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Sunday, February 03, 2013

Richard Falk justifies and supports Hamas rockets

I had missed this essay from December by Richard Falk.

It is always interesting to see a special rapporteur of the UN justify targeting Jews - and for a supposed expert on international law to say that the laws themselves are insufficient in allowing the right of Hamas to shoot rockets at Jewish civilians:

There is no doubt that Hamas’s reliance on rockets fired in the direction of Israeli civilian population centers are violations of international humanitarian law, and should be condemned as such, but even this condemnation is not without its problematic aspects. The Goldstone Report did condemn the reliance of these rockets in a typically decontextualized manner, that is, without reference to the unlawfulness of the occupation, including its pronounced reliance on collective punishment in the form of the blockade as well as arbitrary violent incursions, frequent military overflights, and a terrifying regime of subjugation that imparts on Palestinians a sense of total vulnerability and helplessness. The Goldstone Report also was silent as to the nature and extent of a Palestinian right of resistance. Such unconditional condemnations of Hamas as ‘a terrorist organization’ are unreasonably one-sided to the extent that Palestinian moral, political, and legal rights of resistance are ignored and Israel’s unlawful policies are not considered. This issue also reveals a serious deficiency in international humanitarian law, especially, as here, in the context of a prolonged occupation that includes many violations of the most fundamental and inalienable rights of an occupied people. The prerogatives of states are upheld, while those of peoples are overlooked or treated as non-existent.

It is also relevant to take note of the absence of alternative means available to the Palestinians to uphold their rights under international law and to challenge the abuses embedded in Israeli occupation policies. Israel with its drones, Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter aircraft, Iron Dome, and so forth enjoys the luxury of choosing its targets at will, but Palestinians have no such option. For them it is either using the primitive and indiscriminate weaponry at their disposal or essentially giving in to an intolerable status quo. To repeat, this does not make Hamas rockets lawful, but does it make such reliance wrong, given the overall context of violence that includes absolute impunity for Israeli violations of international criminal law? What are we to do with international law when it is invoked only to control the behavior of the weaker party?

It gives perspective to imagine the situation being reversed as it was during the Nazi occupation of France or the Netherlands during World War II. Resistance fighters were uniformly perceived in the liberal West as unconditional heroes, and no critical attention was given as to whether the tactics used unduly imperiled innocent civilian lives. Those who lost their lives in such a resistance were honored as martyrs. Mashaal and other Hamas leaders have made similar arguments on several occasions, in effect asking what Palestinians are supposed to do in the exercise of resistance given their circumstances, which have persisted for so long, given the failures of traditional diplomacy and the UN to secure their rights under international law.
Falk is admitting that Hamas terror rockets aimed at Israeli civilians are unlawful - but he cannot say that they are wrong! You see, Hamas is just like the French and Dutch resistance fighters!

The major argument Falk advances is that Khaled Meshal's statements in Arabic flatly stating his desire to destroy Israel should also be "contextualized" and his ambiguous statements to the Western media being misinterpreted as showing flexibility should be what we believe.

Oh, and he is again not above lying with statistics:

Although not the whole story, the one-sided ratio of deaths as between Israel and Palestine is a good first approximation of comparative responsibility over the period of Hamas ascendancy in Gaza, and it is striking. For instance, between the ceasefire in 2009 and the Israeli attack in November 2012, 271 Palestinians were killed and not a single Israeli. [B’Teselm [sic] report]
Actually, B'tzelem counts 4 Israeli fatalities from Gaza in that time period.

But moreover, looking at the details of B'Tselem's statistics for that time period, we see that the vast majority of Gazans killed were terrorists! 200 of them were either actively engaged in hostilities against Israel (165) or targeted as leaders of terror groups (35)! Of the remainder, a large percentage were either smugglers in tunnels killed during air raids, Arabs trying to sneak into Israel or found directly next to the perimeter fence, or rock-throwing protesters. (Also, 45 Gazans killed by other Gazans, and 14 executed by Hamas.)

Then again, why should anyone be surprised when someone who clearly supports terrorism as legitimate "resistance" is also a liar?

(h/t Missing Peace)