Israeli Defence Forces (IDF)

A More Balanced Presentation of Recent UN Gaza Flotilla Report

2011-09-05:  Something is seriously wrong when it is stated in an official United Nations (UN) Report that any aspect of the Gaza Blockade by Israel is legal, under International Law.

Colour photograph showing the MV Mavi Marmara aid-carrying ship leaving the port of Antalya, in Southern Turkey ... on 22 May 2010 ... for Gaza, in Palestine.
Colour photograph showing the MV Mavi Marmara aid-carrying ship leaving the port of Antalya, in Southern Turkey ... on 22 May 2010 ... for Gaza, in Palestine.


On 2 August 2010 … UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, established a Panel of Inquiry to report on the 31 May 2010 Gaza Flotilla Incident in the International Waters of the Mediterranean Sea.  The Panel Team consisted of 4 Members …

  • Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Chair ;
  • President Álvaro Uribe, Vice-Chair ;
  • Mr. Joseph Ciechanover Itzhar ;   and
  • Mr. Süleyman Özdem Sanberk.

The Panel’s Report was released by the United Nations last Friday, 2 September 2011 … and can be downloaded from the following address …

The Findings and Recommendations contained in the Panel’s Report have been widely covered since then, at national and international levels, in the various news media.

Colour photograph showing the 2010 Gaza Flotilla Panel of Inquiry Team ... Mr. Süleyman Özdem Sanberk, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, President Álvaro Uribe and Mr. Joseph Ciechanover Itzhar ... with UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in the centre. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Colour photograph showing the 2010 Gaza Flotilla Panel of Inquiry Team ... Mr. Süleyman Özdem Sanberk, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, President Álvaro Uribe and Mr. Joseph Ciechanover Itzhar ... with UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in the centre. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)


For a More Balanced Presentation of the Recent UN Gaza Flotilla Report, however, the following short statement by Mr. Sanberk, a graduate of the Law Faculty at Istanbul University and former Turkish Ambassador, must be reproduced – in full – and widely circulated.

Mr. Sanberk’s Statement can be viewed on Page 105 (the last page !) of the Report …

” I hereby register my disagreement with the Chairmanship on the following issues contained in the report:

  • The question of the legality of the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel ;
  • The actions of the flotilla ;
  • Naval blockades in general ;
  • Appendix: The applicable International legal principles.

This, for the following reasons:

–  On the legal aspect of the blockade, Turkey and Israel have submitted two opposing arguments.  International legal authorities are divided on the matter since it is unprecedented, highly complex and the legal framework lacks codification.  However, the Chairmanship and its report fully associated itself with Israel and categorically dismissed the views of the other, despite the fact that the legal arguments presented by Turkey have been supported by the vast majority of the International Community.  Common sense and conscience dictate that the blockade is unlawful.

–  Also the UN Human Rights Council concluded that the blockade was unlawful.  The Report of the Human Rights Council Fact Finding Mission received widespread approval from the member states.

–  Freedom and safety of navigation on the high seas is a universally accepted rule of international law.  There can be no exception from this long-standing principle unless there is a universal convergence of views.

–  The intentions of the participants in the International Humanitarian Convoy were humanitarian, reflecting the concerns of the vast majority of the International Community.  They came under attack in international waters.  They resisted for their own protection.  Nine civilians were killed and many others were injured by the Israeli soldiers.  One of the victims is still in a coma.  The evidence confirms that at least some of the victims had been killed deliberately.

–  The wording in the report is not satisfactory in describing the actual extent of the atrocities that the victims have been subjected to.  This includes the scope of the maltreatment suffered by the passengers in the hands of Israeli soldiers and officials.

In view of the above, I reject and dissociate myself from the relevant parts and paragraphs of the report, as reflected in paragraphs ii, iv, v, vii of the findings contained in the summary of the report and paragraphs ii, iv, v, vii, viii and ix of the recommendations contained in the same text.”




Israel – A Criminal, Apartheid State & Its Own Worst Enemy !

2010-10-01:  On 22nd September, 2010 … the United Nations Human Rights Council issued the following Report (Document Reference A/HRC/15/21)

‘ Report of the international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance.’

