Over 750 International Voices Demand Prosecution of Israeli War Criminals

By US Palestine Community Network – 16 Oct 2009
www.palestineconference.org/un-letter.shtml

October 16, 2009 – Over 750 individuals and organizations from around the world signed on to the US Palestine Community Network’s letter to Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, demanding the full implementation of the Goldstone report into Gaza war crimes. The UN Human Rights Council voted today to approve the recommendations of the report, and the USPCN letter urges the UN to fulfill its responsibilities by taking action to hold the Israeli government and war criminals among its leadership, army and settlers accountable through international criminal prosecution.

The letter, which “demand the full implementation of the report¹s recommendations including the immediate lifting of the savage and illegal siege on Gaza, the reconstruction of Gaza, and the report¹s demand that the ‘Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court acts as expeditiously as possible,’ received wide support, including endorsements from writer Alice Walker, South African anti-apartheid leader Ronnie Kasrils, German parliamentarian Norman Paech, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Palestinian National Council member Leila Khaled, former ambassador Hasan Abu Nimah and numerous academics, solidarity activists, labor leaders, community organizers and hundreds more (see full list of signatories below).

A delegation of the US Palestine Community Network in New York, along with Al-Awda New York, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, delivered the letter and USPCN’s earlier statement condemning the Palestinian Authority’s action to delay the initial vote on the report to the Palestinian Authority mission to the United Nations on Tuesday, October 13, 2009, and officially delivered the letter and its hundreds of international signatures to the United Nations and Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s office on Wednesday, October 14, 2009. In Washington, DC, the USPCN’s statement in Arabic was delivered to the PLO Ambassador in Washington, DC by USPCN members.

USPCN expressed its support for the UNHRC vote to approve the report and indicated that the vote indicated the power of the Palestinian people and people of conscience internationally to resist U.S. and Israeli pressure, but urged international institutions to move beyond words to actions, and work immediately to hold Israeli war criminals accountable for their actions against the Palestinian people, saying that any delay in action sends a message of Israeli impunity and continues the moral failure of the
international community to act to defend and implement the rights of the Palestinian people, including the rights to self-determination and to return.

For more information about the US Palestinian Community Network, visit its website at http://www.palestineconference.org or email the USPCN at uspcn@palestineconference.org.

We are continuing to collect signatures and will redeliver the letter at a later date. To sign on to the letter, please visit:
http://palestineconference.org/un-letter.shtml

U.S. Palestine Community Network
October 16, 2009

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The following statement will be presented to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon by a USPCN delegaton in New York City on October 13, 2009. Please sign below in order to endorse the statement:

His Excellency Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General
The United Nations
1 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017-3515

October 13, 2009

Dear Mr. Secretary-General:

We, the undersigned organizations, institutions, and individuals, are writing to demand the full implementation of the recommendations of the “Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” and to express our deepest concern and strong condemnation of the premeditated prevention of endorsing the Report at the UN Human Rights Council’s twelfth session. It is the responsibility of the UN and the international community to put an end to the excessive and ongoing violation of international law, human rights law and international humanitarian law by the Israeli government and army in Palestine, and to hold the perpetrators accountable to the fullest extent, including prosecution, trial and punishment by the International Criminal Court and international tribunals.

The report, commissioned by the President of the UN Human Rights Council on 3 April 2009, and endorsed by hundreds of human rights and civil society organizations, irrefutably documents the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli military in Gaza with a massive amount of undisputed evidence. It, furthermore, clearly identified specific and practical legally-based recommendations for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and UN Secretary General, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the international Community, and the Government of Israel (A/HRC/12/48: pp 545-554).

Pursuant to the text and spirit of international law, human rights law, and international humanitarian law, we demand the full implementation of the report’s recommendations including the immediate lifting of the savage and illegal siege on Gaza, the reconstruction of Gaza, and the report’s demand that the “Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court acts as expeditiously as possible” (A/HRC/12/48: p: 548). We demand that the UN Secretary General pursues and oversees the full implementation of the report’s recommendations and that each respective body identified by the report must carry out its role in implementing these recommendations.

Furthermore, the report’s own conclusion that there is no equating “the position of Israel as the occupying power with that of the occupied Palestinian population or entities representing it” (A/HRC/12/48: p: 521) is critically important. We reject any attempt to criminalize or equate the resistance of an occupied people to the institutional, state-directed, massive violence of the occupier.

The absence of any serious attempt to stop the Israeli aggression during the war on Gaza was a serious moral failure on the part of the international community. The continuous failure to put an end to the excessive and ongoing suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza that are being kept captives under the immoral and illegal Israeli siege is another moral and legal failure that continues to the present day. The international community and the UN are being tested again and its credibility will come under serious question should it ignore once again the plight of the Palestinian people, and Israeli continuous violations of the international law, human rights law, international humanitarian law, the UN charter, and UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.

The victims of the Israeli atrocities committed in Gaza deserve genuine justice and those responsible must be held accountable. Any delay or lack of progress in implementing the recommendations of the report, combined with the continuing Israeli violations of international law send a message of effective impunity. Only a full implementation of the report’s recommendations as a first step towards bringing justice to Gaza’s victims could foster genuine peace with justice in the region.

Sincerely,
US Palestine Community Network
See all other signatories below

cc:

  • UN Security Council President: H.E. Ambassador Le Luong Minh, Permanent Representative of Viet Nam
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay

  • To sign on to the letter, please visit:
    http://palestineconference.org/un-letter.shtml

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