California man faces 13 years in jail for scribbling anti-bank messages in chalk

Updated July 2 2013

Update is at bottom of page.

———————————-

June 26. 2013

Jeff Olson, the 40-year-old man who is being prosecuted for scrawling anti-megabank messages on sidewalks in water-soluble chalk last year now faces a 13-year jail sentence. A judge has barred his attorney from mentioning freedom of speech during trial.

According to the San Diego Reader, which reported on Tuesday that  a judge had opted to prevent Olson’s attorney from “mentioning the First Amendment, free  speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or  political speech during the trial,” Olson must now stand  trial for on 13 counts of vandalism.

In addition to possibly spending years in jail, Olson will also  be held liable for fines of up to $13,000 over the anti-big-bank  slogans that were left using washable children’s chalk on a  sidewalk outside of three San Diego, California branches of Bank  of America, the massive conglomerate that received $45 billion in  interest-free loans from the US government in 2008-2009 in a bid  to keep it solvent after bad bets went south.

The Reader reports that Olson’s hearing had gone as poorly as his  attorney might have expected, with Judge Howard Shore, who is  presiding over the case, granting Deputy City Attorney Paige  Hazard’s motion to prohibit attorney Tom Tosdal from mentioning  the United States’ fundamental First Amendment rights.

“The State’s Vandalism Statute  does not mention First Amendment rights,” ruled Judge  Shore on Tuesday.

Upon exiting the courtroom Olson seemed to be in disbelief.

“Oh my gosh,” he said.   “I can’t believe this is  happening.”

Tosdal, who exited the courtroom shortly after his client, seemed  equally bewildered.

“I’ve never heard that before,  that a court can prohibit an argument of First Amendment  rights,” said Tosdal.

Olson, who worked as a former staffer for a US Senator from  Washington state, was said to involve himself in political  activism in tandem with the growth of the Occupy Wall Street  movement.

On October 3, 2011, Olson first appeared outside of a Bank of  America branch in San Diego, along with a homemade sign. Eight  days later Olson and his partner, Stephen Daniels, during  preparations for National Bank Transfer Day, the two were  confronted by Darell Freeman, the Vice President of Bank of  America’s Global Corporate Security.

A former police officer, Freeman accused Olson and Daniels of   “running a business outside of the bank,” evidently in reference  to the National Bank Transfer Day activities, which was a  consumer activism initiative that sought to promote Americans to  switch from commercial banks, like Bank of America, to  not-for-profit credit unions.

At the time, Bank of America’s debit card fees were among one of  the triggers that led Occupy Wall Street members to promote the  transfer day.

“It was just an empty  threat,” says Olson of Freeman’s accusations. “He was trying to scare me away. To be  honest, it did at first. I even called my bank and they said he  couldn’t do anything like that.”

Olson continued to protest outside of Bank of America. In  February 2012, he came across a box of chalk at a local pharmacy  and decided to begin leaving his mark with written statements.

“I thought it was a perfect way  to get my message out there. Much better than handing out  leaflets or holding a sign,” says Olson.

Over the course of the next six months Olson visited the Bank of  America branch a few days per week, leaving behind scribbled  slogans such as “Stop big  banks” and “Stop Bank  Blight.com.”

According to Olson, who spoke with local broadcaster KGTV, one  Bank of America branch claimed it had cost $6,000 to clean up the  chalk writing.

Public records obtained by the Reader show that Freeman continued  to pressure members of San Diego’s Gang Unit on behalf of Bank of  America until the matter was forwarded to the City Attorney’s  office.

On April 15, Deputy City Attorney Paige Hazard contacted Freeman  with a response on his persistent queries.

“I wanted to let you know that  we will be filing 13 counts of vandalism as a result of the  incidents you reported,” said Hazard.

Arguments for Olson’s case are set to be heard Wednesday morning,  following jury selection.  Source

Just when you think,  the US cannot get any more ridiculous, then it already is, something like this comes along.  The chalk washes off with water. Think about it.

It is the same chalk millions of children use. So are Judges going to imprison little children for their chalk drawings as well?

Unbelievable.

Words cannot describe my thoughts on this. This is beyond imagination.

Chalk Bandits. The new American enemy.

Every American should send a Chalk message to this Judge.

Chalk it up to a good idea.

How much will it cost taxpayer to keep this Chalk Bandit in jail for 13 years?

What an absolute waste of court time and tax dollars.

That money should be used for anything, but this. Education comes to mind.

The Judge needs one.

No Freedom of Speech.

Another take on this story HERE

There Really are Chalk Police in America

Seems in the UK Cops may be just as bad.

A girl aged ten was told by police that she  could be arrested for causing criminal damage – over a game of  hopscotch.

Lilly-May Allen was playing with a friend on  a grid she had chalked on the pavement in front of her home when a marked police  van pulled up.

An officer warned the girls that using chalk  on the pavement was criminal damage and they could be arrested for it, before  driving off.

But the girls did not understand what they  had done wrong and Lilly-May is now reluctant to play outside, according to her  father. For the rest go HERE Got to love some of the comments at the bottom however.

Bank of America protester acquitted of vandalism

July 1 2013

A San Diego, California man has been acquitted of vandalism charges after being threatened with 13 years in prison for scrawling anti-bank slogans on a sidewalk with chalk.

 

A jury deliberated for less than five hours on Monday before deciding to acquit 40-year-old Jeff Olson on the 13 counts of vandalism he was charged with after protesting Bank of America using children’s chalk, Reuters reported.

Under California guidelines, Olson could have been sentenced to 13 years in prison and asked to pay $13,000 in fines if convicted. When he spoke out against the absurdity of the possibility last week, Judge Howard Shore issued a gag-order to ensure Olson and others wouldn’t discuss their case further.

Judge Shore has issued a gag order prohibiting all counsel and parties from commenting or expressing opinions on the case upon penalty of criminal contempt. All I am permitted to say is that I disagree,” Olson said over the weekend in an email to RT.

Olson previously told reporters, “My chalk drawings are clearly free speech and protected by the First Amendment,” and said after his victory on Monday that the dozen jurors apparently agreed.

The jury sent a strong message that freedom of speech is alive in San Diego,” he told reporters outside of the courthouse.

I’m really relieved,” Olson added to U-T San Diego. “It’s been an incredibly stressful situation. It feels really good to know that the people of San Diego as represented by the jury are on my side.”

Olson’s supposed crimes consisted of using washable chalk to write messages such as “No Thanks, Big Banks” and “Shame on Bank of America” on the sidewalks outside of branches in the San Diego area throughout 2012 after the Occupy Wall Street movement first began gaining momentum. He told San Diego 6 News last week that he was being prosecuted in part because City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has received campaign contributions from at least two big name financial institutions and, “If I had drawn a little girl’s hopscotch squares on the street, we wouldn’t be here today.”

His purpose was not malicious. His purpose was to inform,” defense attorney Tom Tosdal told CNS News of Olson.

Source

The gag order is way out of line. One has to wonder what the Judge was thinking. a gag order over chalk comments, is beyond imagination.

The jury stood up for all Americans Free Speech. The jury also protected children from the same type of foolishness.

Congratulations to all the jurors, who sat in on this trial, for making the right derision..

The Judge on the other hand? Well, you decide.

If you thought this was ridiculous then take a look at this one.

What is happening in the US, is so off the charts, there is no description for it.

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Then we have Judges like this.

July 23 2010

Former Pennsylvania judge Michael Conahan has  pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge for helping put  juvenile defendants behind bars in exchange for bribes. For the rest go HERE

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Published in: on June 26, 2013 at 4:55 pm  Comments Off on California man faces 13 years in jail for scribbling anti-bank messages in chalk  
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Facebook: What you don’t know about it could get you in a whole lot of trouble

Judging someone who is mentally or physically ill by what they do on Facebook is beyond me. On your profile it doesn’t say how many drugs you are on. It doesn’t detail what your Doctors say. Most people would not put Doctors files or how many drugs they are on in their profile.

Looking at a picture of a person does not always tell us how sick they are.

That being said.

If you are smiling insurance companies can say you are not depressed. Well people taking drugs smile. Even if it is a pain medication. Pain medication can and does make people smile but it doesn’t mean if you see a person smiling that they are well. The same goes for anti Depressants. The whole point to taking them is to relieve your problems.  Some just so the person doesn’t commit suicide.

A picture on a profile of a person smiling or doing something simple does not mean they are well enough to work however. It is just a picture and pictures do not always tell the whole truth about a persons personal problems.

Most people do not put a picture of themselves looking horrid and decrepit on their profiles..  Well do you?

Everything you do on Facebook it saved in their computers forever, they are “data mining”.

A judge has ordered a woman to provide details of her movements on Facebook, to use in order to determine, if she can go back to work.

Well on Facebook if your on drugs and you make a mistake no problem but in a workplace if you are on drugs, it can in itself cause problems.

In some jobs if you were working and on drugs you could in fact make a mistake and kill someone.

If you work in  the medical field, a typo could mean the difference of a patient living or dieing.

Even Statin drugs  used to lower blood cholesterol levels can mess you up pretty good, like the pilot could forget how to fly the plane. Statin drugs can mess with your memory, among other things. Just a little fact to always consider.

Drugs affect everyone.

If you were working with machinery you could kill yourself.

Even if you spent an hour or so on line at Facebook does not mean you could work a 40 hour week in and workplace. There are many factors which could cause the person problems in a workplace that being at home you wold not experience. One cannot compare the two.

There are too many factors involved that would have to be taken into consideration.

Anyone at home in bed could use Facebook.

Anyone in a wheel chair could use Facebook.

People who are mentally ill can probably use Facebook.

Even Seniors can use Facebook.

That in no way means they can work a 40 hour week now does it…?

Well the Judge thinks it’s OK to use that as a factor in a court case.

Facebook what you do and say on it can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Turn over Facebook history, judge orders

A New Brunswick judge has ordered a Miramichi woman to reveal how often she uses the social-networking website Facebook to a man she’s suing after a 2004 car crash.

Rosemary Carter is fighting Herbert Connors for damages after the two were involved in a collision in the northern New Brunswick community five years ago.

In her lawsuit, Carter has said she hasn’t been able to return to work full-time as an administrative clerk at the Miramichi Hospital.

During the discovery process, when each side in the dispute asks for evidence, Conners’ lawyer asked Carter to turn over her internet records from Bell Aliant and specifically to disclose her Facebook activity.

She refused, saying turning over that information would violate her privacy.

Connors’ lawyer asked a judge to order her to turn them over, a request that was granted by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Fred Ferguson on Dec. 2.

He wrote in his decision there’s a low threshold for disclosing evidence and it met the “semblance of relevance” test required when deciding if information will be turned over during discovery.

“It does so, by possibly providing a window into what physical capacity the plaintiff has to keyboard, access the internet and communicate with family friends and associates on Facebook and thus what capacity she may have to work. In that sense: ‘It may lead to the discovery of admissible evidence,’ the threshold required for the evidence to be produced,” the judge’s decision said.

