Arab MK to attend tribunal on 'IDF war crimes'

Said Nafa of Balad invited to be "observer" at tribunal in Belgium organized by individuals, NGOs.

said nafah 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
said nafah 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A conference of individuals and nongovernmental organizations is to convene in Brussels on Friday to discuss what organizers call "the crimes committed by the Israeli army in Lebanon." MK Said Nafa (Balad) plans to attend. The conference has been promoted as "an international jury of conscience," and will take the form of a mock international court with prosecutors, witnesses and judges, organizers said in a statement. No names of those planning to participate in the conference were made available by the organizers. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post by phone from Belgium, Nafa said he was "invited as an observer to listen," and that he planned to raise the issues of the October 2000 riots in the Galilee (in which 12 Israeli Arabs and a Palestinian were killed) and home demolitions during the conference. "The tribunal has no legal authority," Nafa said, but its "ruling" will be "declarative and aimed at influencing public opinion in the world. There's no doubt that the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon was a war crime, or at least a violation of the international conscience. Victims of the Lebanon war and of the siege on Gaza will testify at the tribunal, some who are experts on international law." Israel's position would also be represented, Nafa said, but, "I don't know by whom." The Knesset member said he decided to attend because of a decision by the Israeli-Arab leadership's Monitoring Committee to "turn to international tribunals" to circumvent Israeli courts. "Arab Israelis have no defense under Israeli national law," he said. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch would attend the event, Nafa said, but a spokeswoman for Amnesty told the Post that members of the organization's London and Belgium branches had not heard of the event. Human Rights Watch was unable to respond to a request to confirm its participation by press time. Asked if the conference would discuss Hizbullah's Katyusha missile attacks on Israel during the Second Lebanon War or the Kassam rockets being fired at Sderot by Hamas, Nafa said he "did not know. My personal position is that I'm against harming Sderot civilians who are innocent. It doesn't matter where the rockets are coming from." The conference's organizers did not provide a contact number and failed to return an e-mail message asking for more details on their meeting.