A day after the United Nations Security Council passed a watered down resolution demanding a neutral and transparent investigation of the murder of nine activists and piracy on the high seas, Hillary Clinton has opined that Israel is perfectly capable of conducting an impartial investigation. Now either she’s the stupidest woman in creation or she’s being disingenuous and we all know she’s far from being stupid. Allow me to advise the Secretary of State to stop acting the fool and come to terms with why it’s absolutely impossible for Israel to conduct such an inquiry.
Let’s begin with the record of Israel’s previous internal investigations of its criminal conduct. For a start, those investigations rarely take place. Even when their conduct is probed by outsiders, the Israelis disparage the findings. Most recently Israel went so far as labeling UN war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone a ‘self-hating Jew’ for concluding that the IDF and its leaders committed war crimes in “Operation Cast Lead” which leveled much of Gaza and led to the slaughter of 1,500 Palestinians.
It’s doubtful that Clinton is unfamiliar with Israel’s record. Ariel Sharon, the mastermind behind the Sabra and Shatilla Massacre and the butcher of Qibya, was mildly reprimanded for both ‘incidents’ and eventually became Prime Minister. Israelis elected another Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, even though he publicly admitted and even boasted about his role in the Deir El Yassin Massacre. And two other Prime Ministers, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livini, have yet to answer for their war crimes in last year’s assault on Gaza.
IIan Pappe, the Israeli historian, has documented the fact that David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, was the architect of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. One of the men who helped carry out Ben-Gurion’s order was none other than Yitzhak Rabin who was responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Lydda and Ramla. And let’s not forget that even the ‘moderate’ Shimon Peres has the blood of the Qana Massacre on his hands. Among her other war crimes, Golda Meir was the Prime Minister who ordered the shooting down of a Libyan passenger plane in 1973 and initiated the settlement policy that was a clear violation of international laws governing military conduct in occupied territories. Under her orders, Israel bombed Port Said and Ismalia to rubble and leveled the Syrian city of Quneitra.
That’s just a partial list of the Israeli Prime Ministers that have war crimes on their records. I must have missed a couple – because as far as I can tell – there never has been an Israeli Prime Minister who hasn’t committed a war crime. Tzipi Livni’s daddy was the Irgun’s chief operations officer who planned the terrorist attack against the King David Hotel in 1947. In orchestrating the murder of 1,500 civilians in Gaza, she was just acting out like a chip of the old block.
But aside from Israel’s long history of unexamined atrocities, there are other reasons why Israel can’t possibly conduct a neutral investigation of this act of piracy. For one thing, they’ve already destroyed evidence by confiscating cameras, videos and laptops from the 700 victims they kidnapped. And for another, they won’t have access to the witnesses who have all ready been deported. Any Israeli investigation would have to depend entirely on testimony from the very soldiers who committed the piracy and the military and political leadership that handed down the orders to assault the unarmed flotilla.
This was an act of piracy that happened on a ship flying a Turkish flag, and absent an international investigation, the only sovereign power that has a right to investigate Israel’s crimes is Turkey. And, being a highly trained lawyer, I’m sure Hillary Clinton can check the law and the legal precedents to verify that pesky little detail about jurisdiction.
In obstructing an international investigation, Clinton and Obama, both well trained lawyers, seem to be having a very convenient memory lapse. So let me remind them of how the US reacted to piracy and the murder of an American citizen, Leon Klinghoffer, in the Achille Lauro incident back in 1985. As a result of that one fatality, the US lobbied for tougher anti-piracy legislation and American diplomats were the driving force behind the Rome Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation. Under Article 3 of that convention, which was passed in 1988, it is an international crime for any person to seize or exercise control over a ship by force, and also a crime to injure or kill any person in the process. But Hillary knows that already.
Today comes word that Furkan Dogan, a 19 year-old American citizen, was one of the victims of the vicious assault on the Marvi Marmara, a ship flying the Turkish flag. Now that should change Clinton’s calculations because when Klinghoffer was murdered; the US did not just shrug its shoulders and leave the Italian government to exercise jurisdiction over how to deal with the matter. To secure the safety of the other passengers, the Italians had worked out a deal with the four Palestinian pirates to release the crew and the passengers in exchange for safe passage to Tunisia. But Ronald Reagan was going to have none of that. Because an American was killed by Palestinian pirates, he dispatched F-14 Tomcats and forced down the Egyptian plane carrying the pirates to safe haven. The civilian aircraft landed in a NATO airbase in Sicily and the US got embroiled in a public spat with both Italy and Egypt to make certain that those who killed Klinghoffer were brought to justice. The Italians won the jurisdiction argument but it still demonstrated how far the US would go to shelter its citizens from acts of piracy.
Even though one of the victims of this Israeli act of piracy was an American, The US was the only member of the UN Security Council that fought tooth and nail to prevent the resolution from even mentioning Israel. Which isn’t a bit surprising; it is now common knowledge that the State Department that has been leased out to the Israeli Lobby for going on two generations.
America’s objections to an international inquiry might also be a bit self-serving because our leaders have also displayed utter contempt for international law and have gone out of their way to shield our own war criminals from accountability for their war of aggression against Iraq. So before we give Clinton the right to decide how and who should investigate Israel’s piracy and premeditated murder, someone needs to explain why Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney aren’t sharing a cell in The Hague.
If Israel and the US have one common creed it is their casual callousness regarding the loss of Arab lives. Well I have news for them, this time Israel murdered an American and eight Turks. As Americans, we have every reason to demand that the Obama administration apply the ‘Klinghoffer’ standard to the Israelis – unless of course, some American citizens are less worthy than others.
The US government has a long history of shielding Israel from accountability and is likely to continue doing so for years to come. The boys and girls in Washington simply can’t be trusted to do the right thing. When it comes to foreign policy, America’s spineless treasonous politicians align their policy to Israel’s agenda even at the expense of our own national interest and our own nationals. Does anybody remember the Likudnik AIPAC neo-cons who got us ensnared in Iraq at a cost of 4,400 lives and $700bn dollars? Have we so quickly forgotten how the Bush administration white washed the murder of Rachel Corrie by Israeli thugs? I don’t think there is any need to bring up the USS Liberty but those who know the details understand the scope of Israel’s political clout in Washington.
Any country that has a Vice-President who openly professes to be a Zionist and runs around doing Israel’s bidding even after being publicly humiliated in Jerusalem is disqualified from making a call on what constitutes impartiality, neutrality and transparency. Obama, Clinton and Biden need to step aside, keep their traps shut and allow enough space for a Turkish or an international independent investigation to uncover the details of Israel’s piracy on the high seas.
Ahmed Amr is an Arab-American and the former editor of NileMedia.com. He is the author of “The Sheep and the Guardians – Diary of a SEC Sanctioned Swindle.”
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This post was written by Ahmed Amr