“Incidentally, it must not be forgotten that this legal action was commenced by the plaintiff and in launching it she has implicitly accepted certain intrusions into what otherwise might be private information, the disclosure of which would ordinarily be left to her own personal judgment.”

Ferguson’s decision also cited a British Columbia ruling in which a Facebook account was used to determine if a car accident victim was still able to play sports.

The judge also said he’ll make sure during the trial that Connors doesn’t use the information too intrusively.

Quebec woman lost insurance over Facebook photos

Carter’s case raises similarities to another high-profile Canadian example of how a person’s Facebook account has become the centre of a legal fight.

In November, Nathalie Blanchard, 29, said her disability pay for depression was cancelled because of her Facebook profile.

Blanchard took sick leave from her job at IBM last year, after she was diagnosed with major depression. In that time, she took various approaches to treat her mood disorder, including prescription medication and therapy.

Blanchard also tried to have fun, which was also recommended by her physician.

However, photographs of that fun — a beach holiday last year, a night out on the town with friends — are part of the evidence Manulife used to stop payments this fall.

Blanchard said the insurance company told her that she looked well enough to work based on her Facebook photos.

Manulife stopped paying her sick-leave benefits, and her mortgage company, Desjardins, ended her insurance payments

Source

Related to above article

Depressed woman fails 1st try to recoup benefits

Quebecer’s Facebook photo fight a cautionary tale

Depressed woman loses benefits over Facebook photos

DOCUMENT: N.B. Court of Queen’s Bench decision regarding disclosure of Facebook use

Now here we have a rather intensive interview with a Facebook employee a must to read. They go into some interesting details including the fact that employees can go into anyone account. They also could change anything in “YOUR” profile if they wanted to. Do go and read the rest it is all very interesting.  Facebook is data mining your every move.
Facebook tracks your every move. Of course if a family member was using your account or doing something for you, Facebook would not know that. Just because a profile has new updates, does not mean the persons who’s name is on the account actually did the updating.

Even Facebook employees can update you profile lest we forget.

Anonymous Facebook Employee: Everything You Do Is Tracked And Stored Forever

The other problem that happened not so long ago.

Compliments of AT &T Seem AT&T was logging their customers onto other peoples Facebook accounts. So strangers were in strangers accounts. They could update add photos whatever one would do in their own account.

Alarming glitch hits Facebook mobile accounts compliments of AT&T

Privacy commissioner looking at how Facebook gets data

January 18 2010

TORONTO — Canada’s privacy commissioner is launching a series of public consultations to investigate how personal data is being mined online through social networking sites.

The public has until March 15 to file written submissions to Jennifer Stoddart, who is examining the privacy risks associated with the tracking, profiling and targeting of consumers online.

The consultations are being done in the lead-up to a review by Parliament of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

Stoddart, who was not available for comment Monday, said in a statement that she hopes to examine “issues that we feel pose a serious challenge to the privacy of consumers, now and in the near future” and to promote debate about “the impact of these technological developments on privacy.”

She cited Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Foursquare as examples of websites that collect mounds of personal information from users, mostly voluntarily.

The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, which complained to Stoddart about some of Facebook’s policies in 2008, applauded the decision to proactively investigate possible privacy concerns linked to some of the web’s newer technologies.

“If people want to use these sites they should be able to do it but you want to be able to make sure they’re aware of (how it works) — it’s about matching up user expectations to what’s actually happening online,” said staff lawyer Tamir Israel.

He said there are advantages to websites having access to detailed information about users.

“It helps, for example, (for websites) to be able to monetize themselves through advertising revenues instead of charging customers — we think that’s good,” he said.

“But we think there really needs to be protections in place because you are basically using the visitors’ personal information and making money off it.”

Emerging social media trends include mobile access and location-based features. Foursquare encourages users to share details about where they go on a daily basis, including which shops and restaurants they frequent.

With many phones now using GPS locators, “it’s going to be very easy to know where everybody is at every moment and I think there’s going to be a lot of problems around that,” Israel said.

“Law enforcement can access this kind of information if it’s on someone’s server, often just by asking or with some type of warrant. So they’ll be able to know where everybody was at any given time.”

Public discussion panels are being organized in Toronto in April and Montreal in May.

A future consultation will also examine the privacy implications of “cloud computing,” which stores users’ data online rather than on personal computers. Examples include Google’s popular Gmail service and its suite of Google Docs applications — including a word processor and spreadsheet maker — which work entirely online.

Source

So now we move onto this little tid bit.

Facebook decides they want you name so they can make a deal with a company for money of course why else would they do it.

Facebook Snatches User’s Vanity URL And Sells It To Harman International

By Michael Arrington
January 23, 2010

This looks really, really bad. An avid Facebook user named Harman Bajwa says that his Facebook vanity Url – Facebook.com/Harman – was unceremoniously revoked yesterday for violating Facebook’s policies. His new Facebook URL is the much less memorable facebook.com/profile.php?id=538612932.

Facebook then apparently did a sales deal around the vanity URL with Harman International.

The notice from Facebook (also in image at bottom of post):

Please Read This!
Warning

The username you selected was removed for violating Facebook’s policies. A Facebook username should have a clear connection to one’s identity. In addition, impersonating anyone or anything is prohibited. If you see other people with usernames that do not accurately represent their real names, it is only because they have not yet been removed for misuse.

To select a new username, please visit the following link:

http://www.facebook.com/username

Thanks for your understanding,

The Facebook Team

There’s just one problem. “Harman” as a vanity URL is perfectly appropriate as a username for someone named Harman Bajwa. Facebook’s VP Global Sales Mike Murphy has /mike, for example, much to my personal annoyance.

And while we’re on the topic of Mike Murphy, he may actually be the guy behind all of this. It turns out that the reason Facebook wants to take back that /Harman vanity URL may be more about money and less (much less) about policy violations.

That’s because Harman also received an email yesterday from a representative of Harman International, which is apparently “working with Facebook” to take the /Harman username for a initiative they’re doing around the Grammy Awards. They’re offering “promotional items” to Harman to hand the name over willingly:

From: Tyler Bahl
To: Harman Bajwa
Sent: Fri, January 22, 2010 11:25:21 AM
Subject: Harman

Hi Harman,

Thanks for accepting my friend request on Facebook.

I’m the emerging media strategist at Carat in Boston and I work on the Harman International account. We’re launching our first initiative in partnership with the GRAMMYS on Monday. Harman International is looking to obtain the vanity url facebook.com/harman for their Facebook fan page.

We are currently working with Facebook to reclaim (http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=896#/help.php?page=899) the username, but I wanted to explore opportunities to work with you to acquire the name. In the past, we have offered product in exchange for social domain names. One case in mind was for the new movie Avatar , we were able to give promotional items to the owner of twitter.com/avtr for Coke Zero.

We’ve reached out to Facebook PR for comment, although the evidence, unless fake, sort of speaks for itself. This is actually one of those times that I’m hoping that we’re being duped somehow, because telling users they’ve done something wrong when really all you’re doing is pursuing a sales quota is really, really distasteful. We’ll update with any comment.

Harman, to his credit, isn’t all that angry. “It would be great if I get my User name back,” he said in an email to me, adding that he’s working on a startup that will launch next summer.

Rest assured, Harman, we’ll be covering it.

Click on Screen shot to enlarge

Source

Update: Facebook Gives Harman His Name Back, Apologizes

Only because they got Caught. LOL

Now other things that could happen. When one thinks of all those photos on Facebook one must think of this incident with a Spanish Lawmaker who had his photo snagged off line by the FBI and used it to update Bin Laden’s picture.  Well they also updated 17 other people who are most wanted. Question is did they use YOUR photo to do the updates.

Spanish lawmaker’s photo used for bin Laden poster

Question would something you put on Facebook be used to say you are anti semitic. This new law Harper Gov is considering is totally unnecessary, as Canada already has laws to cover this. Anything anyone says against Israel is considered anti Semitic however no matter how innocent it is.  Even the media gets bombarded by stupid e-mails over nothing. They just want to shut people up. They even try to shut up those on blogs, you tube, Human rights organizations etc etc etc.  This new law would only take away Canadians Freedom of Speech.

Freedom of speech has been removed in this context in many countries. Do you want to give them even more power, I think not.

News agency’s have been affected in any that have a comment section the comment section is most times not, been put into a story about Israel. Loss of a freedom right there. So if there is something that you find inaccurate about what is said in the News story you cannot comment and say your bit. This in a lot of the media I and others have noticed. Do we want them using things like Facebook to track what you say. The answer would be no. If this law was passed they most certainly would use it against you. Many times people just say things out of anger that doesn’t mean you hate all Jewish people however.

Do you want it forbidden to talk about Israel if it does something that may be a war crime or a crime against humanity. Absolutely NO NO NO.

Israel: Attempting to take away Canadians Freedom of Speech

This child had her photo taken from a news agency I assume and it was used for all the wrong things. Could be they snagged her photo from Facebook even.  So if a person posted this story on Facebook could they be charged with being anti Semitic under the new Canadian Law if it ever gets passed. Probably.

In may countries if you deny that Holocaust happened they way they say it did, You go to jail. Getting the drift. So they are forcing us to believe something we may not even believe.  “They even invade our freedom of thought”.

US/Israeli Charity uses little Palestinian Childs photo to raise money for Israel’s Hungry

One thing leads to another. Always think way ahead.

When they take away the freedom from one person or a group of people they are also taking that very freedom away form YOU…….

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Published in: on January 23, 2010 at 11:20 pm  Comments Off on Facebook: What you don’t know about it could get you in a whole lot of trouble  
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Legally Israel owes the US Billions

Israeli Nukes, US Foreign Aid and the Symington Amendment.
Documents
The following document case file reveals the slow decline of  the policy of “strategic ambiguity” whereby US and Israeli officials deny the existence of the Israeli nuclear weapons arsenal in order to continue unfettered US military aid.

Document/File Date Contents

1960 (PDF) CIA Special National Intelligence Estimate released on June 5, 2009.  Israel’s nukes and role in foreign policy “assertiveness.”

“Possession of a nuclear weapon capability, or even the prospect of achieving it, would clearly give Israel a greater sense of security, self-confidence, and assertiveness…Israel would be less inclined than ever to make concessions…”

1963 President John F. Kennedy insists on US inspections of Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor in a secret letter to Prime Minister Levi Eskol.

1970 Treaty on the Non proliferation of Nuclear Weapons enters into force.

1976 The US passes the Symington Amendment of  1976. Symington Amendment prohibits most U.S. foreign aid to any country found trafficking in nuclear enrichment equipment or technology outside international safeguards. Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

1977 Glenn Amendment of 1977 calls for an end to aid to countries that import reprocessing technology.

1986 The Sunday Times publishes “The secrets of Israel’s nuclear arsenal/ Atomic technician Mordechai Vanunu reveals secret weapons production.”

