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McCully's failure to condemn Israel for UN school atrocities lacks moral courage Print
Wednesday, 07 January 2009

MEDIA RELEASE: PALESTINE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN - JANUARY 7, 2009
McCully's failure to condemn Israel for UN school atrocities lacks moral courage says PHRC


The Palestine Human Rights Campaign is appalled by today’s news that Israeli forces had shelled a
United Nations school in which 350 people from Jabalya refugee camp had taken refuge, killing 34 people
and injuring 55. This was the second strike on a UN school within hours. The loss of human lives in Gaza
now exceeds 500 with thousands injured.


Tuma Hazou, Spokesman for the PHRC says “ We are outraged that Mr McCully is complicit with
Israel and the USA in failing to support international law. Security Council Resolution 1322 (2000), paragraph
3: “Calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its
responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in a Time
of War of 12 August 1949;...” This Security Council vote was passed 14 to 0, making it obligatory
international law for UN members including New Zealand.


In open letters to Mr McCully regarding Israel's belligerent occupation of Palestinian territory the
PHRC says that he “has been given ample opportunity to declare NZ government support for international
law and the Geneva Conventions. His failure to respond and his public pronouncements on Israel's present
blitz and invasion of the Gaza Strip show a lamentable lack of judgement, courage and commitment to the
rule of law.”


The UN Human Rights Commission has said on other occasions that it was “gravely concerned”
about several different types of atrocities inflicted by Israel upon the Palestinian People, which it
denominated “war crimes, flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity.”
What is a “crime against humanity”?


The concept begins with the Nuremberg Charter of 1945 for the trial of the major Nazi war criminals.
And in the Nuremberg Charter of 1945, drafted by the United States Government, there was created and
inserted a new type of international crime specifically intended to deal with the Nazi persecution of the
Jewish People. This is where the concept of crime against humanity came from. And this is what the UN
Human Rights Commission determined that Israel is doing to the Palestinian People: crimes against
humanity.


If the world community does not act decisively to stop Israeli war crimes they could very well
degenerate into genocide. Some would say this has already begun. Tuma Hazou declares that Mr McCully's
silence regarding Israel's war crimes is a moral disgrace, a betrayal of humanity and a shame upon New
Zealand.


Contact : Tuma Hazou 09 427 6527 or 021 0250 1417
Leslie Bravery 09 828 3907


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FOOTNOTE TO MEDIA RELEASE:


Belligerent occupation is governed by The Hague Regulations of 1907, as well as by the Fourth Geneva
Convention of 1949, and the customary laws of belligerent occupation. The Fourth Geneva Convention
applies to the West Bank, to the Gaza Strip, and to the entire City of Jerusalem, in order to protect the
Palestinians living there.


The Palestinian People living in this Palestinian Land are “protected persons” within the meaning of
the Fourth Geneva Convention. All of their rights are sacred under international law. There are 149
substantive articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention that protect the rights of every one of these
Palestinians living in occupied Palestine. The Israeli Government is violating, and has since 1967 been
violating, almost each and every one of these rights recognised by the Fourth Geneva Convention. Indeed,
violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention are war crimes].


The right to resist belligerent occupation is also recognised in international law and the conflict is not
symmetrical. As matters of fact and of law, the gross and repeated violations of Palestinian rights by the
Israeli Army and Israeli settlers living illegally in occupied Palestine constitute war crimes. Conversely, the
Palestinian People are defending themselves and their land and their homes against Israeli war crimes and
Israeli war criminals, both military and civilian.


The seriousness of this cannot be overstated. On October 19, 2000 a Special Session of the UN
Commission on Human Rights adopted a Resolution set forth in UN Document E/CN.4/S-5/L.2/Rev. 1,
“Condemning the provocative visit to al Aqsa Haram Sharif on 28 September 2000 by Ariel Sharon, the Likud
party leader, which triggered the tragic events that followed in occupied East Jerusalem and the other
occupied Palestinian territories, resulting in a high number of deaths and injuries among Palestinian
civilians.”