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Statements on Gaza From Kucinich and Hoyer: Compare and Contrast


Hoyer Statement on Situation in Gaza
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the developing situation in Gaza: “Israel is acting in clear self-defense in response to heinous rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza. As a sovereign nation, Israel has an unequivocal right to take action to ensure the security and safety of her citizens. Indiscriminate attacks by Hamas are a serious detriment to the peace process in the region.”

KUCINICH CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT UNITED NATIONS INQUIRY ON GAZA
Israeli government attacks civilians in violation of international law
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 29, 2008) — U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich today released the following statement as Israeli attacks on Gaza have gone into a third day with a pending ground invasion of Gaza by Israel:

“Today I sent a letter to Secretary General Ban ki-Moon urging the United Nations to establish an independent inquiry of Israel's war against Gaza. The attacks on civilians represent collective punishment, which is a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/92.htm). The perpetrators of attacks against Israel must also be brought to justice, but Israel cannot create a war against an entire people in order to attempt to bring to justice the few who are responsible. The Israeli leaders know better. The world community, which has been very supportive of Israel's right to security and its right to survive, also has a right to expect Israel to conduct itself in adherence to the very laws which support the survival of Israel and every other nation,” Kucinich said.

“Israel is leveling Gaza to strike at Hamas, just as they pulverized south Lebanon to strike at Hezbollah. Yet in both cases civilian populations were attacked, countless innocents killed or injured, infrastructure targeted and destroyed, and civil law enforcement negated. All this was, and is, disproportionate, indiscriminate mass violence in violation of international law. Israel is not exempt from international law and must be held accountable. It is time for the UN to not just call for a cease-fire, but for an inquiry as to Israel's actions.”

According to published news reports, since the commencement of aerial strikes, over 300 Palestinians have been killed and approximately 1,400 have been wounded. The dead include 20 children under the age of 16--nearly half of them killed while on a school bus, according to the United Nations--and 9 women. The attack aggravated a humanitarian crisis wrought by the Israeli-imposed blockade of food, fuel, and medical supplies. With a population of 1.5 million people, the Gaza Strip is among the most densely populated territories in the world.

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During the summer of 1982 I had the opportunity to visit the Nazi concentration camp just outside Dachau, Germany and then the little town itself. Given the proximity of the town to the camp, my immediate reaction was: “This town is so close to the camp that the citizens of Dachau must have known what was going on out there. Why did they not do anything about it?” I had the exact same reaction during the last two weeks of May 1986 as I traveled up and down the West Bank and Gaza Strip in order to investigate Israel’s atrocities and war crimes against the Palestinians.

When I then complained about these reprehensible practices to the appropriate high-level legal officials sequentially at the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I was told that they were all required by and could be justified under the doctrine of “military necessity.” Rather than engaging in an extended debate over this point, I simply responded to all three of these lawyers that this was precisely the argument used by the Nazi war criminals before the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945 to justify their own incredible outrages upon humanity, including the Jewish people. After a bit more argumentation, these three lawyers basically conceded my Nuremberg analysis, but then each independently, uncannily, and matter-of-factly informed me: “We have public relations people in the United States who take care of these matters for us.”

Even more distressingly, upon a visit to the office of the Legal Adviser to the Foreign Ministry to discuss the prospects for peace, I was immediately informed by him that Israel had a “claim” under international law to the West Bank: it might not constitute the basis for perfect title, but it was nevertheless a “claim.” At the time I recalled the fact that of course Hitler had a “claim” to the Sudetenland as well. Although the Munich Pact of 1938 permitted German occupation and annexation of the Sudetenland into the Nazi Reich, this act of cowardice by Great Britain and France ultimately paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War one year later, with all the tragic consequences that conflagration entailed for the Jewish people, among others.

Today, the United States and Israel are striving to consummate a Middle East version of the Munich Pact that will sell out of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and a real independent state of their own. Only history will tell if the consequences shall be as tragic for the fate of the Arab and Jewish peoples in the Middle East, if not the rest of the world. I fear that there is a high probability that history will repeat itself.

