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Home arrow Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions arrow The time is now
The time is now PDF Print E-mail
Jun 30, 2007 at 02:35 PM

Just as I campaigned for boycotts against apartheid in South Africa many years ago, now I shall do so against Israeli apartheid, says Colin Green

The strong and hostile response from pro-Israeli groups, as well as the UK government fearful of offending Israel, to a recent motion carried by a two thirds majority at the University and College Union (UCU) congress is in marked contrast to the joyful response of Palestinians, which has been almost totally supportive.

Perhaps the former have misunderstood that motion. After an open and very serious debate, one outcome upon which all agreed was that Israel is an oppressive state, illegally occupying territory for 40 years while ignoring numerous UN resolutions, international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Disagreement centred entirely on what the trade union movement could or should do about it. More specifically, we discussed the role of academic boycotts, which to all academics is normally an anathema. Free exchange of ideas and debate, however fierce, is central to our life. However, after 40 years without resolution, many of us believe that the Israel-Palestine conflict is the epicentre of a global conflagration so dangerous for all of us that abnormal responses have become an urgent, indeed desperate, moral imperative...

Monday June 11, 2007
for full letter

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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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