By Duncan McFarlane
Many governments - and currently especially the Israeli and US governments - claim they can’t negotiate with terrorists - yet every side in every war ever fought has been guilty of atrocities – whether terrorism or war crimes.
The UN says Israeli forces in Lebanon and Gaza are guilty of war crimes - crimes approved by the Israeli government (1,2). Yet the democratically elected Lebanese government hasn’t refused to negotiate with an Israeli government guilty of war crimes - nor have the democratically elected Fatah – nor democratically elected Hamas. These governments include terrorists – but are war crimes against civilians really less wrong than terrorism against civilians?
Neither side can win in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq or Israel/Palestine. From 1978 to 1999 Israeli forces fought Palestinian terrorist groups in Lebanon, committed war crimes , and only succeeded in replacing Palestinian terrorists with Hezbollah. In the West Bank and Gaza every attack on Israelis by terrorists like Islamic Jihad has resulted in Israeli forces killing Palestinians – mostly civilians - and holding all Palestinians responsible for a tiny minority they don’t control – even during the thirteen month ceasefire held to by Hamas and Fatah from March last year till June this year as Amnesty International and Time Magazine have reported (3,4).
Most governments and militaries (including Britain’s) have committed war crimes.
There can be no moral high ground or victory in wars between terrorists and war criminals – not even democratically elected ones . There can only be ceasefires and negotiations to provide a stable peace among fellow human beings which might one day allow for justice – or even reconciliation.
(1) = BBC News 5 July 2006 , ‘UN envoy attacks Israel over Gaza’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5150840.stm
(2) = BBC news 20 July 2006, ‘UN warning on Mid-East war crimes’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5197544.stm
(3) = Amnesty International Press Release 30 Jun 2006 , ‘Israel/Occupied Territories: Deliberate attacks a war crime’ , http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGMDE150612006
- See 3rd last paragraph which reads:
“As the tension between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) and armed groups continues to mount, there is growing concern for the safety of the civilian population. High numbers of Palestinian bystanders, including women and children, have been killed and injured by Israeli artillery shelling and air strikes in recent weeks and months. This situation looks set to worsen in light of the end of the unilateral cease-fire which the armed wing of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups had been observing since last year”
(4) = Time Magazine 24 July 2006 , ‘Hate Thy Neighbor’,(7th sentence of 1st paragraph of 3rd page on website version which begins:
“Hamas militants kept a cease-fire from March 2005 until last June” (Time’s interpretation that this ceasefire was kept because of , rather than in spite of , targeted killings of Hamas leaders by the Israeli military is controversial to say the least.)
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