A war crime is an act that constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility.
Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem Micheal Sabbah wrote regarding Gaza on Sunday and reminded this American of a 2006 report by Father Manuel written while he was the Priest at the Latin Church and school in Gaza.
By Eileen Fleming
On Monday Palestinian author and activist Samia Khoury emailed:
The following reflection by Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem Micheal Sabbah.
There is a war on Gaza, as it has been once, twice and more. Gaza and its people are in a state of permanent war. It has been under constant siege for 13 years, which is war imposed upon them every day. Today, the month of Ramadan has started for fasting, prayer, repentance and good deeds. Instead, we see death exploding in and around Gaza. Israel itself complains of the war. Yesterday, Sunday May 5th, the Israeli Defense Minister tweeted and cried out to the world to notice and see Israelis waking up for the second day in a row of rockets coming from Gaza and falling in Israel.
War is painful after two days in Israel. It is as painful and more painful in Gaza after 13 years of siege. War is an absolute evil both for the Israelis and for the Palestinians. Mr. Minister, the key to peace and the end of war is not in the hands of a world that we summon but simply in your hand and in the hands of Israel.
The issue is not only that of Gaza but the issue of all the Palestinian people. The issue is the injustice imposed on the Palestinian people since generations. Israel refuses to see Palestinians as human beings with same rights and equal to all human beings. Israel has tried the methods of war and violence repeatedly to solve the issue. Until today, it has not succeeded and now, on the near horizon, there is talk about a solution wrapped in darkness and non-recognition of Palestinian rights. It will not bring a just solution. It will be another failure..
The solution is simple if Israel wanted to SEE. If it wanted to see that the Palestinian people have the same rights as the Israeli people, all being equal in humanity. It is in Israel’s hands – Israel is the stronger – to realize this equality. Avoiding this equality until now was useless. Israel itself today suffers from war launched on Gaza.
The solution is simple. Israeli human beings should not remain exposed to war, as is the Palestinian human being. Both are human and equal in humanity. We call upon Israel, the friends of Israel, those interested in the survival of Israel and the security of Israel to simply see that the Palestinian and Israeli peoples are equal in rights and duties and capable of making peace.
We say to the Israeli authorities: It is in your hands to keep us and keep yourselves in constant war and hostility, and in your hands to let us move together to an equal life with dignity, peace and security. Learn from the experience of already 70 years in war. They did not yield security and peace. The cause of the Palestinian people cannot be solved by violence or unjustly imposed solutions, but only by justice and equality. This is the key to war and peace in Israel and Palestine. The key to open the door of peace is in the hands of Israel. -Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem Micheal Sabbah.
In November 2006, Father Manuel the parish priest at the Latin Church and school in Gaza informed the world:
Gaza cannot sleep! The people are suffering unbelievably. They are hungry, thirsty, have no electricity or clean water. They are suffering constant bombardments and sonic booms from low flying aircraft. They need food: bread and water. Children and babies are hungry…people have no money to buy food. The price of food has doubled and tripled due to the situation. We cannot drink water from the ground here as it is salty and not hygienic. People must buy water to drink. They have no income, no opportunities to get food and water from outside and no opportunities to secure money inside of Gaza. They have no hope.
Without electricity children are afraid. No light at night. No oil or candles…Thirsty children are crying, afraid and desperate…Many children have been violently thrown from their beds at night from the sonic booms. Many arms and legs have been broken. These planes fly low over Gaza and then reach the speed of sound. This shakes the ground and creates shock waves like an earthquake that causes people to be thrown from their bed. I, myself weigh 120 kilos and was almost thrown from my bed due to the shock wave produced by a low flying jet that made a sonic boom.
Gaza cannot sleep…the cries of hungry children, the sullen faces of broken men and women who are just sitting in their hungry emptiness with no light, no hope, no love. These actions are War Crimes!
A war crime is any act that constitutes a serious violation of the laws of war that gives rise to individual criminal responsibility.
Examples of war crimes include intentionally killing civilians or prisoners, torturing, destroying civilian property, taking hostages, and seriously violating the principles of distinction and proportionality, such as strategic bombing of civilian populations.
Eileen Fleming writes for TADN: HERE
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