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Human Rights Groups in Palestine ask, When is Enough, Enough?Tim King Salem-News.com
Palestinians say they will not accept findings on Gaza; a demonstration takes place in AlManara Square Ramallah today.
(SALEM, Ore.) - If Americans are the victims of injustice, they have recourse. Most western people assert their rights and maintain a sense of dignity in life. That is not the case for the people of Palestine.
They are the victims of a religious doctrine and belief system that places Palestinian last on the list, and has led so many of these people to disparity and death.
In December, Hamas militants fired rockets into Israel from Gaza. This was a response to Israel's failure to open checkpoints that it had earlier agreed to do. When the smoke cleared, more than 1400 people in Gaza were dead, among them nearly 400 children. Israel's total losses from the rocket attacks and military incursion into Gaza, was 14 people. Of the 14, four died in friendly fire incidents.
This 100-to-1 death toll response is typical of Israel, which blatantly uses military equipment manufactured in the U.S.A. and supported by U.S. tax dollars, to launch unprecedented military attacks on its neighbors.
The news last week that the Palestinian leadership would look the other way over the issue of Gaza, does not appear to be an idea headed toward acceptance.
Palestinian activist Mazin Qumsiyeh sent a press release to Salem-News.com and other media outlets, describing the feelings among Palestinian people who believe their current leaders greatly let them down by not pressing the issue of Israeli war crimes with the UN.
"It is hard to describe our emotions in the past three days in Palestine since we heard of the Palestinian 'leadership' withdrawal of the discussions at the UN Human Rights Council about the Goldstone report."
The Israeli Defense Forces used white phosphorous as a weapon against Palestinians and hundreds were killed in their homes; burned to death horribly.
Qumsiyeh said, "Can those who made the decision look straight in the eyes of the families of the 400 children butchered in Gaza and tell them that this was politically necessary because Hillary Clinton asked them to do it?"
He suggests that Americans might understand if they see just one family picture, "And will the rest of us (and yes each of us is responsible) be able to look into these same eyes and tell them we were satisfied with expressing sympathy and uttering words?"
"Who decreed that popular civil action cannot be directed at those who harm the cause and happen to also be Palestinian? Will our shame, anger and revulsion be NOW moved to civil action? Will we really have a democratic civil society or one ruled by a clique of elites? Will decent people in Fateh stand-up to correct this trend? Will we say enough is enough and this was the straw that broke the camel's back?"
A demonstration is scheduled in AlManara Square Ramallah today, Monday, at noon. Mazin Qumsiyeh issued an urgent statement by the The Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO):
"PNGO condemns PA request of delaying endorsement of Goldstone recommendations
PNGO expresses its bewilderment and strongly condemns the Palestinian Authority’s withdrawal of its draft resolution supporting the recommendations contained in the Goldstone Report, resulting in a deferral of a vote to endorse the report in the Human Rights Council to March 2010. The report suggests that war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity were committed by the Israeli military during its 23-day offensive in Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009.
PNGO considers that this move by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is an insult to the victims of Operation Cast Lead, and actively facilitates the ongoing impunity of suspected Israeli war criminals; while the siege on Gaza enters its 28th month, Israeli military attacks on the Palestinian population are ongoing and settlement expansion in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, continues unabated. PNGO is shocked at the suggestion by the PA that accountability for the victims in Gaza could adversely affect the peace process.
PNGO asks Palestinian political parties to immediately adopt a clear position about the PA decision and to request from the PA a public explanation. This decision has triggered embarrassment and disappointment among Palestinians and activists in the international community, who have made efforts to bring perpetrators of war crimes in Gaza to justice. The Palestinian Authority has wasted an important opportunity towards ensuring accountability of the State of Israel for their war crimes and human rights violations.
In the words of Justice Goldstone at the presentation of his report at the HRC on 29 September: "This is the time for action. The lack of accountability for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity has reached a crisis point; the ongoing lack of justice is undermining any hope for a successful peace process and reinforcing an environment that fosters violence."
People who are behind Israeli politics frequently say, "Israel has a right to defend itself" and that is certainly true, just as any nation does. Yet in spite of that recognition, they often call those of us who decry Israeli policies "anti-Semitic" which is a false charge.
Writers I am associated with who are critical of Israel, have many Jewish friends, and some are Jewish. At no time do these writers ever single people out over their religion, it is not the point. The point is that all humans have a right to certain basic freedoms that the Palestinian people are denied.
The denial of Israel's involvement in war crimes is wrong, it is prejudice, and it can't go on this way much longer. I can only imagine what it would be like through the eyes of those who live in Gaza.
Groups supporting statement:
Adalah * Addameer * Aldameer * Al Haq * Al Mezan * Badil * Civic Coalition for Jerusalem * DCI-Palestine * ENSAN Centre * Independent Commission for Human Rights * Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre * Palestinian Centre for Human Rights * Ramallah Centre for Human Rights Studies * Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling *
Christian Science Monitor Oct. 3, 2009: Palestinians drop endorsement of Goldstone report on Gaza war
Salem-News.com Oct. 3, 2009: Critical Declaration by Almost all Palestinian Human Rights Organizations
Defence for Children Internatinal Oct. 2, 2009: Palestinian civil society dismayed at PA deferral of UN vote
In the video below by Journeyman Pictures, we go back to Gaza in May 2003, where there was a constant gauntlet of Israeli sniper fire, military rockets and army bulldozers. "No one is safe. In light of the escalating tensions, we're bringing back one our most moving documentaries, a hard-hitting expose of life in the Occupied territories. We speak to the children caught in the crossfire and find out the true cost of Israel's targeted assassinations policy."
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
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