2008 Former president Jimmy Carter names Israel as a nuclear weapons power.

2008 The US Army names Israel as a nuclear weapons power.

2009 AIPAC and ZOA lobby for $2.775 billion in US military aid for Israel

2009 Congress advised (via fax) that US aid is governed by the Symington Amendment.

2009 President Barak Obama advised (via letter) that US aid is governed by the Symington Amendment

Source


June 1976: Symington Amendment Passed Restricting Aid to Nuclear Proliferators

Senator Stuart Symington. [Source: Bettman / Corbis]Legislation introduced by Stuart Symington, a Democratic senator from Missouri, is passed by the US Congress to set out the US position on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons technology. The legislation, which becomes known as the “Symington amendment,” bans US assistance to any country found to be trafficking in nuclear enrichment or reprocessing technology that is not governed by international safeguards. Authors David Armstrong and Joe Trento will later comment that this puts “both Pakistan [which is thought to be involved in such trafficking] and the Ford administration on notice that nonproliferation would now be taken seriously.”

The CIA report of 1960 states that Israel is going to build Nuclear Weapons.

From 1976 on, all Aid given to Israel should be returned to the citizens of the US.   Legally speaking.

Israel has fraudulently, been taking aid from the US..

They hid their Nuclear bomb building complex,  from the US as noted by Mordechai Vanunu.

That is a legal opinion.

The US is also breaking their own law by giving Aid to Israel.

That too is a legal opinion.

Reminds me of a Dirty Cop stealing drugs from a bust, then sells it to a Drug Lord who in turn,  sells it to people on the streets and neither one ever get busted.

Both are guilty of a crime.

In this case however the Tax Payer is the one who is being ripped off.

President John F. Kennedy insists on US inspections of Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor in a secret letter to Prime Minister Levi Eskol.

He was assassinated. So Who Benefited the most by J.F. Kennedy’s Death? Israel came out a big winner /no inspections /more Aid/ability to pursue Nuclear bombs/ And Terrorism

UN nuclear assembly has called for Israel to open its nuclear facilities to UN inspection

Resolution 487 (1981)Israel to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA/Refrain from Acts or Threats

Israel’s Dirty Nuclear Secrets, Human Experiments  and WMD/Mordechai Vanunu

Iran Proposes Control System Aimed at Eliminating Nuclear Weapons

The UN Mission 575 Page Report on Gaza/Israel War

Resolution 1887 2009

THE TREATY ON THE NON-PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS ( NPT ) HTML

From 2001 UN  Israel IAEA

The General Assembly adopted five resolutions on the armed Zionist aggression, namely resolutions 36/27, 37/18, 38/9, 39/14 and 40/6, under the item entitled “Armed Israeli aggression against the Iraqi nuclear installations and its
grave consequences for the established international system concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and international
peace and security”. In the aggregate of these resolutions, the Assembly:

The following is a list of United Nations resolutions that concern Israel and bordering states such as Lebanon From 1947 to 1989 the UN Security Council passed 131 resolutions directly addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict. In early Security Council practice, resolutions did not directly invoke Chapter VII. They made an explicit determination of a threat, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, and ordered an action in accordance with Article 39 or 40. Resolution 54 determined that a threat to peace existed within the meaning of Article 39 of the Charter, reiterated the need for a truce, and ordered a cease-fire pursuant to Article 40 of the Charter. Although the phrase “Acting under Chapter VII” was never mentioned as the basis for the action taken, the chapter’s authority was being used.