Report Summary (in full):

This report was prepared by the fact-finding mission established by the Human Rights Council, in resolution A/HRC/RES/14/1 of 2 June 2010, to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law, resulting from the interception by Israeli forces of the humanitarian aid flotilla bound for Gaza on 31 May 2010 during which nine people were killed and many others injured.

The report sets out background information relating to the interception of the flotilla as well as the applicable international law.

The fact-finding mission conducted interviews with more than 100 witnesses in Geneva, London, Istanbul and Amman.  On the basis of this testimony and other information received, the Mission was able to reconstruct a picture of the circumstances surrounding the interception on 31 May 2010 and its aftermath.  The report presents a factual description of the events leading up to the interception, the interception of each of the six ships in the flotilla as well as a seventh ship subsequently intercepted on 6 June 2010, the deaths of nine passengers and wounding of many others and the detention of passengers in Israel and their deportation.

The report contains a legal analysis of facts as determined by the Mission with a view to determining whether violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, took place.

The fact-finding mission concluded that a series of violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, were committed by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotilla and during the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation.


Report Conclusions (Section V in full):

260  The attack on the flotilla must be viewed in the context of the ongoing problems between the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority and People.  In carrying out its task, the Mission was exposed to the depth of conviction on both sides of the correctness of their respective positions.  Similar disasters are likely to reoccur unless there is a dramatic shift in the existing paradigm.  It must be remembered that might and strength are enhanced when attended by a sense of justice and fair play.  Peace and respect have to be earned not bludgeoned out of any opponent.  An unfair victory has never been known to bring lasting peace.

261  The Mission has come to the firm conclusion that a humanitarian crisis existed on the 31 May 2010 in Gaza.  The preponderance of evidence from impeccable sources is far too overwhelming to come to a contrary opinion.  Any denial that this is so cannot be supported on any rational grounds.  One of the consequences flowing from this is that for this reason alone the blockade is unlawful and cannot be sustained in law.  This is so regardless of the grounds on which it is sought to justify the legality of the blockade.

262  Certain results flow from this conclusion.  Principally, the action of the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) in intercepting the Mavi Marmara in the circumstances and for the reasons given on the high sea was clearly unlawful.  Specifically, the action cannot be justified in the circumstances, even under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

263  Israel seeks to justify the blockade on security grounds.  The State of Israel is entitled to peace and security like any other.  The firing of rockets and other munitions of war into Israeli territory from Gaza constitutes serious violations of international and international humanitarian law.  But action in response which constitutes collective punishment of the civilian population in Gaza is not lawful in the present or any circumstances.

264  The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel towards the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence.  It betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality.  Such conduct cannot be justified or condoned on security or any other grounds.  It constituted grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law.

265  The Mission considers that several violations and offences have been committed.  It is not satisfied that, in the time available, it can say that it has been able to compile a comprehensive list of all offences.  However, there is clear evidence to support prosecutions of the following crimes within the terms of article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention:

  • wilful killing ;
  • torture or inhuman treatment ;
  • wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health.

The Mission also considers that a series of violations of Israel’s obligations under international human rights law have taken place, including:

  • right to life (article 6, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) ;
  • torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (article 7, ICCPR; Convention Against Torture) ;
  • right to liberty and security of the person and freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention (article 9, ICCPR) ;
  • right of detainees to be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person (article 10, ICCPR) ;
  • freedom of expression (article 19, ICCPR).

The right to an effective remedy should be guaranteed to all victims.  The Mission must not be understood to be saying that this is a comprehensive list by any means.

266  The Mission notes that the retention by the Israeli authorities of unlawfully seized property remains a continuing offence and Israel is called upon to return such property forthwith.

267  The perpetrators of the more serious crimes being masked cannot be identified without the assistance of the Israeli authorities.  They reacted in a violent manner whenever they thought that anyone was attempting to identify them.  The mission sincerely hopes that there will be co-operation from the Israeli government to assist in their identification with a view to prosecuting the culpable and bring closure to the situation.

268  The Mission is aware that this is not the first time that the Government of Israel has declined to co-operate with an inquiry into events in which its military personnel were involved.  On this occasion the Mission accepts the assurances of the Israeli Permanent Representative that the position which he was directed to follow was in no way directed towards the members of the Mission in their personal capacities.  It is nonetheless regrettable that, on yet another occasion of an enquiry into events involving loss of life at the hands of the Israeli military, the Government of Israel has declined to co-operate in an enquiry not appointed by it or on which it was significantly represented.

