Posted on August 14, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
“The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.”
Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” has galvanized world public opinion in ways that give hope to people wishing for the end to apartheid conditions for Palestinians. While some ask the question “will it be any different this time?” most, after seeing what Israel’s leaders have carried out over the past 30 days – a massacre of human beings – feel more certain than ever Palestinians are going to finally receive justice, dignity, and equal treatment as fellow members of the world community.
Time and again since Israel’s bombing campaign began based on the false pretext of Hamas’ kidnap and murder of three Israeli teens, Israel’s apologists have pounded discussions with references to Hamas’ use of civilian Palestinian “human shields.” In the minds of Israel’s (un)accountable leaders who’ve directed the bombing campaign and their apologists in the United States government and corporate media, “human shields” are justification for the high percentage of close to 2,000 Palestinian children and civilian deaths.
As the death count has risen over the past thirty days, more reports have emerged disputing the “human shields” excuse flooding the media, asserting there is no evidence to back up claims that Hamas has fired rockets from positions in Gaza where civilians live.
When “human shields” gets turned over a new phrase “Shield Humans” enters the language. The new phrase can now be used to describe an action: protecting one’s brothers and sisters in the family of man, or people: those who wish to protect all human beings from immoral, unnecessary, criminal harm and the resulting harsh, difficult circumstances.
Despite a continuous successful refutation of false assertions made by Israel’s leaders and apologists, the bombing campaign – which some describe with the truly disgusting historical phrase “mowing the grass” – has been relentless, mercilessly destructive, and morally indefensible. Millions around the Earth have reacted strongly against actions of a brutal and barbaric nature which most thought long ago extinct – experienced only through reading descriptions of centuries-old events found in history books; never again possible.
Most, to borrow a phrase used by Ken O’Keefe in the following video, reacted to Israel’s utterly cruel and inhumane carpet bombing campaign like all “fully functioning human beings” – with complete shock, disbelief, compassion, and strong emotional opposition. Millions of men, women, and children have joined in publicly condemning Israel’s murderous actions, including the largest ever Palestine solidarity gathering in front of the White House, 150,000 in Britain and the offices of BBC, and 250,000 in the land where an apartheid state was last stopped: South Africa.
It has become overwhelmingly obvious to people around the world that Israel’s leaders are accountable for war crimes which must become prosecuted in accord with existing international law. What is so astonishing is that some will persist in denying that war crimes were committed, when the proof is in plain sight and impossible to avoid. Going forward, decisions will need to become made with civilized international consensus on the best option for dealing with this tragic situation and criminal punishment.
Nelson Mandela’s decision to form “Truth and Reconciliation” panels, dismissing prosecution and imprisonment of South Africa’s apartheid criminals in favor of publicly admitting their crimes, is an option which offers the benefits of forgiveness – diminished future occurrences of violence, hate, vengeance, and resentment. On the other hand, as it seems Mr. Mandela’s example did not enter the awareness of, or deter, Israel’s leaders over the past weeks, traditional legal steps leading to punishment in line with crimes committed could be the choice with more beneficial deterrent consequences.
One possibility for honorably dealing with those who committed war crimes, along with accountable accomplices, is to organize a “Truth and Reconciliation” panel under the power of 20 of the most distinguished retired judges on Earth. Each war criminal/accomplice will be given 60 minutes to speak to the judges and convince them they will never commit another war crime for as long as they live. Those who speak in such a way that all 20 judges agree to dismiss punishment will experience what occurred for South Africa’s war/apartheid criminals. Those who fail to make the case that they’ll never again commit war crimes, fail to evoke a unanimous agreement by the judges, will receive traditional punishment commensurate with their crimes.
Such a legal process, although extraordinary, offers a reasonable framework halfway between Nelson Mandela’s “Truth and Reconciliation” option and the International Criminal Court option. What makes this unusual, hybrid form of trial more beneficial for Palestinians, Israelis, Middle East citizens, and humanity is that so profound an amount of wisdom will become available from the 60 minute testimonies of those accused. This means wisdom in the sense of full revelation of causes for man’s failure to live in harmony with his fellow-man, recorded for all time, and an invaluable teaching instrument on the final important topic of war and peace.
(Thank you to Press TV News Videos at YouTube)