It's the Fourth Geneva Convention, Mr McCully
Wednesday, 07 January 2009

    Murray McCully's refusal to “take sides” over Israel's war crimes in the Gaza Strip is a dereliction of duty and a disgrace to New Zealand. The Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) expects more than mere condemnation of grave breaches of international humanitarian law.

Article 146 states:

    “Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a ' prima facie ' case. Each High Contracting Party shall take measures necessary for the suppression of all acts contrary to the provisions of the present Convention other than the grave breaches defined in the following Article.”

    Speaking out in condemnation of Israel's behaviour and in support of UN draft resolutions that require Israel to obey international humanitarian law is the very least the Foreign Minister could do to show New Zealand's abhorrence.

    It is worth noting also the huge chasm that lies between Israel's conduct as a nation state and what is required of it in civilised international agreements. Consider Israel's self-styled 'targeted assassinations'.

Article 146 states that:

    “In all circumstances, the accused persons shall benefit by safeguards of proper trial and defence, which shall not be less favourable than those provided by Article 105 and those following of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 1949.”

    At 12:30, on January 2, 2009 in an assassination strike against Hamas leading figure, Dr. Nizar Rayyan, Israeli F16s destroyed two houses in the Jabalya refugee camp, killing 16 members of one family, including four women and 11 children. Dozens of civilians were injured and neighbouring houses were damaged.

    Israel does not consider itself bound by any agreement, convention or UN resolution with which it disagrees. Israel's conduct as a rogue state and the West's failure to condemn the cruel injustices it inflicts on a captive people leads to despair and desperation. The Zionist state's lawlessness plays into the hands of extremists, is destabilising, and imperils world peace and stability more than any other single factor.

Leslie Bravery