Kerry Sponsors Palestine's Collective Punishment
Kerry Sponsors Collective Punishment of Palestinians on Behalf of Israel
By Genevieve Cora Fraser
As a former state prosecutor and lieutenant governor whose father was a Foreign Service officer, the former Presidential candidate Senator John Forbes Kerry should know a violation of international law when he sees one. Perhaps he could blame intimidation by the American Israeli PAC organization or a need to pander to his Jewish benefactors as he makes another run for the Presidency, but Kerry’s recent co-sponsorship of the Palestinian Compliance Act of 2006 is a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that forbids collective punishment and states “that a person shall not be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. This article explicitly relates to administrative punishment imposed on persons or groups because of acts that they did not personally commit. Article 50 of the Hague Regulations states a comparable prohibition.”
The Palestinian voting public is not a terrorist organization. The Palestinian Authority is their governmental structure. Come on, Senator, you should know that. According to the United Nations April 26 report on the crisis created by you and your cronies in the Congress and Senate, as well as the Bush administration, along with employing over 160,000 people, “the Palestinian Authority is the main provider and supporter of the various sectors especially education and health. For example, the PA runs 75% of schools and 62% of health clinics. It employs 39,000 and 12,000 Palestinians in the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health respectively. Therefore, neither the UN nor the non-governmental organizations can compete or replace the PA over vital services.”
The UN report also “reminded Israel as an occupying power of its responsibility to provide or facilitate assistance to the Palestinian people and to transfer revenues to the PA.” As we know, Senator, there’s a fat chance of that happening!!
In a nutshell what the nut cases in Washington have done on behalf of their friend Israel (who spies on us, steals our defense secrets, bombed the USS Liberty Bell and has sweet-talked us into handing over a trillion dollars and wants us to nuke Iran into the stone-age now that we’ve taken care of Iraq for them) is to declare that the Palestinian Authority is a terrorist organization which makes all 160,000 employees complicit in terrorism against Israel. I suppose that includes their families too. Israel likes to retaliate against the families as well as those they deem to be terrorists. So now the 160,000 employees of the Palestinian Authority are now officially terrorists on our say-so? How can this be? I know Israelis like to claim there is no Palestine and there are no Palestinians. Is Palestinian existence now an act of terror against the state of Israel? After all, it is a Jewish state – what the heck are Arabs and Muslims and Christians doing in Greater Israel? Perhaps it is a crime – America seems to think so.
Senator, do you realize that criminalizing and demonizing innocent employees of the Palestinian Authority (which is considered to be a lead-up to possible genocide under international law) would be the same as if some foreign entity occupied the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. You know as well as I do that the average small town in Massachusetts is better armed than all of Palestine. So, if any resident of Massachusetts dared to resist the brutality and subjugation and confiscation of their property rights, then he or she should be called a terrorist???
And what if the tanks started rolling into Massachusetts cities and towns, and the invaders started arresting and killing the population willy- nilly as Israel does, and then Massachusetts residents voted for individuals who had the guts and determination to organize armed resistance as well as feed the hungry, provide medical services and shelter. And once they took power and ran the state of Massachusetts in an attempt to restore calm and justice, are you saying that it would logically follow that anyone who drew a paycheck for the Commonwealth – our doctors and nurses and teachers and janitors, street sweepers and garbage collectors, town officials and gee whiz everyone involved in the government of Massachusetts should then also be declared – heaven’s forbid – a terrorist???!!
The Palestinian Compliance Act of 2006, which you co-sponsored, amends the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act and mandates that the United States withhold financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) because Palestinians exercised their democratic right to vote for Hamas. But in addition to cutting off all funds to the PA (and insisting that all other governments and banks comply with US demands), if an American is caught doing business with anyone associated with the PA then that person or business has opened the door for the Homeland Security goon squads, under the newly “reformed” Patriot Act, to march into their home and business for a full scale investigation into so-called terrorist activities. (Sounds down right Un-American to me. Where’s John Wayne when you need him?)
Of course Israel, the illegal Occupier of Palestine, is also in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for its all day, every day military assaults, shelling, bombing and missile attacks on Palestine’s civilian population. If anything is a form of collective punishment, Israel’s modes operandi is. Add to these the hundreds of roadblocks, blockades and checkpoints, a punitive permit system that makes living in one’s own home illegal, thousands of house demolitions, the apartheid Wall, and illegal settlements which punish entire communities by stealing their farmland and water resources, and the thousands and thousands of indefinitely detained men, women and children who are handed out punishment in Israel jails equal to or worse than Guantanamo and Abu Grab tortures.
Israel has violated the truce that the so-called terrorist organization Hamas has upheld for 15 months and has killed hundreds and hundreds of Palestinians in that time frame and created a reign of terror that has seen thousands and thousands of violations of that very same truce. Meanwhile the Gaza Strip is blockaded, food supplies nearly gone and medicines and antibiotics depleted so that people’s lives are now at risk from any and every disease known to man. In other words, Palestinians have their feet to the fire at all times, including this Israel-US instigated economic blockade, while Israel can do whatever the hell it wants no matter how grievous its violations of international law and human decency.
