"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Advanced Semantics

Why is it that Palestinians 'kidnap' Israeli soldiers and Israelis 'detain' Palestinian ministers?

The mainstream media have fallen in line with Israeli propaganda on this latest incursion. Following the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian militants Israel has launched a considerable number of attacks in Palestine, with the promise of more to follow. Their retaliation seemingly intends to escalate the situation, extending to the taking hostage of dozens of Palestinian ministers and lawmakers.

This is the way it is being reported:

Peter Hirschberg writes in today's Irish Times, "Israel launched a broad ground offensive in Gaza yesterday, with thousands of troops and armoured vehicles pouring into the coastal strip under cover of fighter planes, in an operation officials said was meant to pressure Palestinians into releasing a kidnapped Israeli soldier being held captive by militants."

"The Israeli assault began shortly after midnight on Tuesday, when planes fired missiles at the main power station in Gaza, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents without power in the southern part of the coastal strip. Missiles were also fired at several bridges in southern Gaza, rendering them impassable. An army spokesman said the bridges had been destroyed to prevent militants from moving the kidnapped soldier, whom Israel believes is being held somewhere in the southern part of the strip."

Thankfully the sound of reason comes through, though cloaked in the 'condemnation' of a Palestinian, "Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Israeli invasion, calling it "collective punishment and a crime against humanity". Many of the 1.2 million Gaza residents, anticipating a long standoff and no electricity, began stockpiling food, water, batteries and candles."

Surely President Mahmoud Abbas is simply referring to the human rights we are all supposedly guaranteed:

Part II of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 states that Collective punishments, Taking of hostages and the Threats to commit any of the foregoing acts shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever:
Part IV states:

1. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations. To give effect to this protection, the following rules shall be observed in all circumstances.
2. The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.

Article 14.-Protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population
Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.

Article 15.-Protection of works and installations containing dangerous forces
Works or installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.

Michael Jansen reports the 'other side', "Dr Mustafa Barghouti, member of parliament and head of the Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, argued that Israel's air strikes against power installations that cut both electricity and water constitute "collective punishment" of more than half the 1.3 million residents of the Strip." But again fails to make the logical conclusion herself, attributing the word of law to a Palestinian, someone who can be easily ignored.

It is quite clear that Israel is conducting collective punishment, there is no need to reference who claims it. It is enshrined in International law.

RTE report:

"Mr Annan said Israel should show restraint and 'avoid actions that damage civilian infrastructure'." But no reference to the Geneva Conventions.

RTE also follow the kidnap/detain rule:

"Israel has given Palestinian militants a two days deadline to release a soldier kidnapped during a pre-dawn raid at an Israeli Army post near the Gaza Strip."

"Israel has denied that 64 Palestinian officials being detained in the West Bank are to be used as bargaining chips in the crisis over the capture of an Israeli soldier."

The BBC reported in 2003:

"At the time of writing, about 5,600 Palestinians are in Israeli custody for political reasons - there are also a few hundred common criminals."

"Other categories of prisoners are easier to establish: about 75 are women, and 360 boys under the age of 18 who - controversially - are sometimes kept among the adult population."

These prisoners are denied their human rights and are subject to "physical and psychological pressure"

Wikipedia puts the current number 'detained' at over 8000.

Israeli detention assures prisoners no more rights than Palestinian captivity.

Why does Israel 'detain' and Palestine 'kidnap'?