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More war crimes in Lebanon

One of the difficulties of conflicts driven by major hatreds is that the participants do not themselves back from committing atrocities such as that in Qana.

It is often said that the pen is mightier than the sword. The long term impact of the war crimes in Lebanon will be to increase the amount of conflict in the world as a whole rather than reduce it.

Our own government has to accept some responsibility for their support of the military actions of Israel. They have not only supported the conflict through words, but also via deeds in allowing UK airspace to be used for the provision of munitions.

Whether Tony Blair's government will find themselves under investigation by the police for contravening Section 52 of the ICC Act 2001 remains to be seen. They do, however, run this risk.


M74 said…
And John, would you describe Hezbollah's indescriminate rocket attacks into Israel as war crimes also? And will you be pushing to have Hezbollah and its fighters punished in the ICC? Is it possible to imagine trying to round up these men? It is possible that in attempting to prosecute such men that it might "make the conflict worse", as seen from the perspective of radical Islamists who are committed to the destruction of Israel and have no regard or time for the norms of international law of Human Rights? Would they not see such a prosecution as "western imperialism" and the "interference of the west"? I think they might, you know. So are you really even handed here?

Just some thoughts.
John Hemming said…
Yes such attacks are war crimes as well. The basic issue is that we should not have such acts. If anyone in the UK had acted in a manner ancillary to such acts I would push for their prosecution.
M74 said…
Your position is consistent in this regard. However, the International Criminal Court is international in scope, of course. Why not push for Hezbollah to be prosecuted? For they have certainly violated international law and the norms of human rights, as you agree. Why only talk of Blair et al being prosecuted in this way?
John Hemming said…
The law is a UK law applicable to UK citizens. If it can be found that a UK citizen has contravened it then yes.
Manfarang said…
All of this is part of the 'war on terror'. A policy that is reducing the whole of the Middle East into a cauldron of hate and conflict.
What is needed is 'peace instead of terror'.The root causes of these conflicts must be addressed-ie a final resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict.
John Hemming said…
True, but as a first step not making things worse would help.

Once people hate so much that they prefer revenge to peace a negotiated settlement becomes impossible.
M74 said…
Once people hate so much that they prefer revenge to peace a negotiated settlement becomes impossible.

Would you agree John that this is precisely what Hezbollah did when the attacked Israel without provocation? After all, Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000.
John Hemming said…
An unconditional ceasefire is a good first step.
M74 said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
M74 said…
A temporary cessation of violence would not solve the basic problem - that Hizbollah have amassed a considerable military force with the express purpose of waging war on Israel. After all, what do they have all these Katyushka rockets for?

A temporary ceasefire would have to lead to the disarmament of Hizbollah to allow for the long term security of Lebanon's southern border with Israel.

Will Hizbollah disarm willingly? Not a chance. So who will disarm them? The Lebanese military itself has been unable to control she Southern region of the country, still less disarm a military force that is not just superior to themselves, but increasingly powerful to the extent of resisting the Israeli army - previously considered to be without peer in the region. Will a UN force be able to disarm Hizbollah? After the French experience in 1983, I severely doubt whether they will have much enthusiasm for this task. The Americans? The British? No chance. Some lesser army (the Pakistanis or the Australians or whoever)? No chance. So who then?

The alternative is to allow Hizbollah to retain military capacity, which will perpetuate that it is power and force in the region - committed as it is not just to the desctruction of Israel, but to the destruction of all Jews.

The question, John, is what comes after a ceasefire - and where will it lead? What comes next?
John Hemming said…
I understand that is the perspective of the Israeli government.

The challenge is not disarmament per se, but persuading people that they do not need to use arms.

In theory it is possible that a UN force could force out the rockets from southern Lebanon subsequent to a ceasefire which is the strict answer to your question. However, the real challenge is to get to a situation in which people do not wish to use arms.

From Israel's perspective the actions of their armed forces are removing a short term threat. They are, however, increasing a long term threat.

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