The Australian Financial Review has over the last weeks given its pages to discussing Israel’s war crimes in Gaza (the background here). Today the paper publishes my following letter:
Robert Goot (“Israel faces kangaroo court“, Legal Affairs, February 6) writes that Israeli actions are always legal and defensible and believes there is nothing to investigate after its actions in Gaza. The Jewish state’s conflict caused unprecedented carnage, but Goot claims Hamas is solely to blame for the destruction.
It is a view challenged by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United Nations, Oxfam and Care. “The suspected war crimes make for a very long list,” says Jessica Montell, head of the leading Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
Goot argues that Israel’s use of white phosphorous was legal because the country isn’t signed up to the relevant international protocols. Israel is conducting its own investigations to determine whether the chemical was used on civilian areas, as claimed by countless human rights groups.
The International Criminal Court is examining the case for Palestinian jurisdiction over alleged Israeli crimes in Gaza.
Indeed, universal jurisdiction is becoming an increasingly common way to determine possible abuses. It is the very serious nature of the allegations that warrants a thorough investigation to bring any individuals to trial.