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Israeli War Criminals Find Tough Crowd Abroad

Israeli war criminals are finding more challenges as they attempt to travel abroad. The International Solidarity Movement encourages all those concerned about human rights to continue pressuring the United Nations against inviting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to to address the U.N. General Assembly’s sixtieth regular session on Thursday.

Meanwhile, folks in Canada are pressing for legal action to be taken against retired Israeli Colonel Zeev Raz when he arrives to speak in Vancouver to speak at Temple Shalom on Saturday, and General Almog, former head of the Israeli army’s Southern Command, was unable to get off his plane at London’s Heathrow airport Monday as a warrent for his arrest over alleged war crimes was issued by an English court the previous day. There’s much that you can do to bring these men to justice for the crimes they’ve committed against Palestinians.

Here’s background on the three cases:

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s speech to the U.N. General Assemble on Sept. 15

This comes from Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition:

On Thursday, September 15, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the man responsible for the massacres of thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese, will speak before the United Nations General Assembly as part of the “World Summit.” On the twenty-third anniversary of the killing of thousands of Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon under Sharon’s watch, the war criminal Ariel Sharon will speak as an honored guest at the United Nations in New York City. JOIN US to express our outrage at Sharon’s presence in New York City before the United Nations, a body whose resolutions he has repeatedly flouted and ignored!

UN Resolution 194 guarantees the right to return to all Palestinian refugees. While Sharon speaks before the UN, he refuses to honor and implement UN Resolution 194 or countless additional resolutions denouncing Zionist occupation of Palestine and requiring the recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people. On the contrary, he has continued his decades-long campaign of brutality against the Palestinian Arab people, dedicated to eradicating their very existence. From Qibya in 1952 to Sabra and Shatila in 1982 to Jenin in 2002, Ariel Sharon is a butcher and a war criminal who should be on trial at the Hague, not speaking before the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Join Al-Awda New York on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM to declare that SHARON IS NOT WELCOME HERE and to demand the UN immediately act to implement Resolution 194, the RIGHT TO RETURN OF ALL PALESTINIAN REFUGEES TO THEIR ORIGINAL HOMES AND PROPERTIES!

Organizational endorsements and involvement are welcome! Please email protestsharon@al-awdany.org to endorse or for more information!

Partial list of endorsers (list in formation): NY Committee to Defend Palestine, NJ Solidarity – Activists for the Liberation of Palestine, NYC Jericho Movement, Troops Out Now Coalition, New York City Labor Against the War, Coalition to Free the Angola 3, ANSWER NY, NYC Free Mumia Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago

Please email your endorsements to: opposesharon@yahoo.com

For information on the NY demo on September 15, please go to Al-Awda New York’s website.

For other mobilizations of public protest against Ariel Sharon’s address to the United Nations, see Stop The Wall.

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Retired Israeli Colonel Zeev Raz’s trip to Canada on Sept. 17

Hanna Kawas, the Chair of the Canada Palestine Association and the host of “Voice of Palestine” writes to Irwin Cotler, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada:

It has came to our attention that Retired Israeli Colonel Zeev Raz, who led the illegal Israeli aggression against Iraq in 1981 and destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor, will be in Vancouver to speak at Temple Shalom on September 17, 2005.

Canada and the UN condemned this terrorist raid that endangered the lives of the Iraqi civilian population and encroached on the sovereignty of a UN member state.

We demand that you immediately ask the Canadian courts to issue an arrest warrant against this war criminal, who is being brought to Vancouver to publicly brag about his illegal exploits.

If Canada truly upholds international law and behaves in an even-handed manner, Colonel Raz should be held accountable for his and his government’s illegal actions.

If Canada does not take action immediately, it will show the world that Canada practices hypocrisy and the worst kind of double standards. It will also clearly demonstrate the total pro-Israel bias of your government and its disregard for the human rights and the sanctity of human life in the Arab world.

Canadians intersted in holding this human rights criminal accountable are encouraged to contact Minister of Justice and Attorney General Irwin Cotler; Prime Minister Paul Martin; and Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General Irwin Cotler
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
email: webadmin@justice.gc.ca

Paul Martin Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON Canada K1A 0A2
Phone: (613) 992-4211
Fax: (613) 941-6900
email: pm@pm.gc.ca

Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6, Canada
Telephone: (613) 992-4524
Fax: (613) 943-0044

Israeli army General Doron Almog escapes arrest in London on Sept. 11

The following statement comes from Amnesty International:

Amnesty International today deplored the failure of the United Kingdom (UK) authorities to arrest Israeli army General Doron Almog when he arrived at London’s Heathrow airport yesterday, describing this as a clear violation of the UK’s obligations under both national and international law. A warrant for the general’s arrest for alleged war crimes had been issued by an English court the previous day.