Toward the end of my 1986 trip to Palestine, I visited the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to complain about these criminal Israeli occupation practices. An assistant U.S. political attaché informed me that such matters concerned “internal affairs” of the Israeli government. I stridently objected: Under basic rules of international law, the Israeli government is what is known as a “belligerent occupant” of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem. Pursuant to article 4 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, all non-Israelis living in these occupied territories are what are called “protected persons.” Article 147 thereof provides that any of the following acts committed against “protected persons” are “grave breaches” of the Convention: “wilful killing, torture or inhumane treatment. . . wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health. . . .” Furthermore, article 146 mandates all state parties to impose “effective penal sanctions for persons committing, or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention. . . .” Thus, any Israeli political leaders or military officers who have ordered or committed such “grave breaches” are “war criminals” within the meaning of the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles. These Israeli war criminals can and must be prosecuted by any state in the world community that obtains jurisdiction over them.

Finally, under common article 1 to the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, all state parties are obliged not only to respect, but also “to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.” When a party to the Conventions such as Israel is committing “grave breaches,” such practices are not “an internal affair” but rather international crimes and therefore a matter of international concern. The United States government, inter alia, has an absolute obligation to use its enormous political, military and economic leverage over Israel to terminate such criminal practices immediately. Yet for the past sixty years the United States government has had no response to make to the desperate pleas by the Palestinian people for freedom, justice, dignity, respect and independence—in other words, for self-determination. After forty years of an incredibly brutal and inhumane military occupation, the only really effective manner for all states party to the Geneva Conventions to ensure respect for the terms of the Fourth Convention in these occupied Palestinian territories would be to compel all Israeli military forces and colonial settlers to withdraw immediately and by all means possible from the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. In 1999 President Clinton ordered Indonesia out of East Timor that it had illegally invaded and annexed as far back as 1975 with the approval of the Ford/Kissinger administration. Some future American President must likewise order Israel out of Palestine. It was toward obtaining that end that I had originally called for the establishment of an Israeli divestment/disinvestment campaign in November of 2000. Free Palestine!

To abuse the laws that redeemed them once. This is both sad and outrageous. We MUST get Barack to join the ICC.

Israel wants a two state solution. Indeed, she does not want any contact with Palestinians at all. Her dismantling of settlements, the unilateral withdrawal and the wall all indicate there is no need for further negotiation.
The Palestinians prefer a one state solution. They think they can further their cause through violence. They are mistaken.
-jbpazz

... up till now, and you tell me again, who it is that wants a "one state solution"...

http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2008/12/29/so-who-wants-to-wipe-someone-...

Already, they are talking about creating another "buffer zone"... that is where Israel pushes the Gazans back further into their open air prison, by 5 or 10 km... taking even more land from the Palestinians...

You would also be better served staying in sites haunted by people without educations. Here, we know the history of the conflict and the resolution offers of the past 20 or so years. Here is an example of the most recent...

"On 21 April 2008, former U.S. President and 2002 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter met with Hamas Leader Khaled Meshal and reached an agreement that Hamas will respect the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas seized by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967, provided this be ratified by the Palestinian people in a referendum. Carter had made several other requests, but these were turned down. Hamas later announced publicly an offer for a 10 year hudna with Israel, should they decide to return to their 1967 borders and allow the return of all Palestinian refugees. Several nations originally rejected the plan, but Israel is yet to respond"...

but please, keep posting. The more you talk, the more facts I can share with others to expose your "talking points" for what they are.

Those who are merciful to the cruel become cruel to the merciful.

Screw you!

REAL "CHANGE"? http://www.dsausa.org/about/index.html

ARREST BUSHCO & RICO PNAC/FARA AIPAC...PNAC is Bush/Cheney's "Helter Skelter" !

UNITE IN SOLIDARITY !!!

Thanks, Dennis. I'll ask my Congressman and Senators to join your efforts.

Have just started reading Mearsheimer and Walt's book on "The Israel Lobby." Hoyer gets lots of campaign contributions from Israeli interests.

And, of course, Congress has given the current administration a pass to ignore domestic and international laws it doesn't like. And yet that elusive "rule of law" is the very thing that's supposed to make us and Israel "democracies."

This isn't the time for us common folk to remain silent. Dennis needs our support.

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