Thursday, February 19, 2009

War crimes: Moshe "Boogi" Ya'alon & Khmer Rouge

First up on the international front: the first trial for Khmer Rouge war criminals has just started, 30 years after the end of the brutal regime. Many young Cambodians are apathetic and not interested, reports the NYTimes.

Now for local news: the Israeli national elections were over a week ago, and there is no Prime Minister or government, or anything clear. Recently released--if Bibi Netanyahu becomes the next Prime Minister, he will most likely appoint Boogi Ya'alon to be the Defense Minister.

This is the worst news I've heard in a LONG time.

Ya'alon is accused of war crimes. Wikipedia reports, "An Auckland District Court judge issued a warrant for his arrest for alleged war crimes arising from his role in the 2002 assassination of Hamas leader Salah Shahade in Gaza City, in which at least 14 Palestinian civilians were killed, saying that New Zealand had an obligation to uphold the Geneva Convention." Eventually the warrant was dropped.

Targeted killings is a complicated issue all based in the 4th Geneva Convention. "Israel's policy of targeted killings raises serious questions of international law, but the answers are not obvious. Although many observers view the policy as contravening international law, there is a substantial amount of uncertainty regarding the application of the relevant law to the situation at hand. Thus, good faith analysis could lead to starkly different conclusions on the legality of any such policy."

Also shocking, tragic, and unreal-a comment that Ya'alon has been rumored to have made: "The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people."

This man should never be in a position of power.

The NY times later said this quote is unverifiable, although many Israelis who heard the original interview are familiar with it. Commentary magazine provides another interpretation, acknowledging that Ya'alon said something similar. (And we all know where Commentary's loyalties lie).

AND just for good measure-Ya'alon doesn't travel to the UK for fear of arrest, as would have happened to Almog, had Israeli diplomats not warned him. Reported here.

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