Hamas’ war crimes guilt

24 September 2009

The Editor
Jerusalem Post

Jurisdiction in democratic countries generally consider the accomplice to a crime as substantially guilty of the crime itself. Thus the driver of the car which carries the bank robber is equally guilty of robbery. As he would be if the culprit was part of a shooting group returning to base after killing a particular or non-particular victim.

In the Gaza crimes investigated by Judge Richard Goldstone there were killers and accomplices. The accomplices were intended to provide civilian cover for the armed shooters. It has been suggested that not all the civilians were there of their own free will. That many, perhaps all, had been coerced.

Or none. For we should remind ourselves of the fact that almost all the dead were men (where were the women?) and there’s every likelihood that the males were jihadniks come to battle the Jewish enemy by providing “civilian” cover to the terrorists. They were true accomplices. Their reward was to be endless fun and games with 72 black-eyed waiting virgins.

To expect the Israeli military to be able to identify and separate the willing accomplices from the coerced is ridiculous. To expect Israel to give the killers a free pass on this account is equally ridiculous. Neither the US nor the British in similar operations has ever allowed civilian niceties to guide them in waging war. Nor will this be possible in the missile war to come.

This is not the first time Israelis have been at war with Arab terrorists in Lebanon. So it is common knowledge that their accomplices are equally at risk of their lives. To find Israel guilty of war crimes for this reason is ridiculous.

For clearly the terrorists who surrounded themselves with civilian “accomplices” are guilty of the war crimes, not Israel. But then Goldstone was only asked to consider Israel’s war crimes and so we have this peculiar result. As the saying goes “Ask a stupid question you get a stupid reply”.

Yours truly

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