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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 10, 2003

Reclaiming The Geneva Conventions - An Oldie But A Goodie

When people like Hassan Abdel Rachman, Nasser Al-Kidwa and NGO's like Amnesty International (in spite of their first ever condemnation of Palestinian Terror) claim that Israel is in violation of "international law", and namely the Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949, they are simply wrong.

I do not know if they are lying or simply misinformed, but here is the reality of what these conventions are for:

The Geneva Conventions are intended to govern a state of WAR between two "High Contracting Parties" ie. soveriegn countries (Palestine does not fit this definition as described in the Montevideo Convention) who have signed the pact.

A man named Jean Pictet who worked for the International Red Cross at the time of the signing of the conventions and was very instrumental in their development is recognized as having written the definitve commentary on the interpretation of the Geneva Conventions. He recognized that a non-country could theoretically be protected under the Conventions if they voluntarily applied them to their enemy. Palestine has not only clearly NOT done this, but in fact they have taken advantage of their non-party status by violating every norm, ethos and moral code in the Conventions (see harming civillians and non-combatants and hiding combatants among civillian populations).

In light of the fact that the Geneva Conventions govern WAR, they regulate all sorts of nasty things like how to nicely go about detaining masses of people in wartime and destroying the infrastucture of your enemy.

The conventions actually justify acts far beyond anything Israel has ever done in the region. Why? Because these conventions govern WAR!

The Palestinians can have it one of two ways:
(1) They can have the Geneva Conventions apply and thus recognize that we are in a state of war, meaning that Israel's hand will be free to inflict damage on a scale not even approached in the last 35 years (I'm not sure how desirable this is for the residents of the disputed territories) or,
(2) Admit that the Geneva conventions DO NOT APPLY, stop condemning Israel on imaginary infractions of an inapplicable law, and look at what they can do to improve their own humanitarian crisis instead of funnelling money to inflict terror on Israel.

As for the accusation that settlers and settlements are a violation of the provision under article 49 which states: "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies", this is obviously an allusion to the German transfer of its own law abiding Jewish (and other) citizens to camps in Eastern Europe (ie Auschwitz) where there would be a significant diminishing of rights and benefits. The settlers have not been "deported" or "transfered" to their homes. They have voluntarily gone there and enjoy full rights. Arab refugees forced to leave their homes inside the Green Line in 1967 might be covered by this (though this is also questionable as most supported the Arab aggression), but settlements and their inhabitants clearly are not covered. Like them or not, settlements are simply not a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

The Geneva Conventions, created as a response to the horrors of World War II in an effort to bring some sort of humanity to the battlefield, have been hijacked by people with alterior motives. Israel must not continue to duck and blur these questions, but actively take back what is rightfully theirs. The Geneva Conventions are on our side."