269  The Mission regrets that its requests to the Permanent Mission of Israel for information were not entertained.  The reason initially given was that the Government of Israel had established its own independent panel of distinguished persons to investigate the flotilla incident.  The Mission was told that for that reason and also because the Secretary-General (of the United Nations) had also announced the establishment of another distinguished panel with a similar mandate, that “an additional Human Rights Council initiative in this regard are both unnecessary and unproductive”.

270  The Mission did not agree with that position and for that reason suggested to the Permanent Representative of Israel that he should direct to the Council and not the Mission a request that the Mission defer submitting its report to permit other enquiries to complete their tasks.  The Mission has not received any direction from the Council to date and considers that it would have been obligated to respond positively to any such directive from the Council.

271  In the light of the fact that the Turkel Committee (Israeli Inquiry) and the Secretary-General’s Panel have not concluded their sittings, the Mission will refrain from any remarks which are capable of being construed as not allowing those bodies to complete their tasks “unfettered by external events”.  The Mission confines itself to the observation that public confidence in any investigative process in circumstances such as the present is not enhanced when the subject of an investigation either investigates himself or plays a pivotal role in the process.

272  Elsewhere in this report, the Mission has referred to the fact that it found it necessary to re-interpret its mandate because of the manner in which the resolution appointing it was couched.  It is important in the drafting of matters of this sort that the impression is not given of the appearance of any pre-judgment.  The Mission took particular care, at the first opportunity, to indicate that it interpreted its mandate as requiring it to approach its task without any preconceptions or prejudices.  It wishes to assure all concerned that it has held to that position scrupulously.

273  All the passengers on board the ships comprising the flotilla who appeared before the Mission impressed the members as persons genuinely committed to the spirit of humanitarianism and imbued with a deep and genuine concern for the welfare of the inhabitants of Gaza.  The Mission can only express the hope that differences will be resolved in the short rather than the long-term so that peace and harmony may exist in the area.

274  Nine human beings lost their lives and several others suffered serious injuries.  From the observations of the Mission, deep psychological scars have been inflicted by what must have been a very traumatic experience not only for the passengers but also the soldiers who received injuries.  The members of the Mission sympathise with all concerned and, in particular, with the families of the deceased.

275  The Mission is not alone in finding that a deplorable situation exists in Gaza.  It has been characterized as ‘unsustainable’.  This is totally intolerable and unacceptable in the 21st Century.  It is amazing that anyone could characterise the condition of the people there as satisfying the most basic of acceptable standards.  The parties and the international community are urged to find the solution that will address all legitimate security concerns of both Israel and the people of Palestine, both of whom are equally entitled to “their place under the heavens”.  The apparent dichotomy in this case between the competing right of security and the right to a decent living can only be resolved if old antagonisms are subordinated to a sense of justice and fair play.  One has to find the strength to pluck from the memory rooted sorrows and to move on.

276  The Mission has given thought to the position of humanitarian organizations who wish to intervene in situations of long-standing humanitarian crisis where the international community is unwilling, for whatever reason, to take positive action.  Too often are they accused as being meddlesome and, at worst, as terrorists or enemy agents.

277  A distinction is made between activities taken to alleviate crises and action to address the causes creating the crisis.  The latter action is characterized as political action and therefore inappropriate for groups that wish to be classified as humanitarian.  This point is made because of the evidence that while some of the passengers were solely interested in delivering supplies to the people in Gaza, for others the main purpose was raising awareness of the blockade with a view to its removal, as the only way to solve the crisis.  An examination should be made to clearly define humanitarianism as distinct from humanitarian action, so that there can be an agreed form of intervention and jurisdiction when humanitarian crises occur.

278  The Mission sincerely hopes that no impediment will be put in the way of those who suffered loss as a result of the unlawful actions of the Israeli military to be compensated adequately and promptly.  It is hoped that there will be swift action by the Government of Israel.  This will go a long way to reversing the regrettable reputation which that country has for impunity and intransigence in international affairs.  It will also assist those who genuinely sympathise with their situation to support them without being stigmatised.


