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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Could this be one of the reasons Canada put Israel on its watch list?
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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Could this be one of the reasons Canada put Israel on its watch list?

speaking of israel and torture watch lists...

juan cole

It is a perfect time for the Israeli government to commit a war crime on the miserable civilians of the Gaza Strip. The US primary season has created a news blackout on US television about foreign news (apparently the public of the world's sole superpower is not estimated by corporate news executives to be able to handle more than one story). So most Americans will never even know that the Israelis have cut off fuel to Gaza's power plant, depriving tens of thousands of people of electricity.

I sympathize with Israeli civilians who have been subjected to illegal bombardment by Hamas. But one has to ask whether the Olmert government has behaved toward Gazans in such a way as to try to achieve peace. And even if military action were justified, it is only legitimate for the Israelis to punish Hamas fighters doing the firing.

Just a reminder that electricity is life and death for some people. And another reminder that the children of Gaza, who I suspect are 2/3s of the population, haven't done anything wrong, to be punished by this blockade...


Here is what wikipedia has to say about the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. Note that "protected persons are just non-combatants, i.e. innocent civilians such as children, women and unarmed or injured men:
Article 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

Pillage is prohibited.

Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions collective punishments are a war crime. Article 33 states: "No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed," and "collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."

By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and II. In the First World War, Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that took place there. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resort to "intimidatory measures to terrorize the population" in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices "strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice."

Additional Protocol II of 1977 explicitly forbids collective punishment...

note on protocol II...
As of 14 January 2007 it had been ratified by 163 countries, with the United States, Israel, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iraq being notable exceptions. However, the United States, Iran and Pakistan signed it on 12 December 1977 with the intention of ratifying it.

A number of the articles contained in both protocols are recognized as rules of customary law valid for all states, whether or not they have ratified them.

hmmmm... israel has neither signed nor ratified... go figure...

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