Wednesday, June 18

A Dialogue between Myself (S.K.) and an International Law Specialist (A.L).

A.L: "Your government has tortured and killed more Palestinian children than any so called terrorist cell".

S.K: If this is true, it is because Hamas terrorists use children as human shields when the Israeli Security forces enter the territories to rout out the terrorists responsible for shooting rockets into Israel. The Israelis living in the south where the Qassam activity is directed are trained to go into bomb shelters when warning sirens are sounded. In Gaza, no provision is made for protection of Palestinians as a result of Israeli counter attacks. It is in the Hamas interest to show the world how Israel is the aggressor and killing their people.  

A,L."The only points I disagree with are that minors are not often brought on trial and the charges are largely bogus. I am not sure where this file of soldiers bought to account is. I would dare say that file is very slim but I would need to confer with colleagues working in the territories".

S.K: This is quite possible according to what I have seen in the UNCEF Report. I try to be objective and do not justify Israel on this. I do believe that if Israel like any other country does not comply with international conventions then it must be made accountable in the relevant bodies for that purpose.

A.L "I cannot support Israeli white phosphorus justice. Hamas are bad as you say, but they have killed fewer children than Israel"

S.K.I have found conflicting reports on white phosphorus use by Israel. The possibility of its use cannot be denied according to what I have read.

A.L: "'War crimes' are not a slogan, they are a fact. It's not that people are making those facts up. They are what the UN, Geneva Conventions and international law are saying that Israel is committing. Those bodies are the ones who define and classify and finally decide what is a war crime and who is a war criminal. If according to them, Israel is a war criminal because it has been illegally occupying Palestinian land since 1967, then that's just an indisputable fact. If the land they have illegally occupied after a war is being built on and illegal settlers and settlements exist on it, if Palestinian homes are being destroyed, if an illegal wall has been constructed, then they are all war crimes, not according to me, or you, but according to the tenets of International Law".

S.K: I have no argument with the Geneva Conventions or International Law. The use of children as I have illustrated, by Hamas is in contravention of that and in my humble opinion is a war crime. The use of all means (including the training of child soldiers to risk their lives as I have illustrated earlier) to end the Israeli occupation, which in Hamas terms is also Israel's existence, is not in keeping with the spirit of the Geneva Conventions or International Law. If Israel has contravened these conventions it must be made accountable in the ICC like any other country. It would be prudent at this stage to study all Israel's wars and what had initiated them in an honest fashion from reliable, impartial sources which are not easy to find. As you know, all laws are open to interpretation as to what consists of war crimes. Kidnapping of innocent children because of a war and not giving any account as to their whereabouts is contravening the law. One does not have to be a lawyer to accept that. Destruction of civilian property and murder of innocent people is unacceptable, whether Israeli or Palestinian. Nothing can justify this and warring parties always commit war crimes against each other. I am sure that the US is no less guilty of that in its history of wars with Vietnam and also in Iraq. I do not claim for one second that Israel is an angel-state and never committed war crimes against the Palestinians. Awful things happen to innocent civilians caught in the cross-fire on both sides. The popular excuse "collateral damage" is unacceptable morally if not legally.

A.L: "I respectfully ask, don't you think it shows you are biased in favor of Israel when you don't want anyone to look at Israel's crimes and sins? Are you not trying to protect Israel by doing so? Are you not trying to cover up its crimes or trying to tell me that if Israel kills children that are less significant and less important than if some other countries do the same thing? Why is it that other countries killing people is more serious an issue than when Israel does it? Why the special treatment for  Israel?"

S.K. I do not think that I am biased in favor of Israel. I am in favor of objectivity and if Israel does the wrong thing, I criticize. Excuse me for using the old cliché " Hamas has stated that Israel has no right to exist" and they feel that the use of violence, no matter how cruel is legitimate, in ending the occupation "which began as the Naqba in 1948". I have no love for the Netanyhu Government and I have written ad nauseam against the occupation. There is no moral justification for settling the West Bank or any other territory captured in the 1967 Six Day War. These areas should have been declared closed military zones and used as a bargaining chip for a Peace Treaty between Israel and its warring neighbors, including the Palestinians. This was never done and the illegal settler policies of all the previous Israeli Governments made the mistake of colonizing these areas which had complicated the issue even further. At the same time check out the Khartoum Resolutions and this must also be held responsible for what has happened since. We must also bear in mind that the Declaration of the State of Israel was never accepted by the Arab States despite the majority vote in the UN for its legality. I condemn killings from every country, including Israel. I shall never condone it under any circumstances. I try to be objective and put things in perspective wherever I can and it is not easy. There will always be those who are sympathetic to the one side or the other and their ideologies and loyalties are defined by that.

S.K:I am a great believer in peace with dignity and justice for all. I do believe in a Truth and Reconciliation Commission similar to what was in South Africa at the end of the apartheid era. This could go a long way to end the conflict and the hate if there are suitable, impartial moderators who prepared to undertake this task. There are wounds on both sides that need to be healed. 

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