Thursday, June 24, 2010

The "Occupied Gaza" Charade

Elder of Ziyon has been reading Amnesty International documents. In this post he compares their definition of Gaza to their definition of Iraq after the 2003 occupation. Will it surprise anyone that the definitions are not consistent, indeed, they're quite contradictory? No? Why Not?


Anonymous said...

At the very least, Iraq is a situation involves the occupation of a territory that was previously sovereign and self-governing, Gaza is/was an occupation of land that never was subject to sovereign self-governance.

Anonymous said...

[con't from above]

...of course that would not explain the shear insanity of the Amnesty position on the Gaza situation, which borders on the totally incoherent. See this Volokh re-post of an interview with Itai Epstein, the Director of AI in Israel, in which Epstein says Israel must "One, allow the Palestinians in Gaza free access to drinking water. Israel hasn’t done this in all the years of the occupation until now, and it has a responsibility to ensure that Gaza’s residents have access to water. The same thing goes for health services. For dozens of years the rights of those residents have been prevented and the formations of civil infrastructures were prevented and this became worse during the attacks of last year, and a large part of those infrastructures were destroyed and not rebuilt to this day. This is an obligation of which Israel cannot free itself."

How one can have an obligation to care for another sovereign entity's citizens and not occupy is open to question:

This all being said, the international law status of the West Bank and Gaza is not the same as the status of Iraq or Afghanistan, and to the extent that these distinctions matter in winning the PR war (perhaps among elites?), ignoring those differences, and arguing by analogy is not a strategy for success.

(And the above is to say nothing of any moral comparisons or arguments one might make in defining the Israeli obligations in non-pre-1967 areas.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Yaacov

This is only indirectly related to the double standard evident in this AI report.

But living here in the UK, one of the things that astonishes and angers me most is the sheer hypocrisy of Europeans whose governments have sent their own troops to do in Afghanistan & Iraq the same things Israel has been forced to do in Gaza and Lebanon recently - except that the actions of Britain and its allies are on a much bigger scale, of course, even though their civilians have not been coming under direct fire like Israel's have.

More particularly, every time a British soldier dies in Afghanistan, we are told about it, as well as the total reached which is now over 300. I don't object to that in itself. But the problem is that Afghan civilian casualties are almost completely airbrushed out of the picture by the government, politicians, and the media in a way that is clearly deliberate and that contrasts greatly with the way Israel's wars are portrayed in UK news. It's very rare indeed that the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan is mentioned, and even then only in the most indirect and vague manner, whereas inflated civilian casualty figures from Hizbollah and Hamas were taken at face value and repeated constantly during Israel's conflicts in 2006 and 2008/9.

So I was surprised to find on this evening's Channel 4 News here in the UK a rare report from Afghanistan which did cover civilian casualties in a more serious way. Indirectly, and no doubt unintentionally given Channel 4's bias against Israel, it showed how similar the conditions there are to what Israel faced in Gaza in 2008/9 and Lebanon in 2006. And the responses of the British military when challenged by Channel 4 about civilians deaths hitherto unreported was much the same as those of the IDF - British forces never target civilians and do their best to avoid civilian casualties, while the Taleban fight from populated areas and use civilians as human shields.

If only this kind of reporting was more common, it might make at least some people more reluctant to be so condemnatory of Israel.


JG Campbell

Yaacov said...

Thanks, Jonathan, that's a useful link.

Gavin said...

The Red Cross have joined the baying mob as well now. Most of the words in this statement from them should be familiar to people;

I'd note that there is no phsyical international humanitarian law, not written down as statutes. The apocryphal 'humanturain law' is just a reference to the collection of various real international laws. This phrase here is the revealing one;

"Under international humanitarian law, Israel must ensure that the basic needs of Gazans, including adequate health care, are met"

The only 'humanitarian' law that states that is the laws of occupation. The 4th Geneva Convention. There are no others. The ICRC are saying that Gaza is occupied territory. Until the Goldstone report was released the ICRC used to call Gaza an automous territory, and generally stayed out of the 'humanitarian' arguments. I'd wager that it's taken only one jew hater at the ICRC to change that position and destroy the neutrality of the Red Cross, he/she just needed to be in the right position of authority.

All of Israels enemies co-operate very closely on the occupation issue. It's deliberate, I've followed their arguments for why Israel is occupied and whenever a new argument is put forward I've seen others subsequently pick up those arguments. Occupation isn't an accusation against Israel, it's the source of the accusations.


Anonymous said...

Occupation is also a very ugly highly loaded word that probably resonates strongly on a gut level for all of us, even if we should know better
occupation is done only by bad people, good people let others have their freedom and if that freedom demands that they maim and kill - so be it
- who wants to be occupied, even Germans who lived in the American Zone today find it horrible, forgetting totally that they had hit the jackpot with it

so it works both ways all those pontificators can feel loved and understood by the public - should be good for collecting money