|R2PCS Commentary on the Crisis in Gaza|
|Friday, 16 January 2009 08:11|
I. The Crisis in Gaza
The recent escalation of violence in Gaza has raised serious questions about the use of the Responsibility to Protect to urge international action to protect civilians in the conflict. The Responsibility to Protect has been referred to, notably by Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but also others who claim that crimes committed in Gaza by Israeli forces have reached the threshold of R2P crimes. Indiscriminate killings of civilians and the use of civilians as human shields have led several governments and civil society organizations to accuse both Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes. There remain questions as to the extent to which these crimes are widespread and systematic, arguably a determining factor for whether the R2P threshold for an international response has been met.
As Paragraphs 138-139 of the World Summit Outcome Document outline, States have the responsibility to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Israel, as an occupying power, does carry this responsibility to protect. Most important, however, is to note that both parties have clear obligations to protect civilians under international humanitarian law, notably the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit many acts currently being committed. Israel, as an occupying power, has additional obligations to protect its populations under Geneva Convention IV.
Questions remain as to whether invoking R2P will bring the desired changed to protect civilians in this deeply politicized situation. The following articles, statements and reports from civil society analyze and report on these questions.
Compiled Articles, Statements, and Reports:
I. The Crisis in Gaza
A. R2P Referenced in Gaza Crisis
1. RAPPORTEUR ON THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES RICHARD FALK MENTIONS R2PNTRY DENIED, DETENTION, AND EXPULSION
2. VERA GOWLLAND DEBBAS J VU IN GAZA
B. Are war crimes being committed?
1. FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UN DORE GOLDHE SURGE AGAINST HAMAS
2. UN HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF NAVI PILLAY ACCUSES ISRAEL OF WAR CRIMES
3. THE NEW YORK TIMESHAT YOU DONT KNOW ABOUT GAZA
4. THE ECONOMISTAZA AND THE LAWS OF WAR. BUT IS IT A CRIME ?
5. PROFFESSORS AND LAW EXPERTS ETTER CONDEMNING BREAK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW SAY ISRAEL ACTION IN GAZA IS NOT SELF DEFENSE BUT WAR CRIME
C. Civil Society: Reports and Calls for Action
1. AMNESTY INTERNATIONALRMS EMBARGO NEEDED TO STOP VIOLENCE IN GAZA
2. HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH--DEPRIVED AND ENDANGERED: HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN THE GAZA STRIP
3. FIDHNSC MUST REFER GAZA TO ICC
4. INTERNATIONAL SERVICE FOR HUMAN RIGHTSVERVIEW OF THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCILS SPECIAL SESSION ON GAZA
5. ICRCSRAEL MUST ALLOW ACCESS FOR MEDICAL AND HUMANITARIAN AID
6. INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUPNDING THE WAR IN GAZA