Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Harper Speaks: Is He Blaming the UN?

Kind of hints at it. From the TO Star:

We want to find out why this United Nations post was attacked and also why it remained manned during what is now, more or less, a war during obvious danger to these individuals.

Well, for one thing, the post was in constant touch with the IDF and was assured on several occasions that the shelling would stop.

Harper also thinks the attack was not deliberate:

I certainly doubt that to be the case, given that the government of Israel has been co-operating with us in our evacuation efforts, in our efforts to move Canadian citizens out of Lebanon and also trying to keep our own troops that are on the ground involved in the evacuation out of harm's way.

At least he's said something. I thought he was hiding in the same hole as Iggy.

5 comments:

Speak the Truth said...

thank god we have a PM that can think and make up his mind.

Yes he is questioning the UN & Kofi . and well he should. The UN aides and supports terrorism with their selective silences andridiculous outbursts.

War Crime for Palestinians to Hold Soldier Hostage

(Beirut, June 29, 2006) – Israel's destruction of Gaza’s only electrical plant needlessly punishes the civilian population and has created the potential for a serious humanitarian crisis, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch also said that Palestinian militant groups are committing a war crime by using a captured Israeli soldier as a hostage to seek the release of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.
" Militants are using Corporal Gilad Shalit as a hostage to bargain for the release of Palestinians in Israeli custody, and that’s a war crime. But Israel must minimize the harm to Gaza’s civilian population during any military operation to rescue the corporal, and that includes not destroying vital power plants. "
Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa division


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“Militants are using Corporal Gilad Shalit as a hostage to bargain for the release of Palestinians in Israeli custody, and that’s a war crime,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. “But Israel must minimize the harm to Gaza’s civilian population during any military operation to rescue the corporal, and that includes not destroying vital power plants.”

On Sunday, Palestinian militants attacked an Israeli military post on the border with Gaza, killing two Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and capturing Shalit. Three Palestinian militant groups – the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigade, the military wing of the ruling Hamas party; the Popular Resistance Committees; and the little-known Army of Islam – took responsibility for the attack and the abduction on Monday, and demanded the release of all Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails in return for information about Shalit. The Popular Resistance Committees also claimed responsibility for killing Eliahu Asheri, an 18-year-old Jewish settler kidnapped in the West Bank, apparently in response to Israel’s current military action.

A hostage is a person held in the power of an adversary in order to obtain specific actions, such as the release of prisoners, from the other party to the conflict. International law prohibits the taking of hostages, which is a war crime under the laws of war. The summary execution of anyone held captive, such as Asheri, is also a war crime. Human Rights Watch calls on the Palestinian Authority to do all it can to ensure that Shalit and any other captured Israelis are treated in accordance with the laws of war, and urges militant groups to stop using Israelis as bargaining chips.

Human Rights Watch also expressed concern about the intentional and frequent use of sonic booms by Israeli military aircraft over Gaza, which has caused great fear among the civilian population, particularly among children. Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits “measures of intimidation” against the civilian population. As there appears to be no military justification for the use of the sonic booms, other than the prohibited practice of intimidation, Human Rights Watch urges Israel to immediately halt the practice.

Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that Israel is willing to take “extreme measures” to rescue the corporal. On June 28, Israel began offensive military operations into Gaza. Among the first Israeli targets was the only electrical power station in the Gaza strip, which was hit by multiple missiles and reportedly destroyed. The station provides power to the majority of the Gaza Strip, and is responsible for powering the water pumps and other systems essential to the survival of Gaza’s civilian population. The destruction of the power station could quickly cause a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, as electricity is essential to power the water system, sewage treatment, and medical services.

The laws of war prohibit attacks on “objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.” Israel’s attack on Gaza’s only power plant is in violation of its obligation to safeguard such objects from attack. Even though Israel unilaterally withdrew its troops and settlements from Gaza in 2005, it continues to have obligations as an occupying power in Gaza because of its almost complete control over Gaza’s borders, sea and air space, tax revenue, utilities, and the internal economy of Gaza. At a minimum, Israel continues to be responsible for the basic welfare of the Palestinian population in Gaza, in particular the health, educational, and humanitarian needs of the population to the extent these are affected by the restrictions imposed on Gaza by Israel. Olmert reportedly threatened to block the entry of fuel and food to Gaza if Shalit is not released, which would violate these obligations.

Human Rights Watch urges Israel to take all possible precautions to limit the impact of its military campaign in Gaza on the civilian population. In particular, the laws of war require Israel to ensure that the impact of its military actions on the civilian population is not disproportionate to the military objectives it seeks to achieve, and that it does not target objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.

Anonymous said...

"The prime minister also says he wants to know why the post was still manned by UN observers even though it was in the middle of an obvious war zone.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has suggested Israel deliberately targeted the UN outpost.

But Harper says the facts suggest otherwise.

"I certainly doubt that to be the case, given that the government of Israel has been co-operating with us in our evacuation efforts, in our efforts to move Canadian citizens out of Lebanon and also trying to keep our own troops that are on the ground involved in the evacuation our of harm's way," he said.

"We want to find out why this United Nations post was attacked and also why it remained manned during what is now, more or less, a war during obvious danger to these individuals."

Anonymous said...

Canadian Killed Complained U.N. Position Was Shielding Hezbollah

"...the tragic loss of a soldier yesterday who I happen to know and I think probably is from my Regiment. We've received e-mails from him a few days ago and he described the fact that he was taking within - in one case -- three meters of his position "for tactical necessity - not being targeted". Now that's veiled speech in the military and what he was telling us was Hizbullah fighters were all over his position and the IDF were (sic) targeting them and that's a favorite trick by people who don't have representation in the UN. They use the UN as shields knowing that they can't be punished for it."

Retired Canadian Major General Lewis MacKenzie interviewed on CBC Toronto radio 26 July 2006

Anonymous said...

Well BCL, at least he's ASKING the question...

Partisan politics aside (yes, we can all do that sometimes), that was the first question that crossed my mind after the tragedy occurred...after all, when the US made it clear that action against Iraq was imminent, the UN withdreww all of their personnel.

Bruce

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