Thursday, July 20, 2006

this fucked up world

Britain is running its biggest sea evacuation since Dunkirk, and it doesn't have the political will to do anything beyond evacuate its own civillians. This is Rwanda-type behaviour (remember the French evacuating their embassy dog?), albeit on a different scale. Even the evacuees get it: 'This will get worse. The terrible thing is that now foreigners are coming out, Israel won't care, they'll do what they like to the place.' France is now pushing for UN Security Council action, but it remains to be seen what will come of that. The US just seems to want to give Israel time and a free hand (just like Ariel Sharon gave the Phalanges time and a free hand...)

Louise Arbour, the UN's high commissioner for human rights, says that the scale of killing in Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories could constitute war crimes. The obligation to protect civilians during hostilities was laid down in international criminal law 'which defines war crimes and crimes against humanity', she said in a statement. But who is committing war crimes here? To attack soldiers of an occupying force is not a war crime, as Gilad Atzmon so clearly put it. And on the subject of scale, what exactly is the scale? On the Lebanese side 300 dead, 1000 injured, and 500,000 displaced. On the Israeli side 29 dead, of which 14 were soldiers and 15 civillians (BBC). So if - as the laws of war make clear - proportionality is a cardinal rule, who is committing the war crimes Madame Arbour? Say it dammit.

Please link, please blog, please talk, please write, please argue with everyone in sight. And if you're sceptical about whether this will change anything on the ground, remember that hegemony is built on silence and acquiescence as much as on brute power.

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