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Getting Away With (Worse Than) Murder: War Crimes in Congo, Israel

Publié le 1 février, 2010 | Pas de commentaires

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The Voice of Africa in New York, Nicholas Kristoff, once again asked in his most plaintiff voice why nothing is being done about the savagery being perpetrated against women and children in Congo. Mere weeks after Peter Daou’s article appeared on The Huffington Post, questioning why action on Haiti was immediately funded and aid-workers mobilized, while decades of murder and appalling violence in Congo has gone almost unopposed, Kristoff finally gets a word in: “It’s time to show the same compassion toward Congo that we have toward Haiti.”

Compassion? You could say compassion is needed. You could more accurately say a commitment by so-called civilized governments to address these crimes against humanity – which actually does include women – should be a top priority for their world agenda. But how can protecting women and children in Congo be taken seriously when not only do they have no oil, but it would mean having to stand up to our own allies when they commit war crimes? It would mean having to take responsibility for our own war crimes.

As usual, when investigated by the United Nations for offenses as serious as they come – using the horrific and illegal chemical weapon white phosphorous against civilians in bombing campaigns in Gaza one year ago, firing guns into the faces of children, bombing safe-houses and other non-military targets full of civilians – Israel decided to brazen it out with full denials of any wrongdoing, dismissing all charges in the name of its own ‘self-defense’. (As if there are no international laws regarding what is justifiable and what is not – hence the UN investigation.) Though it was found that “A report…commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, described how UN staff that day called Israeli authorities at least seven times asking them to stop the shelling of the compound…three high-explosive shells and seven white phosphorus artillery shells, probably from a 155mm howitzer, had hit the compound. It concluded that the Israeli military violated customary international law” – yet, “So far only one Israeli soldier has been prosecuted over the war – for stealing a credit card from a Palestinian house” – an exception which seems intended to mock the thousands of dead and homeless.

These crimes have been documented by the UN investigators, and hundreds of eye-witnesses, as well as photographs and video footage, have testified to the rabid excesses Israeli soldiers committed in their attacks on Gaza. And this also is a zone that has seen decades of unpunished abuse, which some have credibly cited as being the original cause of sentiment in the Islamic world uniting against America and its allies, the progenitor of desperate acts like suicide bombing and ‘jihad’. And yet, aside from a handful of officers being “disciplined” – and what form this will take has not been released – it seems that once again there will be no redress for aggrieved Palestinians.

So yes, how is it that a natural disaster can bring the world to a poor island’s doorstep, arms laden with aid, supplies and hope, while the wretched of Congo must live the daily nightmare of rape with sticks and bayonets, without hope of safety for decades, and the victims of Israel’s illegal expansion suffer horrendously disproportional military attacks, which reduce civilian areas to dust and rubble?

Or to put it more simply, how is it possible to continually claim the moral high ground when mired in moral quicksand? Extending a lifeline to Haiti is the least the richest, freest countries in the world can do. It is not enough to be better than the worst countries on earth, and then throw some charity around to create a benign image (and that goes for the too-rich and too-powerful corporations manipulating the world financial scene as well).

(Read more by The Poliskeptic: http://www.lepanoptique.net/category/formats/blogues/nikilambros/)

UN SECURITY COUNCIL FULL REPORT: http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/5ba47a5c6cef541b802563e000493b8c/3800655e522591fd852575cb004ca773?OpenDocument

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