A Grave Case of War Crimes
13 January, 2009
Take-A-Pen's OPEN LETTER to UN Secretary-General
- as published in The Jerusalem Post - Tuesday, 2009-Jan-13-
A Grave Case of War Crimes
Sir, Last week, our public advocacy organization sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting decisive action regarding a severe case of war crimes as defined by international law. We reminded him that:
In recent years, and in the present ongoing military conflict, the warfare adopted by the Hamas movement has caused much suffering and heavy losses and damage both to Israel¹s civilian population and to the entire Gaza Strip.
The Hamas regime there has fired 6,300 rockets targeting Israeli civilians.
In Gaza, Hamas stores rockets and other weaponry and ammunition primarily in residential areas - houses, mosques and schools. Thousands of rocket and mortar grenade attacks have been launched from within these areas, obliging an Israeli military response which, inevitably, has led to great suffering among Gazans and damage to property.
According to international law, any source of fire on civilian targets is itself a legitimate target. If that source of fire was located among civilians, it remains a legitimate target; and if that vicinity invites return fire, causing casualties among the local population, these casualties are the full and sole responsibility of the party that placed them deliberately in harm¹s way.
In this case, Hamas is fully responsible both for the Israeli civilian casualties and for those of its own population, which it uses as a human shield.
We demand that the Hamas leadership be brought to international justice without delay, and tried for the following war crimes:
- firing rockets and grenades purposely at civilian targets in Israel;
- firing these rockets from within Palestinian civilian compounds such as schools, and in close proximity to hospitals and residential buildings;
- storing weapons and ammunition in schools, mosques, public offices and residential buildings;
- regularly using its own civilians as human shields particularly children, who are often forced to be in the most dangerous spots,
- children and minors have routinely been used by Hamas for military purposes. Hamas has also indoctrinated children and minors to murderous hatred and killing;
- Hamas gunmen fight in civilian clothing or, sometimes, in stolen IDF uniforms,
- Hamas fighters routinely hide among civilians in hospitals,
- Hamas has not provided kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit with the most elementary rights accorded prisoners of war, not even Red Cross visits - rights Israel grants even to convicted Hamas terrorists;
- The Hamas leadership has embezzled extensive aid money received for the peaceful needs of Gaza¹s population and used it for an enormous military build-up.
A failure to prosecute the Hamas leadership in an international court will lead to its war crimes becoming normative behavior, resulting in millions of victims of oppression and killings undefended by the UN.
ENDRE Y. MOZES, Chairman
The above letter is the text as published by the Jerusalem Post on January 13 2009. To read the original text as sent to the SG of the UN, click here.