Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Israel’s editing of international law should backfire on them, if media were awake
by Larry Geller
Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and others following his talking points, appear to be relying on the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994.
They seem to have a very limited attention span, though. If one keeps reading, eventually you get to this:
102. The declaration or establishment of a blockade is prohibited if:
(a) it has the sole purpose of starving the civilian population or denying it other objects essential for its survival; or
(b) the damage to the civilian population is, or may be expected to be, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade.
103. If the civilian population of the blockaded territory is inadequately provided with food and other objects essential for its survival, the blockading party must provide for free passage of such foodstuffs and other essential supplies, subject to:
(a) the right to prescribe the technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted; and
(b) the condition that the distribution of such supplies shall be made under the local supervision of a Protecting Power or a humanitarian organization which offers guarantees of impartiality, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.
104. The blockading belligerent shall allow the passage of medical supplies for the civilian population or for the wounded and sick members of armed forces, subject to the right to prescribe technical arrangements, including search, under which such passage is permitted.
Israel has been conducting collective punishment on the civilian population of Gaza, constituting an illegal blockade. The United Nations recognized that with resolution 1860, passed in January 2009.
Israel’s deadly nighttime attack on this flotilla has at least focused the world’s attention on the blockade and on the extent of the US government’s unconditional support for Israel. They may also have inadvertently recognized the sovereignty of Gaza, since their interpretation of international law requires that Gaza be a belligerent nation. That will be interesting to unscramble, if anyone cares to follow up on it.
Now, if only the US media would break with tradition and ask the hard questions that need to be asked.
Isreal allowed food, meds and certain building materials into Gaza through it's authorized portal, after inspection. Just nothing that would "aid the enemy".
The quoted paragraphs of the law do not apply in this case.
Israel had every right to block the Gaza flotilla. Britain and the U.S. have in the past employed similar measures.
Why is there not more publicity on the Americans who were on this aid ship. For instance, former diplomat, Ann Wright. To imply that a savy, experienced Middle East diplomat can be "fooled" into supporting a ship that is actually (as Israel wants us to believe) carrying jihadists, loses much credibility when we examine the people who were actually on the aid ship.
There are reports of action against reporters who write sympathetic stories. They or their editors begin to get phone calls, etc.
Perhaps this act of piracy has achieved enough publicity, especially in other countries, that the issues will be aired and perhaps some progress made.