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CNI Calls on U.S. to Deal With New Democratic Forces in Middle East PDF Print E-mail
Feb 10, 2006 at 12:00 AM
[Council for the National Interest, February 10, 2006]
“WASHINGTON, February 10, 2006 ­ A delegation from the Council for the National Interest that participated as international observers to the recent Palestinian elections and met with government and opposition figures in six Middle East countries called yesterday on President Bush and his administration to deal honestly and openly with the new Islamist opposition that has been brought to power by democratic means in several Middle East countries.

The members of the delegation, including two ambassadors, were among the first American retired foreign service officers to meet with Hamas leaders Mahmoud al-Zahar and Khaled Meshaal, whom they described as eager to talk to American officials, and even to reach a peace with Israel...”

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In Rachel Corrie verdict, Israel deals new blow to international law
The verdict on the 2003 killing of Rachel Corrie absolved Israel of any wrongdoing, essentially blaming the victim for her death. The trial revealed Israel’s approach to the most fundamental principles of international law, and especially to the duty to protect non-combatants.

By Jeff Halper

For those who hoped for a just verdict on the death of Rachel Corrie, the American student and ISM activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003 as she was defending a Palestinian home about to be demolished, this is a sad day. Not surprising, but still sad and bitter. The judge who decided the case, Oded Gershon, absolved the army of all blame, despite massive and internally contradictory testimony to the contrary. Moreover, he essentially blamed Rachel for her own death, commenting that a “normal person” would have run away from the bulldozer rather than confront it.

Palestinians and Israel human rights activists have learned that justice cannot be obtained through the Israeli judicial system. The Haifa District Court, in which the trial was held, could not have ruled other than how the state wanted. For the past 45 years of Israeli occupation, the Supreme Court has excluded from its rulings all reference to international humanitarian law and to the Fourth Geneva Convention in particular, which protects civilians living in conflict situations and under occupation. Only Israeli law applies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – military law and orders – and the courts have restricted even that form of law by declaring that in instances of “security,” they defer to the military. As in Rachel’s case, the IDF thus has carte blanche to commit war crimes with impunity, with no fear of accountability or punishment.

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