  • 1947
    • November 29: UN General Assembly Resolution 181: recommending partition of the British Mandate into Jewish and Arab states
  • 1948
    • December 11: UN General Assembly Resolution 194: conditional right of return of refugees
  • 1949
    • May 11: UN General Assembly Resolution 273: admission of Israel to the UN
  • 1975
    • March 22: UN General Assembly Resolution 3379: equating Zionism with Racism
  • 1991
    • December 16: UN General Assembly Resolution 4686: annulled Res. 3379
  1. Resolution 42: The Palestine Question (5 March 1948) Requests recommendations for the Palestine Commission
  2. Resolution 43: The Palestine Question (1 Apr 1948) Recognizes “increasing violence and disorder in Palestine” and requests that representatives of “the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the Arab Higher Committee” arrange, with the Security Council, “a truce between the Arab and Jewish Communities of Palestine…Calls upon Arab and Jewish armed groups in Palestine to cease acts of violence immediately.”
  3. Resolution 44: The Palestine Question (1 Apr 1948) Requests convocation of special session of the General Assembly
  4. Resolution 46: The Palestine Question (17 Apr 1948) As the United Kingdom is the Mandatory Power, “it is responsible for the maintenance of peace and order in Palestine.” The Resolutions also “Calls upon all persons and organizations in Palestine” to stop importing “armed bands and fighting personnel…whatever their origin;…weapons and war materials;…Refrain, pending the future government of Palestine…from any political activity which might prejudice the rights, claims, or position of either community;…refrain from any action which will endager the safety of the Holy Places in Palestine.”
  5. Resolution 48: The Palestine Question (23 Apr 1948)
  6. Resolution 49: The Palestine Question (22 May 1948)
  7. Resolution 50: The Palestine Question (29 May 1948)
  8. Resolution 53: The Palestine Question (7 Jul 1948)
  9. Resolution 54: The Palestine Question (15 Jul 1948)
  10. Resolution 56: The Palestine Question (19 Aug 1948)
  11. Resolution 57: The Palestine Question (18 Sep 1948)
  12. Resolution 59: The Palestine Question (19 Oct 1948)
  13. Resolution 60: The Palestine Question (29 Oct 1948)
  14. Resolution 61: The Palestine Question (4 Nov 1948)
  15. Resolution 62: The Palestine Question (16 Nov 1948)
  16. Resolution 66: The Palestine Question (29 Dec 1948)
  17. Resolution 72: The Palestine Question (11 Aug 1949)
  18. Resolution 73: The Palestine Question (11 Aug 1949)
  19. Resolution 89 (17 November 1950): regarding Armistice in 1948 Arab-Israeli War and “transfer of persons”.
  20. Resolution 92: The Palestine Question (8 May 1951)
  21. Resolution 93: The Palestine Question (18 May 1951)
  22. Resolution 95: The Palestine Question (1 Sep 1951)
  23. Resolution 100: The Palestine Question (27 Oct 1953)
  24. Resolution 101: The Palestine Question (24 Nov 1953)
  25. Resolution 106: The Palestine Question (29 Mar 1955) ‘condemns’ Israel for Gaza raid.
  26. Resolution 107: The Palestine Question (30 Mar)
  27. Resolution 108: The Palestine Question (8 Sep)
  28. Resolution 111: ” … ‘condemns’ Israel for raid on Syria that killed fifty-six people”.
  29. Resolution 113: The Palestine Question (4 Apr)
  30. Resolution 114: The Palestine Question (4 Jun)
  31. Resolution 127: ” … ‘recommends’ Israel suspends its ‘no-man’s zone’ in Jerusalem”.
  32. Resolution 138: Question relating to the case of Adolf Eichmann, concerning Argentine complaint that Israel breached its sovereignty.
  33. Resolution 162: ” … ‘urges’ Israel to comply with UN decisions”.
  34. Resolution 171: ” … determines flagrant violations’ by Israel in its attack on Syria”.
  35. Resolution 228: ” … ‘censures’ Israel for its attack on Samu in the West Bank, then under Jordanian control”.
  36. Resolution 233 (June 6, 1967
  37. Resolution 234 (June 7, 1967
  38. Resolution 235 (June 9, 1967
  39. Resolution 236 (June 11, 1967
  40. Resolution 237: ” … ‘urges’ Israel to allow return of new 1967 Palestinian refugees”.
  41. Resolution 240 (October 25, 1967: concerning violations of the cease-fire
  42. Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967): Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area. Calls on Israel’s neighbors to end the state of belligerency and calls upon Israel to reciprocate by withdraw its forces from land claimed by other parties in 1967 war. Interpreted commonly today as calling for the Land for peace principle as a way to resolve Arab-Israeli conflict
  43. Resolution 248: ” … ‘condemns’ Israel for its massive attack on Karameh in Jordan”.
  44. Resolution 250: ” … ‘calls’ on Israel to refrain from holding military parade in Jerusalem”.
  45. Resolution 251: ” … ‘deeply deplores’ Israeli military parade in Jerusalem in defiance of Resolution 250″.
  46. Resolution 252: ” … ‘declares invalid’ Israel’s acts to unify Jerusalem as Jewish capital”.
  47. Resolution 256: ” … ‘condemns’ Israeli raids on Jordan as ‘flagrant violation”.
  48. Resolution 258
  49. Resolution 259: ” … ‘deplores’ Israel’s refusal to accept UN mission to probe occupation”.
  50. Resolution 262: ” … ‘condemns’ Israel for attack on Beirut airport”.
  51. Resolution 265: ” … ‘condemns’ Israel for air attacks on Salt, Jordan”.
  52. Resolution 267: ” … ‘censures’ Israel for administrative acts to change the status of Jerusalem”.
  53. Resolution 270: ” … ‘condemns’ Israel for air attacks on villages in southern Lebanon”.
  54. Resolution 271: ” … ‘condemns’ Israel’s failure to obey UN resolutions on Jerusalem”.
  55. Resolution 279: ” … ‘demands’ withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon”.
  56. Resolution 280: ” … ‘condemns’ Israeli’s attacks against Lebanon”.
  57. Resolution 285: ” … ‘demands’ immediate Israeli withdrawal form Lebanon”.
  58. Resolution 298: ” … ‘deplores’ Israel’s changing of the status of Jerusalem”.
  59. Resolution 313: ” … ‘demands’ that Israel stop attacks against Lebanon”.
  60. Resolution 316: ” … ‘condemns’ Israel for repeated attacks on Lebanon”.
  61. Resolution 317: ” … ‘deplores’ Israel’s refusal to release Arabs abducted in Lebanon”.
  62. Resolution 331
  63. Resolution 332: ” … ‘condemns’ Israel’s repeated attacks against Lebanon”.
  64. Resolution 337: ” … ‘condemns’ Israel for violating Lebanon’s sovereignty”.
  65. Resolution 338 (22 October 1973): cease fire in Yom Kippur War
  66. Resolution 339 (23 October 1973): Confirms Res. 338, dispatch UN observers.
  67. Resolution 340
  68. Resolution 341
  69. Resolution 344
  70. Resolution 346
  71. Resolution 347: ” … ‘condemns’ Israeli attacks on Lebanon”.
  72. Resolution 350 (31 May 1974) established the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force, to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the wake of the Yom Kippur War.
  73. Resolution 362
  74. Resolution 363
  75. Resolution 368
  76. Resolution 369
  77. Resolution 371
  78. Resolution 378
  79. Resolution 381
  80. Resolution 390
  81. Resolution 396
  82. Resolution 398
  83. Resolution 408
  84. Resolution 416
  85. Resolution 420
  86. Resolution 425 (1978): ” … ‘calls’ on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon”. Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon was completed as of 16 June 2000.
  87. Resolution 426
  88. Resolution 427: ” … ‘calls’ on Israel to complete its withdrawal from Lebanon”.
  89. Resolution 429
  90. Resolution 434
  91. Resolution 438
  92. Resolution 441
  93. Resolution 444: ” … ‘deplores’ Israel’s lack of cooperation with UN peacekeeping forces”.
  94. Resolution 446 (1979): ‘determines’ that Israeli settlements are a ‘serious obstruction’ to peace and calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention”.
  95. Resolution 449
  96. Resolution 450: ” … ‘calls’ on Israel to stop attacking Lebanon”.
  97. Resolution 452: ” … ‘calls’ on Israel to cease building settlements in occupied territories”.
  98. Resolution 456
  99. Resolution 459
  100. Resolution 465: ” … ‘deplores’ Israel’s settlements and asks all member states not to assist Israel’s settlements program”.
  101. Resolution 467: ” … ‘strongly deplores’ Israel’s military intervention in Lebanon”.
  102. Resolution 468: ” … ‘calls’ on Israel to rescind illegal expulsions of two Palestinian mayors and a judge and to facilitate their return”.
  103. Resolution 469: ” … ‘strongly deplores’ Israel’s failure to observe the council’s order not to deport Palestinians”.
  104. Resolution 470
  105. Resolution 471: ” … ‘expresses deep concern’ at Israel’s failure to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention”.
  106. Resolution 474
  107. Resolution 476: ” … ‘reiterates’ that Israel’s claim to Jerusalem are ‘null and void'”.
  108. Resolution 478 (20 August 1980): ‘censures (Israel) in the strongest terms’ for its claim to Jerusalem in its ‘Basic Law’.
  109. Resolution 481
  110. Resolution 483
  111. Resolution 484: ” … ‘declares it imperative’ that Israel re-admit two deported Palestinian mayors”.
  112. Resolution 485
  113. Resolution 487: ” … ‘strongly condemns’ Israel for its attack on Iraq’s nuclear facility”.
  114. Resolution 488
  115. Resolution 493
  116. Resolution 497 (17 December 1981) decides that Israel’s annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights is ‘null and void’ and demands that Israel rescinds its decision forthwith.
  117. Resolution 498: ” … ‘calls’ on Israel to withdraw from Lebanon”.
  118. Resolution 501: ” … ‘calls’ on Israel to stop attacks against Lebanon and withdraw its troops”.
  119. Resolution 506
  120. Resolution 508:
  121. Resolution 509: ” … ‘demands’ that Israel withdraw its forces forthwith and unconditionally from Lebanon”.
  122. Resolution 511
  123. Resolution 515: ” … ‘demands’ that Israel lift its siege of Beirut and allow food supplies to be brought in”.
  124. Resolution 516
  125. Resolution 517: ” … ‘censures’ Israel for failing to obey UN resolutions and demands that Israel withdraw its forces from Lebanon”.
  126. Resolution 518: ” … ‘demands’ that Israel cooperate fully with UN forces in Lebanon”.
  127. Resolution 519
  128. Resolution 520: ” … ‘condemns’ Israel’s attack into West Beirut”.
  129. Resolution 523
  130. Resolution 524
  131. Resolution 529
  132. Resolution 531
  133. Resolution 536
  134. Resolution 538
  135. Resolution 543
  136. Resolution 549
  137. Resolution 551
  138. Resolution 555
  139. Resolution 557
  140. Resolution 561
  141. Resolution 563
  142. Resolution 573: ” … ‘condemns’ Israel ‘vigorously’ for bombing Tunisia in attack on PLO headquarters.
  143. Resolution 575
  144. Resolution 576
  145. Resolution 583
  146. Resolution 584
  147. Resolution 586
  148. Resolution 587 ” … ‘takes note’ of previous calls on Israel to withdraw its forces from Lebanon and urges all parties to withdraw”.
  149. Resolution 590
  150. Resolution 592: ” … ‘strongly deplores’ the killing of Palestinian students at Bir Zeit University by Israeli troops”.
  151. Resolution 594
  152. Resolution 596
  153. Resolution 599
  154. Resolution 603
  155. Resolution 605: ” … ‘strongly deplores’ Israel’s policies and practices denying the human rights of Palestinians.
  156. Resolution 607: ” … ‘calls’ on Israel not to deport Palestinians and strongly requests it to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
  157. Resolution 608: ” … ‘deeply regrets’ that Israel has defied the United Nations and deported Palestinian civilians”.
  158. Resolution 609
  159. Resolution 611
  160. Resolution 613
  161. Resolution 617
  162. Resolution 624
  163. Resolution 630
  164. Resolution 633
  165. Resolution 636: ” … ‘deeply regrets’ Israeli deportation of Palestinian civilians.
  166. Resolution 639 (31 Jul 1989)
  167. Resolution 641 (30 Aug 1989): ” … ‘deplores’ Israel’s continuing deportation of Palestinians.
  168. Resolution 645 (29 Nov 1989)
  169. Resolution 648 (31 Jan 1990)
  170. Resolution 655 (31 May 1990)
  171. Resolution 659 (31 Jul 1990)
  172. Resolution 672 (12 Oct 1990): ” … ‘condemns’ Israel for “violence against Palestinians” at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount.
  173. Resolution 673 (24 Oct 1990): ” … ‘deplores’ Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the United Nations.
  174. Resolution 679 (30 Nov 1990)
  175. Resolution 681 (20 Dec 1990): ” … ‘deplores’ Israel’s resumption of the deportation of Palestinians.
  176. Resolution 684 (30 Jan 1991)
  177. Resolution 694 (24 May 1991): ” … ‘deplores’ Israel’s deportation of Palestinians and calls on it to ensure their safe and immediate return.
  178. Resolution 695 (30 May 1991)
  179. Resolution 701 (31 Jul 1991)
  180. Resolution 722 (29 Nov 1991)
  181. Resolution 726 (06 Jan 1992): ” … ‘strongly condemns’ Israel’s deportation of Palestinians.
  182. Resolution 734 (29 Jan 1992)
  183. Resolution 756 (29 May 1992)
  184. Resolution 768 (30 Jul 1992)
  185. Resolution 790 (25 Nov 1992)
  186. Resolution 799 (18 Dec 1992): “. . . ‘strongly condemns’ Israel’s deportation of 413 Palestinians and calls for their immediate return.
  187. Resolution 803 (28 Jan 1993)
  188. Resolution 830 (26 May 1993)
  189. Resolution 852 (28 Jul 1993)
  190. Resolution 887 (29 Nov 1993)
  191. Resolution 904 (18 Mar 1994)
  192. Resolution 1039 (29 Jan 1996)
  193. Resolution 1052 (18 Apr 1996)
  194. Resolution 1057 (30 May 1996)
  195. Resolution 1068 (30 Jul 1996)
  196. Resolution 1073 (28 Sep 1996)
  197. Resolution 1081 (27 Nov 1996)
  198. Resolution 1095 (28 Jan 1997)
  199. Resolution 1109 (28 May 1997)
  200. Resolution 1122 (29 Jul 1997)
  201. Resolution 1139 (21 Nov 1997)
  202. Resolution 1151 (30 Jan 1998)
  203. Resolution 1169 (27 May 1998)
  204. Resolution 1188 (30 Jul 1998)
  205. Resolution 1211 (25 Nov 1998)
  206. Resolution 1223 (28 Jan 1999)
  207. Resolution 1243 (27 May 1999)
  208. Resolution 1254 (30 Jul 1999)
  209. Resolution 1276 (24 Nov 1999)
  210. Resolution 1288 (31 Jan 2000)
  211. Resolution 1300 (31 May 2000)
  212. Resolution 1310 (27 Jul 2000)
  213. Resolution 1322 (07 Oct 2000)
  214. Resolution 1328 (27 Nov 2000)
  215. Resolution 1337 (30 Jan 2001)
  216. Resolution 1351 (30 May 2001)
  217. Resolution 1559 (2 September 2004) called upon Lebanon to establish its sovereignty over all of its land and called upon Syria to end their military presence in Lebanon by withdrawing its forces and to cease intervening in internal Lebanese politics. The resolution also called on all Lebanese militias to disband.
  218. Resolution 1583 (28 January 2005) calls on Lebanon to assert full control over its border with Israel. It also states that “the Council has recognized the Blue Line as valid for the purpose of confirming Israel’s withdrawal pursuant to resolution 425.
  219. Resolution 1648 (21 December 2005) renewed the mandate of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force until 30 June 2006.
  220. Resolution 1701 (11 August 2006) called for the full cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah.
  221. Resolution 1860 (9 January 2009) called for the full cessation of war between Israel and Hamas.

Over the years nothing has improved.  From Day one Israel has been a problem.

Israel Foreign Assistance Appropriations Act, 2010
Bill HR 3160 IH

Israel will get
$2,828,860,000 That’s almost 3 billion.
Except for 25 million it is all for weapons and the military.
So why do Americans tolerate this?

Search for US Bills here

I just put in Word/Phrase  “Israel” in search box. Exact Match only, All Bills, House and Senate, From 1907 through 2009. Anything with the word Israel in it should come up for you. It is a very long list. An amazing long list.

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Interview with Franklin Lamb: Israel Self Defense or War Crime?

Lawyers Without Borders

Feb 7, 2009

Part I: What Law Applies?
Interviewer’s Note: On December 27, 2008, Israel launched a devastating 22 day and night bombardment of the Gaza strip. The assault left, amidst an estimated 600,000 tons of concrete rubble, some 1,740 dead (this figure includes more than 350 ‘forgotten’ stillbirths and trauma-caused abortions in Gaza during the 22 days of terror), a figure that increases as the severely injured continue to die. A majority of the victims were civilians, including nearly 900 (again including the stillborn) children, approximately 5,500 severely wounded, and more than one third of the 1.5 million population was displaced while more than 14,000 homes were completely destroyed. Approximately 92,000 Palestinians are still homeless with more than 16,000 living as many as 20 to a small tent without latrines, as supplies remain blocked at the borders.

Single-limb fractures and the walking wounded are not included in the above figures, according to renowned British surgeon Dr. Swee Ang, currently conducting an on-the-ground medical investigation in Gaza. Dr. Swee and her medical colleagues estimate that of the severely injured, 1,600 will suffer permanent disabilities. These include amputations, spinal cord injuries, head injuries, and large burns with crippling contractures.

Also bombed were 68 government buildings and 31 NGO complexes, buildings all of which were completely or partially destroyed. Property damage and loss of livelihood has been estimated at close to 2 billion dollars.

On February 4, 2009, the Government of France strongly protested Israel’s refusal to allow in donated filtration equipment for drinking water, given that much of Gaza’s population have not had clean drinking water for weeks. As the massive human and material destruction continues to be documented by journalists, investigators and relief workers, the international pressure for accountability increases.

Faced with nearly unprecedented international outrage and condemnation, due to massive civilian casualties, the government of Israel continues to claim that its actions constituted self defense and that its attack on Gaza fully comply with the requirements of International law. To defend its actions, which it insists were “totally legal under international law” Israel has organized a bevy of international lawyers and ‘experts’ to support its claims, including Alan Derchowitz, Justus Reid Weiner, Avi Bell as well as others working from, or in cooperation with, Israeli government funded outlets such as the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs or the Israeli Defense, Foreign Affairs and Information Ministries.

