NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY


  July 27, 2014

UN's Investigation of Israel Should Go Beyond War Crimes to Genocide


Michael Ratner makes the case for how Israel, since 1947, engaged in international crimes, including incremental genocide, crimes against humanity, and apartheid
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   



audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



I support TRNN because it is the closest expression of the ideal of a free press I have seen. - Daniel
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


biography

Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He is currently a legal adviser to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. He and CCR brought the first case challenging the Guantanamo detentions and continue in their efforts to close Guantanamo. He taught at Yale Law School, and Columbia Law School, and was President of the National Lawyers Guild. His current books include Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in the Twenty-First Century America, and Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder.

NOTE: Mr. Ratner speaks on his own behalf and not for any organization with which he is affiliated.


transcript

UN's Investigation of Israel Should Go Beyond War Crimes to GenocideJESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of The Ratner Report.

Now joining us is Michael Ratner. He is the president emeritus for the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Thank you for joining us, Michael.

MICHAEL RATNER, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, CCR: It's always good to be with you, Jessica, and The Real News.

DESVARIEUX: So, Michael, what are you working on this week?

RATNER: The news is really, for me, particularly heartbreaking. It's about Gaza, Israel's assault on Gaza. And today I want to talk about Israel, but particularly its criminality--its war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, and apartheid. Of course, it's a criminality that could not be carried out by Israel without the weapons and support of the United States. As I said, we're living through what I consider to be a heartbreaking and criminal Israeli assault on Gaza. There's 1.8 million people locked in an outdoor prison, deprived for years of the necessities of life, and now murdered and maimed by bombs and a military assault from Israel.

Gaza's not giving up in the face of the assault, despite the incredible damage. And now they're being joined by Palestinians in the occupied territories of the West Bank. In addition, there are masses of people throughout the world engaging in militant protests. And we're seeing a change, but, of course, at a very high cost to the Palestinians.

The numbers killed are remarkable and numbing, and who they are that are being killed. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, which the Center for Constitutional Rights works closely with, it's headed by a man, Palestinian, named Raji Sourani. They put out daily reports. As we speak today, on 26 July, there's been 808 people killed in Gaza. Astonishing: 666 of those are civilians, 81.5 percent; 194 our children, 24 percent; over 4,000 wounded, mostly civilians. What we're seeing by Israel is the targeting of houses, schools, hospitals, and even a UN shelter housing refugees.

The war crimes are open and notorious. They're violations of the Geneva conventions, and many, including Raji Sourani, are giving incredible testimony about these violations of the Geneva Conventions. Roger calls it what it is: collective punishment meant to spread terror in Gaza. That is why Navi Pillay, UN high commissioner for human rights, says that there is a strong possibility that Israel has committed war crimes. And she referred the matter to the Human Rights Council. These are all crimes of the current Israeli onslaught.

But what I want to emphasize today is these killings are part of a broader set of inhuman acts by Israel constituting international crimes, carried out by Israel over many years, going back to at least 1947 and 1948. They include crimes that aren't talked about that much in the media or the press, the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and apartheid. These crimes can be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court and are defined there. They include what the well-known Israeli writer Ilan Pappé called incremental genocide. Pappé says he wants to place the barbarity of what Israel is doing in its proper context.

I'm a lawyer. I've looked at genocide. Genocide has two elements. One element is the mental element, the intent to destroy the whole or in part a national or ethnical or racial or religious group. Palestinians are clearly a national and ethnic group. And you don't need to kill them all. You just need to have the mental intent to kill part of them. For example, it would be enough to have the mental intent to kill the leadership of the Palestinians or to kill people in one region. No doubt about that.

Genocide also requires that there be acts of genocide--killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm, or inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction, in whole or part, of the people you're trying to destroy. There's no doubt again here this is "incremental genocide", as Ilan Pappé says. iIt's been going on for a long time, the killings, the incredibly awful conditions of life, the expulsions that have gone on for from Lydda in 1947 and '48, when 700 or more villages in Palestine were destroyed, and in the expulsions that continued from that time until today. It's correct and important to label it for what it is.

A second important international crime is the crime against humanity. No doubt here at all. A crime against humanity is, quote,

part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population". It's carried out by means of murder, forcible transfers, torture, rape, and the crime of apartheid.

Again, the evidence here, from 1947 on, in what is now Israel, the occupied territories, the West Bank, today Gaza, is clear that crimes against humanity have been and are currently being committed by Israel.

Which brings me to the third international crime, the crime of apartheid. No doubt about apartheid. It's defined as "inhumane acts" committed to maintain" the domination by one racial group over any other". The inhuman acts include murder, bodily injury, mental injury, infringement of freedom or dignity--and this, importantly: measures preventing participation in the political or social or economic life of the country. Again, for any of us who know even the rudiments of the history of the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, they are, have been, and are currently committing the crime of apartheid.

I stress these international crimes because it is important to put what Israel does with the support of the U.S. in its proper context. It's not just about this current assault on Gaza, but an assault that has continued for almost 70 years. Yes, we must stop this assault, but it will not be sufficient. Yes, we must hold Israel and its leaders accountable and courts throughout this world. But that will still not be sufficient. The end, we must end the occupation and Palestine must be free.

DESVARIEUX: Alright. Michael Ratner, thank you so much for that report.

RATNER: And thanking you again for having me on The Real News.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

At GOP Town Halls, Constituents Express Rage Over Plans to Nix Obamacare
Be Thankful for a Dysfunctional, Chaotic White House
Newly Released Emails Reveal Pruitt's Connections with Koch Brothers
Mexican President Nieto Acquiesces to Trump's Border and Deportation Policies
As Baltimore Police Spending Spikes, Baltimore Students Protest to Fix School Budget Gap
The Bizarre Far-Right Billionaire Behind Bannon and Trump's Presidency
New Democrats Seek to Block Rise of Progressives to DNC Leadership
Standing Rock Faces Media Blackout During Militarized Operation to Clear Camps
Would a Trade Deficit be Good for Workers
Evidence Emerges of Tropical Parasites in Rural America
Kellyanne Conway Ignores Question About Billionaire Funder
Standing Rock and the Struggle Against Corporate Power
Greece's Debt Relief Conundrum
Argentina's President Macri Faces Increasing Scandals and Resistance to His Return to Neoliberalism
The Blue State Where Progressive Reforms go to Die
Trump's Job Promises are Fiction - Free Trade is Fiction, Too
In Sharp Contrast with Flynn, Trump Appoints Establishment Figure to NSC
Trump Wants to Defeat ISIS By Using Policies that Gave Rise to It
Whistleblower Teacher Says Defunded Public Schools Vulnerable to Mass Privatization
Sentencing of Israeli Soldier for Killing of Palestinian Exposes Contradictions of Occupation
Trump's Turn from Two-State Solution Sows Crisis for Fatah, Hamas
Ecuador Elections Appear Headed Towards Run-off
Cultivating Social Justice Work in West Baltimore
Empire Files: President Correa on His Legacy & Critics
Baltimore Students Push For Statewide Styrofoam Ban
Survey Shows Support Growing For Palestinians Among Canadians
X: Malcolm's Final Years
Steve Bannon Allies with Catholic Theo-Fascism Against Pope Francis (2/2)
Would Keith Ellison Pursue Reconciliation or Lead Insurgency Within DNC?
Ecuador's Presidential Election is the "Stalingrad" of Latin America's Left

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Managed Wordpress Hosting