The organization is now calling on the UK authorities to urge Interpol to circulate the arrest warrant and on other states party to the Geneva Conventions to cooperate with the UK in carrying out the arrest and handing over General Almog to the UK’s court.

General Almog, former head of the Israeli army’s Southern Command, landed at London Heathrow airport on 11 September 2005 on a flight from Tel Aviv. However, he declined to disembark from the aircraft apparently after being informed that he could be arrested. Meanwhile, London’s Metropolitan Police reportedly refused to enter the plane to effect the general’s arrest and then allowed him to depart from the UK for Israel on the same El Al aircraft on which he had arrived.

“The refusal to arrest a person suspected of war crimes is a clear violation both of the UK’s unconditional obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and under national law,” said Amnesty International, calling for the refusal to execute the arrest warrant to be investigated.

It is difficult to believe that the police would have refused to arrest a person who had arrived in the UK on board an airliner if that person was wanted for drug-trafficking or security offences, simply because they had not passed through UK border controls, if that meant they would otherwise evade arrest.

It is not known whether the information which alerted General Almog that he would be arrested was leaked by the UK authorities or by other sources.

“The leak, whether deliberate or accidental, is a matter of serious concern and should be investigated, as it perverted the course of justice and undermined an investigation into war crimes,” said the organization.

The arrest warrant against General Almog was issued by the Chief London Magistrate on 10 September under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957, on the basis of suspicion of the suspect’s involvement in the destruction by the Israeli army of 59 Palestinian homes in a refugee camp in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on 10 January 2002.

General Almog headed the Israeli army’s Southern Command, an area that includes the Gaza Strip, between December 2000 and July 2003.

The “extensive destruction…of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly” is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention (Article 147) and, as such, a war crime.

The UK is “under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts” (Article 146). If it does not do so, it must hand such persons over for trial to another state party to the convention that is able and willing to do so. The Fourth Geneva Convention expressly forbids the UK from entering into any agreement with another state absolving itself of this obligation (Article 148).

During the past five years, since the outbreak of the intifada (Palestinian uprising) in September 2000, the Israeli army has destroyed some 4,000 Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories, about half of them in the Gaza Strip, as well as vast areas of cultivated land, commercial properties and public buildings, water and electricity networks, and other public infrastructure. In the vast majority of cases the destruction was not justified by military necessity and was carried out unlawfully and wantonly.

The Israeli authorities have systematically failed to comply with Israel’s obligations under international law to investigate these and other human rights abuses and to bring to justice those responsible.

The UK’s obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention have been given effect in domestic law via the Geneva Conventions Act 1957, which applies to: “Any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether in or outside the United Kingdom, commits, or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of, a grave breach of any of the scheduled conventions or the first protocol…”” [Article 1.-(1)].

Each state party to the Fourth Geneva Convention is obliged under Article 1 to “respect and ensure respect for” the Convention and should call upon Israel to open an immediate, thorough, prompt, independent and impartial investigation of the alleged grave breaches and, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, to prosecute. If Israel does not do so, each state party has the power to issue an arrest warrant under Article 146 and, if the suspect enters their territory, has the obligation to execute that arrest warrant.

Since the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada (uprising) in September 2000, the Israeli army has killed more than 3,200 Palestinians, most of them unlawfully and including more than 600 children. In the same period, armed Palestinian groups have killed some 1,000 Israeli, most of them were civilians, including some 120 children, and were deliberately and unlawfully targeted. In addition, the Israeli army has carried out extensive destruction of Palestinian homes, land and other properties throughout the Occupied Territories and has continued to build and expand Israeli settlements (illegal under international law) in the West Bank and to construct a 600km fence/wall through the West Bank, cutting off Palestinian farmers from their land and further restricting the movement of Palestinians between villages.

Amnesty International has investigated a wide range of human rights abuses committed by both the Israeli and the Palestinian sides and has continued to call for all those responsible for human rights abuses, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, to be brought to justice and held accountable for their crimes.