Gush Shalom i modvind

Gush Shalom

Gush Shalom i modvind

Den israelske fredsgruppe Gush Shalom har for nyligt sendt en række breve til officerer i den israelske hær, der er under mistanke for at have begået krigsforbrydelser. Gush Shalom har meddelt officererne at gruppen samler beviser mod de enkelte officerer med henblik på retsforfølgelse. Sker denne retsforfølgelse ikke i Israel, vil Gush Shalom ikke tøve med at levere materialet til den internationale straffedomstol.

I disse dage er der en heftig debat i Israel om Gush Shalom kampagnen. Sharon- regeringen har krævet at organisatioen undersøges og kritikken kommer fra store dele af det israelske samfund. Nedenstående er et svar fra Gush Shalom på kritik fra den israelske avis Ha´aretz. For yderligere oplysninger se www.gush-shalom.org

Gush Shalom svarer Ha´aretz :

Dear Sir

The editorial of Ha’aretz, Tuesday Aug. 6, was devoted to an attack upon Gush Shalom, which in fact joins the campaign launched against our movement by Prime Minister Sharon.

It is rather disappointing that the editorial uses factually untrue arguments.

In it you take the position that “collecting seemingly incriminating material against officers in an army that operates under the law in a sovereign state, according to the instructions of an elected government, can also be considered worthy civic action, on one condition – that the gathered information is published or presented to the law enforcement agencies in the country.”

The editorial writer(s) seem unaware that Gush Shalom did precisely that. Each one of the letters sent to various military officers was simultaneously sent to all the papers, including Ha’aretz, and as a matter of fact we made considerable efforts at the time to get your reporters interested – to no avail. Also, from each of these letters there were copies sent to the military prosecution, to the army chief-of-staff and to the Minister of Defence, so that the competent authorities had a full chance to take judicial action had they wanted to.

We were not surprised that they didn’t, since the actions about which we wrote to various officers mostly constituted part of the official policies of the state of Israel and its armed forces. Such acts as the demolition of houses, collective punishments and the arrests of family members of suspected terrorists for the sole reason of their being family members are common and approved parts of official policies – and neverthless, they constitute serious violations of international law and specifically of the Fourth Geneva Convention. We had no difficulty in finding evidence connecting a particular officer to such acts. In most cases, the evidence was provided in press interviews in which the officers addmitted – often boasted of – the particular act. In such cases, we felt duty bound to write such an officer and warn him that his acts, or those which he had ordered his subordinates to do, constitute violations of international law.

It is difficulat for us to believe that the existing Israeli judicial system, military or civilian, could deal with offences of this kind – though we will be extremely happy to be proven wrong. Possilbly, at some time there will be created in Israel an institute similar to the “Truth Commission” of post-Apartheid South Africa, which could take up this burden. Otherwise, the issue is likely to arrive, sooner or later, at a internationa judicial forum of one kind or another.

It is surprising that Ha’aretz did not see fit to refer to the aritcle published yesterday (August 5) by your correspondent Amir Oren, in which he refered to plans being prepared at the Israeli Army’s general staff for “a new operation, more harsh than ‘Defensive Shield’ and ‘Detemined Path’, whose implementation may result in “The death of thousands of Palestinians”(!). Without knowing the details, which your correspondent did not enumerate, this horrifying news item arouses a terrible suspicion of mass war crimes being prepared. If these crimes ever come to perpetrated, the International tribunal in the Hague is likely to initiate action on its own, without waiting for “Gush Shalom”.

Adam Keller, spokesperson of Gush Shalom, Tel-Aviv

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