Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Amnesty International And Human Rights Watch: When It Comes To "Occupation," They Keep Two Sets Of Books

Posted: 29 Jun 2010 11:25 AM PDT

Elder of Zion has been all over this, both in regards to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.When it comes to anyone else, "Occupation" is defined as physically occupying an area. However, when dealing with Israel, which has withdrawn completely from Gaza, both Amnesty International and HRW apply new definitions of the term.

Take HRW, for example. In examining the Russian invasion of Georgia, HRW writes:

Russia is bound by the law of occupation wherever it exercises effective control within the territory of Georgia without the consent of the Georgian state. Anywhere Georgian authorities are prevented from their full and free exercise of sovereignty - such as denying access for Georgian authorities including law enforcement and military forces - because of Russian presence, Russia is assuming the role of an occupying power for the purposes of international humanitarian law, and all its obligations towards the civilian population remain.

If Russia exercises effective control of access to an area, such as a so-called buffer zone, even if it grants access to some authorities, for example, Georgian police, it is still bound by its obligations to the civilian population to ensure public safety and welfare and permit humanitarian access.[emphasis added]

In the first paragraph, dealing with straight occupation, Human Rights Watch clearly defines occupation in terms of physical presence that denies "free exercise of sovereignty".

According to that definition, Israel--which has no presence in Gaza and does not deny Hamas sovereign control over the area--is not an occupying area. The second paragraph, while vague, is apparently talking about controlling from within the country, which again is not applicable here--besides which, Israel allows tons of aid into Gaza each day, and will now be allowing even more.

In terms of Amnesty International, here is what they said in response to the US invasion of Iraq:

The definition of belligerent occupation is given in Article 42 of the Hague Regulations:

"Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised."

The sole criterion for deciding the applicability of the law on belligerent occupation is drawn from facts: the de facto effective control of territory by foreign armed forces coupled with the possibility to enforce their decisions, and the de facto absence of a national governmental authority in effective control. If these conditions are met for a given area, the law on belligerent occupation applies. Even though the objective of the military campaign may not be to control territory, the sole presence of such forces in a controlling position renders applicable the law protecting the inhabitants. The occupying power cannot avoid its responsibilities as long as a national government is not in a position to carry out its normal tasks.

The international legal regime on belligerent occupation takes effect as soon as the armed forces of a foreign power have secured effective control over a territory that is not its own. It ends when the occupying forces have relinquished their control over that territory.

The question may arise whether the law on occupation still applies if new civilian authorities set up by the occupying power from among nationals of the occupied territories are running the occupied territory's daily affairs. The answer is affirmative, as long as the occupying forces are still present in that territory and exercise final control over the acts of the local authorities.[emphasis added]

Again, time and again, Amnesty International emphasizes physical control: where territory is "actually placed under the authority of the hostile army" and "where such authority has been established and can be exercised"--that combined with "the de facto absence of a national governmental authority in effective control." Is there a Gazan who thinks that Hamas is not in control?

But when talking about Israel, a second set of criteria are applied:

After Hamas took control in Gaza in June 2007, the existing Israeli policy of closure was tightened to a blockade restricting the entry of food, fuel, and other basic goods....

As the occupying power, Israel bears the foremost responsibility for ensuring the welfare of the inhabitants of Gaza.

Closing ones border with another country does not constitute "occupation"--but that does not stop Amnesty International.

The error that both Amnesty International make is to take a pre-existing situation that no longer exists, yet insist on applying it until all conflict and tension is resolved.

Let's put this another way: if Israel had never been in Gaza, but because of the attacks by Hamas on Israel's civilian population had decided on measures to prevent those continued attacks: would anyone claim that Israel was occupying Gaza?

The answer is clearly no.

The egregious biases and double standard of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are out there for all to see.

by Daled Amos

Free yousef

Posted: 29 Jun 2010 04:27 AM PDT

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled on a law that the editors of the Washington Post argued went too far in allowing prosecutions for aiding terrorists. Strangely they have been silent on another application of that law. At NRO, the editors argue for Asylum for Yousef:

Mosab Hassan Yousef must have encountered nearly everything on his unlikely journey. But surely he never ran across anything as stupid as the American immigration bureaucracy.

Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder, and was groomed to follow in his father's footsteps. At the age of 18, he purchased some machine guns and planned to join the terrorist organization's militant wing. But he was arrested with the guns, and during a stint in Israeli prison, he had a change of heart -- and joined Hamas as an undercover agent of the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet after his release from prison in 1997.

