Human rights & wrongs

Prof. Falk, if you want to help people of Gaza, start beseeching Hamas.

falk 63 (photo credit: )
falk 63
(photo credit: )
Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law and advocate of "new international law" is a mild-mannered, white-haired, 78-year-old scholar-activist who, seemingly, weighs his words carefully - before lobbing rhetorical bombs. He has reminisced that his family was so assimilated that it was in "virtual denial of even the ethnic side [of its] Jewishness." Over the years, however, Falk has taken an interest in things Jewish, including the destruction of European Jewry. His reflections have led him to conclude that Israel is now "slouching" toward another Holocaust. But this time, it is the Jews who may be dreaming of carrying out the genocide. Falk asks: "Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not." Looking at Israel, he sees a "holocaust-in-the-making" and a state with "genocidal tendencies." Fortunately for Hamas, Falk believes international law gives it the "right of resistance." So shortly after the Islamists grabbed control of Gaza in June 2007, he pleaded for the world to "start protecting the people of Gaza" from Israel. Still, when appointed "Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories" by the incongruously-labeled UN Human Rights Council, the professor promised to keep an open mind. Perhaps it is that very open mind which enabled him to wonder whether the US government was complicit in the 9/11 attacks. WEDNESDAY morning, as yet another fusillade of Hamas rockets and mortars slammed into the Negev, on the day after Israel allowed yet another humanitarian convoy of trucks carrying food, fuel and medical supplies to enter hostile Gaza, Falk "reported" his assessment of the situation: Israel's policy toward the Palestinian Arabs of Gaza is tantamount to a crime against humanity. And the International Court of Justice at The Hague needs to determine "whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law." Falk likened Israel's behavior toward the Palestinians to - what else? - apartheid. He charged that the food and fuel Israel funnels into Gaza (during those intervals, we'd add, when Hamas halts its attacks) is hardly enough to prevent mass starvation and disease. The Human Rights Council, meanwhile, presented Israel with 100 demands on behalf of the Palestinians. But it made not a single demand of the Palestinians - not even that they stop the violence. A new poll finds, not surprisingly, that 64% of Israelis feel the human rights community is biased. ATTEMPTING to reason with people who think Israel is a genocidal apartheid state is like trying to convince the fellow who shows up at your office wrapped in aluminum foil from head to toe that, er, actually, aliens are not beaming radio waves into his brain. With that in mind, let us nevertheless, state the obvious. Israel is trying to protect itself from Gaza. We unilaterally pulled out our citizens and army from the Strip in 2005. Rather than use our departure to begin building a Palestinian state, Hamas vowed to keep "resisting" and never accept a Jewish state in the region. Its loathing actually solidified Hamas's popularity among Gazans. In just the past three weeks, Hamastan has fired some 170 rockets and mortars at Israeli population centers. Our children and elderly are traumatized. Two weeks ago, one young man's leg had to be amputated because of shrapnel damage. All day, every day, Hamas forces, trained by Iran, place bombs along our border and tunnel toward our territory in preparation for their next onslaught. They kidnapped and still hold IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. We do not claim that life in Gaza is easy, but so much of its misfortune is self-inflicted. And at a time when the people of Zimbabwe and Congo are experiencing a true "humanitarian catastrophe," is it not obscene to talk of Gaza in those terms? With nearly a billion people today starving in Asia and Africa, is it not unconscionable to speak of "mass famine" in Gaza? Prof. Falk: If you want to help the people of Gaza, stop besmirching Israel and start beseeching Hamas to stop shooting and return the Strip to Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.