But no matter, like the song, “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets” from (ironically) the American musical, Damn Yankees, whatever Israel wants, Israel gets… “No use to fight, Don't you know you can't win. You're no exception to the rule; I'm irrezeestable you fool, Give in.... Give in!” And indeed they all do give in – the Bush administration which is run by the NeoCons with their duel loyalty to Israel, the US Congress and Senate which is for the most part an Israeli First crowd, as well as Tony Blair and his cast and crew and now the European Union. They are all falling for Israel – “big time” as VP Richard Bruce Cheney likes to say. And they want the Hamas government to recognize the right for the Jewish state to exist.
But there’s one teeny, weenie, little problem with the so-called recognition of Israel, the Occupier of Palestine. Aside from the victim being made to accept the victimization of the oppressor, Israel has no constitution, no defined borders and regards Arabs as non-humans with NO rights. (Americans uphold Civil Liberties and we are supposed to support only states that do also.) But as a matter of recorded fact, during recent Israeli elections, one of the top vote getters was the party run by Avigdor Liberman whose platform is the total ethnic cleansing of all Arab Israeli citizens from Israel. Meanwhile Israel is proceeding with the ethnic cleansing of 40,000 Bedouin Arab Israeli citizens – as you read this. That’s more racist than even the blackest days of American slavery and the era of the Jim Crow laws, but very much in line with the onset of the darkest days in Germany.
Are Palestinians supposed to say – OK Israel we recognize your right to say we do not exist – as you have demonstrated by making it illegal for Israeli cartographers to put Palestine on the map – and as you prove by taking our property and lives as if we are bits of nothing for you to blow away and pretend never existed. But where’s the reciprocity? Let’s say, Hamas recognized Israel’s right to exist – now its Palestine’s turn. Palestine exists too. But the facts are Israel does not recognize Palestine’s right to exist and has spent the last 37 years of Occupation acting as if the Palestinian territories belong to them and not to all the inhabitants that dwell within.
Israel is a mere 58 years old, whereas, Palestine is 3,000 years old. Israeli Jews for the most part are from Europe and America. Their ancestors (and many of mine) were converts in the 8th century with no links to the Holy Land except through belief in the Torah and for some the Talmud.
Recently, the American Journal of Human Genetics published an article on a study that traces 40% of the total Ashkenazi population to 4 women who are “thought to have lived in the Middle East about 1,000 years ago but they may not have lived anywhere near each other. However, they bequeathed genetic signatures to their descendents, which do not appear in non-Jews and are rare in Jews not of Ashkenazi origin.” The study involved analyzing mtDNA from more than 11,000 samples representing 67 populations.
Ashkenazi Jews are of mainly central and eastern European ancestry, and 4 women of middle eastern origin in the family tree doeth not a Diaspora make. Given the time frame of the 4 women, they could have been of Christian origin if they arrived in Europe more than 1900 years ago, and of Muslim origin if they arrived 1,400 years ago. And they may not have originated from Palestine at all, but from some other Middle Eastern region before migrating to Europe with their mates – who were most likely traveling merchants.
The point I’m raising by this discussion is the illegitimacy of the Zionist claim of a Biblical Birthright and insistence on the Jews 3000 year history in the Holy Land. The Hebrews were clearly in existence in Palestine 2,000 years ago and perhaps 600 or more years prior to that. The Ashkenazi Jews are Europeans who are adherents of a belief system that may have had its roots in Palestine but has evolved into a very different religion – just as modern Christianity and Islam has.
To set the record straight, Jesus was a Palestinian but not a Jew. He was of Arabic origin, though religiously a Hebrew, and spoke Aramaic. This also means that the Jews could not possibly have been responsible for the drama that led to the crucifixion, despite some nasty Christian accusations and scape-goating. The word Jew was coined in the 10th century to describe the European converts. But nowadays the term covers ancient and modern followers. And for the most part, Palestinians are indigenous to the Holy Land. Palestinians have a Right to Exist where they have dwelled since Moses was a pup. Jews do too if they can abide by international laws and learn to respect the people Zionist (both Christian and Jewish) seem bent on destroying.
Writing for Haaretz, the noted Israel sociologist Baruch Kimmerling stated, “Since 1967, millions of Palestinians have been under a military occupation, without any civil rights, and most lacking even the most basic human rights. The continuing circumstances of occupation and repression give them, by any measure, the right to resist that occupation with any means at their disposal and to rise up in violence against that occupation. This is a moral right inherent to natural law and international law.”
“The Palestinian right to resist the occupation is strengthened by the Fourth Geneva Convention’s ban on creating irreversible facts on the ground in occupied territories,” he continued, “and especially the ban on transferring populations from the occupying state to the territories it has conquered.”
Speaking on behalf of the Hamas government, Ghazi Hamad recently commented that not only is the economic blockade a collective punishment against the Palestinian people for choosing to elect Hamas, “it is an act of terrorism to threaten other banks from dealing with the Palestinian Authority.” It is also a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that forbids collective punishment. And in this case it is illegal coercion to force these banking institutions to participate in a vile crime against humanity which borders on an act of attempted genocide.
“Just when it seemed it could not get worse, under the Israeli occupation, assassinations, Wall, settlement expansion, home demolitions, land confiscation, invasions, arrests, and further restrictions on movement at checkpoints, the US got further into the game,” Hamad continued. “Now they not only finance the Israeli government with billions per year, but are also making certain that the occupied population receive no international aid.”