The Following Earlier Text in the Report Should Also be Noted …

(Section III) E.  Consequences for Israeli Citizens of Participation in the Flotilla

Factual Description and Findings

250  The Mission found the following facts to have been established to its satisfaction.

     (a) Detention and criminal prosecution of Israeli citizens

251  Passengers with Israeli citizenship were separated from other passengers on arrival in Ashdod.  After interrogation, they were informed that they would be detained and face charges under Israeli law, including attempting to kill a soldier, seizing arms, shooting from a soldier’s gun, organizing violence and being present in a military zone.  Although taken to a different prison, they had similar experiences as the other passengers including sleep deprivation and denial of access to a lawyer.

252  On 1 June 2010, the Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court remanded in custody four Palestinian Israelis: Mr. Muhammed Zeidan, Chairman of the High Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel; Sheikh Raed Salah, the Head of the Islamic Movement of Israel (northern branch); Sheikh Hamad Abu Daabe, Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel (southern branch) and Ms. Lubna Masarwa of the Free Gaza Movement.  On 3 June 2010, the same court decided to release the group with certain conditions, including a period of house arrest until 8 June, prohibition from leaving the country for 45 days and the posting of a bond of 150,000 Shekels by a third party.

253  The four people have not since been indicted, but the file is still open and the charges have not been withdrawn.

     (b) Reprisals against an elected member of the Knesset

254  One member of the Israeli Knesset, Ms Haneen Zouabi, was a passenger on the Mavi Marmara.  Ms. Zouabi was not detained, but was extensively interrogated.

255  As a result of her participation in the flotilla, the Knesset voted on 7 June 2010 to remove three of the parliamentary privileges available to Ms. Zouabi as a Member of the Knesset: her privileges in overseas travel; her diplomatic passport; payment of any legal fees in case of removal of her parliamentary immunity from criminal prosecution.  The Knesset held several sessions on the issue of her participation in the Flotilla during which there were racist and sexist remarks and physical threats made against her.  Some parliamentarians have also called for her to face criminal prosecution and measures, such as revoking her membership in the Knesset, were discussed.  The Israeli Minister of Interior accused Ms. Zouabi of treason and requested authorization from the Attorney General to revoke her citizenship.  To date, no criminal proceedings have been initiated against Ms. Zouabi.  Since her participation in the Gaza Flotilla, Ms. Zouabi has received many death threats.

256  The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians adopted a confidential decision at its 130th session in July 2010, holding the punishment of Ms. Zouabi for exercising her freedom of speech by expressing her political position to be unacceptable and calling on the Knesset to reconsider its decision.

257  The Mission refrains from any comment on any domestic legal proceedings which may be sub-judice.  However, the Mission notes that these actions against Israeli citizens could give rise to certain violations of Israel’s international human rights obligations, including freedom of expression, political participation rights and rights to due process.




Human Rights Must Have ‘Real’ Meaning in a Civilized Society !

2009-10-07:  As previously discussed … but deserving much repetition … the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) became an International Legal Instrument, i.e. entered into force, on 3rd May 2008.

This UN Convention simply aims to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to access human rights on the same basis as everyone else in society.  And rights are no more than an elaboration of the responsible basic needs of all human beings.

It is worth recalling that the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights was directly born out of the large-scale death, human misery and environmental destruction of the Second World War in Europe, North Africa, the Middle-East … and throughout Asia and the Pacific.

Human Rights must have – do have – ‘real’ meaning in a civilized society !


Israel signed the UN Disability Rights Convention on 30th March 2007.  At the time of writing, it has not yet signed the Convention’s Optional Protocol.  Israel has definitely not ratified the Convention or the Optional Protocol.

[To be fair, Ireland is in exactly the same position as Israel.  Why am I not surprised ?!?]

With regard to Situations of Risk, e.g. a fire emergency in a building … or Humanitarian Emergencies, e.g. the Gaza Conflict from December 2008 to January 2009 … the language of Article 11 in the UN Convention is very clear and straightforward:

States Parties shall take, in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters.”

On 3rd April 2009, the President of the UN Human Rights Council established the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict with the mandate “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.”

