In an Op-Ed in Foreign Policy, Elders Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson wrote…

There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe.

There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict. These are war crimes. This is true for both sides. Hamas’s indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians is equally unacceptable. However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians, including more than 330 children. The need for international judicial proceedings to investigate and end these violations of international law should be taken very seriously.

As Ma’an reported…

Jimmy Carter: World powers should rethink approach to Hamas

Former US president Jimmy Carter said in an op-ed Monday that in order for the Israel-Gaza status quo to change, the international community needs to recognize Hamas as a ‘legitimate political actor.’

‘Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise,’ an op-ed written by Carter and former Irish president Mary Robinson said.

‘Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor — one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people — can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons,’ the op-ed, published in Foreign Policy, said.

‘Ever since the internationally monitored 2006 elections that brought Hamas to power in Palestine, the West’s approach has manifestly contributed to the opposite result.’

Carter and Robinson called for an ‘partial lifting’ of the eight-year-old blockade on the Gaza Strip, and said an international force should be put into place to monitor border crossings.

The presence of an international force is also necessary to hold both sides accountable for ceasefire violations, they said. {…}

Both Carter and Robinson are members of the Elders, a non-governmental organization that describes itself as a group of ‘independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights.’

Carter is among the most notable American public figures to criticize Israeli policy toward Palestinians. He is the author of ‘Peace Not Apartheid,’ a book for which he has earned praise for its frank speech about Israel and Palestine. Some key American figures, however, accuse him of being biased against Israel.

One of those ‘Usual Suspects’ key American figures… Giuliani: Jimmy Carter ‘Off the Deep End’ Asking U.S. to Recognize Hamas

Naturally, Bibi says there’s nothing to see, move along…

Netanyahu: Gaza operation ‘justified, proportionate’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday launched a vigorous defence of Israel’s month-long conflict in Gaza as ‘justified’ and ‘proportionate,’ blaming Hamas for the heavy Palestinian civilian death toll.

‘I think it was justified. I think it was proportionate and that doesn’t in any way take away the deep regret we have for the loss of a single civilian casualty,’ he told a news conference in Jerusalem in response to a question from the US news channel CNN.

He said it would have been disproportionate to not ‘defend your people and giving the terrorists a license to kill.’

In his first public remarks since a 72-hour ceasefire came into effect on Tuesday, Netanyahu told local and foreign journalists that the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas was to blame for the heavy destruction and civilian casualties.

‘The tragedy of Gaza is that is it ruled by Hamas,’ he said.

It should be noted that the Palestinians are getting serious about the ICC…

Palestinian foreign minister seeks to prosecute Israel for war crimes at ICC

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki has announced that the Palestinian Authority seeks to prosecute Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its war crimes committed during the latest aggression in the Gaza Strip.

Following his meeting at The Hague with ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the Gambia, Al-Maliki said the Palestinian Authority seeks to join the ICC as a prerequisite to opening an international investigation into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Arabs 48 news website reported that Al-Maliki accused Israel of committing ‘atrocities’ and said that ‘Israel does not leave us with any other choice; we must do everything we can to bring those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice.’

Al-Maliki commented on the 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian resistance, which went into effect on Tuesday morning, saying: ‘We expect the ceasefire to continue for 72 hours and even more,’ adding ‘everything depends on the seriousness of the Israeli side.’ {…}

Al-Maliki pointed out that the Palestinians are prepared to bear the results of any possible investigation, which would include both sides, not only the Israeli side.

Bensouda said in a statement that the court still could not investigate Israel over war crimes because the Palestinian Authority is not a member state of the Rome Convention.

The ICC prosecutor pointed out that she had not yet received ‘any official document from the Palestinians requesting to join the ICC or demanding to investigate the Israeli war crimes’ following their recognition as an observer state.

Bensouda noted that her meeting with Al-Maliki was intended to ‘clarify the available mechanisms for any state to join the ICC or push for a probe.’

The Times of Israel quotes Al-Maliki as saying that joining the ICC now is merely ‘a question of procedural matters.’

Hunkering down… Israeli Foreign Ministry advises against cooperation with UN inquiry into Gaza war

Meanwhile, our State Dept had to chime in…

US objects Palestinian bid to International Criminal Court

Spokesperson of the US Department of State Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that her country objects to the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to try Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Commenting at a daily press briefing in Washington on what she called ‘reports of a push for an ICC investigation,’ she said: ‘Our view is that we continue to strongly oppose unilateral actions that seek to circumvent or prejudge the very outcomes that can only be negotiated.’

She continued: ‘We’ve been very clear that, while we’ve expressed concerns when we’ve had them, there is – the only realistic path for realising Palestinian aspirations of statehood is through direct negotiations between the parties.’

Same-oh, same-oh…!

Seamus Milne wrote in the Guardian… Gaza is a crime made in Washington as well as Jerusalem

The carnage unleashed on the Palestinians is part of a decades-old routine that depends on western support

Interestingly, there’s actual pushback arising internationally…

Britain to review arms sales to Israel

The British government is currently reviewing all export licenses to Israel, especially those related to arms sales, in light of the continuing conflict in the Gaza Strip, a spokesperson at the British prime ministry said on Monday.

‘We are currently reviewing all export licences to Israel to confirm that we think they are appropriate,’ a Downing Street spokeswoman told reporters.

Agence France Presse reported that since 2010, the British government has approved licenses for arms sales to Israel worth £42 million (53 million euros), citing official data obtained by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

The parliamentary committee concerned with monitoring arms exports has requested for the government to ensure that arms sales to Israel are in line with exporting criteria, which stipulate that goods must not be used in internal repression or human rights violations.

The spokesperson of CAAT Andrew Smith welcomed the review but called for an immediate embargo on the selling of military equipment to Israel, insisting the government ‘should never have agreed the licenses in the first place,’ according to AFP.

‘It not only facilitates, but signals approval to the actions of the Israeli government,’ he said.

To be sure… UK Deputy PM backs Israel arms embargo, as protesters target Elbit

Ironically, one of my Facebook friends from the UK, quipped on this RT article I’d shared; UK protest group ‘shuts down’ factory for supplying Israel arms, that, she hadn’t heard one peep about it in the UK press…!

More pressure… Spain embargos arms sales to Israel

Wrapping up…