International Lawyers without Borders and Hokok, the International Coalition against Impunity, asked American international lawyer and researcher, Dr. Franklin Lamb, of the Sabra-Shatila Foundation, currently based in Beirut, to comment on Israeli claims. In the following interview Lamb offers his brief analysis of the conduct of Israel and Hamas, against a backdrop of continuing on-the-ground investigations in Gaza. Dr. Lamb was interviewed at UNESCO Palace in Beirut. A transcript follows.
International Lawyers without Borders (ILWOB): Good morning Dr. Lamb. Before we begin could you clarify one matter for us? You drafted the December 10, 2008 Hokok filing against Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. What is the status of that Case and what is going on at the ICC? One hears conflicting reports.

Franklin Lamb: Thank you and it’s my pleasure to join you. Yes, you are quite correct in thinking some Court staff has sent conflicting signals recently. But that is ok because all of us, the whole international community, are learning about this new court and its very important potential. It is a much needed and long overdue judicial institution seeking to limit State impunity for humanitarian crimes while broaden universal jurisdiction so that no one is above the law.

The HOKOK submission was made under Article 15 of the Rome Statute which allows Non Governmental Organizations and individuals to bring to the Office of the Prosecution of the International Criminal Court (ICC) information of war crimes and crimes against humanity. It also permits these groups to petition for an investigation which could lead to the Court initiating a case, issuing arrest warrants and conducting a trial. It is encouraging to note that according to the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC dozens of Submissions and Communications have been submitted to the Court with respect to Gaza. I believe this is an important recognition by individuals and organizations around the World that justice must be pursued for the Palestinians slaughtered in Gaza.

Current developments with the December 2008 filing include this week’s submission from the HOKOK and Sabra-Shatila Foundation’s just completed compilation of some 800 documents relating to Israeli violations of International Humanitarian Law in Gaza. The case Appendix includes evidence not just since December 27, 2008, but going back 18 months since Israeli began its blockade and siege of Gaza. We view the recent violence as a continuation of the assault of Gaza which began shortly after Hamas won the 2006 elections.

With respect to the recent 22-day and night bombardment of Gaza we, along with journalists, NGO’s and independent researchers, continue to gather and document evidence of serial war crimes allegedly committed by Israeli troops and the Israeli command structure including some fifteen political leaders.

We have submitted detailed evidence, including European laboratory analyses, that Israel has used white phosphorus in densely populated civilian areas. This accusation, which comes from many sources, has been widely supported by NGO’S and journalists on the ground. The media and NGO role is critical with respect to documentation of the actual events on the ground as it was in Lebanon, 2006. The fact that the media was barred from performing its role in Gaza has aided Israeli efforts to hide war crimes.

Who can bring a case to the International Criminal Court?

The first barrier to be cleared before the ICC Office of the Prosecutor launches an official investigation is the matter of the Courts Jurisdiction. When we petitioned the ICC we were cautioned by the ICC chief prosecutor Mr Moreno-Ocampo, that his office was unsure how far it would be able to take the case on the path through Investigation to Trial because the ICC perhaps had no res (subject matter) or impersonum (personal) jurisdiction over Israel, a non-signatory to the Rome Statute which established the court.

States that are party to the treaty recognizing the jurisdiction of the Court can refer cases of crimes committed by their citizens or on their territory and it is clear that the International Criminal Court can investigate if asked by the U.N. Security Council as in the case of Darfur. We calculated that our American administration would veto such a Security Council request as a gift to Israel. Israel has never recognized ICC jurisdiction, withdrawing its signature to the Rome Statute in 2003, and because only states can recognize the court, it was unclear if the Palestinians can do so.

Our jurisdictional reply to the ICC is that yes, they will have jurisdiction because Palestine, through its government, the Palestinian Authority would shortly formally accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court as 108 countries have done. Indeed, this occurred on Jan. 21 when Ali Khashan, the Palestinian Authority’s justice minister submitted a Declaration of Acceptance of Jurisdiction letter to the Court stating that his government recognized the court’s jurisdiction for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting acts committed in the territory of Palestine since 1 July 2002.

Lawyers for Israel have objected, but tellingly, Israel is preparing for potential legal action, barring the media from publishing pictures of officers’ faces and their names for fear of investigations. Last week, Israel’s Cabinet promised legal and financial support for any officers facing trial, despite the difficulty of prosecuting Israelis.

One avenue would be for Israel to agree to investigate its commanders and prosecute any crimes discovered. That would remove any case from the orbit of the international court. So far that appears unlikely, given Israel’s repeated denials of war crimes in Gaza but on the other hand they may indeed use this approach as a hoped for shield to the ICC taking the case.

Israeli governmental lawyers are concerned that a Palestinian state that ratified the Rome treaty would then be able to refer alleged Israeli war crimes to the court without the current legal wrangling. The case could also lead to snowballing international recognition of a Palestinian state by countries eager to see Israel prosecuted.

A coalition of Israeli human rights groups has urged the country’s attorney-general to open an independent investigation into allegations of war crimes by troops, advising their government that to do so could head off international court cases. These groups, including the anti-settlement organization B’Tselem, has advised the Israeli authorities that the list of Israeli war crimes is very long and Israel is much better off conducting its own trials. B’Tselem showed Israeli authorities evidence of dozens of cases of Israeli forces firing into civilian areas, denying medical aid to the wounded and preventing Palestinian ambulances from reaching them and they have documented more than 20 cases of Israeli soldiers firing at women and children carrying white flags or with their arms raised.

We and others are arguing the International Criminal Court can take jurisdiction because the government of Palestine, the Palestinian Authority is the de facto state in the area where the crimes were committed and Hamas is the local branch, as it were, of that Sovereign. It is also instructive to bear in mind that the overwhelming number of members of the United Nations recognizes the state of Palestine with 97 granting full diplomatic recognition and 13 countries granting something less.

Consequently we advised the ICC that the de facto and de jure government of Palestine is the Palestinian National Authority for purposes of the Rome Statute. There is some precedent for the Palestinian jurisdictional initiative with the case of the Ivory Coast, the first non-state party to accept the ICC’s jurisdiction over alleged war crimes on its territory. In 2005 it lodged a declaration with the court accepting the ICC’s jurisdiction over crimes committed there since September 2002. We think Palestine can do the same thing.

We also believe that Israel is esstopped from denying the sovereignty of Palestine for this purpose given that they have consistently claimed since its ‘withdrawal’ from Gaza in 2005, that they have no international legal responsibility for Gaza or any of its residents.

The jurisdictional issue has ramifications for the Palestinian case for statehood. If the court rejects the case, it may deepen the legal black abyss that Palestinians find themselves in while they remain ’stateless’. The Palestinian Justice Ministry argues that the Palestinian Authority possesses the fundamentals of a state and has met all conditions required to be considered as a sovereign State. This compelling argument underlines some of Israel’s worst fears about a Palestinian state on its borders. A Palestinian state that ratified the Rome treaty would then be able to refer alleged Israeli war crimes to the court without the current legal wrangling. The case could also lead to near universal international recognition of a Palestinian state by countries eager to see Israel held to account for its crimes.

ILWOB: Thank you. With respect to applying International Law in the Gaza conflict, exactly what international law applies to the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza?

FL: The armed conflict between Hamas and Israel is governed by international treaty law as well as the rules of international customary law, the latter being that body of law which is so widely applied by States that is rises to the level of universally binding norms.

The treaty law is Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, to which Israel is a party. Article 3 sets forth minimum standards for all parties to a conflict between a state party such as Israel and a non-state party such as Hamas. The customary rules are based on established state practice, which has the imprimatur of the United Nations, and is binding on all parties to an armed conflict, whether they are state actors such as Israel or non-state actors such as Hamas, or in the case of the July 2006 war in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

All feasible precautions must be taken

International humanitarian law, as it is sometimes called, is designed specifically to protect civilians and other noncombatants from the hazards of armed conflict. The key customary rules require that parties that engage in hostilities must at all times distinguish between combatants and noncombatants. Civilians may never be the object of attacks; rather warring parties are required to take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects. All parties must absolutely refrain from attacks that would disproportionately harm the civilian population or that fail to discriminate between combatants and civilians.

Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention provides a number of fundamental protections for noncombatants in Gaza, which include those who are no longer taking part in hostilities, such as captured combatants, and those who have surrendered or are unable to fight because of wounds for example.
It is prohibited for Israel or Hamas to use any type of violence against such persons including outrages against their personal dignity and degrading or humiliating treatment.

Contrary to what the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs have argued, the Commentary of the International Committee of the Red Cross notes that the determination of the existence of an armed conflict between states in which the Conventions apply does not depend on a formal declaration of war or recognition of a state of hostilities. Rather, the factual existence of armed conflict between two states party automatically brings the Conventions into operation. Thus virtually any hostilities between Israel and Palestinians would fall within the full Geneva Conventions. In any case, the standards of customary international law applicable to Israel and Hamas are similar in international and non-international conflicts.

ILWOB: Was Hamas’ capture of Israeli soldier Gilat in 2006 lawful?

FL: Yes it was. The targeting and capture of enemy soldiers is allowed under international humanitarian law and Gilat capture, like that of the two Israeli soldiers on July 12, 2006 in Lebanon near Aita Shaub was a legitimate military mission. To label these captures as ‘kidnappings’ as some in the main stream media have done, is a misuse of a term normally related to the unlawful abduction of children or sometimes even girlfriends. However, the subsequent use of captives who are no longer involved in the conflict, for example to work prisoner exchanges, constitutes hostage-taking and is forbidden under international law, by both Common Article 3 and customary international law, and this action becomes a war crime. We have seen this practice expanded widely since 1967 by Israel who in effect currently holds close to 10,000 Palestinians from various parts of Palestine and some still from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and other Arab countries, with the de facto status being hostage and the Israeli advertised de jure status claiming they are legitimate prisoners.

ILWOB: Is Israel entitled to use military force against the population of Gaza in order to pressure Hamas to release a captured Israeli soldier?

FL: Absolutely not, contrary to the claims of the Military Law unit of the Israeli army, lawful attacks are only those where the targets by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action, and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers “a definite military advantage.” Israeli attacks directed at civilian morale in Gaza do not meet this test, since they are not contributing to military action and are thus war crimes.

Israeli lawyers are arguing that military attacks on Gazan civilian morale could exert pressure on Hamas to pursue a particular course of action but under international humanitarian law that is illegal. It is simply terrorism, i.e. the deliberate attacking of civilians. Moreover, international law explicitly prohibits attacks of which the primary purpose is to intimidate or instill terror in the civilian population whether the Israeli practice of retorsion or perfidy.

ILWOB: Is Israel’s intent, declared to US envoy George Mitchell to keep Gaza sealed until captured Israel soldier Gilad Shalit is returned, permitted by international humanitarian law?

FL: No. Israel has been closing Gaza Strip border crossings ever since Hamas won the 2006 parliamentary elections. It furthered tightened the blockade on Gaza after Hamas took control of the enclave in 2007.

