Perspectives-Winter 2022-1

the most devastating conflicts of our age – war crimes are committed but often omitted from history books. PROBING ISRAELI WAR CRIMES Last April, Israel decided not to cooperate with the ICC. Israel rejected the claim that it committed war crimes. In its statement to the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands, senior officials in the Israeli Justice system claimed that the ICC has no jurisdiction to open a probe against it. They claimed the Israeli army investigates every incident where procedures may have been violated and puts those responsible on trial. In 2019, members of Hamas and Palestinian Armed Groups (PAGs) were both found to have reasonable basis to have had committed war crimes. The list of violations is exhaustive and includes the following: 1. Intentionally directing attacks against civilian and civilian objects 2. The use of protected persons as shields 3. Willfully depriving protected persons of the rights of fair and regular trial 4. Willful killing 5. Torture or inhumane treatment 6. Outrages upon personal dignity. Yet, this isn’t a one-sided issue. In the case of Israel war crimes specifically, it’s important to note that this isn’t the only probe. EXTREME ACTS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE In just this past December, almost 125 countries backed an open-ended war investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) – a 47-member council — against Israel. The probe came from the aftermath of the 11-day besiege into the Gaza Strip in May. At least 260 Palestinians – 66 of them children – were killed in that attack. Both Israel and the United States voted against the approval of a budget into the UNHRC investigation and even tried to defund it. The authors of last spring’s letter to the ICC– urging prosecution not to allow Israel to probe its own war crimes and instead enlist the help of human rights groups – cited extreme acts of discrimination against the Palestinian people. The letter described “severe restrictions upon freedom of movement, appropriation of Palestinian lands for the purpose of Israeli settlement… curfews and blockades, and unwarranted arrests.” REPAIRING THE WORLD Following a 2014 act of terror – Operation Protective Edge, in Gaza – which caused the death of 2,131 Palestinians (1,473 civilians and 501 of them children), the now-deceased Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (a renowned South African Anglican Bishop) published a tragic letter in the newspaper, Haaretz titled “My Plea to the Israeli People.” Comparing the situation in Palestine and Israel to apartheid in South Africa, Tutu claimed “the pursuit of freedom for the people of Palestine from humiliation and persecution by the policies of Israel is a righteous cause.” In the Jewish culture, there is hardly anything more righteous and biblically pertinent than the idea of Tikkun Olam – a Hebrew phrase that roughly translates to “repairing the world.” Perhaps in the Holy Land, repairing the world starts with one nation’s atonement– and Tikkun Olam means Israel taking accountability for its own violations of war. PERSPECTIVES • THE MAGAZINE OF PROMISED LAND MUSEUM 12