In that capacity, he prevented dozens of terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings and assassinations. Shin Bet agent Gonen Ben-Itzhak, who worked with Yousef for a decade, has broken his cover so he can testify in U.S. immigration court on the informant's behalf. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz says he was the country's "most valuable source in the militant organization's leadership," and credits him with the arrest of Fatah head Marwan Barghouti and Hamas members Abdullah Barghouti and Ibrahim Hamid.

In 2007, he came to the U.S. and applied for asylum. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service denied his application in 2009, on the grounds that he provided material support to a terrorist organization. This is madness.

His material support for Hamas, was to keep his cover. Surely there's an exception for that! Given that the Post has given material support to Ahmed Yousef its silence on his son is especially inexcusable.

Steal this article

Posted: 29 Jun 2010 04:14 AM PDT

via memeorandum

I'm surprised this didn't get more attention. David Carr noticed something about the Gen. McChrystal Rolling Stone article:

Last Monday, the word got out that Rolling Stone had a stunning piece about General McChrystal, in which he and his aides were critical of the White House. It's the kind of scoop that thrills magazine editors, and no doubt they couldn't wait to get their issue on the stands.

The problem was, nobody else could wait either. On Tuesday morning, a PDF of the piece the magazine had lovingly commissioned, edited, fact-checked, printed and distributed, was posted in its entirety on not one but two Web sites, for everyone to read without giving Rolling Stone a dime.

And it wasn't blogs who were responsible for this thievery.

It was a clear violation of copyright and professional practice, and it amounted to taking money out of a competitor's pocket. What crafty guerrilla site or bottom-feeder would do such a thing?

Turns out it was Time.com and Politico, both well-financed, reputable news media organizations, that blithely stepped over the line and took what was not theirs.

Politico, though, is unrepentant. Apparently news value apparently overrode any property rights. Time, fortunately, understood that they were wrong:

"Time.com posted a PDF of the story to help separate rumor from fact at the moment this story of immense national interest was hitting fever pitch and the actual piece was not available," a spokeswoman for Time wrote in an e-mail message. "We always had the intention of taking it down as soon as Rolling Stone made any element of the story publicly available, and we did. It was a mistake; if we had it do over again, we would only post a headline and an abstract."

Cohen on hamas, gaza: not bad

Posted: 29 Jun 2010 04:04 AM PDT

I can't agree with everything Richard Cohen writes in Hamas is a threat to the Palestinian cause, but he makes several good points, including his (imperfect) conclusion:

The irony is that Israel is often called a colonialist power. In some sense, the charge is true. But the ones with the true colonialist mentality are those who think that Arabs cannot be held to Western standards of decency. So, for this reason, Hamas is apparently forgiven for its treatment of women, its anti-Semitism, its hostility toward all other religions, its fervid embrace of a dark (non-Muslim) medievalism and its absolute insistence that Israel has no right to exist. Maybe the blockade ought to end -- but so, too, should anyone's dreamy idea of Hamas. It's not just a threat to Israel. It's a threat to the eventual Palestine.

It's refreshing to read a liberal who acknowledges that Arabs are held to no standards. When attacks on Israel for denying the Palestinians their rights come from regimes who offer few, if any, rights to their citizens the hypocrisy is rampant. Unfortunately, such charges are repeated uncritically rather than getting the scrutiny and scorn they so deserve.

As far as Cohen's insistence that Israel must end the blockade of Gaza, Barry Rubin provides some answers:

2. Would leaving the blockade in place have eventually resulted in the collapse of Hamas control in Gaza?

Answer: It is impossible to say but perhaps Hamas would have been brought down. At least there was a chance for doing so. Remember that in this as in other cases sanctions had three purposes other than "persuading" the other side to change its policy:

A. Minimize the resources they have for waging war and maintaining political control;

B. Signal to factions to become more moderate or to quarrel among themselves while giving the masses an incentive to overthrow the regime (both because it wasn't delivering the goods, because it was weaker, and because they felt that they had international support for a revolt.

C. Signal to others that this is a losing side and they should not support it also lest they, too suffer from sanctions.

On the other hand, other critical elements for bringing down Hamas were missing:

A. Israel was not allowed to achieve victory.

B. International support for a "rollback" policy was lacking.

C. There was not a strong and determined opposition effort by Fatah to help bring down Hamas.

The blockade is not a gratuitous attack on the civilians of Gaza but a reasonable attempt to weaken Gaza, if not politically, then, at least militarily. Why this is so hard to understand is beyond me.

Crossposted on Yourish.

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