ambassador, and on the collapse of the Turkish-mediated Israel/Syria negotiations, which ended with the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

 

According to Boyle, the question of the Gaza opening must be immediately taken up by the Obama Administration. “We need all the openings to Gaza, the crossings from Egypt and Israel, opened immediately. {Massive} provision of humanitarian assistance, medical supplies to Gaza–exactly what Obama’s doing today, with respect to Haiti–I support that! But why aren’t they doing it to Gaza? You have 1.5 million people over there.

 

“Unless this step is undertaken, certainly on Gaza, relieving the people of Gaza with massive humanitarian relief supplies, I really think we’re going to see a dog-and-pony show,” being run by the Obama White House, and the sending of Sen. George Mitchell to the region.

 

So far, what the U.S. has done is, “once again, provid[ed] diplomatic cover for Israel to stall and delay its objectives, and meanwhile, they continue to steal Palestinian lands, destroy their orchards, destroy their olive fields, and build more settlements. This has been going on, right from the beginning of the Middle East peace negotiations in 1991, when I was legal advisor to the Palestinians and the Syrians at that time.”

 

But, “miracles can always happen: Look  at the darkest days of the apartheid regime in South Africa, and all of that collapsed,” said Boyle. “Well, here we have another apartheid regime, Israel. It’s apartheid to its core, it always has been. This whole situation could turn around and collapse very quickly–I just don’t know. But I’ll hang in there, certainly, with the Palestinians.”

 

And recent events in the field of international law lead Boyle to say that, as in the case of Chilean fascist Pinochet, law may catch up with Israeli criminals.     

 

- No Immunity Under Nuremberg Codes -

 

Few international figures can speak in as much detail about the decades-long fight against Israeli war crimes, and the political blocks to prosecuting them, than Professor Boyle, who has led successful campaigns at the United Nations to bring war criminals–for example, those who committed crimes against the citizens of Bosnia-Herzogovina in the 1990s Balkan War–before an international tribunal.

 

Even before “Operation Cast Lead,” Boyle had proposed that the UN General Assembly establish an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI) as a “subsidiary organ” under UN Charter Article 22. Boyle’s proposal has been endorsed by Malaysia and Iran, and supported in General Assembly debates by some dozen Arab and Muslim nations.

 

His work on bringing Israelis to justice for war crimes goes back much further–to the 1982 massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon, conducted under the watch of top Israeli officials like Gen. Ariel Sharon and Gen. Amos Yaron.

 

Boyle told {EIR}, “I think that I was probably the first lawyer ever to file a lawsuit against a major Israeli war criminal–that was back in about 1986, when I represented several women who were next of kin of the victims of the massacre of Sabra and Shatila, and I sued General Yaron, whose forces were occupying the Sabra and Shatila camps, and the whole massacre took place under his direction and control.”

 

“I sued him … about 1986. Eventually I lost the lawsuit, when the Reagan Administration entered the lawsuit through the State Department, and claimed that Yaron, since he was being admitted to the country and accredited as Israel’s military attaché to Washington–which we tried to stop, and indeed, we held up for quite some time–had diplomatic privileges and immunities, could not be sued.”

 

“I dealt with that issue, saying that under the Nuremberg principles, there are no privileges and immunities in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity.” But the court decided that because Yaron got a “formal certification” by the Reagan