UN human rights expert and retired Princeton law professor Richard Falk said today that there is compelling evidence that Israel violated the laws of war by “conducting a large-scale military operation against an essentially defenseless population.”
“There needs to be an investigation carried out under independent auspices as to whether these grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions should be treated as war crimes,” the professor said, adding that he believes “that there is the prima facie case for reaching that conclusion.”
“This is the first time I know of where a civilian population has been essentially locked into the war zone, not allowed to leave it despite the dense population and the obvious risks that were entailed,” Falk pointed out, “the civilians in Gaza were denied the option of becoming a refugee.”
Professor Falk made international news when, less than two weeks before Israel began the war on the Gaza Strip, he was detained by Israeli officials for over 20 hours at a Tel Aviv airport while trying to enter the country as the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories. He was eventually expelled from the country, provoking an angry response from the United Nations and human rights groups.
Unsurprisingly, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Aharon Leshno-Yaar made no attempt to answer the charges, choosing rather to attack Professor Falk’s history of criticism for Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, insisting “Professor Falk’s bias against Israel is well known.”
Saturday, 24 January 2009
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