Because Israeli forces maintain a continuing presence and exercise control, Israel is effectively the occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. This convention sets out obligations of the occupying power regarding the protection of the civilian population from the consequences of war and from mistreatment by the occupying power. The occupying power must ensure particular protection for the humanitarian needs of the population, such as the functioning of civilian hospitals and the provision of food, medical supplies and other humanitarian assistance.

Sealing, blockading, and holding Gaza hostage until a captured Israeli soldier is returned constitutes a war crime.

ILWOB: What is the international legal status of Hamas in relation to the conflict?

FL: Hamas is an organized political group based in Gaza, representing many of Gaza’s inhabitants. As you know it won the 2006 election which according to former President Jimmy Carter, whose Carter Center, monitored the campaign and balloting, was entirely fair and democratic. Hamas, again like Hezbollah, has a military and a civilian organization. Moreover, it actually constitutes the government by virtual of the 2006 election.

Accordingly, and as a party to the conflict with Israel, Hamas is bound to conduct hostilities in compliance with both international customary law and Common Article 3, which applies to conflicts that are not interstate but between a state and a non-state actor. As is explicitly stated in Common Article 3, and made clear by the commentaries of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the application of the provisions of Common Article 3, as well as international customary law, to Hamas does not affect its legal status.

ILWOB: What about Israel’s right of self-defense which it claims it is lawfully exercising through Article 52 of the UN Charter?

FL: I think you are referring to Article 51 of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. Article 51 provides for the right of countries to engage in military action in self-defense, including collective self-defense (i.e. under an alliance).

The Israeli government claims an inherent right to self-defense referenced by Article 51 of the UN Charter and it is true that Article 51 carves out an exception to the general UN Charter prohibition against the use of force by one Member State against another.

However, lawyers working for Israel tend to misapply Article 51 which states that:

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security”.

Israel was obliged to take its problem with Hamas to the UN.

Moreover, hard liners in the Israeli government and their lawyers argue that Gaza is not an independent sovereign and therefore is owed no duty at all including immunity from armed attack from other states under the law of jus ad bellum. However, given that this primitive notion is ridiculed by the international legal community and is repugnant to most UN Member States, Israel has relied on the Article 51 right of self defense and its international lobby has pushed this argument effectively with the widely broadcast mantra “Israel has a right to defend itself”.

The problem with this Israeli argument is that the Article 51 right is qualified by the same rules of proportionality, target distinctions and discriminations discussed above so it does not excuse Israel’s frenzy of killing and destruction. In point of fact, many consider that the launching of rockets into Israel by Hamas, like the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943, constitutes a legitimate response to impending extermination and are a desperate bid for survival.

Disproportionate ’Self Defense’

In any event, investigators are finding that there was a disproportionate response. Areas were attacked that have no military gain whatsoever–an area like the Islamic University or the U.N. school or the U.N. agency or numerous NGO offices.

These constitute disproportionate attacks, which are a very clear violation and constitute war crimes. The Israeli attacks are disproportionate on two levels: disproportionate in terms of the amount of response that we see from the Hamas rocket fire and disproportionate in terms of the number of causalities. But disproportionate actually also refers to the actual nature of the attack itself. These attacks are done with seemingly little military gain and often times when there is clear evidence that the stated target is a civilian site. An apartment building, for example; a mosque where there are children, a school yard and then the evidence that some civilians were simply lined up and shot—or killed when they were carrying white flags, dropping white phosphorus on civilians in densely populated neighborhoods. These, if proven, are war crimes and not UN Charter Article 51 self defense.

ILWOB: Genocide. An emotional term increasingly applied to Israel’s strategy against the Palestinians. Is what Israel is doing in Gaza Genocide?

FL: What Israel has been doing in Gaza and Palestine comes very close to genocide according to the provisions of the Genocide Convention (1948), reiterated in the Rome Charter of the International Criminal Court (2002), which includes: (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

Article 2 of the genocide Convention stipulates that any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

An important aspect of genocide is that one has to talk about intent. So we must examine if a given government entity has an intent to completely eradicate a population. The litmus test is intent. If one considers the past six decades of racist statements and declarations coming from Israeli leaders, Zionist ideologues, members of the Knesset, the Grand Rabbi of Israel and the anti-Arab and Islamophobic brochures distributed to Israeli soldiers attacking Gaza by Religious leaders, and some IDF Commanders, the intent becomes fairly clear.

I personally agree with Professors Richard Falk, Francis Boyle, Noam Chomski, James Petras, and a growing number of others who have seriously examined the Question of Palestine and have concluded that a case is to be made for bringing Israel to account under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

ILWOB: Which targets could Israel and Hamas legally attack under international law?

FL: Two fundamental tenets of international law, directly applicable to targeting by both sides Gaza, are “civilian immunity” and the principle of “distinction.” Israel and Hamas have the duty to distinguish at all times between combatants and never to target the latter. To target civilians amounts to a war crime.

It is also forbidden for Israel or Hamas to direct attacks against “civilian objects,” such as homes and apartments, places of worship, hospitals, schools or cultural monuments, unless they are being used for military purposes and make an “effective” contribution to military action and whose destruction, capture or neutralization offers a “definite military advantage.” If there is doubt about the nature of a “civilian object” it must be presumed to be civilian. Those attacking “civilian objects” have a heavy burden of proof regarding establishing a “definite military advantage”. Even when a target is serving a military purpose, precautions must always be taken to protect civilians.

ILWOB: Did Israel and Hamas violate these laws?

FL: Yes, and in a very disparate fashion. The mere fact that an object has civilian uses does not necessarily render it immune from attack. It, too can be targeted if it makes an “effective” contribution to the enemy’s military activities and its destruction, capture or neutralization offers a “definite military advantage” to the attacking side in the prevailing circumstances at the time of attack. However, such “dual use” objects might also be protected by the principle of proportionality.

One example from the July 2006 war comes to mind. Israel accused Hezbollah of targeting civilians during its retaliatory firing of rockets into northern Israel and there may be some truth to this but it has still not been fully proved given that on-the-ground investigations by Human Rights watch and researcher like Jonathon Cook reveal that Hezbollah had in several locations what turned out to be accurate intelligence showing that Israeli military bases or installations were purposely placed near civilian neighborhoods and were used as ‘human shields’. Hamas has a similar burden depending on its ’self-defense’ or ‘retaliation’ defense. More study is required on this issue and one illegal act does not excuse another illegal act but early surveys from on-the-ground investigations show that Israel violated these rules something like 11,000 Israeli “civilian object” violations for each rocket Hamas fired whether or not in “self-defense” during the 22 days of around the clock bombardment.

Part II: Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law: What Remedy?

Interviewer’s Note: On December 27, 2008, Israel launched a devastating 22 day and night bombardment of the Gaza strip. The assault left, amidst an estimated 600,000 tons of concrete rubble, some 1,740 dead (this figure includes more than 350 ‘forgotten’ stillbirths and trauma-caused abortions in Gaza during the 22 days of terror), a figure that increases as the severely injured continue to die. A majority of the victims were civilians, including nearly 900 (again including the stillborn) children, approximately 5,500 severely wounded, and more than one third of the 1.5 million population was displaced while more than 14,000 homes were completely destroyed. Approximately 92,000 Palestinians are still homeless with more than 16,000 living as many as 20 to a small tent without latrines, as supplies remain blocked at the borders.

International Lawyers without Borders and Hokok, the International Coalition against Impunity, asked American international lawyer and researcher, Dr. Franklin Lamb, of the Sabra-Shatila Foundation, currently based in Beirut, to comment on Israeli claims. In the following interview Lamb offers his brief analysis of the conduct of Israel and Hamas, against a backdrop of continuing on-the-ground investigations in Gaza. Dr. Lamb was interviewed at UNESCO Palace in Beirut. A transcript follows.

Part II: Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law: What Remedy?

ILWOB: Is the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel lawful under international law?

FL: No. As a Palestinian Resistance force to Israel’s illegal occupation Hamas does have the right and responsibility to oppose it. In addition, as the legal sovereign power in Gaza and as a party to the armed conflict, Hamas has a legal duty to protect the life, health and safety of its civilians as well as the noncombatants of those placing its people under siege and blockade, essentially the same ’self defense’ argument Israel makes.

Hamas argues that it has a right of self defense and that firing rockets into south Israel is legitimate because they are firing soldiers not civilians and this is the area from which the Israeli tanks, planes and troops come from.

The targeting of military installations and other military objectives inside Israel is permitted as retaliation for Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza but not on civilians and Hamas must take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian harm. Launching indiscriminate attacks, or attacking military objects with indiscriminate weapons or if the anticipated harm to civilians and other noncombatants will be disproportionate to the expected military advantage this action constitutes a war crime. Hamas commanders must choose the means of attack that can be directed at military targets and will minimize incidental harm to civilians.

For example, if the weapons used are so inaccurate that they cannot be directed at Israeli military targets without imposing a substantial risk of civilian harm, then they cannot legally be deployed.

The use of such inaccurate weapons such as Qassim homemade rockets, white phosphorus artillery shells or cluster bombs as in Lebanon in 2006, is a blatant violation of international humanitarian law because their use in civilian areas violates the prohibition on indiscriminate attacks. International law prohibits such bombardment near or in any area containing a concentration of civilians, even if there are believed to be military objectives in the area.

Deliberately attacking civilians is in all circumstances prohibited and it constitutes a war crime, even if in retaliation for Israeli attacks, however unjust this may seem in the heat of battle. The presumption is that the targets were civilian and therefore criminal attacks. The burden is on Hamas and Israel to convince the fact trier that their targets were military targets.

ILWOB: In Gaza, was Israel entitled to target Gazan infrastructure such as roads, bridges and power stations?

FL: No, with very limited exceptions. Airports, roads, streets, and bridges may be dual-use targets if actually used for military purposes. However, even then, the International customary and treaty law require the parties to the conflict to weigh carefully the impact on civilians against the military advantage served. They must consider all ways of minimizing the impact on civilians and they cannot legally undertake attacks if the civilian harm outweighs the definite military advantage. Additionally, one has to consider whether the destruction of particular roads, streets or bridges impede military transport in light of readily alternative routes and whether the infrastructure attacked is making an “effective” contribution to Hamas’ military action and its destruction offers a “definite military advantage”.

If its destruction is aimed more at inconveniencing the civilian population and even preventing it from fleeing the fighting and seeking safety, as many have claimed during the Gaza war, including some Israeli military commanders, it’s a war crime.

With respect to electrical facilities supplying the civilian population of Gaza, they are almost never legitimate military targets. Professor Alan Derchowitz and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs are currently arguing, as they did in 2006, that electricity is a dual-use target, given that both civilians and Hamas fighters use electricity. However the harm to civilians in Gaza was enormous, affecting refrigeration, sanitation, hospitals and other necessities of modern life and in a densely urban society, electricity is arguably “indispensable to the survival of the civilian population,” meaning that it can be attacked only in extremely narrow circumstances. Final judgment must await more detailed on-the-ground investigation, but Israel faces a very high burden to justify any of its thousands of infrastructure attacks on Gaza during its 22 days of bombing.

