08 January 2009

Canada condones war crimes

The Isreali assault on Gaza is unequivocally a criminal act. To cite only one item of international law Israel has violated, I offer Article 33 of Convention IV of the Geneva Conventions relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War:
No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.
Israel's massive collective punishment of the Gazan people clearly violates this article. Staunchly defending Israel's behaviour, as our government is doing, just as clearly puts this country in the position of condoning, indeed supporting, war crimes.

We might also keep in mind that the root cause of the crisis, Israel's refusal to allow the one million Palestinian refugees in Gaza to go home, is also in violation of international law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 13(2), "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." Israel illegally denies the largest and most long-suffering refugee population in the world this basic right.

I am a law-abiding citizen of my country, and I expect my country to be a a law-abiding citizen of the international community. I am less than happy, therefore, when my government supports criminal behaviour.

The rocket attacks by Palestinians are also criminal, of course, but our government isn't condoning them. On the contrary, it has categorized Hamas as a terrorist organization as a result of such behaviour. While I wouldn't recommend condemning Israel as a terrorist state, even though it has committed far more egregious acts than firing Qassam rockets, we should certainly be calling it to account for its crimes. If we don't, we can hardly call ourselves a nation of law. At the moment, it seems, we are not.


  1. Amnesty Canada has issued a letter to Lawrence Cannon demanding concrete and humanitarian action from our government. You can sign here:


  2. Thanks for the tip, Beijing York. I have added my signature and will make a donation.

    Bill L