The President appointed Justice Richard Goldstone, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, to head the Mission.  The other three appointed members were:

  • Professor Christine Chinkin, Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, who was a member of the high-level fact finding mission to Beit Hanoun (2008) ;
  • Ms. Hina Jilani, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, who was a member of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur (2004) ;   and
  • Colonel Desmond Travers, a former Officer in Ireland’s Defence Forces and member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for International Criminal Investigations.


The Report of the Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict was presented to the Human Rights Council, in Geneva (Switzerland), on 29th September 2009.

The following is a short extract from that Report

Section A – XVII  The Impact of the Blockade and of the Military Operations on the People of Gaza and their Human Rights

Persons with Disabilities (Paragraphs 1283-1291)

1283   Information provided to the Mission showed that many of those who were injured during the Israeli military operations sustained permanent disabilities owing to the severity of their injuries and/or the lack of adequate and timely medical attention and rehabilitation.  Gaza hospitals reportedly had to discharge patients too early so as to handle incoming emergencies.  Other cases resulted in amputations or disfigurement.  About 30 per cent of patients were expected to have long-term disabilities.

1284   WHO reported that by mid-April 2009 the number of people with different types of permanent disability (e.g. brain injuries, amputations, spinal injuries, hearing deficiencies, mental health problems) as a result of the military operations was not yet known.  It reported speculations that there might be some 1000 amputees; but information provided by the WHO office in Gaza and based on estimates by Handicap International indicated that around 200 persons underwent amputations.

1285   While the exact number of people who will suffer permanent disabilities is still unknown, the Mission understands that many persons who sustained traumatic injuries during the conflict still face the risk of permanent disability owing to complications and inadequate follow-up and physical rehabilitation.

1286   The Mission also heard moving accounts of families with disabled relatives whose disability had slowed their evacuation from a dangerous area or who lived with a constant fear that, in an emergency, their families would have to leave them behind because it would be too difficult to evacuate them.

1287   One testimony concerned a person whose electric wheelchair was lost after his house was targeted and destroyed.  Since the residents were given very short notice of the impending attack, the wheelchair could not be salvaged and the person had to be taken to safety on a plastic chair carried by four people.

1288   The Mission also heard a testimony concerning a pregnant woman who was instructed by an Israeli soldier to evacuate her home with her children, but to leave behind a mentally disabled child, which she refused to do.

1289   Even in the relative safety of shelters, people with disabilities continued to be exposed to additional hardship, as these shelters were not equipped for their special needs.  The Mission heard of the case of a person with a hearing disability who was sheltering in an UNRWA school, but was unable to communicate in sign language or understand what was happening and experienced sheer fear.

1290   Frequent disruptions in the power supply had a severe impact on the medical equipment needed by many people with disabilities.  People using wheelchairs had to face additional hurdles when streets started piling up with the rubble from destroyed buildings and infrastructure.

1291   In addition, programmes for people with disabilities had to be closed down during the military operations and rehabilitation services stopped (for instance, organizations providing assistance were unable to access stocks of wheelchairs and other aids).  Many social, educational, medical and psychological programmes have not yet fully resumed.




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Tommy Tiernan – A Storm in an Espresso Coffee Cup ?

2009-09-29:  I don’t have any time for anti-Semitism … but is the current controversy – weeks after the actual event (!) – about Mr. Tommy Tiernan’s remarks during a public Hot Press interview at the Electric Picnic, with Mr. Olaf Tyaransen, just a storm in an Espresso Coffee Cup ?

For a moment … let us taste a different grim, brutal reality …

” At 11.30am on 27 December 2008,  without warning, Israeli forces began a devastating bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip codenamed Operation ‘Cast Lead’.  Its stated aim was to end rocket attacks into Israel by armed groups affiliated with Hamas and other Palestinian factions.  By 18 January 2009, when unilateral ceasefires were announced by both Israel and Hamas, some 1,400 Palestinians had been killed, including some 300 children and hundreds of other unarmed civilians, and large areas of Gaza had been razed to the ground, leaving many thousands homeless and the already dire economy in ruins.

Much of the destruction was wanton and resulted from direct attacks on civilian objects as well as indiscriminate attacks that failed to distinguish between legitimate military targets and civilian objects.  Such attacks violated fundamental provisions of international humanitarian law, notably the prohibition on direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects (the principle of distinction), the prohibition on indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks, and the prohibition on collective punishment.