ILWOB: Was Israel entitled to bomb the home of Hamas leaders such as the Interior Minister, Nizar Rayan along with 10 of his children, four wives and two neighbors?

FL: No. International law allows only the targeting of military commanders actually in the course of armed conflict, provided that such attacks otherwise comply with the laws that protect civilians. Normally, political leaders, as civilians, would not be legitimate targets of attack. The only exception to this rule is if their role, as commander of troops, or their direct participation in military hostilities renders them effectively combatants. To date there is no evidence that this was the case with Gaza Interior Minister Rayan. Israel has a heavy burden of proving otherwise.
We should bear in mind that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) defines, direct participation in hostilities as acts of war which by their nature and purpose are likely to cause actual harm to the personnel and equipment of enemy armed forces, and includes acts of defense. Consequently, Hamas political leaders could only be targeted individually, not his family, if Israel could show that he was effectively commanding Hamas forces. This has not been shown to date.

In principle, it is permitted to target the location where a combatant resides or works. However, as with any attack on an otherwise legitimate military target, the attacking force must refrain from attack if it would disproportionately harm the civilian population or be launched in a way that fails to discriminate between combatants and civilians. Israel failed to do this in the ____ case.

ILWOB: Can Israel attack neighborhoods that house Hamas leaders or offices? And what are Hamas’ obligations regarding the use of civilian areas for military activities?

FL: Where the targeting of a combatant takes place in an urban area such as Gaza, one of the eight most densely populated areas on earth, the belligerent parties are under a strict legal duty to protect the civilian population, as the bombing of urban areas significantly increases the risks to the civilian population.

As of the December 27, 2008 commencement of Israel’s attack, the defending party in Gaza was Hamas. Israel thus had a legal duty to take all necessary precautions to protect civilians in Gaza against the dangers resulting from its bombardments.

This means that while Hamas must avoid locating military objectives, such weapons, ammunition and headquarters, within densely populated areas, Israel must avoid risks to civilians. It does not meet this obligation by claiming that it considers Hamas responsible for having located legitimate military targets within or near populated areas, or that Hamas may be using the civilian population as a shield.

The law is clear on this. Let us assume that Hamas placed weapons inside the basement of a civilian building, a clear violation. Israel is absolutely required to refrain from launching any attack that may be expected to cause excessive civilian loss when compared to the objective calculation of concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. In other words, a violation by Hamas does not give Israel the right to bomb civilians countless times in Gaza because of a suspected or even proved violation by Hamas. The reason is that the intentional launch of an attack in an area without regard to the civilian consequences or in the knowledge that the harm to civilians would be disproportionately high compared to any definite military benefit to be achieved would be a serious violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime.

Even the presence of a Hamas fighters, commanders or military facility in a populated area never justifies attacking the area, but rather only the specific target can be individually targeted. It is a prohibited indiscriminate attack, and a war crime, to treat an entire area as a military target instead of attacking the particular military facilities or personnel within that area.

ILWOB: Did Israel and or Hamas use Human shields in Gaza?

FL: The evidence to date is overwhelming that Israel used human shields despite its consistent denials. It is less clear so far about Hamas and we await the results of on the ground investigations, and hopefully a United Nations Security Council investigation, which your organizations and other have called for.

More than 60 years of Israeli practice, going back to the ‘Iron Wall’ doctrine first enunciated by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in the 1920s which has heavily influenced Israeli policy since 1948, shows that the Israeli military frequently shoots or rockets civilians whether or not they happen to be near military areas.

Israel is accused by many of frequently taking human shields in Gaza during the recent invasion. To date more than 90 cases have been documented by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, journalists and NGO’s currently working inside Gaza. According to a credible report by Donald Macintyre and Amnesty International, on January 5, 2009, at Jabalya Gaza, the second day of their ground offense, 40 old Majdi Abed Rabbo was forced by Israeli troops to protect themselves and to risk his life as a go-between in the hunt for three Hamas fighters. Abed Rabbo reported to Amnesty International that he was handcuffed for two days and abused by a unit of Israeli troops. The Israeli unit assigned him many tasks such as opening car doors, entering buildings ahead of Israeli troops as cover for them, first, being hit with rifle butts if he resisted their orders, forcing him to search houses and rooms and to enter a house where injured Hamas fighters were suspected in order to convey messages from the Israeli troops. Abed Rabbo witnessed other civilians being used as human shields and, as he reported, being forced to enter houses and take surveillance photos.

Astonishing numbers of verified accounts, more than 30 as of last week, gathered by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and Hamoked, the Center for the Defense of the Individual are emerging from Gaza. The gathered evidence indicates that many detainees – minors as well as adults – were held for many hours – sometimes for days – in pits dug in the ground, exposed to bitter cold and harsh weather, handcuffed and blindfolded. According to Majdi Mohammed Ayid al-Atar, 43 of Northern Gaza, one of the individuals used by Israeli troops as human shields, the pits were without shelter, toilets or adequate food and water, with approximately 70 of his neighbors handcuffed and blindfolded and put in a ten foot deep ditch. Some detainees have testified that they had been held near tanks and in combat areas. While Israel says it will investigate scores of these claims, it faces a heavy burden of proof with respect to its use of human shields, as groups such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights, B’Tselem, Yesh Din and Adalah continue to document cases of Israeli forces using human shields.

Each use of a human shield is a war crime. The crime of “shielding” has been defined as intentionally using the presence of civilians to render certain points, areas, or military forces immune from military attack. Taking over a family’s house and not permitting the family to leave for safety so as to deter the enemy from attacking is a simple example of human shields. Evidence from victims, NGO’s, and hospital and rescue services strongly suggests that Israel made widespread use of this illegal practice in Gaza. While it may be unlawful, as noted above, to place forces, weapons and ammunition within or near densely populated areas, it is only shielding when there is a specific intent to use the civilians to deter an attack.

ILWOB: Was it lawful for Israel to attack Hamas radio and television stations?

FL: No. Military attacks on broadcast facilities used for military communications are legitimate under international humanitarian law. But such attacks on civilian television or radio stations are prohibited if they are designed primarily to undermine civilian morale or to psychologically harass the civilian population. Civilian television and radio stations are legitimate targets only if they are used in a way that makes an “effective contribution to military action” and their destruction at the time offers “a definite military advantage.” Specifically, Hamas-operated civilian broadcast facilities could become military targets if, for example, they are used to send military messages or otherwise concretely to advance Hamas’ armed campaign against Israel. However, civilian broadcasting facilities are not legitimate military targets simply because they broadcast pro-Hamas or anti-Israel propaganda. Neither contributes directly to military operations, it is unlawful to attack them merely because they may shape civilian opinion.

Israel’s remedy is to counter Hamas broadcasts with competing broadcast of its own, i.e. broadcasts for broadcasts, propaganda for propaganda, not bombing.

Israel, during the ongoing period of international investigations, can offer any evidence it has that Gaza stations became legitimate military objectives because of their use to transmit military communications. If it has any proof, the principle of proportionality in attack must still be respected. This means that Israeli military planners and commanders should verify at all times that the risks to the civilian population in undertaking any such attack do not outweigh the anticipated military benefit.

ILWOB: Lawyers defending Israel, specifically lawyers Justus Weiner and Avi Bell, of the Israeli government funded Jerusalem Center, as well as Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School are arguing that warnings given to Palestinians in Gaza in advance of Israeli attacks comply with international humanitarian law. What is your view?

FL: These claims are spurious. The IDF, through leaflets dropped by aircraft, and recorded messages to telephones, did in some cases call of Gazan civilians to evacuate their homes and neighborhoods.

International humanitarian law requires that warring parties give effective advance warning of attacks that may affect the civilian population if circumstances permit. What constitutes an effective warning depends on the circumstances such as the timing of the warning and the ability of the civilians to leave the area. In some cases the IDF are reported to have dropped leaflets in Gaza giving residents only two hours warning before a threatened attack. In other reports that gave 30 minutes or 5 minutes or “now!”

The required warning is made largely useless in cases as in Gaza, where bomb damage to roads and bridges, as well as air attacks on civilian vehicles, effectively prevented the ability of civilians to flee an expected attack. Virtually every Palestinian, inside or outside the Gaza refugee camps set up following their ethnic cleansing in the 6 months before and after Israel was created in May of 1948, believes from experience that they themselves are targets of Israel during hostilities.

In Gaza, evidence to date suggests that Israeli warnings we calculated to cause forced displacement, threatening civilians with deliberate harm if they did not heed them. Israel failed in its duty also because even after warnings have been given, its attacking forces were required to still take all feasible precautions to avoid loss of civilian life and property. This includes canceling an attack when it becomes apparent that the target is civilian or that the civilian loss would be disproportionate to the expected military gain. Israel appeared to use its warnings as acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population that is their statement calling for the evacuation of areas that are not genuine warnings, but are primarily intended to cause panic among residents or compel them to leave their homes for reasons other than their safety The Geneva Convention prohibits this practice and violating the prohibition is a war crime.

ILWOB: The same group of lawyers working with the government of Israel has published articles arguing that Israel’s land and sea blockade of Gaza is legal. What is your view?

FL: They have it backwards. Both are illegal. Under the provisions of the International Law of the Sea and the Laws of Armed Conflict, Israel has illegally targeted Gaza’s only international border crossings, imposed a naval blockade for the past 18 months, attacked ports, and bombed road escape routes out of the country. Blockades as a tool of war are sometimes legitimate under international humanitarian law; however, their imposition is subject to the principle of military necessity and proportionality.

As Hamas has no navy or shipping fleet, the Israeli blockade, which was set up long before the current attack, appears to have as its primary purpose the intimidation, harassment or starvation of Gaza’s civilian population. Several humanitarian aid boat crews have been threatened with death if they failed to desist in their mission to Gaza. In December one was actually attacked and severely damaged. These actions are forbidden by international humanitarian law, which prohibits armed forces from deliberately causing the civilian population to suffer hunger by depriving it of its sources of food or supplies.

As you mentioned, Israeli recruited lawyers, without offering any proof, have attempted to justify the blockade of Gaza, on the grounds that it restricts the re-supply of the military. Moreover, this purpose must be weighed against the costs to the civilian population. Those costs can also shift over time, as shortages of necessities intensify. Even if a blockade were assumed lawful at the outset, it could become unlawful if mounting civilian costs became too high and outweighed the direct military advantage. In those circumstances – for example, if food or medical supplies ran low – Israel would be obliged to permit free passage of material that is essential for civilians and to protect humanitarian personnel delivering those supplies. Numerous testimonies to from eye witnesses including aid workers, journalists, medical staff and local officials suggest that this was not the case.

ILWOB: If the targets are legitimate military objects, was Israel’s use of weapons like DIME, white phosphorus, and cluster bombs legal in Gaza?

FL: Under international law, none of these weapons can be used in or near civilian areas because the blast effects of these weapons cannot be directed at military targets without imposing a substantial risk of civilian harm and the weapons cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians. Many cases of Israel’s misuse of these weapons are being documented by an increasing number of on-the-ground investigations.

