Sunday, January 25, 2009

"What Israel Did in Gaza is Genocide" - Former ICTY Judge (The Hague)

Al Ahram Weekly, January 22-28, 2009 - While most critics point an accusing finger at its "war crimes" alone, some, like ex-judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Fouad Riad, have the courage to brush diplomatic language aside and call things by their name.

"What Israel did in Gaza is genocide," Riad tells Al-Ahram Weekly. It "deliberately killed Palestinian children" with the aim of exterminating the population, he says.

Riad served on the ICTY in The Hague for seven years. In February 2001, Riad and others judged that the 1995 Srebrenica massacre committed in the former Yugoslavia was "genocide". Nothing in the language of international law matches the magnitude of genocide, which is considered the "crime of crimes". It is the most extreme consequence of racial discrimination and ethnic hatred.

The 1948 Genocide Convention defines genocide as any of a number of acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

"There is no doubt that Israel has been committing these crimes ever since 1948," Riad says. In 1948, after the Irgun Zionist militia carried out a massacre in Palestinian Deir Yassin village, then-Irgun leader Menachim Begin (later Israel's prime minister) was quoted as saying that the massacre's objective was accomplished because it exterminated the village's population and ethnically cleansed the area of Arabs, says Riad.....

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