Hundreds of civilians were killed in attacks carried out using high-precision weapons – air-delivered bombs and missiles, and tank shells.  Others, including women and children, were shot at short range when posing no threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers.  Aerial bombardments launched from Israeli F-16 combat aircraft targeted and destroyed civilian homes without warning, killing and injuring scores of their inhabitants, often while they slept.  Children playing on the roofs of their homes or in the street and other civilians going about their daily business, as well as medical staff attending the wounded were killed in broad daylight by Hellfire and other highly accurate missiles launched from helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, and by precision projectiles fired from tanks.

Disturbing questions remain unanswered as to why such high-precision weapons, whose operators can see even small details of their targets and which can accurately strike even fast moving vehicles, killed so many children and other civilians.”

          … Those were the first paragraphs from the Introduction to an Amnesty International Report … “Israel/Gaza: Operation ‘Cast Lead’ – 22 Days of Death and Destruction’ “, published just a little earlier this year (2009), back in July.


The Full Recommendations of the Report read as follows …

Given the evidence of serious and extensive violations of international law by all parties to the conflict during Operation ‘Cast Lead’, and the lack of any meaningful measures towards accountability by either Israeli or Palestinian authorities, there is still a need for a full, independent and impartial investigation and for appropriate measures to bring perpetrators to justice and provide reparation to the victims.

Amnesty International calls on the international community to take the following actions:

  • It should provide full support to the international independent fact-finding mission established by the UN Human Rights Council, led by Justice Richard Goldstone, which has taken on as its mandate to investigate violations of international law by all parties and is due to report in the coming months.  The report of the mission’s findings should include recommendations aimed at ending and preventing further violations and at ensuring justice, truth and full reparations for the victims, including restitution, rehabilitation, compensation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.

In order to allow the mission to perform its tasks effectively, it must be provided with sufficient resources to accomplish all its tasks effectively and promptly; obtain access to all relevant documents, other evidence and persons; and be in a position to protect from reprisals all persons who provide information.

  • It should impose immediately a comprehensive UN Security Council arms embargo on Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until effective mechanisms are in place to ensure that weapons or munitions and other military equipment will not be used to commit serious violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law.
  • It should act immediately at the level of individual states to suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions, as well as those which may be diverted, to Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups until there is no longer a substantial risk that such equipment will be used for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.  The suspension should include all indirect exports via other countries, the transfer of military components and technologies and any brokering, financial or logistical activities that would facilitate such transfers.
  •  Also at the level of individual states, it should start criminal investigations in national courts, exercising universal jurisdiction, wherever there is sufficient evidence of war crimes or other crimes under international law, and seek to arrest alleged perpetrators and bring them to justice in proceedings that fully respect international fair trial standards.

Amnesty International calls on the Israeli authorities to:

  • Ensure national, impartial and thorough investigations, in accordance with international standards, of the evidence indicating that its forces committed serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during the conflict, including war crimes, and wherever there is sufficient admissible evidence, prosecute any alleged perpetrator in proceedings that fully respect international fair trial standards ;
  • revise its interpretation of the rules and principles relating to the concepts of military objective, military advantage and proportionality, to ensure that these concepts are fully consistent with international humanitarian law ;
  • ensure that the Israeli military comply fully with the duty to take precautionary measures when carrying out attacks, as well as in defence, and do not carry out attacks as a form of collective punishment ;
  • publicly commit not to use artillery and white phosphorus weapons in densely populated areas ;
  • provide full reparations for the consequences of its unlawful acts and omissions ;
  • immediately end the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which is collectively punishing the entire population of Gaza, in breach of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law ;
  • co-operate fully with the international independent fact-finding mission established by the UN Human Rights Council, led by Richard Goldstone; and with other international investigations into violations of international law by all the parties to the conflict ;
  • ratify Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions without reservations and make a declaration under Article 90 accepting the competence of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission ;
  • ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC, without making a declaration under Article 124 – which would exclude for seven years the jurisdiction of the Court over war crimes – and making a declaration pursuant to Article 12(3) that its jurisdiction encompasses the Operation ‘Cast Lead’.