ILWOB: Israeli lawyers, again, specifically Justus Weiner, Avi Bell, and Alan Dershowitz have all argued that Israel has not engaged in “collective punishment” in Gaza. What is meant by collective punishment of the civilian population in Gaza and what is your view?

FL: International law prohibits the punishment of any person for an offense other than one that he or she has personally committed. Collective punishment is a term used in international law to describe any form of punitive sanctions and harassment, not limited to judicial penalties, but including sanctions of any sort, administrative, by police action or otherwise, that are imposed on targeted groups of persons for actions that they themselves did not personally commit. The imposition of collective punishment is a war crime. Whether an Israeli attack or measure in Gaza amounted to collective punishment depends on the target of the measure and its punitive impact, but of particular relevance is the intent behind a particular measure. If the intention was to punish, purely or primarily as a result of an act committed by third parties, then the attack is collective punishment.

It is true that many have accused Israel of collective punishment in Gaza including UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes, Amnesty International, Professor Richard Falk, Jeremy Hobbs, Director of Oxfam International, and many others.

I have here a statement by Richard Falk on January 12, 2009 in which he correctly states the law in my view:

And still Israel maintains its Gaza siege in its full fury, allowing only barely enough food and fuel to enter to stave off mass famine and disease. Such a policy of collective punishment.. Such a policy of collective punishment, initiated by Israel to punish Gazans for political developments within the Gaza Strip, constitutes a continuing flagrant and massive violation of international humanitarian law as laid down in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

ILWOB: What were Israel’s and Hamas’ obligations to agencies seeking to provide humanitarian assistance?

FL: Israel’s military operations in Gaza displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and cut off many others from access to food, medical care and basic necessities. Humanitarian agencies had great difficulty reaching the populations in need because of the ongoing Israeli bombing campaigns, including air attacks targeting border passages, roadways, streets, UN buildings, schools and vehicles. For 22 days and nights Israel failed to secure safe passage for humanitarian convoys for basic necessities or for wounded persons or to evacuate civilians from areas of active conflict.

Under international humanitarian law, parties to a conflict must allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of impartially distributed humanitarian aid to the population in need. The belligerent parties must consent to allowing relief operations to take place, and may not refuse such consent on arbitrary grounds. They can take steps to control the content and delivery of humanitarian aid, such as to ensure that consignments do not include weapons. However, deliberately impeding relief supplies is prohibited, and doing so as part of an effort to starve or pressure civilians is a war crime.

Additionally, international humanitarian law requires that belligerent parties ensure the freedom of movement of humanitarian relief personnel essential to the exercise of their functions. This can be restricted only temporarily for reasons of imperative military necessity. As on-the-ground investigations continue, much evidence is emerging that Israel interfered with humanitarian relief personnel, constituting war crimes.

Now that some journalists and NGO relief agencies are being allowed in, Amnesty International has documented the Israeli attack on19 medical workers within 20 days, or about one a day killed. They documented the shelling of ambulances that were clearly marked as such or NGO rescue vehicles that were marked, such as Save the Children. One woman testified about how she raised a Save the Children logo flag, and it was still attacked. Each such incident in a punishable war crime and that accountability runs up the chain of command of the Israeli military.

ILWOB: Finally Dr. Lamb, what can individuals do to help enforce the requirements of international law in order to help ensure the safety of the Palestinians trapped in Gaza.

FL: There are so many actions that individuals and human rights and grass root organizations can take that are calculated to support and uphold the Principles, Standards and Rules of International Humanitarian Law with respect to Palestine/Israel and specifically, Israel’s war against Gaza.

For many years going back to the 1970’s Israeli aggressions against Lebanon and Palestine have caused an increasing percentage of the international public to assert that “Israel has gone too far, something must be done”. The attacks from 1978 (Operation Litani), the July 1981 Bombardment of the Fakhani area of Beirut, the 1982 invasion and occupation of Beirut (Peace for Galilee) and the Sabra-Shatila Massacre, 1993 (Reverse Direction), 1996 (Grapes of Wrath) the West Bank including Jenin in 2002 (Operation Defensive Shield), and the July 2006 War on Lebanon, among others.

The carnage of Gaza 2009 has seen more individuals and organizations calling for measures to hold Israel accountable for its actions than ever before.

Individuals and organizations can encourage and support measures such as boycotts and divestitures within their countries and among their local governments as well as join the international efforts such as demanding international investigations like those currently being undertaken by the United Nations (concerning the shelling of a UN school in Jabaliya that killed 43 and wounded scores of others as well as other alleged Israeli attacks on civilians) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (investigating the use of depilated uranium) in Israel actions.

Among them I would suggest the following:

With respect to the more than 300 submissions to International Criminal Court regarding Israeli crimes in Gaza, individuals and organizations can submit evidence to the Office of the Prosecution under Article 15 of the Rome Statute and support the call for other tribunals to investigate and judge war crimes committed in Gaza perpetrated from all quarters. The Court staff is very helpful and Submissions can be emailed to: otp.informationdesk@icc-cpi.int or faxed to: +31 70 515 8555.

Local petitions, taking their governments to task for selling arms to Israel, demonstrations, briefings, teach-ins, op-ed pieces, letters to the editors of journals and newspapers, and talking about the issues involved will all help. This pattern of rejecting the norms of civilized conduct must not be allowed to continue and we as individuals are the ones, who can, by our persistence, bring it to an end as history rejects the injustice of the occupation of Palestine.

Individuals and organization can express solidarity with this week’s launch by the Turkish state prosecutor of an investigation into claims of Israeli crimes against humanity and genocide. The complaint is against those who the Turkish Petitioners claim they can prove were in some way responsible for giving orders for the attack on Gaza including 19 Israeli officials and makes use of Article 13 of the Turkish Penal Code, which allows Turkish courts to try those charged with committing genocide and torture, even if the crime was perpetrated in another country.

Similar initiatives are under way in France and more than 25 European Union countries. Each should be supported. Domestic laws in many countries allow for claims against international crimes and they should be researched and employed by citizens

Lobby for the suspension of Israel from the entire United Nations System, including the General Assembly and all U.N. subsidiary organs and bodies. What the U.N. General Assembly has done to genocidal Yugoslavia and to the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa is fully applicable to Israel. The legal basis for the de facto suspension of Israel at the U.N. was explained recently by Professor Francis Boyle and I would like to quote him:

As a condition for its admission to the United Nations Organization, Israel formally agreed to accept General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) (1947) (partition/Jerusalem trusteeship) and General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) (1948) (Palestinian right of return), inter alia. Nevertheless, the government of Israel has expressly repudiated both Resolution 181 (II) and Resolution 194 (III). Therefore, Israel has violated its conditions for admission to U.N. membership and thus must be suspended on a de facto basis from any participation throughout the entire United Nations System.

Second, any further negotiations with Israel must be conducted on the basis of Resolution 181 (II) and its borders; Resolution 194 (III); subsequent General Assembly resolutions and Security Council resolutions; the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949; the 1907 Hague Regulations; and other relevant principles of public international law.

Individuals and organizations should encourage the Palestine National Authority, the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine to sue Israel before the International Court of Justice in The Hague for inflicting acts of genocide against the Palestinian People in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention;

The international community must work on the local level to have the U.N. General Assembly impose economic, diplomatic, and travel sanctions upon Israel pursuant to the terms of the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution.

Individuals and organizations should support Professor Francis Boyle’s call for an International Criminal Tribunal for Israel (ICTI). This can be established by the UN General Assembly as a “subsidiary organ” under article 22 of the UN Charter. Article 22 of the UN Charter states the UN General Assembly may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions. With this legal mechanism, the GA could convene legal, military and human rights experts to investigate the entire range of war crimes allegations made during the Gaza war, by Israel.  The purpose of the ICTI would be to investigate and Prosecute suspected Israeli war criminals for offenses against the Palestinian people including the recent aggression against Gaza.

Source

– Lawyers Without Borders is a non-profit, Hartford, Connecticut United States–based organization founded in 2000, whose goal it is to engage the legal profession on an international basis. They support the capacity of non-governmental organizations worldwide, advance the rule of law, protect the integrity of the legal process via neutral observation, offer support to lawyers in the field, and serve as a law-oriented clearinghouse, linking needs with legal resources to meet a need.

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Lebanon: Monday night Explosion/ Israel in violation of Resolution 1701

UN nuclear assembly has called for Israel to open its nuclear facilities to UN inspection/2009

Legally Israel owes the US Billions/Fraudulently takes money for the US

Israel: True Cost to U.S. Taxpayers

Resolution 487 (1981)Israel to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA/Refrain from Acts or Threats/Still Israel has not complied

Who Benefited the most by J.F. Kennedy’s Death?/List of Israel Terrorist activities over the years

Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

Declaration of the Rights of the Child

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Israeli military forces stage attacks on the various areas of the West Bank almost on a daily basis

Act of Piracy, Kidnapping, Illegal Confinement, Theft, Assault and Battery, committed by Israel

Boycotts on Israel are Growing/Unions, Academics

ICC starts analysis of Gaza war crimes allegations

Israel still Bombing Gaza/Petition To EU

What an Aid Worker Saw in Gaza, Then and Now

Israel abducted over 5,000 people and put them in prison

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on February 10, 2009 at 9:05 pm  Comments Off on Interview with Franklin Lamb: Israel Self Defense or War Crime?  
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Attorney General stays sewage prosecution, Chapman v. BC

Attorney General stays sewage prosecution, Chapman v. BC, GVRD & GVSDD

December 8th, 2008

Fraser Riverkeeper Doug Chapman

On November 18, 2008, the Attorney General of Canada ordered a “stay” in the private prosecution investigated by Doug Chapman, now the Fraser Riverkeeper, who worked with the Georgia Strait Alliance, the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation, and United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union (CAW).

The prosecution, Ecojustice, argued the city of Vancouver and the BC government violated the Canadian Fisheries Act by allowing the release of barely treated sewage into the Georgia Strait from the Iona Sewage Treatment Plant.

Almost a billion juvenile salmon have to pass through this area annually.  In 2005, testing revealed chemicals released from Iona included heavy concentrations of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Ammonia, Mercury, Zinc, Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead and Copper – all of which are toxic to fish.

The Attorney General (AG) brought the private prosecution to an end in mid-November after a two-year battle in the courts. In Canadian law people have the right to initiate a private prosecution when an individual or group gathers evidence of a wrongdoing. They lay charges with approval from a Provincial Court Judge. However, the federal Attorney General’s Office retains the right to:

  • Intervene and “stay” the case (an indefinite suspension only the AG can restart); or
  • Intervene and conduct the following: call witnesses, examine and cross-examine, present evidence, and make submissions

“I am disgusted that the federal government has ended this prosecution,” Chapman told local media. “What’s the point of the law? Polluters get off scot-free.”

Doug Chapman is one of Canada’s most experienced environmental prosecutors, with numerous high-profile convictions in Ontario, including the first ever jail-sentence for an environmental criminal.

How the case came to such strange end is the subject of this week’s Living at the Barricades.

Source