Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why war criminal Tzipi Livni and the British government are hypocrites when they say Hezbollah are terrorists who target civilians

Tzipi Livni , the Israeli government, the EU and the British government all say Hezbollah are terrorists because they kill civilians. Yet Livni oversaw Israeli war crimes including deliberate killing of civilians in the Gaza War ; and the British government is still arming Israel and changed the law to protect Livni from prosecution

Former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni is also writing for the Guardian on how it’s right for the EU to designate Hezbollah as terrorists because they kill civilians (1)

After the 2008/2009 Gaza War Amnesty International reported Israeli forces killed hundreds of civilians, many where there was no fighting, some in their own homes, others wounded or ambulance crews. It said many deaths couldn’t be explained as “collateral damage” (2) – (3).

Only two Israeli soldiers have been jailed for crimes in that war ; one for 7 months, for stealing a credit card, another for 45 days for “illegal use of a weapon” rather than for killing two unarmed women in cold blood (4) – (8).

Tzipi Livni was Israel’s foreign minister during that war and an enthusiastic advocate of it. She continues to deny Israeli forces committed any crimes in it (9).

The UN reports Israeli forces are still torturing Palestinian children and using them as human shields (10).

The UK government approved £8 billion of arms exports to Israel in the last few years (11).

It also changed the law to give the Attorney General, a political appointee, the ability to decide personally on whether to bring war crimes charges rather than leave it to the courts to decide. It did this specifically to allow war criminals like Livni to come here without facing charges, after a warrant for her arrest was issued in the UK after the Gaza war. The change was also planned under the previous Labour government (12) – (15).

By October 2011 Livni was visiting the UK safe from any prosecution (16).

Hezbollah does say it wants to destroy the state of Israel and force all Israeli Jews to leave what Hezbollah see as entirely Palestine.

That’s wrong in my opinion, but then Hezbollah was formed in the first place to fight the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon which lasted from 1982 to 2000 and involved the torture and killing of  civilians and prisoners by both Israeli forces and Lebanese Christian militias backed by them (17).

These included the notorious Phalange militia, modelled on Hitler’s Brownshirts, and the South Lebanon Army who together carried out the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres of Palestinian civilians in Lebanon with the assistance of the Israeli military.

What’s more, while Hezbollah have deliberately killed civilians in some cases, the supposed moral difference between Israeli forces and Hezbollah is if anything that Israeli forces frequently deliberately kill civilians despite having advanced optics and drone cameras which allow them to see exactly who they’re targeting more of the time.

During the 2006 Lebanon war Hezbollah fired rockets into Israel which are so inaccurate that they had no idea what they would hit and clearly didn’t care if it included civilians. There was also recently a murder of a Lebanese civilian protesting against Hezbollah in Lebanon  (18) – (19).

However the Israeli air force, who have highly accurate weapons and drones with high resolution long range cameras which allow them to see their targets clearly, repeatedly bombed clearly marked ambulances across the country and killed civilians in multiple attacks with drones and air and artillery strikes (20) – (21).

 The worst incident, but one of many, was the Qana massacre, which was a slight variation on the similar massacre of Lebanese civilians by Israeli forces with artillery using drones for spotting carried out at Qana ten years earlier in another offensive in 1996.

They claimed that this was caused by Hezbollah hiding among civilians to fire rockets. Human Rights Watch investigators who were former members of the US military investigated on the ground and talked to both Lebanese eye-witnesses and the Israeli military. They found that Hezbollah rockets were in fact fired from emplacements in the hills many miles from the nearest town or village and that there was no evidence of Hezbollah hiding among civilians (22).

So given British, French and American support and arms for Syrian and Lebanese Sunni militias who include terrorists, and their similar support for Israel, the Hezbollah designation looks a lot more like propaganda than principle.

(1) = 22 Jul 2013 ‘Should the EU designate Hezbollah a terrorist organisation?’ For column by Tzipi Livni, Against by Tariq Ali,

(2) = Amnesty 02 Jul 2009 ‘Impunity for war crimes in Gaza and southern Israel a recipe for further civilian suffering’,

(3) = Amnesty UK 02 Jul 2009 ‘Gaza conflict: First comprehensive report says both sides committed war crimes’, (same summary of report as (5) above but on Amnesty UK website)

(4) =

(5) = Ynet news (Israel) 11 Aug 2009 ‘Soldier who stole credit card during Gaza op jailed’,,7340,L-3760488,00.html

(6) = Haaretz 21 Aug 2010 ‘IDF soldiers demoted after convicted of Gaza war misconduct’, ‘The Israel Defense Forces court on Sunday demoted two combat soldiers convicted of inappropriate conduct during Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip in 2008. The two…staff sergeants were demoted to …sergeant, as well as receiving suspended sentence terms of three months each. The soldiers were convicted last month of forcing a 9-year-old Palestinian boy to open a number of bags they thought might contain explosive materials during Operation Cast Lead.’

(7) = BBC News 13 Aug 2012 ‘Israeli ex-soldier cleared of Gaza manslaughter charge’, ‘Court approves plea bargain for soldier charged with ‘Cast Lead’ manslaughter’, ‘Israeli prosecutors have dropped a manslaughter charge against a former soldier in connection with the deaths of a Palestinian woman and her daughter during the offensive on Gaza in 2009. But the sergeant was jailed for 45 days after being convicted of unlawful use of a firearm in a separate incident as part of a plea deal, his lawyer said.’

(8) = Haaretz 12 Aug 2012 ‘IDF soldier sentenced to 45 days for death of mother, daughter in Gaza war’,

(9) = Jerusalem Post 03 Apr 2011 ‘Cast lead was justified with or without Goldstone’,

(10) = CBS News 21 Jun 2013 ‘U.N. report accuses Israeli forces of using Palestinian children as human shields, abusing children in custody’,

(11) = Guardian 17 Jul 2013 ‘UK approves £12bn of arms exports to countries with poor human rights’,

(12) = Guardian 30 May 2010 ‘Ministers move to change universal jurisdiction law’,

(13) = Jerusalem Post 15 Sep 2011 ‘UK amends law to protect Israelis from prosecution’,

(14) = Guardian 14 Dec 2009 ‘British court issued Gaza arrest warrant for former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni’,

(15) = Guardian 05 Mar 2010 ‘Plan to change war crimes law delayed by general election’,

(16) = Ynet news (Israel) 06 Oct 2011 ‘Livni arrives in UK for first visit since war crimes law amended’,,7340,L-4132091,00.html

(17) = BBC News 23 May 2000 ‘Q & A: Leaving Lebanon’,

(18) = HRW 06 Dec 2007 ‘Why They Died : Civilian Casualties in Lebanon during the 2006 War’

(19) = Haaretz 09 Jun 2013 ‘Anti-Hezbollah protester killed outside Iranian embassy in Beirut’,

(20) =HRW 06 Dec 2007 ‘Why They Died : Civilian Casualties in Lebanon during the 2006 War’

(21) = HRW 19 Dec 2006 ‘The “Hoax” That Wasn’t : The July 23 Qana Ambulance Attack’,

(22) = See (74) above

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