Amnesty International calls on the Hamas de facto administration to:

  • publicly renounce its policy of unlawful rocket attacks against civilian population centres in Israel ;
  • ensure that no armed group operating in the areas under its de facto control carries out rocket attacks against Israeli civilians or commits other violations of international humanitarian law ;
  • ensure that Hamas’ fighters comply fully with the need to take precautionary measures in attacks and in defence, including the need to distinguish themselves from non-combatants to the maximum extent feasible ;
  • undertake to hold accountable those responsible for the rocket attacks, according to internationally recognized fair trial standards and without recourse to the death penalty ;
  • co-operate fully with the international independent fact-finding mission established by the UN Human Rights Council, led by Richard Goldstone; and with other international investigations into violations of international law by all the parties to the conflict.

What are the views of Mr. Alan Shatter, T.D. … and the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland … concerning the use by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), authorized by the Elected Government of Israel (a polity scarred by the Holocaust) … of measures and methods equivalent to those used by the German army and authorized by the Nazi Regime of Germany, in Europe, during the 1930’s & 1940’s ?


The current controversies about Iran’s Nuclear & Missile Programmes …

Israel, alone in the Middle-East, has possessed for many years aggressive nuclear capabilities which are undeclared and not subject to international controls.  These extensive capabilities have constituted a permanent threat to peace and security in the region … and an arms race was inevitable.

Israel has ignored countless Resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council … as well as the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  It refuses to accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons … and it stubbornly refuses to place all of its nuclear installations under IAEA safeguards.  Why is that ?

And when will Israel understand that its geographical location is outside Europe … in the Middle-East ?   Is it not time that it behaved in a neighbourly manner … with its own close neighbours ?

We demand an Independent Palestine NOW !




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Israel a Criminal State ? Guantánamo Bay an Illegal Occupation ?

2009-01-01:  Sustainable Human & Social Development is much more than an academic theory.  It is a necessary concept for our troubled times … in our global community.  Intricate, open, dynamic and still evolving … it is very much intended for practical implementation.


A robust understanding of this social catalyst is critically underpinned by human and social rights.  Specifically, initial reference is made to the following International Legal Instruments:

         1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN OHCHR) ;

         2001 Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (UNESCO) ;

         2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN).


Sustainable Design is the ethical response, in built and wrought form, to Sustainable Human & Social Development.  As our understanding of ‘sustainability’ develops, so too must ‘design’ (spatial planning, architectural/engineering/industrial design, and e-design).


At a macro-level … issues causing untold social, environmental, economic, institutional, political and legal damage, destruction and harm:


We see on our television screens and hear from our radios that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are again committing criminal acts in Gaza.  These acts are authorized by the Government of Israel.  The country’s population continues to vote these Governments into power.


The USA’s treatment of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay was, and still is, degrading, inhumane and criminal.  Beyond that, however … the annexation of the bay area remains, to this day, an international act of piracy (refer to the 1901 Platt Amendment and later ‘treaties’ with Cuba procured by the threat or use of force).


The USA and British fundamentalist western crusade against the regime and peoples of Iraq was a cynical act of barbarism and a crime against humanity.  We look forward to the day when George W Bush and Tony Blair will be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC).


At a micro-level … every designer can act, and make his/her positive contribution:


Accessibility of buildings for people with disabilities, to take just one example, is now a legitimate social right which must be protected and nurtured, i.e. properly resourced, by all States Parties to the 2006 UN Disability Rights Convention.  People must be able to independently approach, enter, use, egress (under normal conditions) and evacuate (in a fire emergency) any building in our built environment.


Two Immediate Requirements for Sustainability Implementation:

  1. A radical overhaul of the Education and Training of any person connected, directly or indirectly, with the design, construction, operation, management, servicing or maintenance of our Human Environment.
  2. The widespread introduction of Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) at all levels of our Public and Private Institutions.  SIA is a continual evaluation and optimization process – informing initial decision-making, or design, and shaping activity/product/service realization, useful life and termination, or final disposal – of the interrelated positive and negative social, environmental, economic, institutional, political and legal impacts on balanced and equitable implementation of Sustainable Human & Social Development.



Happy New Year !









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